Thursday, December 22, 2011

Week 52!

I hope everyone had a very merry Christmas and was able to spend some time reflecting on the amazing, miraculously true story that we celebrate in Christmas.

One whole year done!! Even though each week has not been a full meal plan, I feel pretty great about completing a whole year of blogging. Here is the last week of the year!

Moroccan Winter Squash Quinoa (from
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons Hungarian sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Pinch of saffron (I did not use this)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 butternut squash (or similar), peeled and cubed
  • 2 carrots, scrubbed well and sliced thick
Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion; sauté until soft, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Add garlic; stir 1 minute. Mix in paprika and next 8 ingredients. Add 1 cup water, tomatoes, and lemon juice. Bring to boil. Add squash and carrots. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped peeled carrot
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, divided
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh mint, divided
Rinse quinoa well in fine mesh colander or sieve and drain. Melt butter with oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and carrot. Sauté until vegetables begin to brown, stirring often, about 10 minutes. Add garlic, salt, and turmeric; sauté 1 minute. Add quinoa; stir 1 minute. Add 2 cups water. Bring to boil; reduce heat to medium-low. Cover; simmer until liquid is absorbed and quinoa is tender, about 15 minutes.

Stir half of cilantro and half of mint into stew. Spoon quinoa onto platter, forming well in center. Spoon stew into well. Sprinkle remaining herbs over. 

Braised Maple-Bourbon Pork with Beans (in the slow cooker, adapted from Williams-Sonoma), this makes enough for a crowd, 8-10 servings. Feel free to half the recipe if that is more appropriate for you :)
2 lb boneless pork shoulder, cut into 4 pieces
kosher salt and cracked pepper
1 Tbs grapeseed or olive oil
2 lb keilbasa (2 large links), each cut into 3 pieces
3 yellow onions, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 Tbs minced garlic
3 Tbs tomato paste
2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup bourbon
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 1/2 lbs dried cannellini beans, soaked overnight and drained
1/4 cup maple syrup
3 cups chicken broth
4 oz bacon, diced
2 cups fresh bread crumbs
1 tsp chopped fresh sage
2 Tbs chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Season pork lightly with salt and pepper. Warm oil in dutch oven over med-high heat and brown pork. Transfer to slow cooker and in same dutch oven brown sausages. Transfer to slow cooker and cook onions and celery in same dutch oven over med heat. Add garlic, tomato paste, thyme and bay leaf. Cook one minute. Add bourbon and cook another min. Add all to slow cooker.

Into slow cooker, add tomatoes, beans, maple syrup and broth. Nestle pork into bean mixture and arrange sausages around pork. Cover and cook on high until beans are tender, upto 10 hours. Skim off fat and discard bay leaf. Season with salt and pepper. 

In large saute pan or cast iron skillet over med-high heat, cook bacon until crisp. Pour off all but 1 Tbs fat (reserve rendered bacon fat for another use) and add bread crumbs and sage to pan. Cook 4 mins, stirring. Stir in parsley and bacon. Sprinkle over pork mixture. If your slow cooker insert allows, you can finish the dish in a 400 F oven for about 5 mins.

Spice Roasted Chicken and Root Vegetables, serves 4
2 medium red onions, cut into wedges
2 lbs mixed root veggies of choice (carrots, parsnips, etc), cut into 3" pieces
2 Tbs EVOO
Kosher salt and cracked pepper
4 small chicken legs (thighs and drumsticks, so 8 total)
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp ground cinnamon

Heat oven to 425F. Toss veggies with oil and 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper on large sheet pan or baking sheet.

Season chicken with paprika, cinnamon, salt and pepper. Place chicken on sheet pan and roast about 30 mins, until veggies are tender and chicken is cooked through.

Peppermint Crunch Bark (adapted slightly from King Arthur Flour) Need to do something with those Christmas candy canes? Try this!

16 oz semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
1 tsp peppermint extract
12 oz white chocolate (with cocoa butter), chopped
1/4 to 1/2 cup crushed hard peppermint candy (or candy canes)

Melt dark chocolate over double boiler (I jut use a large glass bowl set over a pot with about an inch of simmering water in the bottom). Stir in the peppermint extract. Spread into an 8 x 12" oval/rectangle on parchment paper (should be about 1/8" thick). Allow to set but not harden completely (I ended up putting the parchment paper in the fridge for about 3-4 mins to set up better. Move it on the backside of a sheet pan).

Melt white chocolate in same manner (in a clean bowl). Mix with half of the crushed peppermint candy. Spread this over the dark chocolate and then sprinkle the rest of the peppermint candy on top, pressing in lightly with your fingers to adhere. Allow to cool until hardened (again I put in the fridge for this). Cut with large, sharp chef's knife into shards or chunks.

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