I’m a little late this year with my Holiday Gift Guide. I think it has to do with how late Thanksgiving was this year but here’s what I’ve seen so far and thought you might find interesting.
All of these items can be found at Amazon.com where I do most of my family holiday shopping in addition to 3 Sagittarius birthdays for my girls. Plus I’m a Prime member at Amazon and love the 2-day Free Shipping that comes with most items. Who doesn’t love free shipping?
On My 2013 List
Kindle Fire HDX 7” TabletI have one of their older versions of Kindle that gets a lot more use from my oldest daughter who likes the format. I’m still a little old fashion and enjoy reading printed paperback books. I have a few friends who have Kindle Fire models with all the bells and whistles and love them.
There are hundreds of cookbooks now available for the Kindle Fire that make it a perfect gift for your technically advanced friends who love to cook. Besides cookbooks, there are plenty of videos and you can always get to YouTube for even more cooking videos.
Oster Electric Wine-Bottle OpenerOne of my many holiday catalogues said this was the most popular gift for 2013. It’s been around for a few years and I’ve owned one for a least 1 or 2 years and it works. I’ve tried other battery powered wine openers that were not very successful and getting corks out but this one works.
Not only does it get new corks out from my white and every day red wines, it works really well with some of the older bottles I’ve laid down to mature and even those I forgot to drink. It has a little trouble with new synthetic corks that are so dense, I have trouble with them with any of my corkscrews but I seem to manage to get them out. Great gift idea for friends who enjoy an adult beverage now and again.
Mister Tea InfuserDon’t have one of these yet but it is a Best Seller on Amazon and my wife drinks a lot of tea so this may be great stocking stuffer for her. According to Amazon, it is molded from food safe soft silicone rubber, perches up on your cup to hold your tea and is made out of tasteless silicone rubber.
According to one review posted on Amazon and really made me laugh: “Not only can you put tea leaves in his pants but then he holds on to the side of the cup likes he's Nicholas Cage after finding all of the national treasure. My life was put back on track after purchasing this product.”
For years we would buy tins of William-Sonoma Peppermint Bark and give them out to friends and family for Christmas. Why? Because it’s was festive, seasonal and tasted so good. This year my wife is sending hot yoga towels designed and produced by a good friend of ours to all her friends but I’ll be sticking with my holiday proven peppermint bark.
I just checked the William Sonoma website and you can buy this peppermint bark cheaper there with free shipping on orders over $49 so that may be the way to go if you are buying several. You can also go to one of their stores and pick up one or two. This is a great gift for friends who love chocolate and candy canes.
Corkcicle Color Wine ChillerI gave a couple of these to friends last year and put one in my wife’s stocking. We like it and I’ll be giving a few more of these out this year. Not only are they good for keeping white wine cool, they work well to bring red wine down a couple of degrees to make it truly room temperature when houses weren’t kept as warm as they are now. And they make for great conversation starters.
According to Amazon, “ Corkcicle maintains chilled white wines and cools room temperature reds, are simple to use; freeze and place in bottle, are made from BPA free plastic and non-toxic freeze gel, are easy to clean and available in several pop-inspired colors or original cork.
How to De-construct and Then Re-assemble a Thanksgiving TurkeyI call this technique for cooking turkey “De-constructed Turkey” and adapted it from Julia Child’s The Way to Cook where she calls it “The Re-assembled Roast Turkey”. Last year was my first attempt cooking a turkey this way and it was such a success my wife asked me to give it another try this year.
One advantage of roasting a de-constructed turkey is time. It takes much less time to cook the bird this way – almost half. But I think a bigger advantage is controlling the internal temperatures so you don’t overcook the breast meat while bringing the legs and thighs up to the correct temperature.
A 20 lb. fully constructed traditional turkey takes about 5 hours to roast where a 20 lb. de-constructed turkey takes about 2 ¾ hours for the breast and 2 hours for the legs-thighs.
