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The Hungry Nomad: 12/01/2012 - 01/01/2013

December 25, 2012

Thanksgiving and Christmas Dinner Recipes

Ah Autumn. My favorite season. I love watching the descending leaves turn and twist in the air before falling to the ground. I love watching the leaves change color from a bright green to hues of yellows, oranges and reds. The air is fresh and crisp, the sun is shining making the colors glow in a magical way that only nature can do. Pumpkin based recipes fill menus all over the country from pumpkin pie to pumpkin spiced latte. Walking on dry leaves is one of my all time favorite fall time activities. I love listening to the leaves under my feet. Throwing myself into a pile of dried leaves...ready to be taken away and burned. Love the smell of burnt leaves and chimney fires. Most of all, I love thanksgiving and all that it symbolizes. Love gathering around with friends and family and feasting away. So here I am sharing just a few of my favorite thanksgiving recipes including: Turkey,Oven Baked Yam, Mushroom Gravy, Brussels Sprouts and Cranberry Sauce.


Turkey: 
Prep time- 10 minutes Cook time- 4 hours


Ingredients: 
1 Turkey, approximately 15 lbs*
1 Lemon (juice)
Salt and Pepper
Melted Butter 
1/2 yellow onion, peeled and chopped
Sprigs of fresh rosemary
* If you need help deciding how big your turkey you should get here is the general rule: 
12-15 lbs turkey for 10-12 people
15-18 lbs turkey for 14-16 people
18-22 lbs for 20-22 people

Directions: 

1. If frozen turkey allow it enough time to thaw and bring to room temperature before cooking (I generally defrost overnight). Allow approximately 5-6 hours of defrosting for every pound. Do not remove plastic wrapping until you are ready to cook. 

2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. 

3. Once you remove the plastic wrapping, remove the neck and giblets usually tucked inside the cavity. I use the giblets to make stock for the stuffing and giblet gravy. If the legs are tied check to see if you need to remove prior to cooking. If you remove then you will need to tie the legs together using string. 

4. Wash out the turkey and pat it dry. Spray the inside of the cavity with lemon juice and sprinkle the inside with a handful of salt. 

5. Optional step: Place stuffing inside the cavity (stuffing recipe below). Another option is to fill the inside with chopped onions, celery, carrots and parsley. Cap the outside with foil so that the filling does not spill out. Close up the cavity with a metal skewer and make sure once again that the turkey legs are tied together. 

6. Rub the skin with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. 

7. Place turkey breast up on the bottom rack in heavy bottom metal/foil roasting pan. Add fresh sprigs of rosemary to the outside of the turkey. 

8. Place turkey in the oven. It is recommended that you cook 15 minutes for every pound. However, you will want to check the instructions that comes with your turkey. You will start cooking at 400 F for the first 30 minutes. Then reduce the heat to 350 F for the next 2 hours. Add two cups of water. Reducing to 225 F for the next hour until ready. Meanwhile every 15-20 minutes you will have to remove the juices from the roasting pan using a turkey baster. This is KEY to make the turkey juicy and tender and also one of the most arduous tasks. Remove the juices with the baster and spray all over the turkey. 

9. Using a meat thermometer, insert deep into the thickest part of the turkey breast- the turkey will be ready with the temperature reaches 160F for the breast and 170F for the thigh.

10. Once the turkey is removed, allow it to rest for 15-20 minutes prior to serving. 



Oven Baked Yam: 
Prep time 5 minutes Cook time- 30 minutes


Ingredients: 

2 Large Yams
1 tablespoon rosemary (crushed)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon salt/pepper

Instructions: 

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 
2. Wash yam thoroughly
3. Chop into round pieces about 3 inches
4. Mix the olive oil, rosemary and salt and pepper
5. Toss the yam in the oil mix. 
6. Place individual pieces of yam on a roasting pan. 
7. Place in oven and cook for 15 minutes on one side and turn over for 15 minutes on to the other side. 



