On Thanksgiving proper, we were invited to a friend’s for lunch and then over to family’s for dinner, so, no cooking my own turkey. Instead, I offered 2 side dishes, plucked from Real Simple magazine. For some reason, I felt like I was cheating. Here I am, Zuzy, from Cooking for the Clueless, preaching to all novice cooks that they can “do it,” they can cook, “it’s easy.” Yet, here I was not even making my own turkey? Ahh, the pressure we put on ourselves! So, I decided to cook my own Thanksgiving tonight, Tuesday, the day after Cyber Monday as they call it. How did it go? Well, I won’t lie, it was stressful! Before I get into the stress, here was my menu:
The Oyster & Bacon Stuffing was a huge huge hit (I used smoked oysters) and I was happy with the rest of the menu too. But, I have to tell you that the damn turkey almost gave me a heart attack! They only had frozen turkeys when I went to the supermarket late the night before and I was stressed about defrosting it. Then, when roasting, I had a leak in the cheapie pan that I used and the oven started smoking. Next, I was worried about opening and closing the oven too many times while cooking the side dishes. Finally, after about 4 hours, it started to look like a cooked turkey. But like most new cooks, I still stressed over possibly poisoning my family and neighbor with an undercooked bird, so I dug into the drawer for my 2 fancy meat thermometers – all this while I cleaned the kitchen, vacuumed, and set the table with fancy things. Our only guest this evening, my lovely neighbor, arrived punctually and after a few minutes of watching me try to put a battery into the fancy meat thermometer, she offered some help. She set the thermometer aside and grabbed a fork. With a couple of pokes, she says, “oh, it’s done!” in her New York Italian accent. She had 79 years of cooking wisdom behind her, so I took her word for it! Thankfully, it turned out pretty good and with good wine and great conversation, I’ll call it a hit!
I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving. Happy Holidays!
Filed under clueless, cooking, cooking 101, Cooking for dummies, frustration, homemade food, kitchen, newlywed, recipes for beginners, starting to cook, Thanksgiving, tips for new cooks
Thanks again to Irving Greisman of Irving’s Premium Foods. He’s known to make the best Challah bread in the San Francisco Bay Area and it really was amazing. I was asked to co-host a challah-making class with him only to discover that he was so charming and such a great teacher that I wanted to adopt him as my grandpa. The class was hosted by the Young Adult Division (YAD) of the Jewish Community Federation in benefit of the Chicken Soupers. I braided and baked my challah dough as soon as I got home – mostly so that I wouldn’t forget what I learned. Check out my challah below.
For Irving’s Challah French Toast recipe (with a very unexpected ingredient), click here.
Freshly baked 4-braid Challah bread.
Irving’s challah is available in markets throughout the Bay Area.
I’m getting really excited for next week’s Challah-making class (Oct 21st) with the one and only Irving Greisman of Irving’sPremium Challah. Irving is known as “the” best challah-baker in San Francisco. I was asked to help host the class as Irving’s student, asking all the questions anyone would want to know. Aside from loving good challah and butter and challah french toast, I’m most excited about learning from a great teacher. I met Irving earlier in the week and he reminded me of my grandpa – very welcoming, very intelligent, great teacher.
The class will benefit the JFCS Adults with Disabilities program. For more information, see event invitation HERE.
I am so lucky to have my grandma in town for 2 weeks! She’s 85 (looks 75) and fantastic. I think I’ve mentioned before that she’s an amazing cook? That being said – she’s also partly to blame, for me being clueless in the kitchen. Instead of teaching me how to cook, she opted to “spoil me.” In her eyes, she wanted to cook for me and not have me doing work in the kitchen. Obviously, I appreciate her so much and am learning from her now in my 30’s!
So today, we’re making MEATBALLS! The perfect, protein-packed, easy to eat comfort food for any adult or a 1-year old. The meatballs are really for my son. They are so easy to make. Here’s the quick recipe:
- Take 1/2 pound of ground beef (80/20%) and 1/2 pound of ground pork. Grab a bowl and use your hands to mush the ground meat together.
- Once mixed, scramble 1 egg in a separate bowl and then mix into your meat. Again, use your clean hands to mix.
- Next, slowly add about 1/2 cup of Italian or seasoned breadcrumbs. Mix well.
- Start rolling your meatballs in the palm of your hand (about 1-inch thick). Roll them well so the meatball is packed firmly. Then sprinkle more breadcrumbs over the meatball before setting aside.
- TO COOK: Add the meatballs to a stewing pot and add enough chicken broth to cover. Add fresh garlic and a pinch of salt.
- Allow to simmer for 30 minutes over medium heat. You’re done.
Side dish: Simmered Cinnamon Sweet Potatoes. Slice your sweet potatoes into 1/2-inch thick circles, simmer in 1/2-cup of water. Add 1/4-cup brown sugar, 2 tablespoons of butter, and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon. Simmer until tender.
Fancy Serve: Place 1 meatball atop of each sweet potato slice. Add some greens for color!
Note: 1-pound of meat yields about 2 dozen average size meatballs.
Happy 1st day of FALL 2010!