Alabama Hot Brown

From the Brown Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky comes their 1920’s creation of an open-faced turkey sandwich with bacon, tomato slices and a cheese sauce (their recipe here) called a Kentucky Hot Brown.

My version is a little different. I’m using Thanksgiving leftovers so we’re ladling on gravy instead of cheese sauce because gravy goes well on everything. As tomatoes are out of season, we are using some tomato jam.

Mom had me spread leftover cranberry sauce on hers instead of the tomato jam and it paired really well, especially with the Muenster cheese I put on hers and which shows the versatility of this sandwiches’ construction.

The sandwich is a delicious change from the usual leftover, post-Turkey day fare and will fill up those Black Friday shoppers’ bellies.

This recipe is for 4 people but it scales up if you’re serving a larger crowd.

Alabama Hot Brown

4 slices of thick sandwich bread
1 cup gravy
½ cup of tomato jam or one large, vine ripened tomato, sliced thinly
8 thick slices roast turkey breast
8 slices bacon, cooked to crispy
4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated

Lightly toast the sandwich bread and set on a rimmed baking sheet.

Warm the gravy in a double boiler so it doesn’t thicken too much.

Set the broiler on low and put the rack in the middle of the oven.

Spread a layer of tomato jam on the toast or place thin slices of tomato on it. Place 2 slices of turkey (or more to cover) on each piece of bread. Place bacon on top. Generously cover with spoonfuls of gravy and sprinkle with cheese.

Place the baking sheet into the broiler and roast until cheese is melty. Serve immediately.

Olive Egg Salad

There is just something about an egg salad sandwich for Easter. Especially with briny olives.

Start with 2 eggs per person and adjust below recipe to your taste.

6 eggs
¼ cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon yellow mustard
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
¼ cup Spanish/Manzanilla olives, chopped plus 1 teaspoon brine from jar.

Stir to combine, taste for seasoning. If you want extra crunch, add a stalk of celery, diced.

Serve on toasted bread.

 

Meringue Bones

I’ve always loved Halloween. Part of the joy of living in cities like San Francisco and New Orleans is they are the perfect places for adults to costume and party and enjoy All Hallows Eve.

One of my favorites is making meringues in the shape of bones. These are pretty easy and very tasty.

Meringue Bones

2 large egg whites, room temperature
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 170 degrees F.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Beat eggs on medium until frothy. Sprinkle on the cream of tartar and continue to beat until soft peaks form. Increase the speed and add in the sugar. Continue to beat until the egg whites are glossy and stiff peaks form. Add in vanilla and mix until just combined.

Pipe the meringues onto the prepared baking sheet. To form bones, place two dots connected by a long line and two additional dots.

Bake for 2 hours or until you can easily peel the meringues off the parchment paper. Turn off the oven and let cool completely inside for a couple of hours or overnight if your house isn’t too humid.

Store in an airtight container or they will become soggy.

Grilled Turkey Breast

I confess that I’m not much of a turkey fan, except in sandwiches. For that reason, I don’t cook a whole bird for Thanksgiving but rather get just the breast – either bone in or boneless. I also grill it, so that the oven is free for all the treats and trimmings that go with the meal.

Boneless turkey breast cooks faster than bone-in

My recipe is very simple:

3 lb turkey breast
3 tablespoons butter, melted
salt

About an hour before you’re ready to start cooking, pull the turkey from the refrigerator. Soak a few wood chips before building your fire.

Rub the melted butter all over the turkey. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Set the coals for indirect cooking. I usually do a set up on two sides of the grill. Place a drip pan below where you are going to set the bird. Put on the upper grill and clean it with a wire brush before oiling the grate. Set your turkey down and let cook for 1 hour.

Go in and remove the drip pan if you’re making gravy. Take the turkey’s temperature – done is when the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F. Baste with butter. Continue to cook until it reaches that safe temperature, checking every 15 minutes and basting with butter. Bone in will take longer to cook than boneless.

Remove from grill when done. Let rest for 15-20 minutes before slicing and serving.

Remembrance Cookies

It is All Hallows Day. While we remember loved ones who have transitioned, we might as well enjoy a cookie or three, too. Even though we made them in the shape of skulls, the recipe below isn’t for the traditional Mexican sugar skull cookies for Day of the Dead.

Instead, we made Rosemary Remembrance Cookies. Rosemary is an herb that has long been associated with memory and fidelity and is a symbol for both weddings and funerals. As Ophelia recites:

“There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance. Pray you, love, remember.”
William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act 4, Scene 5

The original recipe is by Callie Watts with the addition of more rosemary as regular readers know I’m mad about the rosemary!

We had fun finger painting them after they cooled

Remembrance Cookies

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 tablespoons chopped rosemary
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon salt

Heat oven to 375 degrees F.

In a large bowl, beat sugar, butter, egg, vanilla, almond extract, and rosemary until creamy. In a separate bowl, sift flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt.

Fold flour mixture into sugar mixture, a 1/2 cup at a time until combined.

Beat until dough forms, refrigerate for an hour. After the rest, remove from the fridge and divide in three pieces.

Roll out one portion to 3/16 of an inch on a floured surface. Use biscuit or cookie cutters to cut out shapes and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Repeat rolling and cutting until all the dough is used.

Bake for 7 minutes. Cool on wire racks before eating as is or using decorator icing to make designs. Store in an airtight container.

 

Brains! Milk Jelly Brains!!

Michelle’s nephew had a Plants vs Zombies themed birthday party at her house and they left behind the brain mold. I gave it a thorough scrubbing and then tossed a can of evaporated milk in the refrigerator so the next day I could make Milk Jelly Brains! Using the milk turns the gelatin wonderfully creamy and, when you use a flavor like blackberry, it becomes a thick pinkish and very brain-like!

2 boxes of flavored gelatin
2 cups boiling water
1 12 ounce can evaporated milk, refrigerated overnight

Place gelatin into a large mixing bowl. Stir boiling water into the gelatin. Let stand on the counter to cool down a bit. You don’t want it to cool to setting; just until the water is close to room temperature. Shake the can of evaporated milk well and then pour into the gelatin. Whisk until totally combined. Pour into a lightly oiled mold. Let set for at least 4 hours or overnight.

To unmold, loosen top edge with a knife. Set the mold in warm water up to the rim for about 10 seconds. Cover with a serving plate and then invert the mold. Give it a jiggle and it should come right out.