Turkey Thighs w/ Persimmon Sage Stuffing

Cooking turkey parts instead of the entire bird serves a few purposes. It not only cuts way back on the cooking time but it allows you to cook more of your favorite pieces. For dark meat lovers, roasted turkey thighs are the perfect option as the meat is succulent and flavorful without losing its moistness during the roasting time.

As soon as I spot persimmons in the grocery store I can’t resist them. Persimmons are in season between November and February. They are mildly sweet and juicy with a slight crunch reminiscent of a cross between a peach and a pear. Since there is only a short window in which you can enjoy this exotic fruit, persimmons make up for it by working well in both sweet and savory recipes.

In acknowledgement to the USA Thanksgiving today (November 25th), I’m stuffing some turkey thighs with an interesting dressing containing persimmons & fresh sage. I know most people have their own traditional, go-to‘ stuffing recipes, but I’m hoping at least a few will venture from the norm and try a little persimmon in your stuffing. I can assure you, its worth it.

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Turkey Thighs w/ Persimmon Sage Stuffing
Instructions
Stuffing
  1. Preheat oven to 200 F. On a parchment or foil lined baking sheet, spread out the cubes of bread. Bake for about 10 minutes, until lightly toasted yet still pale in color. Set aside. Turn oven off until ready to bake ready to roast thighs if you wish.
  2. In a large saucepan or pot over medium heat, add 1 Tbsp olive oil & 1 Tbsp butter. When butter has melted, add the shallot, celery & leek. Cook until softened, about 10 minutes. Add garlic, sage, thyme & pepper; cook until mixture is fragrant, about 2 minutes.
  3. Pour in the broth and toss lightly until everything is completely mixed. Give the stuffing a taste & add salt to your personal taste. Fold in the beaten egg & cubed persimmons; toss lightly till combined.
Herb Butter
  1. In a small dish, combine all herb butter ingredients & set aside.
Assembly & Baking
  1. Arrange turkey thighs, skin side down on a work surface so they lay open & flat. Cover with plastic wrap, then pound lightly with a meat mallet to flatten to an even thickness.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  3. Discard plastic wrap; spread stuffing over 2 turkey thighs, leaving a 1/4-inch border around edge. Top each with a remaining turkey thigh. Butter a casserole dish with remaining butter & transfer any leftover stuffing to casserole dish, spreading it out evenly.
  4. Line a roasting pan with heavy duty foil paper. Grease foil on the bottom of pan & place the stuffed turkey thighs in roasting pan. Carefully spread HERB BUTTER over tops of stuffed thighs.
  5. Roast uncovered, basting occasionally, until thighs reach an internal temperature of 180 F. about 2 hours. Cover with foil if top browns too quickly. Bake the extra stuffing for about 30-40 minutes, until the top of the stuffing is golden brown.
  6. Remove turkey thighs from oven, tent with foil & allow to rest for about 5-10 minutes. Slice & serve.

Pork & Cheesy Parsnip Bake

Parsnips are one of those vegetables that very often gets over looked as being bland and tasteless. The unassuming parsnip has neither carrots’ obvious sweetness or potatoes mashable, fryable, butter-loving appeal.

I’ve always loved their sweet, mellow, complex flavor. To me, parsnips have a taste reminiscent of hazelnuts, cardamom and a gentle peppery spice. They are at their best after a few autumn frosts, which converts the tuber’s starches into sugar. In fact, if they are left in the ground over winter and dug at the first sign of spring, parsnips are nearly as sweet as carrots.

Over the years, I have used them in many different applications. Pork with parsnips is a common savory pairing but grating them into breads and spice cakes is equally good. Making cakes with vegetables used to be a necessary economy, while today we use it as a way to improve the quality and it adds a range of flavors we’d forgotten about.

Using some fresh root veggies at this time of year seems to be a good choice. This cheesy parsnip bake makes such a flavorful meal.

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Pork & Cheesy Parsnip Bake
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Instructions
Parsnips
  1. Peel parsnips & cut into chunks. Cook in salted boiling water until they are tender, about 20 minutes.
Casserole
  1. In saucepan, heat oil & sauté onion until tender crisp. Add the mushrooms & cook gently for an additional 5 minutes. Stir in pork & fry, breaking it up as it cooks, until lightly browned.
  2. In a small container, combine vegetable broth with cornstarch. Carefully add to meat mixture, stirring until it starts to thicken. Add extra broth if needed. Stir in chopped zucchini & cover. Turn heat to low & cook gently while preparing the parsnip topping.
  3. Turn oven on to broil. When parsnips are soft, mash thoroughly. Stir in butter, milk & grated cheese. Spoon pork mixture into an ovenproof dish. Evenly spread the cheesy parsnip mixture on top. Place under a broiler until the topping starts to brown. Serve immediately.

Pan-Seared Scallops w/ Spicy Raspberry Sauce

Scallops are beloved by pretty much everyone who can eat them …. they’re tender, sweet and taste ever so slightly of the sea. Being not only expensive and easy to overcook, scallops are often considered restaurant only fare.

