Mini Phyllo Cups with Cappuccino Cream

Mini Phyllo Cups with Cappuccino Cream

I don’t know if it’s a weird inverted class thing, but I’m always hesitant to make and promote a recipe that sounds – let’s say a bit too fancy. I imagine serving it up to a family of simple Northern playwrights and gauging their reaction. Would my guests nibble appreciatively while explaining how the semiotic thickness of a performed text varies with the redundancy of auxiliary performance codes? Or would they prod at the food uncomprehendingly and declare that they remembered this town when it were all fields? It’s always in the back of my mind, that.

And then I found this recipe and thought, sod it, let’s do this.

Mini Phyllo Cups with Cappuccino Cream

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Stuffing Cake Benedict with Chive Hollandaise

Stuffing Cake Benedict with Chive Hollandaise

This is one of those leftover Thanksgiving recipes I had been thinking about for years but just made for the first time this week. We almost always make some sort of hash with our favorite leftover stuffing and either top it with fried eggs or even bake eggs right into it but this year I wanted to try something different. Fancier, if you will.

This is now, officially, my favorite use of leftover stuffing ever. And it’s so, so simple. Add a bit of egg, form a patty, fry in a pan. Top with a poached egg.

The thing that elevates this to the stars is the unbelievably delicious chive hollandaise. If I had any idea how tasty and especially how easy it is to make this sauce, well… let me tell you that it would have been part of our Nerds brunch repertoire a long time ago.

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Leftover Turkey Curry

I don’t mean to get all romance-novel on you or anything but you know that feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when you just know that something is right? Like it’s just the most perfect version of whatever it’s meant to be? That’s what it felt like the day, so many years ago now, when Matt said the words. Those perfect, beautiful words.

“Should I whip up a curry with the thanksgiving leftovers?”

Sigh.

Of course I said yes! I’m no fool.

We were still living in Astoria at the time, in an apartment that in all fairness can only be described as a “goat infested rat-hole”.  The place was grim. It was dark all the time because there was only about a foot of space between our our windows and the building next door (although when I didn’t have cable, I appreciated being able to see my neighbor’s TV from my couch. I think we watched a whole season of The Sopranos “together”).

Leftover Turkey Curry

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Curried Butternut Squash and Apple Soup with Maple CreamI feel like it was only a few weeks ago that every post I wrote seemed to start with me whining and complaining about how cold it was outside. Well, prepare for a déjà vu because it’s frakking freezing again and it’s not even Thanksgiving yet. Oh joy. I know it’s going to warm up a bit again before the semi-permanent winter-long deep freeze hits us but, seriously Nature, can you give a girl a break? See, one of the things about buying a lovely, hundred-year-old house is that it’s goddamn drafty. Luckily I have a dog and two cats that want to be on a lap at all times so that helps. A bit. A teeny, tiny bit. Also, soup.

Speaking of déjà vu (and soup), it was about this same time last year that we posted our recipe for Mashed Butternut Squash With Thyme And Mascarpone, which has become one of the most popular recipes on NwK. I think butternut squash is so popular because it’s not only delicious, it’s also extremely easy to cook well. It has a gorgeous, silky texture (without any of the stringiness you find in a lot of pumpkins and squash) and it also has that beautiful, vibrant color that just screams Fall. It’s the vegetal equivalent of wearing a cable-knit sweater while walking through a pile of brittle, umber leaves. It’s Mr. Autumn Man’s favorite gourd.

Curried Butternut Squash and Apple Soup with Maple Cream

Look at Nerd Tips below for nutrition as well as buying and storing tips.

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Shredded Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Pecans

Note: For a vegan version, swap the bacon for smoked sweet paprika. Instructions after the jump.

I admit it. I love brussels sprouts. And not just for Thanksgiving, either. I think it’s probably one of the vegetables that Matt and I make most often. Our standard go-to recipe is to split them in half, coat them with olive oil, course salt and pepper and roast them in a very hot oven until they are as brown and crispy as french fries. The only tricky thing about that method is that they have to be served piping hot, right out of the oven or they get a little soggy. Still tasty, but not transcendent.

