Meal: Smoked Turkey Shepherd’s Pie

Back Story: Easter weekend, Uncle Jon was over with his new smoker. After 14 sleepless hours of heat-curve obsession, Uncle Jon’s epic turkey-sitting session ended with a SUPER-delicious meal. Most times, smoking seems like a “long walk”, but this was so worth it. This turkey had a gentle smokiness and was very juicy. Tonight, with our leftovers (cubed smoked turkey meat, beans/carrots, and mashers), Dan whipped together a über tasty Shepherd’s pie.

Method: Sauté onion, celery, thinly sliced mushroom until tender, then add cubed turkey and veggies. Dust with GF flour, stir to combine, then add two cups of chicken broth. Once thickened and warm, add half cup of sour cream. Transfer to a baking dish and cover with mashers the dust with smoked paprika. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes then broil for 5 minutes or until brown.

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Meal: African Pineapple Peanut Stew

Back Story: I admit when I first was introduced to this recipe from the Moosewood Collective, I was skeptical. Really? Pineapple in stew? Madness. But, my husband said to give it a try. He knew I would like it. So– I tried it. It’s been a winter favorite of mine since. Tonight I blogged about it.

Method: I didn’t deviate from the recipe. We serve the stew over plain quinoa and top with scallions and chopped peanuts. Siracha sauce goes well too.

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Dessert: Low-fat Lemon Pudding Cake

Backstory: I have a friend from work who had surgery a couple of weeks ago. A bunch of us at school agreed to cook one meal a night for two weeks for her family. The daughter of my friend is vegetarian and my friend is gluten intolerant. I offered to make gluten-free vegetarian butternut squash mac & cheese (see this earlier post) and this for dessert. It’s one of our favorite recipes from the Moosewood collection.

Method: Follow the recipe as is with the following exceptions. Instead of all-purpose flour, I used my gluten-free flour mix which consists of sweet sorghum flour and potato starch in a 40:60 ratio. I also used 1/8 tsp xanthum gum and twice the indicated amount of baking powder as called for in the recipe. Xanthan gum helps hold the gluten-free flour mix together. I made a simple blueberry sauce to go with it too! Delicious, Gluten-free, and only 2.6 g of fat per serving.

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Meal: Haddock with onions, watercress and mace

Back Story: Tonight, everyone is watching the season three premiere of Downton Abbey, the Masterpiece Classics hit soap opera. We wanted to cook a meal worthy of the “upstairs” crowd that would visit The Crawley’s. This dish was perfect. Easy, but with rich flavors and deeply satisfying.

Method: Use your MF secret weapon mandolin to slice an onion into thin rings. Sauté in butter for 5 minutes. Add a teaspoon of ground mace and sauté for another 2-3 minutes. Add a bunch of washed watercress or sorrel, if you can find it, and cook until wilted. Meanwhile, place fish on an oiled pan. Add salt and pepper. Top with onion, mace, and watercress mixture. Spot some butter on top, cover with foil and cook for 25 minutes at 350 degrees. Serve with lemon and enjoy. It’s like nothing I’ve ever tasted. Scrumptious.

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Meal: Butternut squash macaroni and cheese with sage and ham.

Back Story: We love this dish and tonight I wanted to recreate it with wheat/gluten-free ingredients. Wheat-free eating was recommend to me by a long-time doctor. It’s been almost a week and I feel great. To make this dish, I used Quinoa pasta, gluten-free bread crumbs, and a wheat-free flour mix to thicken the béchamel. Give it a try.

Method: Cut the butternut squash (BnSq) in half and bake for 1 hour (or until soft) at 350 degrees. Meanwhile, cook pasta and prep sage, shallot, ham (optional) and cheeses. Sauté the onion and sage in butter. When aromatic, add pinch of nutmeg and cook for another minute or until you smell the nutmeg. Add 5 teaspoons of the wheat-free flour mix. Cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring constantly. While this is going, heat 2 cups of fat free milk in the microwave for 3 minutes. Whisk in the milk and bust up the lumps then add the grated cheese. I used a cup is Monterey Jack and a cup of cheddar (both 1/2 fat). Whisk until creamy. Combine the strained pasta, ham, sauce, pepper, and scooped out of 1/2 the BnSq. Mix and top with homemade herbed bread crumbs. Cover with foil and bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 15 minutes at 350 degrees. Let rest for 10 minutes then enjoy. I think wheatless eating can be wonderfully delicious.

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Where: Georgetown Cupcake, Bethesda location.

This is an adorable cupcakery in beautiful downtown Bethesda. Very good cakes–a bit more dense than Magnolia Bakery and maybe more refined, esthetically. The flavors were not as creative, more old school, but still delicious. Half dozen for $15. I recommend the coconut chocolate but the pumpkin was a big hit with my friends.

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Restaurant: Nudel in Lenox, MA

Rather than each getting an appetizer and large entree, tonight we shared three small plates ($10 each) and a nice bottle of white wine. They split the plates for us. It was a totally amazing value for what we experienced. I really want to try the poached egg dish at home sometime. Kudos to Nudel–this guy is killing it in Lenox. No need to travel to get truly original cuisine ’cause its right here in the Berkshires.

First: Pad Thai (turnip, tofu, pineapple etc.)

Second: Souvee egg, hominy, fried green tomato, over collards

Third: Pork Shank terrine with French lentils, greens and apple dressing.

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