It’s also interesting to note there is not much difference in cooking times for a smaller 14 pound turkey compared with a 20 pound bird when de-constructed. As Julia says, “Timing is more dependent on the thickness of the meat than its total weight.”
My second favorite advantage of de-constructing the Thanksgiving bird is it allows you to bone the thighs and fill them with stuffing. When you slice the thighs at the table you get a ring of dark meat stuffed with dressing. It is so amazingly delicious (and pretty) that we purchased two extra legs and thighs this year for stuffing.
You may be concerned a de-constructed turkey isn’t going to look as good as the one in the Norman Rockwell classic Thanksgiving painting and it isn’t but if “re-assembled” like Julia Child recommends, it will be close. I don’t know about you but in our house the turkey is typically sliced in the kitchen, put on trays and served at the table or banquet style so the artistry of reconstruction isn’t a factor.
I can tell you from experience it’s good to have a meat cleaver and meat pounder (rubber hammer) on hand to remove the backbone. You’ll also want to have a sharp boning knife to remove the thighbone although you might get away with a sharp paring knife.
Remove the Backbone
With the help of a meat cleaver and rubber hammer, remove the backbone by cutting on both sides until it comes free. Reserve for making stock for gravy.
Remove the Leg and Thigh
Using a sharp boning knife, carefully remove the leg-thigh from the body. The thighbone attaches to the backbone and should have been separated when you removed from the turkey.
Remove the Thighbone
This is the trickiest part of the whole procedure and that’s only because I don’t do that much butchering at home. The goal is to remove the thighbone so you can stuff it with dressing and tie it so when it is done cooking it looks like a whole leg. You have to be careful not to separate the thigh meat from the leg.
Using a boning knife or paring knife, cut and scrape along the thighbone from where it was attached to the backbone up to the bottom of the leg bone to expose the ball joint. The meat should carefully be scraped from the bone on all sides. When you get to the ball joint, cut through it but not the meat. Free the thigh bone and reserve for turkey stock.
Truss the Thigh
Still attached to the leg but now without a thighbone, the thigh is ready for seasoning and stuffing. After stuffing the thighs, use wooden or metal skewers and butcher’s twine to close the thigh as shown in the photo.
Coat with some olive oil, season with salt and pepper and the leg-thighs are ready to roast on a rack inside a roasting pan. The rack is to keep them from burning and sticking to the pan.
Truss & Mound the Breast
Remove the wishbone from the neck cavity with a sharp boning knife. Use a skewer to pin the neck skin to the back. Truss the wings with a skewer and some butchers twine as shown in the photo. Coat with some olive oil, season with salt and pepper and get ready to mound the stuffing before roasting.
If you want to cook your turkey with stuffing, this is an easy way to do it. Mound a heap of dressing onto a roasting pan. Place the turkey breast down onto the mount of stuffing. In The Way To Cook, Julia uses a sheet of aluminum foil to put the stuffing on and then rolls it up to make a little bed for the turkey to sit on. We didn’t do this last year but will give it a try this year.
Roast the Breast and Leg-Thigh
The roasting times for the breast and the leg-thigh are different so that’s why they are in separate roasting pans. Preheat the oven to 325°F. When ready, roast the breast and leg-thighs as you normally would including basting the meat every 20 minutes.
How long you roast the turkey pieces depends on the size of the turkey and what is your ideal final internal temperature. It’s important to let the turkey rest for at least 20 – 30 minutes after you take it out of the oven and before you start carving. The internal temperature continues to go up during this time so make sure you take this into account.
It’s important to use an instant thermometer to determine when the meat reaches your ideal temperature minus allowance for resting. Going just by turkey weight and time is a recipe for a dry bird, and relying on one of those plastic “pop-up” devices some turkeys include is guaranteed failure.
If you want to present a whole bird at the table, you can plate the breast with the stuffing on a serving tray, remove the skewers and string and place the leg-thighs neatly where they belong. It will look great.
We slice the turkey in the kitchen and bring the slices out on plates. As you can see from the photo, the sliced stuffed thighs make an incredible presentation and are a huge hit with my family.