Wild scallops feed by filtering microscopic plankton from the water. They are hand shucked immediately and frozen at sea to capture their fresh sweet flavor.

Pan-seared scallops pair well with bright, tangy flavors that contrast their meaty sweetness or in creamy dishes that emphasize their richness.

One of my go-to ‘sauces’ that I’ve used on numerous occasions on the blog, contains hot red pepper jelly. I’ve added a raspberry preserve to the jelly for a new twist on the flavor this time. The parmesan risotto brings it all together, definitely making this meal a ‘keeper’.

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Pan-Seared Scallops w/ Spicy Raspberry Sauce
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Ingredients
Servings
Ingredients
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Instructions
Risotto
  1. In a large skillet over medium heat, cook & stir diced bacon until browned, about 5-10 minutes. Drain the bacon & reserve.
  2. In the skillet, melt the butter & sauté onion & garlic for about 4 minutes until soft & translucent. Add the rice & mix well until it is fully coated with the butter.
  3. Pour in 1/2 cup of the broth & lemon/lime juice. Once the rice has absorbed all the liquid, turn heat to medium low. Add one cup of broth & continuously stir until the liquid is absorbed. Repeat, one cup at a time, with the remaining broth. This will take about 20-25 minutes.
  4. Add 1/2 cup water & take the pan off the heat once risotto is at your desired consistency. Add the parmesan cheese, reserved bacon & parsley; stir to combine. Add salt & pepper to taste.
Sauce
  1. In a food processor, puree ingredients for sauce & set aside.
Scallops
  1. Thaw scallops as directed on package. Rinse & pat dry with paper towels; season with salt & pepper. Add oil & butter to a non-stick skillet & heat over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking. Sauté scallops by turning over once until browned & just cooked through, 4-6 minutes total.
  2. Serve over a bed of parmesan risotto & drizzle with sauce.
Recipe Notes
  • Of course, if you live where you have access to fresh scallops, your in a whole different class!!

Potato Crusted Asiago Sausage Pizza

The customization of pizza crust has undoubtedly been one of the biggest innovations in the (pizza) industry. The crust you choose to make helps to dictate taste, texture, thickness and your selection of toppings.

Pizza has taken on many different forms since its original inception — especially when it comes to the crust. For example:

Thin Crust is characterized by its light, slightly crispy texture. This is the perfect crust for those who want an authentic Italian pizza.

Thick Crust is characterized by its buttery, pan fried taste and texture on the outside, with a soft chewy center.

Flatbread Crust – health conscious people feel less guilty about eating this pizza because it isn’t as filling as other crust types.

Focaccia is a thick, ‘bready’ dough infused with herbs and brushed with olive oil before baking, then covered with cheeses, herbs and spices and minimal toppings.

Wood Fired Crust – it’s characteristics are defined by their deep, smoky taste derived from using real wood to heat the baking oven.

There are endless ways you can create a custom crust for your pizza. Such as using pita bread, English muffins, rice cakes, tortillas, potato slices or chips. I experimented with making a yeast crust with mashed potatoes and sour cream in it. Without trying to sound boastful, it was probably the best pizza crust I had ever made to date. I think I nailed it!

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Potato Crusted Asiago Sausage Pizza
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Cuisine American, Italian
Servings
Cuisine American, Italian
Servings
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
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Instructions
Potato Pizza Crust
  1. Prepare mashed potato. In a dish, combine yeast with lukewarm water; whisk until yeast is dissolved. Let stand about 3 minutes until foamy. In a large bowl, combine butter, salt, sour cream & mashed potato; mix well. Add yeast mixture & stir again.
  2. Stir in flour, 1 cup at a time. When dough is completely blended, turn onto lightly floured surface. Knead dough about 10 minutes, until smooth & elastic. Place dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover with a tea towel & allow to rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Dijon Mustard Sauce
  1. In a small saucepan, saute garlic in butter until tender but not brown. Stir in flour, mustard & crushed thyme. Season with salt & pepper; add broth & cook, stirring until thick & bubbly. Continue to cook 1 more minute the remove from heat & set aside to cool.
Pizza Fillings
  1. In a skillet, saute red pepper & onion until soft; remove to a dish. In the same skillet, scramble fry sausage meat until cooked; drain on paper towel, set aside. Drain, sliced olives & grate cheese.
Assembly
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Remove risen dough from bowl turning onto a large sheet of parchment paper. Press or roll dough into a 16-inch circle. Using some of the grated cheese, make a ring around the outer edge, & fold over to make a 'stuffed crust'.
  2. Carefully spread mustard sauce over bottom of pizza, then sprinkle with another portion of grated cheese mixture. Layer with red peppers, onions, sausage meat & olives. Top with remaining cheese.
  3. Bake for 20 minutes or until crust is golden. Remove from oven & slice.

