Sunday, November 18, 2007


Fella goes into his favorite deli where the waiter immediately brings him a bowl of matzoh ball soup. The customer signals the waiter to come back.

"Taste the soup!" he commands.

"Why?" inquires the surprised waiter.

"Taste the soup!" comes the reply.

"Max, you've been coming in here every day for ten years. There's never been anything wrong with the soup."

"Taste the soup!"

"What's wrong, too much salt--not enough salt?"

"Taste the soup!"

"What, the matzo balls aren't fluffy enough for you?"


The waiter finally agrees, "All right all right, I'll taste the soup! Where's the spoon?"

"A-HA!" chortles Max.

Simple Turkey and Sherry with Dumplings

How many times have you been at a loss for what to do with your Thanksgiving turkey after the big day? There's no reason to let any part go to waste. Take the entire carcass that is left along with the scraps of meat and place in the largest pot that you can find. You may have to break it apart to make it fit, but it'll be well worth your effort. Once it's in the pot, add an onion (cut in half), a couple of carrots (unpeeled is fine) and a couple of celery stalks. Add a lemon cut in half and a bay leaf and as much sherry as you would like -- the more the merrier I say! Just cover the bones with cold water, place on the stove and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and let it cook for several hours. Remove the bones and spent onion, carrot and celery. Return the stock to the heat along with any of the meat from the bones and any other meat scraps.

1 gal turkey stock, described above
2 cups onion, chopped
1 cup carrots, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
1/4 cup butter, room temperature
1/4 cup flour
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
1 cup baby peas
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
1/2 cup fresh thyme
2 cups dry sherry
salt and pepper, to taste
2 cups Bisquick
1 egg
3/4 cup milk

Add onion, carrot and celery to the boiling turkey stock. Reduce stock by 1/2. In the meantime mix the butter and flour together to a cookie dough consistency. When the stock has reduced, add the butter/flour mixture, to thicken, bit by bit while stirring with a whisk to prevent lumps. When it reaches a medium thickness, reduce the heat to medium-low and add the mushrooms, peas, rosemary, thyme and sherry. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Mix the Bisquick, egg and milk until very thick and doughy. Drop the dough into the the liquid using a large tablespoon and simmer until the dumplings are firm. Call the family and enjoy!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Oh Tom Turkey, Why Dost Thou Mock Me?

Thanksgiving Day the smell of roasted turkey is in the air mingling with green bean casserole, cornbread stuffing, mashed potatoes and fresh bread -- not to mention the perfectly spiced pumpkin pie. Sitting down at the table, mouths begin to water. That beautiful, golden brown turkey is just dripping with juice. Everyone at the table digs into that regal bird and afterwards retire to the living room to crawl up on their rocks and reflect on the wonderful bounty of the cornucopia that was the Thanksgiving smörgåsbord and the engineering marvels that are elastic waistband pants. In between naps and the Detroit Lions game, people begin to drift away and head toward home. When everyone's gone and the games are done, it's safe to sneak furtively into the kitchen and enjoy the traditional evening turkey sandwich slathered with mayonnaise and a dab of cranberry sauce. Yes I said it, cranberry sauce. Just as good as remembered and just as moist as it was just hours ago. Friday we ponder the aftermath of what we did to our waistlines over another plate of these wonderful concoctions and more of that regal bird -- just as impressive as the day before. Will wonders never cease! What is the magic contained in the perfectly roasted breast of this wondrous bird?
On awakening on a brisk November Saturday, we sneak downstairs with taste buds tingling for yet another wonder packed mouthful of turkey on white with mayo. Oh Tom Turkey why dost thou mock me?! That once magical carcass, dripping with juices has finally given up the ghost -- and the juices. Why it's dry as a bone! No amount of mayo can bring back that magical taste and juicy succulence. We're forced to wait another year for the wondrous trappings of this dish that Ben Franklin once lobbied to be our national bird -- much to the dismay of the bald eagle.

So it's the weekend and you're stuck with 3 or 4 pounds of turkey that everyone's been picking over and hasn't been properly wrapped in plastic since Friday afternoon when the saran finally surrendered its stick. Turkey is a wonderful source of iron, zinc, phosphorous, potassium and B vitamins. It's low in fat and high in protein facts that make it a joy on the big day, but a definite negative by the weekend if not stored properly. Because it's so low in fat, it quickly dries out. You certainly don't want to waste it so what can you do?

First of all you want to strip the meat from the bird -- come on you know you throw some plastic on it and toss it in the fridge before lapsing into a tryptophan induced coma. * See Below
So you've stripped the meat from the bone, now what? Take those bones and put them in the biggest pot you've got with an onion, a couple of carrots and a couple celery stalks. Add some white wine, a lemon and a bay leaf and cover with cold water. Place it on the stove and simmer for several hours. Remove the bones and place back on the stove adding some of the reserved meat and let it reduce by half. Toss in some noodles or add some cream. Make some simple turkey and dumplings with some cut up raw biscuits or thicken and pour over fresh baked biscuits. There are a myriad of possibilities. Tired of turkey? Freeze the broth or soup and take it out in a month for an after Christmas or New Years Day brunch. Get creative and you can add a bit of your own magic.