This is a great way to prepare, cook and serve turkey. It offers you a great way to control the temperature of the dark and light meat, shorten the cooking time, and stuff the thighs.
Carrot Fennel SoupAdapted from Kim O’Donnel’s The Meat Lover’s Meatless Celebrations
My neighbor is an investment advisor and each month we receive his firm’s newsletter with various articles celebrating “life in America”. I found this recipe in the most recent edition. I love carrots and think fennel is one of the most under-rated vegetables available so I had to give this one a try.
21 Thanksgiving Tips From Me and My Facebook Friends
Every November I try to come up with a collection of Thanksgiving Tips to make everyone's turkey day just a little bit easier. I love this holiday because it typically brings family and friends together for a big meal and plenty of catching up. For years, we would travel to my sister and brother-in-laws home in State College, PA where my wife's sister would put out a huge spread for 20 or more people. For the past few years the location has been moved to our home and as much as we enjoy entertaining, cooking and serving for 20 or more people can be daunting so tips, shortcuts, new ideas are always welcome.
This year I decided to reach out to my friends on Facebook for their advice. I asked them to share we me some of their favorite tricks and tips they used over the years to make the day just a little bit more manageable. I've combined a bunch of them with a few of my own and now want to share these gems with all of you. Thanks everyone at Facebook for your great ideas.
Thanksgiving Tip #1 – Plan early. Start thinking now about what you’re serving with your turkey, get your recipes together, and organize your shopping list. - Reluctant Gourmet
Thanksgiving Tip #2 - Prep that bird the night before. Prep whatever you can the night before. I have pretty much everything go in the oven ready day of. That gives me more time to relax and enjoy my day. - Cissy W.
Thanksgiving Tip #3 - I no longer put the stuffing in the turkey. I make a sausage dressing, add an extra egg, and bake it in the oven. Everyone seems to love it, and there is more to go around. Now, I am less concerned about the bird getting contaminated with stuffing stuck to the carcass. - Sarah P.
Thanksgiving Tip #4 - Avoid the crowds by getting to the supermarket well ahead of the Thanksgiving rush. There’s nothing worse than getting to the market the day before Thanksgiving to find they are sold out of an ingredient you absolutely need. And battling the crowds can be stressful! - Reluctant Gourmet
Thanksgiving Tip #5 - Consider using your grill to cook the turkey. It allows for more flexibility for side dishes. And it isn't nearly as difficult as it sounds... - Kirsten Z.
Thanksgiving Tip #6 - Im trying stuffing this year in the crock pot!!! I hope it turns out good... at least I dont need the oven space then! - Kim G-C
Thanksgiving Tip #7 - Create a timeline for cooking the food. Work backwards from when you plan on serving the food and don't forget to include resting times. Doing this will keep you organized and ensure all your food comes out hot. - Max W.
Thanksgiving Tip #8 - Prep or prepare as many dishes as you can before Thanksgiving Day. You’d be surprised at how many dishes you can make or get ready two, three, four days ahead of time. Keep a running list, so you don’t forget to serve anything! - Reluctant Gourmet
Thanksgiving Tip #9 - I make all my desserts the Saturday before and turn it into a "girls" cook party. All of my girlfriends come over and we double recipes to make 2-4 of everything. The desserts stay fresh in tupperware and it saves the most difficult part of Thanksgiving because multiple people are making up to 8 different desserts instead of one person making all 8. Plus it gives us a chance to see each other and share Thanksgiving so we don't miss it by spending the actual day with our families. - Cate M.
Thanksgiving Tip #10 - Post-its! I have them everywhere reminding me what time I put things in the oven and when they need to come out. After people laugh at me they admit it's a good idea. - Lisa S.
Thanksgiving Tip #11 - Clean as you go and make sure the dishwasher is empty for after the meal so you can rinse and put all the china and dishes in there quickly and have time to relax with family and friends after the meal. - Janet V.
