Monthly Archives: November 2013

Grilled Turkey Ham and Pimento Cheese Sandwich

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When I was in Nashville earlier this year, I immediately fell in love with the city, music and food. I stayed at the legendary Hermitage Hotel. The famous Oak Bar in the hotel is known for it’s pimento grilled cheese sandwich. We would spend the day exploring all the different parts of the city and then come back to home base the Hermitage and relax in at the Oak Bar. So now that I’m back home, I needed to recreate my own sandwich inspired by this Nashville favorite and to remind me of my great vacation.  What better time than Thanksgiving weekend to relive my good times with a little food memory. The result is this yummy sandwich all gooey with melted pimento cheese and filled with roast turkey and ham. This is hard to resist.
From by the bay wishing you gooey pimento cheese food memories!
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Grilled Turkey Ham and Pimento Cheese Sandwich
1 sandwich

2 slices brioche bread

1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons pimento cheese (recipe follows)
2 slices turkey
2 slices smoked ham

Heat panini press or skillet. Butter two slices of bread. Buttered sides are the outside of the sandwich. On one side of bread – not buttered spread the cranberry mayonnaise, add the turkey , then pear, proscuitto. Last spread the brie across the top of the proscuitto. Top with the other slice of bread , press down and then toast until cheese is melted and bread browned. Serve immediately.

Pimento Cheese
Adapted from the recipe by Sarah O’Kelley of the Glass Onion of Charleston South Carolina

2 cups sharp orange cheddar, grated (8 oz.)
½ cup mayonnaise
½ cup pimiento peppers, drained and chopped (7-oz. jar)
¼ cup green onion, finely chopped (use both the green and the white parts)
1 tsp. black pepper
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. worcestershire sauce
¼ tsp. cayenne
Dash of Tabasco

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl, and stir with a rubber spatula. Serve immediately with crackers, or cover, refrigerate, and let flavors marinate.

Pomegranate and Cranberry Sauce

I love making cranberry sauce…..for so many reasons, starting with it’s one of the easiest things to make. It’s also easy to get creative with cranberry sauce……..I change the way I make it all the time, depending on what I’m serving and which flavors might compliment my meal, so when I make my spiced pomegranate molasses glazed turkey this is the cranberry sauce i serve with it. I also think that I like making cranberry sauce because when I have my list of things to make for the big Thanksgiving meal, in under 15 minutes I can usually check that the cranberry sauce is done! Big win, little time…….next!!

From by the bay, wishing you very cranberry red food memories!





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Pomegranate and Cranberry Sauce

½ cup pomegranate juice

1 cup fine sugar

1 12oz, package whole fresh cranberries

1 cup pomegranate seeds

¼ cup orange juice

Zest of one orange


Combine juices and sugar in a medium sauce pan. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar. Add cranberries and orange zest. Return to a boil, reduce heat and simmer approximately 10 minutes until the cranberries start to burst. Remove from heat. Stir in the pomegranate seeds. Cool completely and then chill in refrigerator. Cranberry sauce will thicken. Serve chilled.

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Sausage, Brioche and Leek Dressing

I became charged with the Thanksgiving meal in my family many years ago when my niece was just a tiny little thing. Over the years, i have loved how much she appreciated the traditions of the holiday and meal. As happens with traditions – you never want to disappoint – so tweaking and changing a recipe everyone tells you not to touch always has some risk associated with it. My stuffing recipe is one such recipe so I was thrilled when I changed it up last Thanksgiving and the family loved the new stuffing! TThe key for my family is ensuring that I use lots of delicious sausage meat.  In addition to the sausage meat, this recipe calls for brioche bread, leeks, parmesan cheese and herbs. I definitely loved this stuffing, it’s hard to resist eating before it even goes into the oven. I have to stop myself from taking spoonfuls of the stuffing the night before the big feast. This year I might make a little extra so I can sneak a few bits of stuffing along the way to the holiday table!

From by the bay, wishing you savory stuffing food memories!