Roasted Root Vegetable Stuffed Tenderloin

Today, March 21st, our family is honoring the memory of our wonderful father’s birth date. Although it has been 14 years since his passing, he lives on in our hearts. It never ceases to amaze me how many things your parents do that are imprinted on you at childhood. As I grow older, I see and hear my Dad living on through me.

It seems, we never fully appreciate our parents until they are gone. I’m told, ‘its a kid thing’, which doesn’t really seem to make it any better. I think my Dad would have enjoyed this meal I’m preparing today. It has an earthiness about it.

 Root Vegetables, the unsung heroes of winter, sometimes have a reputation for being boring but they are anything but that. The perfect combination of hearty, satisfying and comforting, when roasted, the flavors become more complex.

Stuffing for some of us is the main event. I love to stuff anything –meat, vegetables, desserts, breads etc., etc. My goal is to push the boundaries on what filling consists of, so it changes it enough to be unique, but still reminds you of the original.

This roasted root vegetable stuffing is everything you love about stuffing with the added bonus of sweet roasted vegetables. The cracked mustard sauce drizzled over the stuffed pork tenderloin brings it all together.


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Roasted Root Vegetable Stuffed Tenderloin

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Course Main Dish
Cuisine American, German

Servings

Course Main Dish
Cuisine American, German

Servings

Votes: 1
Rating: 5
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Instructions
Stuffed Tenderloin
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. In a bowl combine onion, potato & carrots with 1 Tbsp olive oil, 1/4 tsp salt & a dash of pepper. Toss to coat well & place on baking pan. Roast for about 35 minutes or until tender & golden. Remove from oven; set aside.

  2. In a medium bowl, beat eggs. Stir in the parsley, onion powder, garlic powder & 1/4 tsp pepper. Add bread crumbs, Romano cheese & chicken broth. Gently stir in roasted vegetables.

  3. To butterfly pork tenderloin, trim any fat & the 'silverskin' from meat. Using a sharp knife, make a lengthwise cut down the center of the pork roast, cutting almost to, but not through, the other side of the meat. Spread the tenderloin flat between 2 sheets of plastic wrap. Pound meat lightly with the flat side of meat mallet to make a rectangle. Remove plastic wrap.

  4. Spoon the stuffing over the tenderloin to within 1-inch of the sides. Roll up in a spiral, beginning with the short side. If necessary, tie meat with string ; place seam side down on a rack in a shallow roasting pan. Brush with 2 Tbsp olive oil or melted butter.

  5. Adjust oven heat to 375 F. Roast, uncovered for 45 minutes or until meat thermometer registers 160 F. Prepare Cracked Mustard Sauce; slice tenderloin & spoon sauce over meat. Serve.

Cracked Mustard Sauce
  1. In a small saucepan, cook garlic in butter until tender, but not brown. Stir in flour, mustard & dried thyme. Season with salt & pepper; add vegetable broth & light cream. Cook & stir until thickened & bubbly. Cook & stir for 1 minute more.

Fruited Pork Tenderloin with Moroccan Spices

It seems, we humans have a unique way of coming away from an experience or adventure, forgetting the things we want to and remembering others.

After visiting Morocco in 2014, I have many very interesting memories from our trip. One thing travel does well, is it teaches us so much more than can be learned any other way. On that trip we were travelling with the  Trafalgar  company so our experience was made exceptional.

Many cultures have influenced Moroccan cooking. For some reason, some of these flavors have resonated with me and I seem to find a way to use them no matter what kind of meat I’m cooking.

This dish celebrates the sweetly spiced seasonings of Morocco which pair so beautifully with fruit and couscous. I hope you will try the recipe and enjoy it as much as we did. 

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Fruited Pork Tenderloin with Moroccan Spices
A beautiful presentation with exceptional flavor pairings.
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Course Main Dish
Servings
Votes: 1
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Instructions
Couscous
  1. Heat oil in small saucepan. Add chopped green onion, cumin & ginger; saute until onion is tender. Stir in honey & add broth; bring to a boil. Remove from heat & add couscous, margarine, salt & pepper. Let stand 5 minutes then fluff with fork adding a little more margarine if necessary.
Fruit Stuffing
  1. Chop dates & apricots. Shred apple. In a small bowl combine all filling ingredients adding 1/2 cup prepared couscous.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 F. Trim pork tenderloin & remove 'silver skin', then butterfly. Place a piece of plastic wrap over meat & flatten to even thickness. Sprinkle meat generously with salt & pepper. Line the inside of the tenderloin with fresh spinach leaves. Spread filling mixture evenly on top of spinach leaves. Roll up in 'jelly roll' fashion; place on lightly oiled foil paper on top of oven broiler pan. Rub Fig Balsamic dressing on outside of tenderloin.
  3. Place stuffed tenderloin in oven & bake for 20-25 minutes or until they have reached an internal temperature of 155 F. (68 C), then remove from oven. Allow to rest for 5 minutes. During this time the internal temperature will rise to 160 F (71 C).