Thanksgiving Tip #12 - If you buy a frozen turkey, give yourself enough time to defrost it. It is recommended you thaw frozen turkeys in the refrigerator, not on your back porch. It takes 2 to 3 days for a 14 pound turkey to defrost in the refrigerator. Plan ahead.- Reluctant Gourmet
Thanksgiving Tip #13 - Set the table on Tuesday or Wednesday so you enjoy the process, make it special and get the chore out if the way so you can spend the rest of the time focused on the meal. An extra bonus is that you can get in a festive mood from seeing your beautiful table each time you walk by if! Trust me, it makes the table setting task a joy instead of a chore! - Judi M.
Thanksgiving Tip #14 - Appetizers are important, especially when friends and family arrive hours before the big meal. But clear the appetizers away at least an hour ahead of the big meal so they have some room left! - Reluctant Gourmet
Thanksgiving Tip #15 - If you are expecting a crowd on Thanksgiving Day and you asked everyone to bring a favorite dish to share, keep track of who’s bring what, so you don’t end up with six versions of peas and no pumpkin pie. - Reluctant Gourmet
Thanksgiving Tip #16 - Make WAY more stuffing than you think you need (from experience). - Alicia C.
Thanksgiving Tip #17 - Time is a valuable commodity on Thanksgiving, so don’t hesitate to sneak in some store-made items to save time. Homemade stuffing is great and who doesn’t love cranberry sauce made from fresh cranberries but to save time, try using a quality commercial substitute….just don’t tell anyone. - Reluctant Gourmet
Thanksgiving Tip #18 - I loved the stuffing from the turkey but I always have extra to cook in the pan for those not sure of stuffing from the turkey, but I use a thermometer to make sure all is up to the correct temp. - Janet V.
Thanksgiving Tip #19 - Don’t make Thanksgiving a one-person crusade. Involve as many people as you can, including the kids and your cousin in from Minneapolis. Assign a team to set the table, have the little ones design place cards. There’s a lot to do so have plenty of aprons available for friends and family. - Reluctant Gourmet
Thanksgiving Tip #20 - Don't make turkey if you don't like it. Don't make string beans if you don't like them Don't make sweet potatoes if you don't like them. You get my drift. So, the point is; it's thanksgiving; eat whatever makes you feel good but be gentle with yourself, your family and friends, and most of all, give thanks. - Vicky K.
Thanksgiving Tip #21 - Remember what Thanksgiving is for. Enjoy your time with family and friends, and take some time for yourself to reflect. - Reluctant Gourmet
What To Pack In Your Kid's Lunch BoxMy youngest daughter Maddie gave me the idea for this post and even helped write it. For many years, one of my stay-at-home responsibilities was making lunch for the kids. Sounds easy enough but for those of you who prepare your child’s lunch every day, five days a week, you know this task can be daunting especially if your kids are picky eaters.
I remember years ago when my girls loved Smucker’s “Uncrustables” – crust-less peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I used to buy them by the case at Costco and serve them in their lunch boxes just about every day for weeks on end. One day they rebelled and said, “NO MORE” and both have refused to eat another one since. Now it’s gotten a little more complicated, so with Maddie’s help we came up with some suggestions that may help fellow lunch makers.
For the record, a couple of years ago, my wife agreed to relieve me of lunch-packing duties but last week she was out of town for work so the baton was passed back to me. It reminded me how important lunch is for your kids and why you want to get it right. Fortunately, my oldest daughter is now in high school and likes the food served at the cafeteria, so we are down to one packed lunch per day.
Now, packing your kid's lunch is a cost effective way of ensuring they have enough nutrition for the day. But, to pack “the right” lunch is a balancing act, since the kids can choose what to eat and not eat. Here are a few tips I’ve developed over the years.
Main Meal aka “entrée”
It has to be something they like that is cold or can still be eaten cold, since there is no place to heat it up at most schools. Pasta or sandwiches are good choices but if you are doing a sandwich, leave the tomatoes off to the side so the sandwich doesn’t get soggy – let your kids put the tomato in themselves.
