Turkey Prosciutto Wellington

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

For the last 65 years, Canada has celebrated Thanksgiving Day on the second Monday in October. It’s one of those holidays that tend to bring families together, both physically and emotionally. Unfortunately, though, in this highly technological age, it seems as if we have become more connected digitally than emotionally.

The thing about fall is that it gives us a different perspective, it represents a time of change. As nature bursts with its fabulous fall foliage, it gives us a little bit of extra time to make the most of what we have left in this year before the grand finale. The word ‘thanksgiving‘ itself, makes one pause and ask, what am I thankful for this year?

Some time ago, I read an article that was posted on Facebook by Larry McDaniel. When things are verbalized it seems to make them unmistakably clear. I want to re-post this article as I thought it is certainly worth reading and giving some serious thought to.

So today I stopped and filled up my car and I was thankful.

Thankful that I have a car, thankful I have money to buy gas,

Thankful that there are no war planes flying over me,

Thankful that I will be eating soon,

Thankful that all my loved ones are safe and sound,

Thankful that I live in a country where I have freedom to do so many things,

Thankful that the air I breathe is not filled with smoke and gun powder,

Thankful that I will sleep in silence and wake up to a beautiful day.

I think its time that we all be a lot more thankful and definitely more grateful!!

Enjoy your Thanksgiving however you choose to celebrate it.

Print Recipe
Turkey Prosciutto Wellington
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  2. In a skillet, melt butter. Add leeks and mushrooms and sauté on medium high heat until leeks become tender, about 5-7 minutes. Add broth and stuffing mix. Mix well & remove from heat. Allow to cool to room temperature.
  3. Roll out puff pastry to a rectangle large enough to cover turkey breast. If two sheets are required, brush water or egg wash on one short edge of pastry and press edge of second sheet onto the first sheet. Press gently until seam is sealed.
  4. When stuffing is cool, cover pastry with stuffing, leaving a one-inch edge all the way around. Cover the stuffing layer with prosciutto. Brush turkey with mustard, then lay turkey just to right side of the center.
  5. Bring right side edge up & over the top of the turkey breast. Repeat with the left side. You should trim any excess dough before sealing so it won't be too thick.
  6. Mix beaten egg with a Tbsp of water & brush edges of pastry to seal. Tuck the ends of the dough around the turkey breast & over each other to seal.
  7. Place the turkey, seam side down, on a parchment covered baking sheet. Cut slits in the top of the dough to vent steam. Brush entire pastry with egg wash.
  8. Tent a piece of foil over the top & bake for about 30 minutes. Remove foil & continue baking until the crust is golden for about 20-30 minutes, depending on size of turkey breast. The internal temperature should reach 165 F.
  9. Remove from oven and allow to rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing. Top with cranberry sauce and serve.

Roasted Vegetable Crumble

Crumble is not just a crispy dessert. Some variations on the original recipe have managed to transform the crumble into a mouth-watering savory dish. Almost Mediterranean at its heart, the roasted vegetable crumble introduces a whole new vegetarian culinary experience. A magnificent display of accessibility & balanced flavors, with rustic and crispy textures. While both sweet and savory versions have received international acclaim, at its root, crumble is a fruit-based dessert topped with a breadcrumb-like topping made with flour, butter, and sugar.

Crumbles became popular in Britain during World War II, when the topping was an economical alternative to pies due to shortages of pastry ingredients as the result of rationing.

This savory crumble with roasted vegetables is topped with buttery cracker crumbs, Parmesan, Panko crumbs, thyme and cracked black pepper to give it some added texture. It makes such a nice fall or winter casserole.