My classic mushroom gravy: 
Prep and cook time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

1-2 cups of Turkey drippings
1 cup mushrooms
1/4 cup of corn starch
1 teaspoon salt/pepper

Instructions: 

1. Wash and chop mushrooms diagonally
2. Heat one tablespoon of olive oil and cook mushrooms for 10 minutes
3. Separately, scrape the drippings off the bottom of the roasting pan and add along with the turkey juice into a small skillet. Ladle off excess fat with a spoon
4. In a separate bowl take a quarter cup of corn starch, add water to dissolve the corn starch. Beat cornstarch with a spoon to remove lumps. Add the corn starch slowly to the turkey mixture
5. Add mushrooms to the turkey mixture
6. Allow the cornstarch to thicken the gravy
7. Add any additional spices to taste

Cranberry Sauce: 
Cook time: 10 minutes

Cranberry sauce is not one of the easiest thanksgiving recipes but one of the most delicious. I hope after reading this you never ever turn to canned cranberry sauce again (although sometime the canned sauce tastes oh so good).

Ingredients: 

1 bag of fresh cranberries
1/2 cup of orange juice
2/3 cup of brown sugar

Instructions: 

1. Wash the cranberries. Place all the ingredients in a saucepan and cook on medium heat for 10-15 minutes. You will hear a popping sound. Don't worry that is the cranberries exploding. Stir the mixture every few minutes. 
2. You are done. Bring to room temperature and serve. 


Oven Roasted Brussels Sprouts:
Prep time- 5 minutes Cook time- 30 minutes

Ingredients:

1 lbs Brussels sprouts, trimmed (option to cut in half lengthwise)
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 garlic cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 black pepper
1/2 garlic powder

Instructions: 

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F
2. Chop garlic 
3. Mix all the olive oil, garlic and spices
4. Toss Brussels sprouts with all the ingredients
5. Place on a baking sheet and roast, stirring once or twice until the the Brussels sprouts turn a deep golden brown, crisp on the outside. 
6. Transfer to a bowl and serve. 


Finally, after cooking all day I am ready to eat. Happy Thanksgiving to all my wonderful readers and followers. Please feel free to share your recipes and let me know if I have left anything out. 

XO, 

The Hungry Nomad

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December 11, 2012

Crepes at Pates et Traditions- Williamsburg (Brooklyn, USA)

Are you dreaming of eating in the French countryside but you can't afford to take a plane across the Atlantic? You may be in luck...if you so happen to be anywhere close to Williamsburg. This is where Pates et Traditions is located.  A small, quaint and kitsch French restaurant serving delicious savory and sweet crepes and other french comfort foods.  


The restaurant is very small and cozy. If you don't want to be getting up close and personal with your neighbors then this restaurant is not for you. Me? I don't mind overhearing other people's conversations once in a while. Especially in the morning when I'm barely awake enough to communicate with the Count. Our friendly server came over and shared all his favorites on the menu. Shortly thereafter, I was served with my badly needed latte. Creamy milk froth and strong coffee greeted my mouth. A few minutes later, I was a little bit more alert and started taking in the very cute decor surrounding me. 


The walls are lined with postcards, paintings and kitchen utensils. The seats covered with colorful pillows.


There are two menus: sweet and savory (see menu). The savory was brought out first from which the Count ordered the croque chevre and I ordered the orientale crepe with the addition of chevre (because everything tastes better with goat cheese).  




The orientale crepe was presented open face and consisted of spicy merguez sausage, peppers, sausage, tomatoes, eggs, Swiss cheese and my addition of goat cheese. The crepe itself was prepared with organic buckwheat flour and was cooked to perfection. All served with a side of green salad. I thoroughly enjoyed every bite of this and although the portion was large enough to feed us both on that particular morning, I ate ever single bite and still had room for more. 





The Croque chevre on the other hand was a bit of a disappointment. The Count ordered it because he loves anything that uses goat cheese as a main ingredient. Although the menu stated that the dish was served with tomato sauce we did not expect it to be poured on top of the sandwich. The bread was that cheap white airy toast which when topped with the tomato sauce became a soggy mix that really was not the best combination. 






For dessert we shared the chocolate and almond crepe. The crepe was served with a gooey dark chocolate mix in the middle topped with more dark chocolate, almonds, sugar powder and a side of whipped creme. So good, so rich, so filling. And me: so happy! 




