Sunday, November 22, 2009

happy thanksgiving...have you finalized your menu? and a recipe for roasted brussels sprouts

happy thanksgiving week everyone! it is sunday and twitter, facebook and other social networking sites are flooded with people talking about what they are going to make for thanksgiving dinner....many have noted that they still are not sure what to cook....uh oh....hate to bring it up, but we only have three days left to plan, shop and i thought i would offer a little bit of help

last year, i did a thanksgiving blog round-up and invited some of my favorite bloggers, a few good friends...and my family to submit posts about their favorite t-day memories. i also asked if they would share their favorite traditional recipes. i loved the series so much...and reread a number of the stories last week. it occurred to me that newer readers might appreciate these delicious dishes...and get some ideas to complete their own menus...

click on this link for thanksgiving 2008 to view the entire sarah's french apple pie, theresa's gingerbread cake, colleen's green beans, or my smashed garlic potatoes. wondering what to do with left-over turkey? try diane and todd's delicious turkey egg rolls with bacon...and if you pop over into december persimmon muffins are profiled. i actually started sharing the stories last click here to find recipes for cranberries (2 options one from jean and one from dianne)...and a couple of vegetarian pasta options to round out your dinner....

so...while no recipes for turkey so have potatoes, vegetables, pasta, cranberries, dessert...and day after left-overs covered....all the dishes are there you go...a bit of a stress free planning blog for t-day 2009...enjoy!

i thought i would add one more recipe to the mix....a different version of brussels sprouts. while recipes for this vegetable abound at this time of year...many, many people i know turn up their noses and say...."oh no..i do not like brussels sprouts!" know what? sliced and roasted at high heat in e.v.o.o. & garlic with a splash of balsamic creates a totally different texture and taste....and no one i know has ever taken a bite and responded with anything but..."these are delicious" always, the ingredients really do make the difference so...if you can...choose local, organic or sustainably grown produce, excellent quality extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar...and good grey salt and black pepper....
we had a bit of fun with our raw brussels sprout photograph...just to make the point that....when roasted...they are as sweet as candy. do you like them in the candy dish?

for me, thanksgiving this year is a family reunion....about 50 of us....i am making the brussels sprouts. i know they will be a hit...and i love knowing they will become a new tradition for our annual t-day menu...

roasted brussels sprouts with garlic
1 lb brussels sprouts
6 cloves peeled garlic
extra virgin olive oil
grey salt
freshly cracked black pepper
excellent quality balsamic vinegar

preheat oven to 400 degrees. wash brussels sprouts and remove tough outer leaves. remove stems and cut sprouts lengthwise into thin slices (about 1/4 inch thick). slice garlic cloves lengthwise as thinly as you can. spread brussels sprouts and garlic in bottom of foil lined, rimmed baking sheet. drizzle olive oil over vegetables...enough so everything is well coated...and sprinkle with the salt and pepper. roast in preheated oven for approx. 30 minutes....until the sprouts are very tender and well caramelized. remove from oven and place sprouts on serving plate. drizzle with the balsamic vinegar. taste and adjust seasonings if needed.

*note...this recipes serves 4 so adjust accordingly for large t-day crowds.

so...whether you are celebrating the holiday with a huge crowd...or an intimate gathering....have a very, very happy thanksgiving.


diane padoven
napa farmhouse 1885
"live a green life of style"
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Monday, November 16, 2009

how does roasted pork tenderloin with figs & balsamic reduction sound?

i know, i know...i have written many stories about figs...but, c'mon...fresh figs?? who can resist? i am always looking for new and different ways to serve the fig bounty i get twice a year from my tree. regular readers are familiar with my fig/chocolate cake, jam, appetizers, balsamic reduction, fig, bacon & blue cheese tart...etc. i look at the few remaining figs on my tree for this season...i thought i would share my family's newest fig obsession...roasted pork tenderloin with fresh figs & balsamic good does that sound?

fig & gran marnier jam
i first made this dish on an unusually chilly day in august for peter...he loved it and said.."o.k. you can make this often this fall". so, i made it again a few weeks later for some weekend house guests. major success (yes!)

fig cake

it has become an annual tradition for my mom and sister susan to visit napa in october. sometimes my dad comes too...and, since they live in southern california, they get to experience a bit of fall...crisp weather, leaves turning (did you know the leaves on the grape vines turn beautiful colors of reds, golds, oranges....truly beautiful)and harvest in the napa valley. we cook, eat, bake, drink wine, take country drives (although NOT after the aforementioned wine tasting) and talk...endless, endless talking.... sharing stories...making up stories...repeating stories we have all heard a million times....and, best of all...creating new family stories....have i told you how much i adore my family? i suspect you have guessed by now...i served the pork and fig dish one family loved turned into another story telling moment about my grandparents' fig tree....and led to one of those nights around the dining table...talking and laughing until almost midnight...

