Most of my friends are in accord that it’s difficult enough to get your dwelling in shape for a party much less entertain, supply the bar and party food fare. Especially during the busy holiday season.
My group is happy to pitch in, bringing a dish, a bottle, or in Frederick’s case (pictured at the piano) musical talent to help ease the strain. I’ve had several such events of late–all different crowds–so took the liberty of repeating myself by stuffing various fillings into endive leaves.
Last week I stuffed the leaves with my recipe for Walnut-Dill Chicken Salad (pictured above). If I was really short of time, I could have purchased some ready-made chicken salad, as well.
Last night I decided to stuff them with langoustine salad (recipe below).
Endive stuffed with Langostino Salad (recipe below).
I used a package of langostino tails, which have a meaty-lobsterish taste and texture, which I purchased in the frozen seafood department at Trader Joe’s. You could, however, substitute them with shrimp in the recipe below. A crab salad would be wonderful stuffed in endive but I would use a vinaigrette base instead of mayo.
Most seafood departments in my area have various ready-made spreads and seafood salads that would be marvelous stuffed in endive. A smoked fish, chopped up an tossed with chopped red onion and capers would also be heavenly.
I wish you and your family a stress-free holiday season, filled with an abundance of happiness and peace. ♥♥♥
This morning we woke up to the first real snow of the year––good thing I’d purchased a chicken. The following is a recipe I’ve been tweaking each winter when the snow flies; this year I added a cup of dry lentils to the rice. Below, you’ll find a slide show I made several years ago after visiting friends one snowy winter in Colorado. My friend’s husband demonstrated to me how to make his specialty: Clay Pot Chicken.
Use an unglazed clay pot,or at least insure the lid's unglazed.
Soak non-glazed clay before cooking.
My friend organizing ingredients.
Toss long-cooking rice w/vegies & aromatics.
Season, place pats of butter over breast & under skin, stuff w/onion & tie legs.
Always put clay pot in cold oven, THEN pre-heat.
Nothing goes to waste; entrails for the dogs.
My friend serving sautéed livers & gizzards to his
Clay Pot Chicken & Rice
Ready to eat.
The leftovers make awesome chicken & rice soup.
Roasting chickens is my favorite way of using my clay pot, and it’s a technique that has been traced back to Roman times. My recipe varies according the the ingredients found in my fridge. You can mix brussels sprouts or cherry tomatoes into the rice before roast. Perhaps you’d prefer a cajun rub to the rosemary one I used.
Many use an all-clay unglazed Romertopf roaster. According to Saveur. com, the Romertopf was invented by a German and is modeled on an ancient Etruscan design. Today, they are produced in Mexico with the same mixture of clays as the originals.
I use a 4 1/2 quart clay roaster at with a glazed bottom and unglazed lid that I purchased locally. The moisture absorbed in the large domed lid distributed moist heat producing a tender, evenly cooked, golden bird. The aesthetics of cooking in a natural, earthen element are pleasing; a beautiful oven-to-table serving dish.
Not only does the snow inspire my recipes, it also inspires my characters. My work in progress, THE MAIDEN TOWER, has a character who’d just left Idaho and moved to Key West. This morning as I watched the snow fall, I tunneled into two of my “maidens”, Linnea and Delphina, as they talked about snow:
“So back to snow,” I say, feeling a pang of sorrow for my twin. “How does it smell?”
She pinches her nose. “It’s hard to articulate. I can describe the feelings I get when it snows—content, safe, cozy. And what snow makes me want to eat—fondue, meaty stews, sticky pudding—foods that are unappealing to me down here. But I can’t explain the smell.” She shrugs. “Snow is so beautiful, and yet it smells like nothing.”
She chews at a cuticle on the side of her forefinger, a puzzled look on her face. “Not everything that’s beautiful in nature has a smell. Unless you’d consider nothingness a smell.”
“Aha! You’ve combed the country searching for a place that suits you, and all you’re looking for is nothing? That’s a healthy, Zen approach to life.”
Linnea’s eyes glaze over, and when she speaks, it’s in a hushed voice. “When it snows, it’s always a miracle. There’s a stillness, a sanctity in the white space that surrounds me.” She wraps her arms around her midriff and shivers. “I snuggle deep inside myself, and drift. The landscape’s a blank page and its beauty is experienced in its nothingness. That nothingness, Delphina, is my chapel. What, to me, is holy.”
(Speaking of holy, BTW, the holy grail of earthenware cookery: Never put a clay pot in a preheated oven; it may crack. As well, on soak the elements of your pot that are UNGLAZED.)
UPDATE: CONGRATS, TERRI! Your name was PICKED–The CD and dish towels are on their way!!!
Thanksgiving yum is on the horizon. In the right hand column →→→you’ll see a Holiday Cookbook link next to a Gold Ball under “Find Your Favorite Recipe“. Here, I’ve put together dozens of recipes that might suit your table. Also included is a super-simple segment and there are a few recipes suitable for gift-giving, as well.
Feel free to “regift” my gift, if you win (-:
The recipe for pumpkin flan below tastes like a Thanksgiving dessert should taste, but it’s not super heavy. I’m in the middle of writing a new book, THE MAIDEN TOWER, which is replete with Cuban cuisine, such as this, so I’ll be working on a number of Cuban recipes in the coming months. Any Cuban favorites out there? Any Abuelos or Abuelas in the group? If so, I’m listening!
So here’s the GIVEAWAY, re-giftaway, if you prefer. While in Portugal last month, I purchased several embroidered kitchen towels, which could be used (or regifted!) in the upcoming holiday season.
It’s not the expected sort of thing you’d find in a Giveaway, but why not? This blog feels at home in the kitchen. I’m also throwing in an Audio Book of my newly released book: THE WELCOME HOME DINER.
I’ll draw from the selection of comments (below link) to select a winner, and will update this post Nov. 28th and announce. (If you subscribe to this post, you’ll get the note in your in-box).
Don’t forget your Furbabies this Thanksgiving. Here my pal, JC, serves up sautéed Turkey livers and gizzards to his dogs.
I’ve been hosting a Lake Union Author page this week, which has been enlightening. I’m gaining much insight into our readership. For instance, when starting off this hideous week, reeling from the Texas tragedy, I asked readers who they received more comfort from: their furbabies or us humanoids.
Get this: I received over sixty comments, most including pictures of pets. Only ONE PERSON wrote that human beings gave them more comfort than their pets. Humans VS animals. Whose the “animal”, right?
This group chooses a book each month to read and then discuss. November’s pick was THE WELCOME HOME DINER. I’d love to have any of you join our chat on November 30th–lots of interesting, oftentimes thorny, topics surrounding the plot will be involved. Here’s the link: http://bit.ly/2jeMoo5
So here’s my question. Your answer will be entered into the giveaway:
If you could only select one dish to eat on Thanksgiving (BESIDES TURKEY), what would it be???
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