It was a fly by weekend here, and the proof of that is that it is Monday already!
Saturday morning, we scored a flat of strawberries which made for lots of berry cleaning, macerating, cooking and finally roasting to make some jam! Pro-tip – you do not need perfect berries for jam, go for the seconds! The price is much more attractive and these berries are well, the berries for jam!
This made for some excellent listening time and I made some good progress on my “biography of a royal” bingo square. I am listening to Marie Antoinette by Antonia Fraser and I am finding it fascinating. What I know about Marie Antoinette can be summed up with cake and guillotine’s – but there is so much more to her than that!
During the “macerating” of the berries, I also managed to sit under the pergola and read a bit of The Likeness. I like how Tana French writes and I hope to have this book done today, which is a good thing because I have another book bingo read waiting in the wings. There was a waiting list for some items and I managed to somehow move up on the list! Go figure, right? I might need to dust off my junior high “speed reading” class skills.
I have a couple of links for your Monday – first up a huge thanks to Mary for reminding me that today kicks off Negroni Week! One of the best drinks of the summer, imo! I even made some “pre-Negroni Week” Negroni’s…which were so delicious!
Up next is something that I think will warm your heart. I love the Come Together Blanket! I think this is the perfect idea and will be participating! Thank you, Kat Coyle for continuing to inspire us in positive ways!
There you go, Gentle Readers – a beverage to sip while you plan your “Welcome to the United States” blanket. It just proves that love trumps hate. Every.single.time!
Have a fantastic Monday!
P.S. If you, like me, do not have any bulky yarn in your stash… there are some options here, here, here, here, here, and here.
So, today – I am going to challenge you all to spend some time today thinking about what or who you are thankful for.
It can be things – we are indeed a rich country with an abundance of things! Things like running water, heat, transportation, a multitude of shopping choices, with a multitude of items to choose from. Or things like a table full of food today – perhaps celebrating with friends and family.
But, what about being thankful for the intangible things. Things like kindness, good will, open-minds, open-hearts, love, and peace.
I will share my thankful list, but I will be thinking about this numerous times today – and as I learned with Michelle – in the course of a day, the things you think about can change dramatically. Powerfully. Exponentially. But, here is my start:
Food that is so abundant and has been prepared with love
Steve – who will share this quiet day with me
Family – who while they might be far away, they are always close in my heart
Quiet morning meditations that help me center my day and myself
Pandora’s timely email yesterday with a list of Thanksgiving stations which will keep me from driving Steve crazy with Christmas music (rather now I can do that with Thanksgiving music instead!)
Today, whether you are with family and friends or are celebrating alone – I will be thinking about all of you, with deep thanks in my heart for our paths crossing – even if it is only here on the internet.
If you would like to join us on Think Write Thursdays, Carole and I would love to have you! You can sign up here.
Happy Thanksgiving, dear friends. May your day be overflowing with thankfulness.
This weeks Thing Write Thursday has us all thinking about our favorite Thanksgiving recipe.
Now, for me the Thanksgiving meal at my Nana’s house was the Christmas meal as well as the Easter meal. I loved it as a child, that continuity and comfort of those deliciously familiar foods lovingly made from scratch by my Nana. The one exception were the pies (yes plural – pumpkin, apple, and lemon meringue) that my Aunt Arlene made…she is quite simply the best pie maker I have ever known.
From the ham and turkey (yes, both!) to the insanely good mashed potatoes, to the stuffing, to the gravy – it was a feast fit for kings! And it was always at my Nana’s house – where there were two eating areas. The eat-in kitchen where the grand-kids and the aunts all sat and the living room where the uncles all watched football on TV. (Please note, my Nana never sat down to eat, until her daughters would make her! It became a great game – a battle of wills, as it were. However, my Nana explained to me that tasting all day did not leave much room for eating!)
There was much laughter, so much good cheer, and so much love. They are the fondest memories I have of my childhood.
And then you grow up, get married and holidays become more of a challenge. You have new families to be part of with new family traditions. It can feel not very holiday-like when you are missing all those familiar things.
There is one dish my Nana made that I carried with me – sweet potato casserole. The taste of those oven roasted sweet potatoes mashed with lots of butter, some brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg – baked until bubbly perfection and then topped with a billion marshmallows to brown quickly under the broiler. It was the most incredibly concoction ever and just filled me with my Nana’s love and care.
As a child, I loved the sweetness all by itself – it was the epitome of the perfect child’s dish, and as I grew into adulthood; I appreciated the sweet – savory combination of stuffing and sweet potatoes or sweet potatoes and gravy. However, anyway you have it is is simply delicious!
This dish is the one dish that ties me to my childhood and the memories I have of this dish are perhaps some of the oldest memories I have.
Not the best photo, but oddly the only one I could find!
Nana’s Sweet Potato Casserole:
6-7 large sweet potatoes – washed and scrubbed
2-3 sticks of unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup to 1 cup brown sugar
1 ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. nutmeg (I use freshly grated)
1 tsp. kosher salt
½ to ¾ cup whipping cream
1 bag of miniature marshmallows (or 1 bag of large marshmallows – your choice)
Pre-heat the oven to 375°F.