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Sausage, Brioche and Leek Dressing

Serves 12

16 cups brioche bread, cut into ½ inch cubes with crust

2 ½ pounds Italian sausage meat

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 bunch leeks, sliced in rings

1 tablespoon fresh thyme, minced

1 tablespoon fresh sage, chopped

1 cup grated parmesan cheese

1 teaspoon rubbed sage

½ teaspoon fine sea salt

4 to 5 cups low sodium chicken stock

½ cup parsley, chopped

1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper


Preheat oven to 400 degree F. Place bread cubes in a single layer on two rimmed large baking sheets. Bake until toasted about 10-12 minutes. Set aside to cool. In a large skillet cook sausage meat, crumbling the meat with a fork until fully cooked, about 10 minutes. Remove meat with a slotted spoon and place into a large mixing bowl. Add butter to the same skillet, melt butter and then add leeks, thyme and sage. Saute together until softened about 10 minutes, separating the leek rings. Remove from heat and add to the bowl with the cooked sausage meat. Add the toasted bread cube, cheese, rubbed sage and parsley to the bowl. Add 4 cups of chicken stock. Mix the ingredients together and season with salt and pepper. If dressing is not moist add the additional cup of stock. Mix well. The dressing can be made up to this point one day in advance and refrigerate until ready to bake. To bake the dressing, remove from the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature. Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 30 minutes, until dressing is heated through the top is golden brown. Remove from oven and serve warm.

Merlot Turkey Gravy

Here is the prefect gravy recipe. It’s base is an enhanced chicken stock, which has the flavor punched up with merlot wine and turkey pan drippings. The result is so delicious that you will have a hard time not putting this on top of everything on your Thanksgiving plate. Remember gravy is imperative to a successful Thanksgiving meal! Hot gravy can make up for any missteps in timing with your meal, where a dish might have gotten cold.

From by the bay, wishing you hot gravy food memories!



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Merlot Turkey Gravy

Gravy Base

6 cups chicken stock, if store bought preferably organic low sodium

Giblets and neck from turkey

1 sprig rosemary

1 spring thyme

1 onion, peeled and quartered

1 celery stick, chopped

1 teaspoon black peppercorns


1 1/3 cup merlot

6 tablespoons flour

6 cups gravy base

4 tablespoons butter

2 bay leaves

2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses

1 tablespoons fine grey sea salt

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

Directions for gravy base

Combine into a soup pot chicken stock, rosemary, thyme, onion, celery, peppercorns, giblets and neck from turkey. Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer for 1 hour. Cool and strain broth and keep refrigerated until ready to make gravy. This can be done one day in advance.

Directions for gravy

Place seasoned broth into a saucepan. Bring to a simmer. Melt butter in a bowl and then add flour. Whisk until it is a smooth paste. Take one cup of hot broth and whisk into flour mixture until smooth. Pour this back into the broth and whisk to blend. Add bay leaves, molasses, salt and pepper and whisk again. You can have this prepared as the turkey is roasting. Once the turkey is done and removed from the roasting pan pour pan juices into a measuring cup. Spoon off fat and discard. Add remaining juices into broth in the saucepan. Place roasting pan back on heat and deglaze with the merlot. Scrap pan to get all brown bits, let reduce to half, about 2 minutes. Add to the gravy. Whisk together and let simmer until reduced to a sauce consistency. Remove bay leaves, mix adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Serve with turkey.


Spiced Pomegranate Molasses Glazed Turkey


The leaves are falling, their is a definite chill in the air and it will soon be time to gather loved ones around the table to celebrate Thanksgiving and kick off the holiday season for 2013. I can’t think of a better centerpiece for your Thanksgiving than this spiced pomegranate molasses glazed turkey. One of the most important aspects of making this recipe is in the shopping for the turkey. I suggest first and foremost that it’s fresh and second if possible organic. Preparing a fresh turkey makes a big difference in the end result and I find it’s definitely worth both the cost and the effort. The brining process works best with a turkey that has no additives since the additives often include salt solutions. I have found the a fresh turkey such as Bell and Evans works deliciously. I’ll be posting additional recipes all month so that you have a perfect Thanksgiving meal to share with friends and family when the big day arrives!