Don't pack the same sandwich two days in a row, your kids will get sick of it (see “Uncrustables” above!).
Another option is leftovers, but make sure they like it cold. I once tried sending some leftover beef stew in Maddie’s lunch and at first she thought it was chocolate pudding………..until that first bite.
My girls enjoy leftover chicken, steak, pork and even leftover fish like salmon once in a while. But give some thought to the smell – NO HARD BOILED EGGS!
In my opinion snacks (or “sides”) are very important and hardest to get right. I recommend 2-3 snacks because if they don’t eat their main meal, at least they’ll have enough to fill up. Also, if they have an after school activity, they have something to eat.
The first snack for me is usually a piece of fruit, like apple slices, grapes or some strawberries, anything your kid likes.
The next snack is a vegetable that can be in addition to or instead of fruit. A great choice for my girls is edamame, it is easy to make, delicious, and high in protein. But, it's the same as fruit - whatever your kid likes. Some other suggestions include baby carrots, celery sticks, snap peas, cucumber, and broccoli (I slice the stem into “broccoli chips”).
After that I usually put in something with dairy, like cheese or yogurt. For the cheese, string or cubed is good and for the yogurt anything portable. Remember the spoon!
Lastly, offer them something that qualifies as dessert but is still somewhat healthy. A good choice is trail mix (or as my daughter calls it “m&ms and disappointment”) or a granola bar.
Now there is only one more thing left: water. Since there’s only a limited amount of time for them to get to the lunchroom, find a seat and eat their lunch, packing a small water helps so they don't have to worry about getting some before class.
There you have lunch!
The final tip food wise is: pay attention if the same food items keep coming back untouched. They obviously don't want it and it doesn’t matter how many times you pack it, they’re not going to eat it. I know right now it seems like a lot of extra work, but soon it will just become a pattern.
When buying a lunchbox, there are several things to consider. If there are going to be fresh ingredients, you’ll want one that either comes with a cold pack or at least has a place to hold one that won’t get in the way. You can see from the photo, my daughter’s current lunch box has netting to hold a cold pack at the top so there’s more room in the main compartment.
Insulation is obviously one of the more important factors when choosing a good lunch box. I’d like to think the more you pay, the better the insulation but I’m not sure that’s true. I have a feeling the cost of a lunchbox has a lot to do with whose photo is on the box. I remember paying up for lunch boxes with my girls’ favorite cartoon or Disney characters on them. One year she had a lunchbox with Ricky Martin on it. I wonder how much we paid up for that one?
When I was a kid, my mother packed our lunches in brown paper bags. I know some of my friends had those fancy metal lunchboxes with Superman or The Lone Ranger on them, but we went with the economy disposable bags. By the time I sat down for lunch, my sliced banana sandwich on Wonder Bread was so smashed, you didn’t know whether to eat it or have a catch with it.
No matter how much you pay or don’t pay for your kid’s lunch box, the most important response you’ll want to hear from your kids when they come home from school is, “Out of everyone at the lunch table I had the best meal!"
Fall Is Here So It's Soup Time
I love mushrooms anytime of the year but especial in soups and stews this time a year. And kale seems to be the "hot" ingredient for 2013 showing up everywhere including kale chips and raw kale in salads. Put them together with a bunch of other "soup" ingredients and you have a very tasty fall meal. My wife found and prepared this recipe from an article in the Wall Street Journal and I've been eating it all week.
My friend Geoff prepared and served this kale slaw at a recent dinner party. He served it with Barbecue Bob’s smoked brisket and then we all watched the Michigan football game. Geoff and his wife both graduated from Michigan and are avid fans to say the least.
I think he told me he found this recipe on the Internet but made a few changes to suit his own tastes so don’t let that stop you from adding or changing an ingredient or two to make it your own.
In our house, we are going through a kale reverence. My oldest daughter makes her own kale chips for afternoon snacks and my wife has made it part of our weekly diet. I like it sautéed but this raw version is incredible.
