This dish, an amazing marriage of roasted brussels sprouts, savory sauteed mushrooms, parmesan, and crispy shallots, was probably the most successful new dish we tried at our fake Thanksgiving party this year. And that’s saying something, considering how happy we were with the turkey and stuffing! It manages to be everything that a homey green bean casserole is (comforting, traditional, delicious), but elevated to a new level by fresh mushrooms, homemade shallot rings, and the roasted sprouts. I love green beans, but the sprouts have a more complex flavor and texture that works well here, and even sprout-haters tend to like them in this dish. It’s miles away from any gloop-laden thing you’ve had from a can, but still somehow very close to home.
I have a lot I could say about the origins of this recipe and the importance of stuffing, but I’m going to cut to the chase first. For me, this is The Best Stuffing Ever. The only recipe I’ll need from now on. The One.
This stuffing strata comes out so fragrant, moist, and flavorful, you would never know it hasn’t been cooked inside the turkey. But the fact that it hasn’t set up camp in a turkey means that you can shorten your turkey cooking time, and serve the stuffing to vegetarians without that out-of-place taste of vegetable broth that usually flavors vegetarian stuffing. Also, it’s a total snap to whip up; you can assemble it the day before and just pop it into your already-350-degree oven on the big day. It features all the traditional flavors of a really homey stuffing (sage, thyme, celery, and of course the bread) bound together by a magical mixture of egg, milk, wine, mustard, and gruyere cheese. The strata gets moistness and richness from the egg mixture, but doesn’t turn out soggy or taste of breakfast; essentially, it tastes like everything stuffing should be, but more…better!
It pains me to steal thunder from the epic turkey tome that only got top spot on the home page for a day, but I realized today that, amazingly, it was a whole year ago that I whiled away my Veterans Day holiday from school by starting a blog. I assumed at the time that, a few days or weeks later, it would become an abandoned corner of the internet, or perhaps just a sporadically updated private catalog of a few recipes we had tried. Which is why I’m so shocked to be writing this post today, perusing a year’s worth of posts for highlights.
In one year there have been 93 posts including over 100 recipes, and (as of this morning) there’ve been about 13,150 hits, averaging out to a little over 1000 views per month. I am painfully aware of how minuscule these numbers are in the grand scheme of the internet or even the food blogoscape, but for a silly little hobbyist blogger I feel pretty good about it! I have to attribute the much-more-consistent-than-expected writing of posts to the fact that I’d much rather document what we eat than do the dishes, but the hits I attribute almost entirely to luck and to my lovely helpful readers who are nice enough to help me pass my link around the nets from time to time!
I am not going to do a huge reflective post today, but I will say a quick few words about my plans for the blog and share some of the highlights from the year. I’d love to hear if you have any favorite posts in the comments!
Alrightey, ya turkeys– I’m excited to finally start heading down Thanksgiving road! At this point I’m going to need to run down Thanksgiving road in order to share all the recipes we tried at our Fake Thanksgiving dinner before the real thing, but for now let’s just focus on first things first. The turkey!
Paneer (fresh Indian cheese) is an ingredient that I’ve been waiting to do as a kitchen first all year, and a chilly fall evening seemed like the perfect time to whip up some warming curry. I waded through recipe options just enough to notice that there are about a million things you can do with paneer (or rather, a million different recipes for two or three things to do with paneer), and we settled on a nice looking mattar paneer recipe (paneer and pea curry) that sounded perfect for a blustery day. We adapted things along the way just a bit and were delighted to find that this dish can be really easy! Perfect for a weeknight, and a great way to incorporate a satisfying vegetarian recipe into your repertoire.
I love my River Cottage Bread Handbook. I tend to go through obsession phases with new cookbooks and then let them fall neglected for months, but this is a book that I’ve returned to reliably over the last few months of owning it. It is a great resource for bread making– concise, clearly written, well photographed, and full of recipes for really tasty breads of all kinds. The author recommends no fancy tools (his bread/pizza peel is a board nailed to a stick), and doesn’t really advocate shortcuts or secrets, he simply shows you how to make delicious rustic bread.
When I was considering whether to buy the book or not, one of the things that really sealed the deal was the promise of a five minute bread recipe. Was this possible? Turns out it is! Enter roti, a simple, unleavened flatbread from India/Nepal that is great for scooping up puddles of stew or chasing the heat from a mouthful of spicy curry. It’s crazy easy to make – flour, water, and salt – and while I wouldn’t call it a showstopper when it comes to flavor or texture, it’s tasty in a simple way and provides some palate-relief from whatever you’re dipping it in. And for five minutes and three ingredients, I think that’s a pretty reasonable result! There’s really no excuse for not trying it– even if you’re in the middle of cooking right this minute, you could probably still whip out some roti and have it on the table before your main dish!
As the weather cools down, we all find ourselves drawn to more warming foods. Lately we’ve been making things like chiles rellenos casserole and burritos, as well as tossing strips of roasted peps into stews and other warming Mexican dishes, and consequently I’ve found myself roasting up anaheims and poblanos more often than usual! Roasty pepper strips are actually pretty versatile (try topping a burger or sandwich with them!), so I thought I’d share a little basics post to document the ropes. If you have any favorite recipes using roasted chiles, let me know in the comments, and I hope to share our recipe for baked chiles rellenos soon!