From by the bay wishing you pomegranate glazed food memories!




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Spiced Pomegranate Molasses Glazed Turkey

1 16-18 lb. turkey, preferably organic


16 cups cold water, or more to cover turkey

1 cup fine sea salt

1 cup light brown sugar

4 cloves garlic

3 oranges

2 tablespoon black peppercorns

2 onions , peeled and quartered

3 sprigs rosemary

To roast turkey

2 oranges, cut in half

1 pomegranate cut in half

1 bunch rosemary

2 tablespoons fine grey sea salt

1 tablespoon ground black pepper

To baste

8 tablespoon unsalted butter at room temperature

¼ cup pomegranate molasses

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard


Prepare brine by combining water, sea salt, sugar and peppercorns. Stir to dissolve the salt and sugar. Then add to the brine the garlic, oranges, onions and rosemary. Clean turkey with cold water removing any giblets and or neck. Keep giblets and neck in the refrigerator to use later for gravy base.  Place turkey and brine into a resealable plastic bag or into a large non reactive bowl covered with plastic wrap. The turkey should be covered with the brine, if not add more water. Refrigerate over night.  The next day remove the turkey 40 minutes before planning to place into the oven. Preheat oven to 425F. Remove turkey from brine and pat dry with paper towels inside and out.  Season the turkey cavity with salt and pepper.  Fill the cavity of the turkey with the oranges, pomegranate and rosemary. Tie turkey legs together and place into roasting pan. In a small sauce pan melt butter, mustard and pomegranate molasses together on a low heat. Use this to baste turkey once before placing into the oven. Roast the turkey at 425F for 30 minutes then lower the oven to 350F.   For an 18lb turkey cooking time will be approximately 3 hours. Use a meat thermometer to check that the meat registers 175F at its thickest part of the thigh. Baste the turkey about every 30 minutes with the butter and syrup mixture. If the turkey browns too quickly tent that part with aluminum foil. When ready remove from the oven. Take turkey from the roasting pan and place on a cutting board to rest before carving, at least 20 minutes. If you are serving later then 20 minutes from removing from oven tent turkey with aluminum foil until ready to serve.


Mushroom Stroganoff

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It’s my birthday week. In my family we grew up with lots of little traditions, many of which add a little enchantment to the ordinary. My mother prides herself on making birthdays really special and one of my favorites ways in which she did this was with a special birthday dinner. She would tell us, we could  have anything we wanted to eat for our birthday and then Mom would make it for the family celebration. For years I requested the same dish – beef stroganoff! I have no idea how I even came up with this as my birthday request year after year, but my memories are filled with wonderful birthday celebrations eating spoons of beef stroganoff. My taste have evolved quite a bit since then , but I still love the flavors from that dish and all the memories along with it. Today, I make the dish much lighter than the one mom made years ago – using mushrooms and creme fraiche. I’ve bumped up the flavors with Madeira, paprika and red chili flakes. The result if delicious. So this week, in celebration of my birthday, I’ll be enjoying some of my mushroom stroganoff…….hmm I can’t wait!
From by the bay, wishing you loving food memories!
Mushroom Stroganoff
Serves 4
1 pound assorted mushrooms cleaned and sliced ( such as cremini, button and shiitake)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 small white onion, chopped
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
3 tablespoons Madeira or dry sherry
8 ounces creme fraiche
1/4 cup chopped parsley
Heat olive oil in a large saute pan. Add the onions and garlic and saute for a minute or two until the onions starts to soften.  Add the butter to the onion mixture and melt. Add the mushrooms to the pan and cover with a lid. Cook the mushrooms for about 15 minutes, stirring occassionally. Take the lid off and add the paprika, salt, red chili flakes, Madeira and cream fraiche. Stir the mixture and heat for about 5 minutes. Add the parsley and stir. Serve immediately over egg noodles or rice.
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