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Roasted Vegetable Crumble
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly butter a 9-inch deep pie dish; set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl combine crackers, bread crumbs, cheese, pepper, thyme, and butter. Toss to coat everything in butter. Spoon just less than half of the mixture into the bottom of the pie dish and slightly up the sides. Place in the oven and bake for 12 minutes, until just golden brown. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool while you make the filling.
  3. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté until softened and browned, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute more. Add the brussels sprouts, carrots, mushrooms and thyme. Increase heat to medium-high and let the vegetables sauté down until well softened, browned, and caramelized, about 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add salt and pepper as the vegetables cook down. The mushrooms will release a lot of their moisture and then the mixture will brown and cook down.
  4. When vegetables are cooked down and softened, reduce heat to medium, sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and stir until the flour disappears. Slowly add the chicken stock and stir, scraping any brown bits off the bottom of the pan. Bring to a simmer to thicken. Finally, stir in the cream and remove from the heat. Season to taste with salt and pepper if needed.
  5. Spoon mixture onto the browned crust. Sprinkle with gruyere. Top with the remaining crumble crust. Place in the oven to bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until top crust is golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes before serving warm.

Turkey Breast w/ Fruity Savory Stuffing

December 25th is not only Christmas Day, but it holds an extra special meaning for our family. It is my sister Rita’s birth date. When we were growing up, being able to enjoy all the great things that come with the Christmas meal as well as birthday cake …. could it get better than that!!

Although your family’s Christmas traditions may vary depending on the culture you were raised in, we like to think food is a language that needs no translation. I believe that many of our dishes are from an assortment of different cultures mixed into one recipe. Such is the case of our turkey dinner this year. I’ve incorporated a Moroccan inspired fruit stuffing along with our traditional savory one.

In view of the ongoing pandemic, hopefully caution will be taken in the holiday events your involved in. The best gift you can give this Christmas is not infecting others with Covid-19.

As much as I like certain aspects of the Christmas season, I find it becomes a little overwhelming. It seems a massive wave of Christmas capitalism takes over every aspect of one’s life from the end of October to January. I like to call it a form of OCD: Obsessive Christmas Disorder.

I was raised on a farm in southern Alberta at a time when Christmas celebrations were focused around our family blessings and not how many blow-up Santa Clauses or realistic sleighs we set up on our front lawns.

It would almost seem more importance is being given to getting more likes on Facebook & Instagram than it is carrying on a tradition based on family.

This year will not be perfect, it never is, and the holidays are a hard enough time for many, regardless of pandemics and catastrophic weather. I hope there will still be a little magic for everyone, however you spend the holidays.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY RITA!

WE LOVE YOU VERY MUCH & ARE SHARING YOUR DAY IN OUR THOUGHTS

Print Recipe
Turkey Breast w/ Fruity Savory Stuffing
Votes: 2
Rating: 5
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Servings
SERVINGS
Ingredients
Fruit Stuffing
Savory Stuffing
Herb Butter
Servings
SERVINGS
Ingredients
Fruit Stuffing
Savory Stuffing
Herb Butter
Votes: 2
Rating: 5
You:
Rate this recipe!
Instructions
Fruit Stuffing
  1. In a small bowl, combine dates, apricots, raisins, apple & orange juice & zest; season with spices & mix well. Set aside to marinate.
Savory Stuffing
  1. In a saucepan, sauté onion, celery, garlic, mushrooms & seasonings in margarine. Remove from heat.
  2. Place vegetable/seasoning mixture in a large bowl & combine with dry bread cubes & broth, adding only enough broth to make proper stuffing consistency. Set aside.
Turkey
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Lay turkey breast on a clean work surface so that it lies open & flat. Cover with plastic wrap, then pound lightly with a meat mallet to flatten into an even thickness all over. Discard plastic wrap.
  3. On one half of the turkey breast spread a thick layer of the savory stuffing then top it with the fruit stuffing. Fold the adjoining half of the turkey breast over all. Fasten with metal skewers if you wish to help to keep stuffing enclosed.
  4. Place a wire rack in a roasting pan & lay stuffed turkey roast on it. Brush herb butter over turkey breast. Roast uncovered, until turkey reaches an internal temperature of 180 F. about 2 hours. Cover loosely with foil if top browns too quickly.
  5. Place any extra savory stuffing in a buttered casserole & bake for about 30 minutes, until the top is lightly toasted.
  6. Remove turkey breast from oven, tent with foil & allow to rest for about 5-10 minutes. Make sure to remove all toothpicks and/or skewers before slicing to serve.
Recipe Notes
  • You will notice the recipe for the savory stuffing is well more than what is needed to stuff the turkey breast. For me personally, the stuffing is the most important part of the whole meal so I made sure there would be lots. 
  • Don't hesitate to half the recipe if you feel its more than what you need.

