2016 Gift Guide: Downtown Loft

Part 2 of the Meats and Sweets 2016 Gift Guide.  This one is for the city girl and all the things she needs in her hard working, busy, fun, beautiful life.  

This shiny gold bottle.  $42 at  saks

This shiny gold bottle.  $42 at saks

This simple record player and speakers.  $169 at  urban outfitters

This simple record player and speakers.  $169 at urban outfitters

A warm and fuzzy coat.  $298 at  free people

A warm and fuzzy coat.  $298 at free people

For the eating of ramen noodles.  $28 at  moma

For the eating of ramen noodles.  $28 at moma

So she can see where she's going in the rain.  $24 from  amazon

So she can see where she's going in the rain.  $24 from amazon

A zippered pouch to help her organize.  $22 at  madewell

A zippered pouch to help her organize.  $22 at madewell

The SOFTEST sweaties ever.  $69 at  loft

The SOFTEST sweaties ever.  $69 at loft

Classic all white sneakers she can wear with everything.  $65 at  converse

Classic all white sneakers she can wear with everything.  $65 at converse

A one year membership to the Whitney or other museum so she can look at beautiful art all year long.  $85 at  W  hitney  Museum of American Art

A one year membership to the Whitney or other museum so she can look at beautiful art all year long.  $85 at Whitney Museum of American Art

One of these furry little bag charms.  $95 at  tory burch

One of these furry little bag charms.  $95 at tory burch

Wash all that city grime off her face at the end of the day with this luxurious cleansing oil.  $48 at  sephora

Wash all that city grime off her face at the end of the day with this luxurious cleansing oil.  $48 at sephora

Palmiers

Got a holiday party to go to?  Good.  Whatcha bringing?  Bring these!  Palmiers, a darling little puff pastry based cookie.  Also sometimes called elephant ears or palm leaves.  Because there's only three ingredients, one of which is pre-made puff pastry, they are one of the quickest and most economical treats one could make.  I really can't get enough of these little things.  

Palmiers

1 lb puff pastry dough, thawed if frozen

flour for dusting rolling surface

1 cup sugar

2 teaspoons cinnamon

Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Combine cinnamon and sugar.  Set aside.  On on lightly floured surface, roll puff pastry dough into a 18" x 14" rectangle.  Sprinkle generously with cinnamon sugar.  Usea rolling pin to press sugar into dough.  Flip dough, sprinkle generously with cinnamon sugar, press sugar into dough with rolling pin.  Fold left and right edges in so they meet at the center.  Fold edges into center again and fold in half like a book.  Chill about 15 minutes to firm dough - this makes it easier to cut.  Then slice into 1 centimeter wide slices. Press each slice into cinnamon sugar.  Arrange on a parchment or silpat lined sheet tray, leaving 2 inches between each slice with each slice sightly pinched out.   Bake 8 minutes.  Remove from oven and flip each individual palmier to caramelize the sugar on the other side.  Return to oven and bake 6 minutes more or until golden brown.  

Peppermint Candy Cane Ice Cream

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Cameron made this last year and it had to be made again.  This and roasted chestnuts are my two new holiday traditions.  It's hard to not open the freezer and take a bite every time I walk into the kitchen.  

Makes about 3 cups.

Peppermint Candy Cane Ice Cream

4 egg yolks

1/2 cup sugar

2 cups milk

1 cup heavy cream, divided in half

pinch salt

1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract

1/3 cup coursely crushed candy canes

Whisk egg yolks and sugar together.  Set aside.  

In a small pot, heat milk and 1/2 cup heavy cream until steaming but not simmering or boiling.  Slowly whisk hot milk/cream into eggs.  

Return to small pot and over medium high heat, stir until mixture is thick and coats back of a spoon.  Do not let mixture boil.  Remove from heat and stir in remaining heavy cream, pinch of salt and peppermint extract.  

Chill in fridge.   Once mixture is cold process in ice cream maker.  (Mine took 20 minutes.)  Add crushed candy canes and process until just mixed in.  Serve or transfer to freezer. 

Roasted Chestnuts

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A simple but a decidedly winter treat.  We make these once every year around christmas time.  It's one of those foods you start seeing on grocery store displays that tells you the holiday season is here.  If not eaten whole they can be used in rice dishes, stuffings, breads and baked goods.  