try the dish...and create family stories of your own....

the uncooked pork
roasted pork tenderloin with figs & balsamic reduction
1 2 1/2 lb pork tenderloin
12 cloves fresh garlic, peeled
grey salt
freshly cracked black pepper
1 tbsp organic lavender or rosemary, minced
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
12-18 fresh figs, sliced in half lengthwise
1/2 cup fig-balsamic reduction or regular balsamic vinegar

preheat oven to 375 degrees. using a small paring knife, cut 12 small slits into pork (about 1/4 inch each) stuff each slit with a garlic clove. sprinkle salt and pepper over the tenderloin.

heat 2 tbsp of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and add the tenderloin. turn the heat to high and brown the meat on all sides. remove skillet from heat. place the pork in the center of a roasting pan lined with foil. surround the pork with the figs. drizzle the remaining olive oil over the meat/figs..sprinkle with additional salt & pepper and either the lavender or rosemary. drizzle the balsamic reduction over the entire dish and cover roasting pan with foil. roast in preheated oven for 15 minutes. remove foil and roast for an additional 10-15 minutes until the pork reaches 160 degrees on a meat thermometer. remove from oven and let rest for 15 minutes. slice and serve pork accompanied with a few figs with some of the pan juices drizzled over dish...serve over pasta...or with soft polenta...or with roasted sweet potatoes....or whatever sounds good to you....
o.k. everyone...thanksgiving is next week!..are you ready?

napa farmhouse 1885(tm)
"live a green life of style"(tm)
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Monday, November 9, 2009

a recipe for pb&j cookies?

sometimes the same idea will occur to multiple people simultaneously. this phenomenon can be interesting or annoying depending on your point of a blogger looking for unique story ideas, i'll take the second option...but freely admit creativity flows when presented with challenges...

last year i wrote a story about my maternal grandmother and posted her recipe for peanut butter cookies...truly the best peanut butter cookies i have ever tasted. i was looking for a new and different presentation for them...i have made them a bazillion times in my life the exact same way....and imagined using the recipe to create peanut butter thumbprint cookies filled with homemade jam. eureka!! (i thought)....only to open the october edition of martha stewart living to guessed it...peanut butter and jelly thumbprint cookies...on the last page of the magazine. that martha!...she is always copying me!! :)

so....i created a different take on the same idea...after all, who doesn't like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (do we really need the bread?) and viola!...i decided to made a "real" sandwich version of these tastes. enter my pb&j cookies. 2 delicious peanut butter cookies sandwiched with jam. really delicious....

the october selection for my book club was slow food revolution by carlo petrini and gigi padovani. the meeting was held at my friend caitlin's home. i told you about caitlin last year...she moved to napa from canada a couple of years ago and started a tradition of inviting a bunch of her napa friends to celebrate canadian thanksgiving with her so she would not be homesick...she wrote about it last year in the post three thanksgivings . this has now become an annual tradition and...since the entire book club was invited...we decided to make it a "local, organic or sustainably grown meal"...with all ingredients coming from the napa valley. i decided to make my pb&j cookies as part of the dessert offering...i started using only organic, locally milled grains in my baking when i started the dog treats business...and, since i grow the fruit used in my homemade jam, i figured that was about as local as you can get....the cookies were a hit...everyone raved over them...i actually had a number of people come up to me and say..."those cookies were the best cookies i have ever eaten!" (o.k....they had consumed massive quantities of wine..but still...i'll take the compliment...)
canadian thanksgiving in napa was as magical as ever....amazing food, terrific friends, beautiful scenery....and we get to do it again (with family this time) in less than a month for american thanksgiving....truly a lot to be thankful for....

pb & j cookies
peanut butter recipe from gran's peanut butter cookies blog post
1 jar of your favorite jam...i use our napa farmhouse 1885 persimmon jam

preheat oven to 325 degrees. make the cookie dough according to blog recipe directions. roll dough into balls 1 inch in diameter. place on greased (or use silpat) baking sheets (you will need two sheets) . flatten balls with tines of a fork creating an "x" pattern. (see photos). bake for 10-12 minutes. cookies will still be very soft which is the way we like them...bake an additional few minutes if you like your cookies crunchy. place cookies on racks and allow to cool.

when ready to assemble, spread the flat side of one cookie with a thin layer of jam. top with flat side of another cookie. continue with entire batch. let cookies sit for 30 minutes to allow jam to set.

happy november everyone! looking forward to sharing a lot of cooking/baking dishes this please post your favorites in the comments section of this post....and be sure to let me know how you like the cookies...

diane padoven
napa farmhouse 1885(tm)
"live a green life of style"(tm)

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