Mushroom, Caramelized Onion & Gruyere Finger Food

New Year’s Eve ……. normally this eve would bring about lots of parties and celebrations but the start of 2021 looks much more subdued. As expected, cities have cancelled or modified their plans due to the pandemic. Although tradition has been silenced this year, one thing that will never change is the ticking of time and the arrival of a New Year at midnight on December 31st.

When I was growing up, I recall one of the Christmas tree ornaments my mother had was a mushroom with a white spotted red cap. At that time, I remember thinking it seemed unusual as a Christmas tree ornament but never really questioned it. Many years later, through my interest in food history, I understand the connection.

In Germany and other parts of Central and Eastern Europe this iconic mushroom (Amanita muscaria) has long been considered a symbol of good luck and is intertwined with the Yuletide Season.

‘The Mushroom’ of Christmas and the New Year is frequently found growing underneath pine trees because the roots of this specific mushroom can only grow in the root zones of certain trees. There is some speculation that the red & white of Christmas and the use of pine trees may be linked to these humble mushrooms.

Even though the Amanita muscaria mushroom is toxic and should never be eaten it is still symbolizes the hope for good fortune in the coming year. The tradition of gifting mushroom imagery has stuck around, especially for those of German or Austrian descent who still exchange the pretty red & white mushrooms at Christmas time (often in the form of cards or other trinkets). Its not hard to understand why ‘meringue’ mushrooms are a popular decoration for the ‘Yule Log’ cakes.

After all these years, I understand the meaning of my mothers little mushroom ornament. New Year’s of 2020 seems like a good time to make a mushroom finger food in hopes of having the good fortune of Covid 19 coming to an end so we can all resume ‘normal’ life in 2021.

Print Recipe
Mushroom, Caramelized Onion & Gruyere Finger Food
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a large, heavy bottomed skillet, heat olive oil over medium-low heat; add onions. Cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to caramelize, about 20 minutes.
  3. Add the butter to the pan. Once melted, add the mushrooms & sauté, stirring occasionally, until they are completely soft & all the liquid evaporates, about 20 minutes.
  4. Add the garlic, sage & thyme; sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Season with salt & pepper to taste.
  5. Add the broth, scraping the bottom of the pan to pull up all of the browned bits, & cook until all of the liquid has evaporated. Remove from heat.
  6. Unfold the thawed sheet of puff pastry & cut out 36 circles from dough, placing them evenly spaced on the baking sheets. Using a very sharp knife, make four small scores around the perimeter of the dough, about 1/4 to 1/2-inch from the edge.
  7. Top the rounds of puff pastry with a small spoonful of the mushroom mixture, trying to keep the filling within the score marks. Top with grated Gruyere cheese. Brush the edges of the dough rounds with the egg wash.
  8. Bake until the pastry is golden brown, about 15-25 minutes. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley.

Parmesan-Shrimp Bread Sticks with Broccoli Cheddar Soup

It seems we never get enough of taking just about anything we do to the next level. Case in point would be pizza dough. It started as a very thin, crispy crust and evolved into whatever thickness you wanted to make it. Enter the ‘stuffed’ crust with a ring of cheese encased in the outer edges of your pizza! Then, of course, the actual pizza fillings can be virtually anything that you choose or have available.

Bread sticks, on the other hand, aren’t something that have remained unscathed either. Probably the original simple design was ‘grissini’ (as they are known in Italy). Today’s bread sticks come in many forms from super crispy, thin ones to the larger ones often served with spaghetti and used to mop up excess sauce. Now, here’s where it gets one step better. Enter ‘homemade stuffed’ bread sticks. For inspiration all you have to do is think about all of your pizza toppings. Use them as options for either mixing into your dough or actually stuffing into a bread stick.

Being shrimp and Parmesan lovers, the natural thing for me to do was  incorporate both into some bread sticks. The next step was to pair them with a nice light broccoli-cheddar soup. A match made in heaven even if I do say so myself.


