Saturday, November 30, 2013

Our Thanksgivukkah Recipe Round-Up

Here are the links to all the recipe posts...all together!


Click on the titles to go to the post...



Chive Mashed Potatoes





Roasted Duck with Hachiya Persimmon Glaze {Thanksgivukkah}

Okay, this is another of the dishes that I completely neglected to photo-document. I was dutifully taking photos of the process...until I started to run out of time. I literally pulled the ducks - gorgeous mahogany ducks! - out of the oven 10 minutes before we were due to be at my parents' house for our feast. Yikes. 

It was delicious...and the declared favorite of at least three dinner guests. But I have no finished photos. So sorry! I think that means that I will have to do this again. Soon. I promise. And I made a delicious glaze with the ripe Hachiya persimmons from a friend's tree. Thanks, Shiho!!

Does the idea of roasting a whole duck intimidate you? Don't let it. This is so simple...it just takes time...and a little bit of patience.

Here’s the basic technique: 4 hours at 300 degrees, glaze, then finish it at 400 degrees for 7-10 minutes.

Here's a more detailed how-to...

Unwrap the bird and remove all of the giblets from the duck's cavity. 


When your duck is empty, rinse it under cold water. Pat it dry with paper towels. Sprinkle the cavity with some salt. I used freshly ground sea salt from the Monterey Bay Salt Company.

With a sharp knife, score a diamond pattern into the duck skin on the breast. Slice very carefully - you want to cut through most of the fat without cutting into the meat. As luck would have it, a duck’s layer of fat is fairly thick. So this process is relatively easy once you get the hang of it.



Poke the duck’s skin all over with a sharp knife, creating small holes through which the fat can escape more easily. Only prick the skin, try not to poke the meat.

It's time to truss the duck! Cross the legs and tie them together like this with a piece of butcher’s twine.


Now it goes into the oven, breast side up.

After the first hour, pull the pan out of the oven. The skin will still be pale, but should be a little bit crisp when poked. Pour off the duck fat into a separate container; I used a large mason jar.



Prick the skin all over with a knife. When pierced, the skin should let out more molten duck fat. Make sure to get the area around the legs, which is particularly fatty.

Flip the bird over, so it’s breast-side down. Pour off more of the duck fat. And pop it back into the oven, breast-side down, for another hour at 300 degrees.

After the second hour, pull the pan out of the oven. The skin will be browner, and more crisp. Prick the skin all over, again and flip the bird breast-side up. Pour off the duck fat again. This is where I stopped taking photos. Sorry!

Put it back in the oven, breast-side up, for 1 more hour at 300 degrees.

After the third hour, remove the pan from the oven. Your duck should be significantly browner and getting more crispy. Prick the skin all over, pour off more fat, and pop it back in the oven. Roast breast-side down for a final hour at 300 degrees.

While the duck is roasting for its last hour, make the glaze...

2 T butter
1 C Hachiya persimmon pulp, mashed
2 T minced garlic
1/4 C coconut sugar
1 C freshly squeezed clementine juice
1 T ginger syrup
1 T soy sauce

In a medium-sized saucepan, combine all of the ingredients and bring to a simmer. Cook until thickened. Remove your glaze from the heat.

After the 4th hour in the oven, pull the pan out of the oven and raise the heat up to 400 degrees.

Brush the duck with glaze so that it's completely covered. If your glaze has cooled and is too thick to spread, just warm it up on the stove and it’ll liquify right up.

Stick your pan back in the oven, and roast at 400 degrees for 7-10 minutes - just until your duck is a beautiful brown color. Keep a close eye on it, and pull it out if it starts to burn.

I wish I had taken photos of the duck. It was beautiful! I served these with a fresh Cranberry-Clementine Relish and Boozy Cranberry Sauce.

Hazelnut Rugelach {Thanksgivukkah}


This tasty variation on a Jewish favorite combines hazelnuts and coconut sugar instead of the traditional walnuts or raisins. My enthusiastic Kitchen Elf made these (almost) completely by himself!


For the dough:
1 C butter, at room temperature
8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
2 C white whole wheat flour

For the filling:
1 1/2 C hazelnuts
3/4 C organic coconut sugar
ground cinnamon
ground cardamom
ground nutmeg
splash of pure vanilla extract
4 T butter, melted and cooled

For the topping:
1/4 C organic granulated sugar
ground cinnamon
1 egg white, beaten

To make the dough combine the butter and cream cheese in a large mixing bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat until smooth. Add the flour and, with a spatula, mix until a dough forms. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface. 


