Thursday, December 10, 2009

Thanksgiving Dinner Adventures!

This year, for the first time, my husband and I hosted Thanksgiving dinner. I felt pretty relaxed about making it, as the only thing I've never made before is a stuffed turkey. I was more nervous about getting Nana's dressing to come out properly than the turkey itself. Here's a summary of our Thanksgiving cooking adventure!

I bought the turkey from Maple Lawn Turkey Farms. It is just a short drive from our house, and I was happy to support a local business! Being a former vegetarian, it is a little sad to see the happy turkeys wandering around before you go into the shed to pick up his sister, but I got over it.

I had to take a picture of our fridge, since it's the most full I've ever seen it! The turkey was brined the night before and left in the fridge, uncovered, to dry in order to promote a crisp skin while cooking.


The night before, I made the dressing, green bean casserole, and pumpkin pie. My Nana's dressing is my favorite, so I used the family recipe from our family cookbook. There is alot of butter and bread in dressing. Here, the celery and onions cook in lots of butter on the stove.

Butter, celery, and onions!

Cooking Thanksgiving dinner was also an excuse to get myself a proper cutting/carving board. The proper supplies are important when cooking!

Supplies (and turkey)!

The stuffed, roasted turkey recipe from the book "America's Best New Recipes" by America's Test Kitchen guided me through the whole process, from brining to carving. Here, I spread some aromatics in the bottom of the roasting pan before placing the turkey on the V-Rack. (I also heated the stuffing to 130 degrees F before placing it in the bird!)


My husband took a picture of me trussing up my first bird a la Paul Child.

Bird Trussing!

It is tradition in my husband's family to also have fried oysters during the holiday. He took care of this task perfectly.

Fried oyster coating assembly line!

Coated Oysters!

The turkey came out of the oven and looked amazing! Thanks America's Test Kitchen!


The only aspect of cooking Thanksgiving dinner that I found challenging, was getting everything onto the table at the same time. It seems like you wait forever for the turkey to be finished, and then you have to cook the veggies and the mashed potatoes all at the same time! But, we did it, and everything arrived at the kitchen island hot and ready to eat!

Thanksgiving Spread!

For dessert, I made traditional pumpkin pie with freshly whipped cream. It was the best tasting pumpkin pie ever. Another successful America's Test Kitchen recipe!

Pumpkin Pie and Freshly Whipped Cream!

Overall, this dinner was fantastic. I will put the turkey in about 1 hour earlier next year. Dinner wasn't ready until 3pm, and I would have liked to serve it at 2pm. I am glad to have this cooking experience under my apron! Until next year...

Stay Tuned...

It's cookie factory weekend at my house. Lots of cookie pics forthcoming.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

100 Best Things About Food in Baltimore

This list appeared in the Baltimore Sun this week. I abhor the word "foodie", so I changed the title. Crossed out are my accomplishments. (Despite growing up around people who go crabbing, I still have not eaten a softshell)