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Parmesan-Shrimp Bread Sticks with Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Votes: 1
Rating: 5
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Course Lunch, Main Dish
Cuisine American, Italian

Servings


Ingredients
Parmesan Shrimp Bread Sticks

Lite Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Course Lunch, Main Dish
Cuisine American, Italian

Servings


Ingredients
Parmesan Shrimp Bread Sticks

Lite Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Votes: 1
Rating: 5
You:
Rate this recipe!


Instructions
Parmesan Shrimp Bread Sticks
  1. Combine all ingredients, in the order listed, in a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Mix on medium-low until the dough comes together. Continue to mix on medium-low for 5 minutes to knead. Dough is ready when it is stretchy & smooth. Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap & allow to rise for about an hour or until doubled in bulk.

Bread Stick Filling
  1. Peel, devein & slightly chop raw shrimp; place in a bowl. Grate & slightly chop fresh Parmesan cheese. Combine oil, minced garlic, spices & Parmesan cheese with chopped shrimp.

  2. Preheat oven to 425 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Punch dough down; on a lightly floured work surface, press dough into roughly an 8 X 12-inch rectangle. Top with shrimp filling & sprinkle with dill weed. Slice lengthwise into 8 strips; fold each strip in half enclosing filling. Twist each strip slightly & lay on baking sheet. Top each bread stick with some grated mozzarella cheese (or you could put it on as soon as they come out of the oven). Bake for 7-10 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm with soup.

Broccoli-Cheddar Soup
  1. In a large saucepan, saute onion & garlic in olive oil until tender. Stir in flour; cook for 1 minute. Gradually whisk in broth. Bring to a boil; cook & stir for 1-2 minutes or until slightly thickened.

  2. Add the broccoli, tarragon, thyme & pepper; return to a boil. Reduce heat; cover & simmer for 10 minutes or until broccoli is tender. Add milk; cook, uncovered 5 minutes longer. Remove from heat; cool to room temperature.

  3. In a blender, process about half of the soup until smooth. Return to saucepan; heat through. Reduce heat. Add 100 grams of cheese; stir just until melted. Serve immediately, garnishing with remaining cheese.


Recipe Notes
  • When time is of the essence and you need to speed up the process, use a tube of purchased refrigerated pizza or bread stick dough instead of making your own. 

Pasta Shells with Beef, Artichokes & Roasted Red Pepper

Creating interesting, flavorful meals with the smallest number of ingredients and the least fuss, lets you explore new avenues. Using roasted red pepper puree can do just that. To give an example, spoon some puree on a plate, lay a piece of grilled chicken or fish on top. Next sprinkle with chopped fresh herbs and you’ve got it — stunning and delicious!

Roasting red peppers not only makes them easy to peel but incredibly sweet and flavorful. When pureed, they give an amazing boost of flavor to whatever you choose to use them in.

I’ve always loved stuffed pasta shells, Brion probably not so much, but once in a while it works. Instead of using a pasta sauce in this version, I decided to go with the puree. Since a jar of roasted red peppers is a staple in my pantry, I’m doing a short cut idea. It actually worked out quite well.

Print Recipe
Pasta Shells with Beef, Artichokes & Roasted Red Pepper
Instructions
  1. In a large stockpot, boil jumbo shells in salted water for about 15 minutes; drain & rinse under under cold water. While pasta is cooking, stir-fry ground beef & drain on a paper towels; set aside. Add oil & butter to saucepan & saute garlic, onions, mushrooms for about 2-3 minutes. Add chopped red peppers & sun-dried tomatoes; cook another 2-3 minutes.
  2. Cool slightly, transfer to a food processor & process mixture ( you should still have some texture in the peppers when finished). Pour puree back into the skillet; add broth, spices & Roasted Garlic Alfredo Sauce, combine well. Add a small amount of sauce to ground beef; mix well.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 F. Spread some sauce mixture over bottom of a 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Inside of each pasta shell place a piece of drained artichoke; divide beef mixture between the shells.
  4. Stand filled pasta shells, single file on top of sauce. Pour remaining sauce over all & top with grated parmigano-reggiano cheese. Cover with foil & bake about 35-40 minutes.