Mock me will you Tom Turkey?!

Check out our recipe for Simple Turkey and Sherry with Dumplings.

*Note: The amount of tryptophan in a serving of turkey, no matter how large, isn't enough to induce a coma. Sleepiness after a massive Thanksgiving dinner is a product of the amount of carbohydrates and sugar consumed in conjunction with cranberry juice and vodka that induces the coma.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Cranberry-Orange Relish

This recipe will make even the most adamant anti-cranberry critic think twice! Feel free to play around with it and add different types of fruit and booze -- the more the merrier! In this recipe we use Cointreau, a French orange liqueur. It's fine quality and rich taste add a depth to the dish not usually associated with cranberry sauce.

1 pound fresh cranberries
1 1/2 cup sugar (brown sugar can be used for all or part)
1 cinnamon stick
zest of 1 orange
2 cups white wine
1 cup water
2 cups fresh cherries, pitted
1 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup Cointreau

Combine cranberries, sugar, cinnamon stick, orange zest, white wine and water in a sauce pan. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and add cherries and dried cranberries. Leave uncovered and cook until the mixtures thickens and cranberries are soft. Add Cointreau and bring back to a boil. Remove from heat. Depending on your taste a small amount of Cointreau may be added after cooling.

Tip: When the fresh cranberries are first brought to a boil, be sure to cover the sauce pot. Cranberries have chambers inside that make them buoyant (how they are harvested) and bouncy (take one outside and give it a shot!). When cooked steam builds in these chambers and can pop causing splatters and possibly burns.

The Cranberry -- Fruitcake's Little Brother

It's the time of the year when American's thoughts turn to turkey and dressing, football, and how to silence Uncle Ted's snoring after a belt popping feast to hear the score of the aforementioned football game. One of the often overlooked stars of this time of year is the lowly cranberry. The cranberry has become the Christmas fruitcake of Thanksgiving; doomed to circle endlessly around the table until someone has the decency to retire the bowl to a crowded corner of the dinner table. Mom buys it because she feels she must. It sits on the grocery shelves all year awaiting it's shining moment, only to be shunned and cast aside at the last moment like a geek at the prom.

I personally like cranberry sauce, but then again I like fruitcake and liver too. My whole family enjoys a spoonful of cranberry sauce with the Thanksgiving turkey. It wasn't until I attended Thanksgiving dinner with my in-laws that I realized the disdain that exists for this wonderful little berry. My mother-in-law and I are the only ones at the table that eat it -- and eat it we do! My wife Lynda likes fruit sauces with meats, so why not the cranberry with the turkey? I personally think it's because of that gelled mess that comes out in the shape of the can.

The Cranberry Institute and the Wisconsin Cranberry Board have done a wonderful job of marketing their namesake and getting the word out about the boon to human health this little gem truly is. The cranberry is rich in anti-oxidants and consumed in juice form is as heart healthy as a glass of wine. It has been found to reduce the occurrence of bladder infections and is often enriched with calcium for strong bones. So why is it that most people only consume it with a shot of gin or vodka?

I think it's because most consumers only recognize it in the canned form -- ridges and all. I say buy them fresh and you'll notice a world of difference! Truly good cranberry sauce is as easy to make as apple sauce -- yes you CAN make apple sauce! Additions of citrus, cinnamon, and brandy or Cointreau are always welcome to the party and make for some truly great taste sensations. Don't forget to add plenty of sugar; white is good and brown is better. Try your cranberries with some apples or pears or maybe some mango for an island feel and have some with your fruitcake. Mele Kalikimaka! Throw it all in a pot, cover, and bring it to a boil. Reduce it to a simmer and let it go until it's thick. It's that simple.

Just give it a chance, you'll be happy you did. Check out our recipe and feel free to experiment -- you can even add your gin or vodka if that's what it takes!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Holiday Menu

The holidays are almost upon us and everyone is ready to enjoy time with family and friends. To help you enjoy this festive time of the year, we have posted our holiday menu. Trust me, you don't want to get stuck in those lines at the grocery store! We have a full line-up of menu items from appetizers to desserts. We have a great ceramic smoker for our turkeys. Each one is moist, incredibly flavorful and takes 2 days to prepare. We can do as much or as little as you need and deliver it to your door. To order just go to our menu page and select the Holiday Menu PDF. You can print it out, make your selections and fax it to us, email your choices or call us directly.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Specials for the Cooler Months

The new specials are ready. On the order page simply choose the number that corresponds to the special you would like.

The new specials are inspired by the cooler weather and the produce available this time of year. Enjoy!

1. Balsamic Tilapia with Roasted Butternut Squash and Caramelized Onions

2. Roasted Garlic Crusted Pork Loin with Pureed Winter Vegetables

3. Irish Beef Stew with Guiness, Carrots, Potatoes and Onions

4. Chicken Breast Stuffed with Spinach and Roasted Garlic with Parmesan Potatoes

5. Orange-Ginger Glazed Chicken with Sauteed Green Beans, Toasted Walnuts and Cranberries