Pates Et Traditions on Urbanspoon

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December 9, 2012

Weekend Dim Sum at Ocean City- Chinatown (Philadelphia, USA)

It is a beautiful foggy and rainy Sunday in Philadelphia. You know what that means? It is time for dim sum (for some). Many, including myself, prefer this Chinese tradition to the typical eggs and bacon brunch, mostly for the variety of dishes offered in one sitting. In Philadelphia, the best dim sum is of course located in Chinatown and includes restaurants such as Dim Sum Garden, Joy Tsin Lau and Ocean City Restaurant. 


We followed the crowds to Ocean City where a crowd of people waited at the front for their turn to be seated. Luckily, the wait was not that long since we showed up after the 1pm lunch rush. 


The food is served in steam table trolleys usually stacked high with bamboo or metal steamer baskets. Waiters push them around the restaurant from table to table, and you get to point to the dish that you want and order. Each table gets a card that is stamped. Each order typically costs only a few dollars adding up.  Once seated, our eyes went directly to the many food trolleys circling the room. We selected the Har Gow (steamed shrimp dumplings), Shumai (pork), Siu Mai (open pork dumpling), a delicious shrimp and cilantro dumpling. 


The Siu mai is a open-topped steamed pork and/or shrimp dumpling made with a wheat flour wrapping and is often topped with fish roe or grated carrot. This is always a favorite and is always one of our orders. 


The zhaliang (friend, noodle-wrapped cullers) is a steamed rice noodle wrapped around crispy fried cullers topped with soy and hoisin sauce. The combination of the crispy and soft texture is a perfect contrast and tastes really good. 


The Har Gau or steamed shrimp dumplings is always a favorite. It is a translucent  dumpling made with wheat starch skin and tapioca to give it that stretchy texture. It is typically filled with shrimp only but sometimes if you get lucky scallions and bamboo shoots are used. The Har Gau is hard to find as it is typically everyone's favorite. We waited around the longest for a basket of these. 


Overall, our dim sum experience at Ocean City was pretty good. Despite the crowds of people, the service was pretty good for dim sum standards. We ended up eating way too much and only paid $30 for a table of two. Where else can you find such a grand feast for so little? 


Ocean City on Urbanspoon

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December 6, 2012

Cupcakes-Galore at Magnolia Bakery- West Village (New York City, USA)

Bleeker street...one of the many places that make New York so charming, so unforgettable and so dear to me. Not only are there beloved Marc Jacobs shops sprinkled throughout the street but it is also a foodie haven beginning with Magnolia Bakery. Eating cupcakes while strolling through Marc Jacobs shops and bookstores? A perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon in my books. 


It was my first time visiting Magnolia Bakery, somehow I happened to miss the reference on Sex and the City during my college years (apparently that's what made them so famous?). So, having missed that boat I was not aware that there is usually a line up around the corner. On this particular Sunday the line up only extended to the door. I was okay with the short yet chaotic wait. So the Count and I lined up and took in all the sweet, sugary vanilla aromas permeating the air. 


There were all sorts of people in the line up. The young family with kids swooning over the big three layered cakes, the Asian female tourists with their designer bags picking out their cupcakes, the old man ordering his usual and us, the first timers who were overwhelmed with the choices. Oh the possibilities. 


Okay, so here I go: I don't like cupcakes! Gasp. Yes I said it. There are many other sweets that I would prefer to a cupcake. So is it so horrible that neither of us actually ordered cupcakes? 


I ordered a snickerdoodle tart from the glass display above. And the Count ordered the flour less chocolate cake. 



After we yelled out our order, we waited to pay. The line up was a bit confusing as people were going straight to the cash counter and others were skipping the line. But somehow there was some sort of unspoken order amongst the chaos. 


While waiting I was seduced by the variety of sweets that were calling my name including the three layered cakes in a variety of flavors. "Eat me Hungry Nomad, you know you're hungry" they all said.










After receiving our coffee I got a chance to get up close and personal with the famous cupcakes...only for a short photo shoot. I definitely have to go back and try the cupcakes for I can't really attest to their claim to fame without having tried it. Wonder what flavor I should try next time? 




Magnolia Bakery on Urbanspoon

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