Friday, November 29, 2013

Turkey's Day After

Turkey is the American symbol of Thanksgiving, of harvest time, of bounty and abundance.  Makes you wonder if turkeys have any sense of their importance? Maybe it's a source of great pride? Maybe it's a source of great depression? For the turkey that is.  But for us humans, the turkey represents one of our most anticipated and joyously celebrated holidays.  It's cool too that it's uniquely American.  Interestingly enough, there are some people who regard turkey as the ultimate delicacy and yet, there are those who are just ok with it and some who really don't like it.  But, we roast 'em, fry 'em, grill 'em and serve 'em every year.

Almost as anticipated as the Thanksgiving turkey itself is the leftover Thanksgiving turkey.  Some people dream about the leftover turkey sandwich. I've heard everything from a simple white bread and turkey sandwich to an elaborate turkey, dressing, cranberry sandwich tower. After all the leftovers went into the fridge, Neil & his brothers used to go retrieve the now-cooled gravy, slice it off (yes, slice it) and put a slab of cooled, congealed gravy between two slices of bread.  I AM NOT making this up! My mind usually goes to the old turkey tetrazzini or turkey enchiladas.  But, today we tried something new and I think it's now my favorite.

Back story:  as most of you probably know, my mom and I work together selling real estate.  For many years, we've been sending our clients a monthly recipe postcard.  We've had numerous clients call us to let us know that they've tried the recipe with great success.  I always mail one to mom and dad's house so that I know they've hit the mail and have been delivered.  This month, right before the holiday, the card arrived with a recipe for "Asian Turkey Soup."

We whipped up a batch of this today and served with some veggie egg rolls on the side.  Man, did it hit the spot!  Especially on a cold day. And, best of all, it was a snap to prepare.  

We had enough for the three of us and more for tomorrow.  The Asian flavors were just right for making this something new and different than the usual, traditional leftover turkey fare. 


Monday, November 25, 2013


Are you familiar with Boursin cheese?  It's a spreadable, butter based "cheese" that is delightful on crackers and crudites.  It's also pricey.

Being the coupon addict that I am, I sometimes use that addiction to bring items home that I normally won't buy.  I've become a cheap skate you see.  Boursin is one of those items. A few days ago, I had a coupon that combined the purchase of bagel chips and Boursin.  Overall, it wasn't a stellar coupon, but given the fact that I was buying about $150 worth of groceries for only $65, I thought I could afford the "fluff."  So, I bought Boursin "light" garlic and herb. I considered it a special treat.  

Tonight, my little one asked for one little after dinner snack.  I played my usual "I don't know if you'll like this.  See right here?  It says gourmet on the package.  I bet not many other 2nd graders would like this fancy stuff."  Hook.Line.Sinker.  Opened up the bagel chips and Boursin and the kid went crazy.  She even went so far as to explain to me that the Boursin was a buttery flavor with an "herby undertone."  I promise, that's what she said! There you have it.  Kids can and will eat pretty much what you give them. You just have to present it in a way that jives with their personalities.

A few years ago a good friend gave me the coolest Christmas circe. It was a little ceramic crock of homemade "Boursin" with a little spreader and the recipe attached.  If you know anything about my recipe/microwave/notebook deal, let me assure you that same little recipe card is in the book...preserved forever.  And, I'm going to share it with you. Especially since the holidays are upon us, you may find this useful for holiday parties, hostess gifts, appetizers at the big family feasts, etc.  You get my drift. Enjoy and toast a glass of champagne to my friend Mary Ann.

Boursin Cheese
  • 1   8 oz tub whipped sweet cream butter
  • 2   8 oz packages cream cheese
  • 1   crushed garlic clove
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 tsp dill
  • 1/4 tsp marjoram
  • 1/4 tsp basil
  • 1/4 tsp thyme
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
Let the butter and cream cheese soften so that you can cream together. Mix all spices together and sprinkle on cheese mixture.  Mix so spices are distributed evenly. chill for at least an hour before serving. (May be frozen)

Monday, November 11, 2013

The Real Deal

You guys have probably been wondering where I've been.  At least I hope you have.  I feel guilty and a bit off my axis because it's been so long since I've written.  You see, our nephew got married on October 26 in Lakeville, Minnesota.  I've never been there and of course, the wunderkind hasn't either and she'd never flown before.

Seriously, is this not the cutest thing you've ever seen?  Still hasn't mastered the spelling of her middle name yet though!
  Neil hasn't been back since 1994. As a Southerner, born and bred, here's what I thought I knew about Minnesota:
  • Everyone, I mean, everyone is of Viking descent
  • All 10,000 lakes are freezing cold
  • With the exception of July and August, it's numbingly cold and snowing all the time
  • They have a killer restaurant scene, if you believe Guy Fieri or Adam Richman
Turns out I was right about one of these.  The restaurants.  Think it about a minute.  If you watch Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, Man -vs- Food, etc., you may have noticed the disproportionate number of MN restaurants featured on these shows.  Why, I often wondered?  

One that caught my eye a long time ago was about two joints in the Twin Cities area that have a long time feud about who invented the "Juicy Lucy."  You may remember this post after I saw this on TV.  I told Neil back then, "One day, when we go up there, we're finding this place and having a Juicy Lucy."  The place I'd decided looked and sounded the best to me is called the 5-8 Club.  So, when we booked our flight for the wedding, I promptly went to the 5-8's website for their address because, as I said, WE ARE GOING TO GET THIS HAMBURGER. Since I now have crazy coupon lady syndrome, I noticed a little place on the site that said "Join our email club."  This, of course, made me say to myself, "hmmm, I bet if I do that I'm going to get something."  Well, sure enough, I instantly received an email coupon for a FREE Juicy Lucy.  We're officially in business.

We arrived on Wednesday and I mentioned this Juicy Lucy obsession to my brother-in-law.  His response?  "Let's go tonight!"  And it was so.

Friends, this was a hamburger. I split one with the little one because they are 1/2 lb.  Just as expected and promised, I cut it in half to see golden, oozey cheese burst forth.  The meat was well seasoned and cooked just right. A nice crust that comes from a nice, hot flat top. The closest I have been able to come to this is with a good ol' fashioned cast iron skillet.

Did somebody say Ooey Gooey Good Golly?

 To make the whole experience even better was looking around and recognizing where we were from the TV shows.  Oh yeah...we also had real, Minnesotan cheese curds.  Not familiar with these?  More on that later.

Authentic Minnesota Cheese Curds!
 Our trip was fantastic on many levels.  My nephew's wedding was beautiful, the parties were rockin' and the food, drink and dancing kept us all busy well into the night(s)!  Jackie and her wedding party were all gorgeous and her style was evident in all the details.  

Neil's old house

Como Park, St. Paul MN

We also got to see Neil's old childhood home, the ski slope where he trained (and so did Lindsey Vonn), went to the 1st zoo established in the state of Minnesota (Como Park), saw St. Paul, saw Minneapolis, and got to visit the 5-8 Club for the original Juicy Lucy.  I'd say this was one successful voyage!


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