I think at some point most people embark on the “Who was the first person to eat that?” conversation. Common subjects include oysters, lobster, and mushrooms.
Cranberries are an interesting dark horse in that conversation because assuming you found wild cranberries they would actually look pretty appetizing, but I imagine that you would eat one and be forever against them – choosing starvation over cranberry in the future. The cranberry’s main characteristics are: 1) incredibly bitter 2) hollow 3) crunchy, yet mesh-like.
These are not great food characteristics.
But, if you bake these suckers they turn into an entirely completely thing. They are still bitter, but that bitterness can actually work to balance other flavors (like brown sugar). They lose their weird hollow texture though which is very important.
Enough about the qualities of cranberries. This is a really dense and delicious coffee cake that’s perfect for the holidays. Assuming you have some cranberries sitting around, save a cup or so for this cake.
It has taken almost two years and two knee surgeries, but just this week I started being able to run short distances (slowly) without huge amounts of pain.
I was actually almost to this point last year as well and then I think I just tried to push it too hard and ended up hurting myself therefore needing another surgery. So, I’m taking it really slowly, but it feels great to be able to do it again.
Speaking of running, if you didn’t see this article on the WSJ this week about running, it’s kind of a funny read. I’m not sure I agree with everything in it, but I do agree that it seems like running is really taking off as a past-time, but sometimes it does feel like people just like to think of themselves as runners. Oh, and then there is this Runner’s World retort which is even better.
And for the record, I’m firmly in that camp. I love the idea of being a runner even if I can only run 1/2 mile at a time at the moment.
I guess that means I should get a .5 bumper sticker for my car?
Lately I’ve heard of some new ways of cooking items I’ve cooked before so I want to try one this week. I won’t reveal the interesting cooking method until later in the week! You pick!
Rosemary and Smoked Salt Almonds- These look lovely and would be a great little table snack to have around during the holidays. I don’t imagine that they will last too long on any given table, but maybe it’ll keep the wolves at bay for a few minutes. (@ Love and Olive Oil)
How to Make Potato Chips – Speaking of different ways to cook stuff, this is an interesting way to make potato chips. I’m sure it works excellently and will try it the next time I make a batch. (@ Eat the Love)
Brussel Sprout Gratin – Take your standard green bean casserole and toss it directly out the window. This looks so much better and uses one of my favorite veggies of all time. (@ Simply Recipes)
Extra Crispy Skillet Stuffing – The Bitten Word gents are killing it this holiday season. I already bookmarked one of their recipes that I’m trying on my holiday menu. This one looks like a winner also! (@ Bitten Word)
This Week’s Meal Plan
This week’s meal plan is a good one! With the holidays approaching maybe you need some quick dinners to detox a bit before the big binge day. This is the meal plan for you! You can sign up now for Macheesmo Meals and get a free week to try out this plan and the others (there are now over a dozen total) and see if you like them!
The holiday season is damn near upon us and I probably don’t have to tell you that that means eating. Lots of it.
While I’m normally not one for diets, I do try to gear up for the holidays (especially Thanksgiving) by eating healthier than normal for a week or two leading up. For me this normally takes the shape of lots of soups and salads so I was very happy when you all picked a soup in the poll last week.
This soup is like a chicken soup, but with the flavors cranked up to 11. Instead of egg noodles, I used wild rice which gives it a really nutty flavor, but a huge chunk of exotic mushrooms that make the soup really savory and wonderful.
It’s healthy, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t the bomb.
Tailgating at any sporting event is an art form. This art form tends to take the shape of lots and lots of meat and beer. Let me be the first to say that I truly love this art form. I will grill and smoke and consume with the best of ‘em.
But hey, guess what? Vegetarians like sports too. Also, it might not be a terrible idea to supplement your one pound burgers stuffed with chicken wings with an actual vegetable so your arteries don’t collapse halfway through the second quarter.
S0, part of the tailgating art form is bring something that’s tasty, but also somewhat healthy. These pinwheels are super-easy to make in advance and have a ton of flavor and crunch to them.
Your vegetarian friends (and arteries) will love you.
I’m a big fan of French press coffee. I realize that there is a backlash of sorts in the coffee world these days about how it’s not a consistent or reliable way to make a cup of joe, but I still like it. I make one almost every single day.
That said, I almost never make it through the entire pot. There’s always a cup or two extra hanging out in the bottom of my French press. Sometimes I’ll toss it on ice in the afternoon, but frequently it just ends up down the drain so I have room for a fresh pot the next day!
But this dish… this dish was made for that leftover little bit of coffee. Red eye gravy, you see, is a classic Southern gravy that uses coffee instead of milk as a base. This gives the gravy an entirely different flavor profile. It has some bite to it!
I mixed up a batch of the stuff this week and served it over some fresh biscuits and seared ham. Biscuits and gravy is a traditional Southern dish by nature, but this is even a more Southern take on the classic.
You all maybe forgot this, but I’ve been working on a cookbook for what seems like the better part of my entire existence. The good news is that things are moving super-fast now! Soon you’ll be hearing all about it.
While I was planning on having a nice, relaxing weekend including maybe a hike and some chill cooking, I just got my first page copies for the book which completely tossed my weekend schedule out the window. If you don’t know, first pages are when the publisher send you a PDF of every page in the book and you have to go through and comment on the layout and make sure it’s what you envisioned.
Oh, and you have to do this for an entire book in, like, a week. It’s a quick turnaround, but also very exciting because it’s the first time I get to see my hard work actually laid out on the page!
The over/under on number of pots of coffee I drink this weekend is currently hovering around 5 1/2.
The holidays are rapidly approaching, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Let’s get started with a cleansing, healthy recipe so we can feel okay about gorging later. You pick!
Brined Deep-Fried Turkey Legs - Ok. I know I posted a turkey leg link last week (for those keeping track a.k.a nobody). These just looked too good to not link to. Brined! Fried! I feel like I could serve up a big bowl of these and skip the whole turkey thing. (@ Not Derby Pie)
Hibiscus Cranberry Sauce- I really put way too much weight on cranberry sauce during the holidays. I think it’s one of the most disrespected of sides and so I try to elevate it. I’m always looking for fun recipes that change it up and make it interesting. I’m sure this tastes good, but also the color is astounding. (@ Love and Olive Oil)
The Red Hook- I like to drink wine over the holidays. And cocktails. Lots of cocktails. In fact, I think Betsy and I are going to throw a little holiday cocktail party later in the year which should be fun. I think this guy will be on the menu. (@ Sippity Sup)
This Week’s Meal Plan
This week’s meal plan is designed for beginners. The meals are all simple, but they aren’t light in the flavor department. I could eat the meals in this plan every week (especially the sloppy joes)! You can sign up now for Macheesmo Meals and get a free week to try out the plans (there are now over a dozen total) and see if you like them!
Hi, do you have a vampire problem? If so, I have the recipe for you! Not only will it safeguard your house and surrounding area from garlic-hating demons, it will also happily feed you.
For the poll last week you all voted for something with a lot of garlic in it and I can think of nothing that has more garlic in it than, well, garlic.
If you’re unfamiliar with the technique of confit cooking, it is used a lot for meats like duck to slowly cook them and also preserve them for later. Essential it involves cooking them in fat, but not frying them necessarily. Theoretically, you could do this with almost anything but some foods take on the technique better than others. Garlic is one of the things that it works perfectly on.
I’ve had this on my list to try forever and finally got around to it over the weekend.
As Betsy said when she tried a piece of bread slathered with the end result: “Sometimes you know what you’re doing.”