Serves 4.

Roasted Chestnuts

1 lb chestnuts

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Using a sharp knife, cut an X in each chestnut, about 1/8 of an inch deep, through the skin.  Bake chestnuts on a rimmed baking sheet or skillet for about 45 minutes.  Remove from oven and carefully peel off shells and papery skin before eating.    

Mashed Potatoes

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Nevermind the turkey, the cranberry sauce, the stuffing, the pumpkin pie.  I look forward to mashed potatoes all year long.   Why don't I make these the rest of the year?  Who knows.  I'd be happy with a plate of mashed potaoes, white meat turkey and a bowl of gravy.  Oh, and a dinner roll.  That's all I really need for a thanksgiving dinner.  

How about you?  Is there a particular dish that means more to you than all the others?  

If you're trying to decide how much mashed potatoes you'll need for your group they say it's 1 potato per person but obviously I think that's crazy.  1 1/2 potatoes per person at least!  (ahem, leftovers.)

Mashed Potatoes

6 idaho potatoes, peeled and halved

1/2 tablespoon butter (or more if you like)

1 cup milk, plus more if needed

s + p

Boil a large pot of water, add potatoes and boil until potatoes are soft and almost falling apart.  Strain and transfer to a bowl.  Add butter and milk.  Mashed or whip to desired consistency.  Salt and pepper.  Serve hot.  

Warm milk or stock may need to be added right before serving if potatoes look too dry.  

Manchego Prosciutto Dinner Rolls

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At the my thanksgiving table the dinner rolls and pies are part of grandma duty.  She makes the best ones and they are requested (demanded!) every year.  But maybe you do not have a roll making grandma, which is a shame so I give you these little buns which are almost as good.  

Manchego and Prosciutto Dinner Rolls

1/4 cup warm water

1 packet yeast

1 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon salt

1 tablespoon oil or butter (plus more for brushing later)

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 cup milk

2 oz manchego cheese, grated

2 oz prosciuttto, chopped

Combine yeast and water in a small bowl and let sit 5 minutes.  It should show signs of activity like foam or bubble marks.  In a food processor, fitted with dough blade, combie sugar, salt, oil/butter and flour.  Add yeast mix.  Slowly add milk until dough comes togther.  Process until a smooth ball of dough forms.  Transfer to oiled bowl and turn to coat.  Cover with wrap or towel and set in a warm place to rise.  Let rise 2 hours.  Dough will have doubled in size.  

Sprinkle cheese and prosciutto on very lightly floured surface and knead into dough.  Cut into 8 pieces (or more for slightly reasonably sized rolls)  Form each into a roll shape.  Place in a large skillet and cover.  Give each piece of dough room to expand.  Let rise 1 hour.  Rolls will be doubled in size.  

Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Uncover rolls and brush with oil or melted butter for a ncie crust.  Bake 15 to 20 minutes until very golden brown.  Remove from oven and brush with more butter or oil.  Sprinkle with a pinch of large flaky salt.  Serve warm.  

Roast Turkey and Thanksgiving Recipes

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Thanksgiving is almost here and it's time to start planning the menu and sourcing recipes.  I love a good food holiday.  I also really like turkey but eat it only once a year on Thanksgiving.  It's the delight of the table.  And gravy, there must be gravy.  

This month is going to be dedicated to classic Thanksgiving recipes.  Look out for mashed potatoes, garlicky green beans, glazed carrots, stuffing, craberry sauce, dinner rolls and maybe some desserts!

Let's talk about the turkey.  Whether you decide to go fresh, frozen, domestic, kosher, wild or heritage; it's going to be great.  If you do get a frozen one, you will have to decide if you will be thawing in the fridge or in a cold water bath.  Fridge thawing, where the bird remains unwrapped, breast side up and on a tray,  is easier but requires at least 1 day of thawing per 4 lbs.  Cold water thawing, where the bird remains completely covered in cold water,  requires more attention as the water must be changed every 30 minutes to keep the temperature constant.  Cold water thawing takes at least 30 minutes per pound.  Ours took a little longer than originally calculated.

Once thawed and ready to roast, unwrap, remove giblets, neck and what not from cavities.  Wash turkey inside and out with cold water.  Dry inside and out with paper towels.  