Everything You May or May Not Want to Know about Lobster
1. All Lobster Are Not The Same
When I think of lobster, I picture "clawed" lobster from cold water areas but there are clawless, warm water lobsters called spiny, langoustine or rock lobsters that look similar but are not really related.
2. Smart Lobsters Can Live A Long Time
If not caught and eaten, cold water lobsters can live longer than humans. In fact, it takes at least 6 to 7 years before a lobster is big enough to sell for consumption.
3. Old Lobster = Big Lobsters
Those that live a long time can grow to over 3 feet in length. The record for the largest lobster is one caught off the coast of Nova Scotia. It weighed in at 44 pounds, 6 ounces and was 3 feet, 6 inches long.
4. Hard Shell Versus Soft Shell Lobsters
Because lobsters continue to grow, once a year they have to climb out of their hard shells to form a new larger version. This is called molting. The new water saturated soft shell can take months to harden again, making them vulnerable to other sea life but very tasty to some human lobster connoisseurs. It takes months for the lobster to grow into its new shell so if you break open a cooked new shell lobster, you'll notice there is less meat in there compared to an older hard shell lobster.
5. Boy And Girl Lobsters Look Different
Of course they do! If you look under the tail of a lobster you'll find feathery looking appendages called "swimmerets" that help lobsters swim. If the first pair of swimmerets (those closest to the head) are soft, you have a female lobster. If they are hard and bony, you have a male in your hands. You'll also find a rectangular looking shield on a female.
6. Let Them Eat "Lobster"
Back in the day, I'm talking the 1800's, lobster was known as "poor mans food" and often ground up to use as fertilizer. Can you imagine that? Lobster were so abundant back then it was used to feed the poor, prisoners, servants and convicts. I read there were even laws in some states preventing prisons from serving it to inmates more than a couple times a week because it was considered "cruel and unusual punishment". That all changed in the mid-1900's with the creation of the lobster smack, a small sailing sloop with open holding wells on the deck that would keep the lobsters alive in transport. Fresh lobster soon became popular in New York and Boston and the demand continued to grow.
7. About Those Claws
Lobsters have several claws, but most of us typically acknowledge their two main claws. The larger of the two is called the "crusher" claw and is used for breaking the shells of other shellfish. The smaller of the two is called a "pincer" claw and has sharp teeth for tearing its food apart before consuming. There are also some small claws on the front legs for getting the food into the lobsters mouth. The claws on a young lobster make up only 5% of their total body weight but as an adult, that can change to 50% of their weight. And of course mature males grow "enormous crusher claws that are highly attractive to female lobster." Are you kidding me? If a lobster is missing a claw, it is called a cull. If it is missing both claws, it is called a "pistol".
8. Not the Smartest Creature In the Sea
Not that there are any standards for intelligence in lobsters but their brains are no larger than the tip of a ballpoint pen, about the same size as a grasshoppers', so you can make your own conclusions. It may be why they are sometimes called "bugs". The lack of a brain means a decentralized nervous system so they don't feel pain when immersed into hot water. I know there are some who disagree with this concept but I am not a scientist so I choose to believe it is true. They also don't have vocal cords so those "scream" like sounds you think you hear really come from steam escaping from their shells when in the boiling pot.
9. Banded Together
I always thought they put those rubber bands on lobster's claws to keep them from getting hold of my fingers but it turns out lobsters can become cannibalistic when crowded in tight quarters. The bands protect them from eating each other when being stored in a lobster pound or store display.
10. Lobster's Diet
Lobsters are bottom dwellers and consume whatever they find lying around the bottom of the ocean but these scavengers also like the live stuff including small fish, crabs, clams, snails and mussels. They also been know to feed on smaller lobsters thus the need to band them in captivity.