For me, getting all the side dishes timed perfectly so they’re at the exact perfect temperature by the time the turkey is ready is one of the most stressful parts of Thanksgiving. I feel like the kitchen becomes a ten ring circus, with every burner going on the stovetop and a million things stuffed into the oven. Oy, I’m giving myself agita just thinking about it. That’s why I like to serve at least a couple of dishes that are great at room temperature. These brussles sprouts fit that bill because they are absolutely delicious hot, warm or room temp.

Shredded Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Pecans

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Mashed Rutabaga with Crispy Shallots

Mashed Rutabaga with Crispy Shallots

Poor rutabaga. They didn’t really do it any favors when they were naming it, did they? I mean, it’s not like the word just rolls off the tongue. Rutabaga. It sounds weird. Ru-ta-ba-ga.

The thing is though, what it lacks in grammatical elegance, it more than makes up for in flavor and texture. I think it’s criminally underused and if you’ve never tried it, you’re in for a treat. (Note: it’s also sometimes called swede or yellow turnips, depending on where you live).

Mashed Rutabaga with Crispy Shallots

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Rosemary, Baby!It should come as a shock to absolutely no one (who either knows me or has glanced at this blog) that I like cocktails. Whenever I go to a new restaurant, the first thing I check out is the cocktail list. And whenever we throw a party, we try to have at least one cool cocktail on offer as an option to beer and wine. Fun, right? But you know what’s not fun? Spending your entire party behind a bar, mixing individual cocktails for 30 people.

That, my lovelies, is why God invented the punch bowl.

Nerd Alert: Here is a short, mostly-accurate history of the term “punch”. Punches date back to the 1600s, when British sailors required something to drink that wouldn’t spoil in the tropical heat of India and Indonesia. (Unlike us modern dummies, British sailors were entitled to ten pints of beer a day. Yes, entitled). A true punch will always be a balance of five flavors (some kind of citrus, a sweetener, a base spirit, a weak portion like juice or wine and a seasoning portion, like herbs or spices). It’s meant to be less potent than a standard cocktail, allowing party-goers to gather around the bowl and socialize. Here endeth the lesson.

Rosemary, Baby!

Rosemary, Baby!

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A screaming cat face is de rigeur.

A screaming cat face is de rigeur.

Hallowe’en is a very exciting time over at the Nerds residence. You see, one of us (EMILY) not only grew up on horror movies but also, you know, HAS HER BIRTHDAY on October 31st, and the other one of us (MATT) has a fondness for Edward Gorey and M R James, and has spent whole months of his life subsiding entirely on candy bars. So it’s a propitious melding of minds, really.

Hallowe’en was not much of a thing for me, growing up in Britain in the 1970s – which is perhaps a little odd, considering that every other major holiday of the year is inextricably connected to the consumption of chocolate. The big event of the week was Guy Fawkes’ Night, which is fun and all, and has a bonfire and fireworks and the mocking of failed political plots, but unless the Guy was somehow fashioned out of sugar mice (IT WAS NOT), a distinct lack of sweet confections. So I thoroughly approve of the American version.

It is the most orange time of the year

It is the most orange time of the year

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Baked Chicken with Honey and Soy

This recipe combines my three favorite things. It’s fast, it’s cheap and it’s delicious. And easy. I know that’s four but I don’t have time for semantics. I’m in a rush here! (I’m not really, but one of the best things about this recipe is that, other than mixing the sauce ingredients together and throwing in the chicken, there’s really not much else to do. That’s why it’s perfect for a weeknight dinner). Bung it in the oven, throw on some rice and by the time you’ve opened a bottle of wine and cycled through your Netflix options, dinner is ready.

It’s pretty much the bastard child of our two most popular recipes, Baked Chicken Thighs with Lemon and Garlic, and Crispy Pork Belly with Soy Honey Glaze.

Baked Chicken with Honey and Soy

 

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