1. Have a jumbo lump crab cake from Faidley’s on a Saltine
2. Pick steamed hard shells at Mr. Bill’s Terrace Inn in Essex.
3. Eat Bertha’s mussels.
4. Drink a Natty Boh.
5. Snack on a Berger’s cookie.
6. Put marshmallow on your snowball.
7. Split Maryland beaten biscuits and put some thin slices of ham in them.
8.Serve sauerkraut with your turkey.
9. Get a chicken box (fried wings, western fries, dinner roll) from a Baltimore City public market.
10. Maybe the chicken box should be from Tyrone’s?
11. Lake trout. And for those of us who watched “The Wire,” have a grape soda with it.
12. Breakfast at Blue Moon Cafe down in Fells Point.
13. Corned beef on rye at Attman’s.
14. Chiapparelli’s house salad.
15. Knock back a goblet of Resurrection Ale at Brewer’s Art.
16. Take a Sunday morning stroll through the JFX Farmer’s Market
17. Thrasher’s french fries from the boardwalk in Ocean City.
18. Have a Black Eyed Susan at the Preakness. (Note: I will never go to the Preakness unless some one gives me a ticket in an actual seat)
19. Chow down on a pit beef sandwich at Boog’s during an O’s game.
20. Shop for shoes and chocolate at Ma Petit Shoe in Hampden.
21. Have a soft crab sandwich on white bread.
22. Eat a box of Rheb’s buttercreams. Not at one sitting, of course … on the other hand, why not? (This should really be higher on that list!)
23. Order a Tio Pepe sangria (red). It contains fruit, so it counts as food!
24. Polish sausage from one of the two Ostrowski shops.
25. German sausage from Binkert’s
26. Fisher’s popcorn downy ocean, hon!
27. Sunday brunch on the terrace at Ambassador Dining Room, an atypical setting for an Indian restaurant.
28. Get peach cake from Woodlea Bakery.
29. Eat the pumpkin appetizer at the Helmand.
30. Eat a Wockenfuss caramel apple! Mmmmm. (Do not like)
31. Thin crust pizza! Iggies and Joe Squared.
32. Savory muffins at Red Canoe in Lauraville.
33. Try some of the special flavors from Taharka Bros. (formerly Sylvan Beach) ice cream and Pitango Gelato.
34. Make fun of the hipsters at Golden West and Rocket to Venus in Hampden.
35. Have a special occasion dinner at Charleston. Ask Chef Cindy Wolf to fix what she thinks is best that night.
36. Change your mind about vegan/vegetarian food at Liquid Earth.
37. Try the charcuterie at Clementine.
38. Macaroni and cheese with bittersweet chocolate from Jack’s Bistro.
39. Throw in a shrimp salad from Kibby’s and/or Mary Mervis.
40. Smith Island Cake, but only from Sugarbakers. (I think getting your wedding cake from Sugarbakers counts, right?)
41. Gorge yourself on the Monday night all-you-can-eat at Vaccaro’s.
42. Discuss a bottle of wine with Tony Foreman at Cinghiale.
43. Eat roasted vegetables at Donna’s … wearing black. (Added - I used to work there, so I should really double strike this one :)
44. Veal Chop at Da Mimmo.
45. Bookmaker salad at Sabatino’s.
46. Get a crab cake and a lemon/peppermint stick at the Flower Mart. Isn’t a fabulous crab cake, but even an average crab cake in Baltimore is better than anywhere else!
47. Order any sandwich at Trinacria. But no calling ahead to order like I do. You must wait in line for the full effect.
48. Order the popcorn and deviled eggs at Woodberry Kitchen. Before your appetizers, not in lieu of. (note, their popcorn is really not that good at all)
49. 49. Have lunch on the patio at Sanders Corner overlooking the Loch Raven Reservoir.
50. Head to Carroll County for the best cream of crab soup at Smokey’s BBQ on Liberty Road.
51. Stop at DiPasquale’s in Highlandtown for their Italian and meatball subs.
52. Fried chicken livers from the Lexington Market.
53. Bagel with lox and cream cheese or apricot spread from Greg’s.
54. Sit at the bar at Cinghiale and order anything. Talk to Rob about wine when Tony isn’t in town.
55. Tamales from the food truck on Broadway.
56. Coddies on a cracker from a rowhouse bar.
57. Wander aisles of exotic produce – lychees! jackfruit! Indian eggplant! – at H Mart or Lotte Plaza in Catonsville. Eat some yummy bi bim bap or udon soup at the food court and then pick up a beautiful fresh whole fish for dinner before you head home.
58. Go to a bull/oyster roast or crab/shrimp feast at any number of Baltimore venues as long as you go to at least one at a V.F.W. hall, American Legion, Steelworkers Hall, fire hall, state park, etc.
59. Prime rib at the Prime Rib.
60. Greenberg Potato Skins from Prime Rib.
61. How about the fried green pepper rings at Gunnings!
62. You have to get a Popular Mozzarella Pie from Matthew’s Pizza!
63. A baloney-wrapped hot dog from Attman’s.
64. Pit beef from anywhere without a door.
65. Late night dinner at the Bel-Loc Diner.
66. Eat a “Tour of Samos” at Samos in Greektown (Greek salad, tzatziki and pita, kalamari, spinach pie, chicken souvlaki, dolmades, lamb chops, garlic shrimp, gyro, roasted potatoes).
67. Krispy Kreme Bread Pudding at Ale Mary’s
68. Eat anything on the menu at Andy Nelson’s.
69. Gravy fries.
70. Chicken salad from Graul’s Market!
71. Old-fashioned Maryland stuffed ham.
72. OTTERBEIN’S COOKIES!!!!!!!!!!!
73. Raw beef and onion sandwich with raw yellow onion and salt and pepper on fresh rye bread (or pumpernickel).
74. Buy a crepe at Sofi’s and enjoy it while watching a movie at the Charles.
75. Naron candy.
76. Polish dog with “the works” at Polock Johnny’s.
77. Italian cold cut sub at Pastore’s in Towson.
79. Order the chocolate-chili bread pudding at the Blue Agave.
80. Have a picnic at Fort McHenry.
81. Any sandwich from Eddie’s in Roland Park.
82. String bean rolls at Cafe Zen.
83. Garlic fries at Brewer’s Art.
84. Oysters and beer at Cross Street Market!
85. Coffee from Zeke’s.
86. Smoked platter from Neopol at Belvedere.
87. Go to the Wine Market on a Monday night and enjoy a neighborhood discount (extended to all diners).
88. Have an ice cream that contains vegetables at Dominion Ice Cream. [Ed.’s note: Now relocated to Hampden.]
89. Have Old Bay on things other than seafood. For instance, corn on the cob, potato salad, coleslaw.
90. Margarita in a hubcap from Nacho Mama’s.
91. Take the Clipper City brewery tour.
92. Have a Black Eyed Susan cupcake at Charm City Cupcakes. It’s one of my favorite things about Baltimore! (I will not ever go here because they stole their name from another bakery and stole all the photos on their website from other internet sources and did not give them credit)
93. Get fruit and veggies from an a-rab.
94. Sip ‘n Bite.
95. Sip a Bloody Mary with an Old Bay rimmer. I only see this done at Baltimore restaurants.
96. Enjoy a meal at Salt.
97. Eat the Berger cookie pie at Dangerously Delicious Pies in Federal Hill. A new tradition built on the old.
98. Mary Sue Easter Eggs.
99. Eat sushi in Towson.
100. Wiener schnitzel, red cabbage, and more at Eichenkranz in Highlandtown. The last traditional German food in the city.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Fantastic Chocolate

I ventured to Frederick this weekend and discovered this fantastic candy store. It is not the cheapest candy ever, but they have interesting flavors and their chocolate is super tasty.

It's on Market Street in Frederick. Their main store is in Waynesboro, PA. You should stop there too! It's on the way to some really great fried chicken at the Parlor House.

Zoe's Chocolate website