Heat oven to 500 degrees.  Place turkey, breast side up on a rack in a roasting pan.  Place giblets, neck, carrot, onion, celery, fresh herbs and 1 cup water or stock in bottom of roasting pan.  These add aroma and flavor to the turkey and drippings.  Rub the turkey with oil or butter.  Rub with prepared rub if using.  If not, salt and pepper.  Oil and season inside and out, and under breast skin.  Stuff turkey with stuffing if stuffing.  Neck and body cavity maybe stuffed.  Do not pack stuffing too tightly.  Tie legs together with cotton kitchen twine.  

Place in oven and roast 20 minutes of so until top browns nicely.  Reduce heat to 350 degrees and continue roasting.  Baste every 30 minutes with pan liquids.  If the skin becomes too brown cover with foil or if pan liquid disappears add water or stock 1/2 cup at a time.  Roast until thermometer inserted inthickest part of thigh reads 165 degrees.  This will take 3 to 5 hours for a stuffed turkey depending on size.  Less for an unstuffed bird.  

Remove turkey from oven and transfer to a carving board lined with a kitchen towel and let rest 20 minutes before carving.  I recomend making the gravy while it rests.  

Place the roasting pan on the stove oven two burners.  Skim off what fat you can and remove the large solids of giblets, carrot, celery, onion, garlic and herbs.  Turn both on to high heat.  Add stock and scrap bottom of pan to dislodge any brown bits stuck to the pan.  Reduce about 10 minutes.  Reduce heat to medium and simmer 5 minutes.  Salt and pepper as needed.  Strain liquid into a sauce pan or into a bowl and then back into the roasting pan.  Shake a little flour in a bit at a time while whisking until thickened. Keep warm and serve with turkey.

Carve turkey as you like and remove stuffing.  Stuffing is what's cooked in the bird and dressing is what's not.  

Turkey Rub (enough for a 12-22 lb turkey)

4 teaspoons salt

3 teaspoons black pepper

2 teaspoons dried rosemary

2 teaspoons dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon chile powder

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 teaspoon mustard powder

Cobime all ingredients and use as a rub on meat before cooking.  

Roast Turkey 

1 thawed whole turkey

olive oil or warm butter

s + p or 1 prepared portion of turkey rub

1 onion, quarted

1 carrot, halved

1 stalk celery, halved

some thyme or parsley

1 cup water or stock, plus more if needed

Turkey Gravy

6 cups stock, turkey or chicken

s + p

a couple tablespoons flour

 

Flavored Marshmallows

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I feel a bit redundant saying this but some things are better home made and other things aren't.  Marshmallows are mush better when you make them yourself and they are even better when someone else has made them for you.  They can either be cut into squares with a knife or with a cookie cutter.   (Snowflakes are nice for winter time.)   These here are rose flavored but other flavoring can be used (liqueur or extract).  I made peppermint and almond ones last year and I think frangelico would be tasty.  I used a 13" x 9" pan but use a larger one for thinner marshmallows.   

Marshmallows (Rose Flavored)

3 packs gelatin powder

1/2 cup cold water + 1 1/4 cup water

2 cups sugar

2/3 cup corn syrup

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons flavoring extract (rose, cinnamon, almond, peppermint, coconut)

Non stick baking spray, for lining and cutting

Powdered sugar, sifted, for dusting

In your mixing bowl, add the gelatin powder with 1/2 cup cold water.  It needs 5 minutes or so for the gelatin to do its thing.

In the meantime and in a pot, bring sugar and 1 1/4 cup water to a boil.  Let it boil for 1-2 minutes.  Remove from heat and slowly pour it into the bowl with the gelatin.  The gelatin should have tightened up and formed into something, well, gelatin and almost rubbery.  Add salt and mix with an electric mixer of any kind for 12-14 minutes.  The mixture will be thick, voluminous, white and glossy.  Add flavoring with a quick mix to incorporate.  Pour into a 13" x 9" pan lined with lightly greased parchment paper. Give it a little shake to even out.  Let it set, about 4 hours.  

You now have one giant marshmallow.  Cut it into pieces of any size with a greased knife of cookie cutter. If knife/cutter gets sticky, wipe clean and re spray.  Lightly toss marshmallows in powdered sugar to prevent sticking.  Store in air tight containers at room temperature.