Using floured hands, cut into 4 equal pieces. Flatten each piece into a disk and wrap separately in waxed paper. Refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours or as long as overnight.


Preheat an oven to 375°F. Let the dough warm a bit to make it easier to roll out.

To make the filling, finely chop your hazelnuts. Mix in the coconut sugar, spices, and vanilla.

Flour 1 dough disk and place between 2 sheets of parchment paper. With a rolling pin, press into a round 10 inches in diameter. Remove the top sheet, cut the round into 12 wedges, brush the dough with the melted butter, then sprinkle with the nut mixture. 


Starting at the wide end, roll up each wedge. Place on a prepared baking sheet or baking stone, arranging the cookies point-side down and about 1 inch apart.


To make the topping, in a small bowl, mix together the granulated sugar and cinnamon. Brush the cookies with the egg white–water mixture, then sprinkle with the cinnamon-sugar topping.

Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Transfer the cookies to wire racks to cool. Repeat with the remaining dough - filling, topping, and baking. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days. This made exactly 4 dozen cookies.

After the Kitchen Elf and Nonna were eliminated from our Thanksgivukkah dreidel game, they comforted themselves by munching on the hazelnut rugelach - straight from the tupperware!

Beef Brisket with Roasted Grapes and Horseradish Gremolata {Thanksgivukkah}


1 4-pound beef brisket
splash of olive oil
2 onions, peeled and diced
4  cloves garlic
freshly ground sea salt
freshly ground pepper
2  C red wine
1-1/2 C organic chicken broth
1 onion, peeled and diced
4  C organic, seedless red grapes
2-3 sprigs of fresh oregano
2-3 stems of fresh parsley
1 stem fresh rosemary
1/4  C olive oil or duck fat, if you have it
1/4  C white whole wheat flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a pan, cook 2 C of the onions and whole garlic in hot oil until onions are tender. Spoon the mixture into a roasting pan; I used a deep stoneware dish.

Season brisket with salt and pepper; place brisket on onion mixture. Add wine and broth. Cover and roast for 2 hours.

Remove cover and roast, uncovered, for another hour.

Remove brisket from oven; stir in 1 C diced onions. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Remove the dish from the fridge and let it come to room temperature. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Remove fat from pan juices and discard. Transfer juices to saucepan; boil gently, uncovered, about 20 minutes until reduced by half. While brisket is cold, slice off any excess fat. Slice meat against the grain. Return brisket and vegetables to roasting pan. Add grapes, herbs, and reduced juices.


Cover and reheat in oven for 45 minutes. Transfer brisket, grapes, and onions to your serving platter. Discard herb sprigs.

To make a gravy, combine oil - or duck fat - and flour; whisk in pan juices. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir 1 minute more. Serve gravy with brisket and homemade horseradish gremolata.

Thanksgivukkah Pours

Fab feasts aren't just about what's on the plate, though that is important. It's also about what's in your goblet.

We started with a white wine blend from Oblivion Cellars in Paso Robles. Floral and citrus ascend tantalize your nose while tropical fruit notes splash the palate. It finishes crisp and clean with a hint of caramel. This was the perfect match for our Matzo Ball Soup and salad course.
With our main dishes I poured the 2011 Bottlerock Cabernet from Smith and Hook. Bold aromas - of summer berries, cola, and exotic cloves - rise out of the glass. But, to me, the most memorable thing about this wine is its vibrant, robust, yet silky feel. It's lush and decadent.

Matzo Ball Soup with Roasted Roots {Thanksgivukkah}


2 delicata squash, cut into 1-inch piece
1 medium rutabaga, cut into 1-inch piece
4 carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 parsnips, cut into 1-inch pieces
olive oil
freshly ground sea salt
freshly ground pepper
1 leek, trimmed and thinly sliced
2 C thinly sliced rainbow chard
4 eggs, beaten
1/4 C butter, melted
1 C matzoh meal
1 T chopped chives
8 C organic chicken broth
fresh herbs, chopped

Preheat oven to 350°F.


Place squash, parsnips, rutabaga, and carrots on a large baking sheet and toss with oil and salt and pepper. Roast until golden brown and tender, about 40 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.


Meanwhile, put eggs, butter, salt and pepper into a bowl and blend well. Mix in matzoh meal and chives, then cover and refrigerate for at least an hour.

In a large souppot, soften the leeks. Once they begin to caramelize, add in the chard and the roasted vegetables. Stir in the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer.