Place the sweet potatoes on a foil lined baking sheet and put in the oven. Bake until soft – about an hour to an hour and a half depending on the size of your potatoes. You want them very soft. Remove from the oven and allow to cool before removing the skins.
Place skinned potatoes in a mixing bowl and begin adding butter. Mix on a medium-low speed, incorporating more butter. The goal here is a very buttery mixture – you might need 2 sticks – you might need 2 and a half sticks – you might need all three sticks, it really depends on the size of your potatoes.
Add in the brown sugar and spices and mix well.
Add in the egg and mix well until it is all incorporated into the potatoes.
Add in the cream in ¼ cup intervals – again, the larger your potatoes, the more cream you will need. I generally add a half a cup, but if all my potatoes were giant – I would add more cream in. Mix well to combine.
Spoon mixture into a baking dish. (Now is the best part – you can make this the day before. Just cover it and put it in the refrigerator. Be sure to bring it to room temperature before you bake it in the oven, otherwise the cooking time will be much longer)
Bake in the oven until the mixture is bubbly – and you can bake it at whatever temperature you are baking everything else at on Thanksgiving.
When it is done, remove from oven – cover top with marshmallows – and I mean cover. Really, be generous! More is always better!
Place under the broiler to toast them. Please note, you can do this while your turkey is resting and you are making gravy. You just want them under the broiler long enough to brown and melt into the top!
My family and I hope that this recipe brings you as much joy as it has for us over the years.
One recipe that really grabbed my attention when I read Ruth’s book this past summer, was a recipe for an apple cider braised pork roast.
Ruth calls for a big bone in pork shoulder roast – and a recipe that feeds 6-8 people.
Now, for a household of two this might not be the best choice, however a pork tenderloin would be just about right!
Now to adjust the recipe to work for such a small cut of meat.
Serves: 2 with leftovers!
1 pork tenderloin
1 onion, halved and then sliced in slivers
2 to 3 cloves of garlic, sliced into slivers to insert into the pork
Salt and Pepper
1/2 cup Hard Cider (I used Angry Orchard)
1-ounce Crown Royal Maple Whisky™
1 Tbsp. olive oil
This is finished in the oven after browning the meat on the stove top, so I used my Staub™ all purpose pan.
Preheat the oven to 375° F.
Cut several slits in the pork loin and insert the garlic slivers. Salt and pepper the meat on all sides
Place the pan on the stove over medium high heat. When the pan is hot, add the olive oil and the pork loin. Brown the meat on all sides and remove from the pan. Add the onion to the pan and sauté to soften a few minutes. Add the cider and the whisky stirring to loosen the fond from the bottom of the pan. Add back the pork loins, cover and place in the oven.
Cook approximately 35-40 minutes, or until the pork has reached an internal temperature of 145° F.
(Cook’s note, in the last 15 minutes of cooking I added about a cup of halved Brussels Sprouts.)
I served this with a nice big dollop of oven roasted applesauce and it was fantastic! The meal and the applesauce! I had about 8 lbs of apples. I used minimal sugar and butter (1 1/2 tsp and 2 tbsp butter) and it turned out fantastically! I finished it with 2 tsp of apple cider vinegar.
Leaves turning. Early fall farmers’ market. I’ll buy apples, pork, kale, squash, and spend the weekend dancing in the kitchen. Cant’ wait. ~ My Kitchen Year, Ruth Reichl
Last summer I was fortunate to have read Ruth Reichl’s book, My Kitchen Year: 136 Recipes That Saved My Life. To say I loved it is an extreme understatement. And, inspired by Ruth – Tuesdays here at Casa del KatKnits are going to have a new focus.
Each week I will share with you a recipe from her book, or a recipe inspired by her book. Because that was what really came through for me in My Kitchen Year – being inspired.
To kick it off this week is the perfect Ruth Reichl inspired fall supper:
Pumpkin Ravioli with Turkey Mascarpone Sauce
Now, if you want easy – this is it. I get my pumpkin raviolis from a small local market and they are so good and are only available in the fall. However, if you are inspired to make your own – please, by all means do!
Turkey Mascarpone Sauce:
24 – 36 pumpkin ravioli (I used 6 raviolis per serving)
1.5 pounds ground turkey (I used 93-7 Turkey)
1.5 tsp Kosher salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (or to taste)
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 – 8-ounce container of mascarpone
1/4 cup half and half
1 to 1.5 Tbsp. fresh sage leaves, minced (reserve 1 or two leaves for topping the pasta)
Grated parmesan cheese
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil to prepare the ravioli.
Brown the ground turkey, seasoning it with the salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. When the turkey is almost browned, add in the fresh sage and cook for a minute, until it begins to soften a bit. Once the turkey has browned add in the mascarpone, stirring to combine. Add in the half and half and the grated nutmeg – stir to combine and simmer over low heat a few minutes to allow the flavors to come together.
While the turkey sauce simmers, cook the ravioli – following the manufacturer’s instructions.
Drain the ravioli well before dishing up and topping with the sauce.
Sprinkle the pasta with the reserved minced sage leaves and some grated parmesan cheese.
This is really such a super easy dinner to make. It is done in less than 30 minutes! I hope you enjoy! I would love to know if you try this!