A Recipe From One of My High School BuddiesOne of my best friends from high school contacted me and told me how his daughter Jen started a cooking blog at www.topateonyourplate.com and asked if I could call her to talk about her site. Jen is part time math teacher, full time mom and from what I see, a food blogger with a future. Her site Top Ate on Your Plate is a play on words but her recipes and photos are spot on.
Jen’s recipe, Mango Mexican Chicken, comes from her dad and is a family favorite. I can’t wait to try it. What I like best about her post is her introduction where she describes the grilled cheese sandwiches her grandmother used to make for her dad, me and two other high school buddies who spent a great summer in 1971 working for the Bergen County Dredge Department. I only wish I had some photos from those days on the Dredge.
Here’s Jen’s post and recipe:
It oozes. It’s ewwy, gooey, cheesy, chewy. The six types of cheese melt from the sides as you bite in. There’s mayonnaise involved, people. There’s mayonnaise and, of course, Wonder Bread, the classic white sandwich bread. Oh, and did I mention the meat? Ham, turkey, salami, roast beef… It sounds like a classic grilled panini, fried in the skillet with a little bit of butter; my idea of the perfect sandwich.
Now picture this, it’s July in Bergen County, Jersey. It’s hot, humid and the sun is high in the sky at noon. Four high school football buddies are working at The Dredge. On the dashboard of the neon orange Dredge pick-up, baking in the heat of high noon, lay the sandwiches they’d been dreaming about since 6:30AM. These cheese sandwiches, affectionately named dashboard sandwiches, were what they ate for lunch all summer…and they lived to tell about it.
“What’s The Dredge?”, you ask, with your nose scrunched and your eyes squinted, knowing the answer can’t be all that pretty. Run by the Bergen County Road Department, The Dredge was an anchored barge, stationed in the middle of a local creek and equipped with an industrial vacuum. The mud, muck and all around grossness from the creek bottom were sucked through massive pipelines that led up from the creek bed to the barge and onto land where they emptied onto the adjacent garbage dump.
This mud was being used as fill to cover the dump so a park, where kids and pets would soon play, could eventually be built over it. The boys were hired to do the dirtiest jobs that the permanent employees refused to do. This entailed mundane tasks such as repainting and moving the pipelines. It also included the more unusual duty of wading through the mucky landfill to retrieve and discard miscellaneous debris that had once rested on the creek bottom. Use your imagination about what “treasures” they found that summer.
My dad and The Reluctant Gourmet, himself, were two of the buddies working on The Dredge…eating the sandwiches and bonding over a friendship that would last the next 40 years. While neither of them seemed to have any culinary sense back in 1971, as high school juniors, it appears they have come a long way since then.
We are all familiar with the culinary expertise of The Reluctant Gourmet. What comes as more of a surprise is the relative success my dad has had in the kitchen since the unfortunate summer working on The Dredge. Since his wife (my step-mother) is an excellent chef with a wide repertoire, he doesn’t seem to get all that much time in the kitchen. Despite this fact, he has perfected some recipes that are absolutely delish. The recipe that I’ll share with you today, Mango Chicken Burritos, is a favorite. It is often requested when family and friends visit for dinner. His newest grandson (my son), Quinn, can’t seem to get enough!
Can You Really Make A Pasta Dish With Tasty Sauce With No Water?I found this one-pot pasta idea on Facebook, found a recipe and sent it to my oldest daughter. My wife was out of town so she decided to make it for dinner. We had all the ingredients in the house and she made a few modifications to the one I sent her but the idea of putting all the ingredients in a pot, cook for 20 minutes and serve works.
Technique Not Ingredients
The cooking method of this recipe intrigues me more than the individual ingredients. The amount of liquids are important but what liquids you use or what herbs and spices you choose is entirely up to you. The sauce develops from the starches in the pasta combined with the liquids while the rest of the other ingredients cook.
How Did It Turn Out
Was it the best pasta dish I've ever eaten? No, but it was very good for a quick & easy, simple meal that my 15 year old daughter could throw together with confidence. I'm sure you could play around with some of the ingredients and even make it better but that's up to you to explore.