Bring a pot of water to boil just before removing matzo mixture from refrigerator. Once water boils, wet hands and form walnut-size balls out of matzo mixture, dropping each one into the boiling water immediately. Once all balls have been dropped into the pot, turn heat down, cover and gently simmer for 30 minutes. The balls will expand...don't be alarmed.

Once matzo balls are done, use a slotted spoon to transfer them to simmering broth. Simmer for 15 minutes, then adjust seasonings. Add in whatever fresh herbs you have. I used oregano, parsley, and thyme. Ladle soup into bowls and serve.


Sweet Potato and Zucchini Latkes with Cardamom-Kissed Applesauce {Thanksgivukkah}


2 C grated zucchini
1 C grated sweet potato
4 T olive oil
freshly ground sea salt
2 large eggs
1/3 C white whole wheat flour
1 t baking powder

In a medium bowl, whisk eggs. Whisk in the flour and baking powder and stir together until well combined. Gently fold in the grated vegetables.

In the medium skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. When oil is heated, drop in the batter by rounded tablespoonfuls. Flatten gently with a fork. Cook about two minutes, or until golden brown around the edges. Flip and cook for another two minutes or until golden.

Place on a plate and keep warm in the oven until ready to serve.

I served these with plain yogurt from Saint Benoit from Sonoma County and some cardamom-kissed applesauce.

Cardamom-Kissed Applesauce
5 organic apples, peeled and cubed
1/2 C organic granulated sugar
1 C water
4 caviar limes (click to read about caviar limes from Good Land Organics)
4 cardamom pods
2 cinnamon sticks

Place all of the ingredients, except the caviar limes, in a large, flat-bottom pan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook until the apples have softened completely. Remove the cardamom pods and cinnamon sticks. Squeeze in the pulp and juice from the caviar limes.

Chive Mashed Potatoes {Thanksgivukkah}


Somehow I managed to put several dishes on the table yesterday without snapping a photo of them. Yikes. I guess I was busy getting people fed!

These were delicious! No special proportions or procedures. Just use great ingredients...


  • Yukon gold potatoes
  • butter
  • heavy cream
  • freshly ground sea salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • snipped chives


Cube and boil the potatoes until they are tender. Drain and smash with butter and heavy cream until they are the consistency that you want. Season with salt and pepper. Fold in the chives. Serve hot.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Fresh Horseradish Gremolata


This was a complete surprise to me, but this might have been my absolute favorite thing on our Thanksgiving table. It was fresh, potent, and the perfect flavor foil to my braised brisket.

I have never actually bought fresh horseradish until this week. Have you? It looks like a stick!


1 C fresh parsley, chopped
2 t grated fresh horseradish
zest from 1 lemon
juice from 1 lemon
1 T olive oil
freshly ground sea salt

Mix all of the ingredients together in a mixing bowl. Let sit for at least 30 minutes before serving to make sure the flavors are well-combined.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pastrami {Thanksgivukkah}


This is a Thanksgivukkah variation on my Oven-Roasted Brussels Sprouts.

1 onion, diced
4 slices of pastrami, chopped
2 handfuls of fresh shitake mushrooms*, washed, dried, and thinly sliced

Saute the onions begin to caramelize. Stir in the pastrami and mushrooms and cook until the mushrooms soften. Toss that into the oven-roasted Brussels sprouts. Serve hot.

*These shitake mushrooms are from Far West Fungi in Moss Landing. Love our local farmers!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Riley's Pumpkin-Persimmon Pye - that's Pie with Rye! {Thanksgivukkah}


The Crust
1-1/2 C white whole wheat flour
1/2 C dark rye flour
1 T caraway seeds, lightly crushed in a mortar and pestle
1/2 C powdered sugar
3/4 C butter

Mix the flours, sugar and caraway seeds; rub in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Stir in 1 teaspoon of water with a fork until the mixture forms a ball. Roll out between two pieces of parchment paper.


Press gently into a pie pan. Chill in the freezer until ready to bake.

The Pie
2 C pumpkin puree
1 C Hachiya persimmon puree
1 C heavy cream
3 eggs
1/3 cup ginger syrup
3 T organic brown sugar
ground cinnamon
ground cloves
ground nutmeg
pure vanilla extract


Whisk all of that together and place in the crust.


Bake in a 350 degree oven for an hour or until the filling is set. It will be firm to the touch and the crust will be lightly browned.

Let it cool slightly before slicing. Serve with a dollop of unsweetened whipped cream.

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