New Year’s Eve Pasta – 2009 Edition

My wife made a wonderful pasta dish for tonight’s New Year’s Eve supper. She made it up as she went along – something she likes to do and is very good at! I tried to capture the process in real-time!

Here’s the gist:

  • Bring 6 qts water to a boil over high heat, add 2 Tbsp salt, add 1 lb fettucine. Cook al dente and drain pasta.
  • While waiting for the pasta water to boil, heat 3 Tbsp olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat.
  • Add 3 diced shallots and 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes and saute quickly.
  • Add 8-10 oz sliced cremini mushrooms, season with salt and pepper. Saute the mushrooms until softened, about 5 min.
  • Add 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth, 5 cut-up pieces of cooked bacon, 1/2 lb thin, sliced asparagus and 6 Roma sliced tomatoes (peeled or peel after cooking a bit).
  • Cook stirring gently for 2 minutes. Stir in 3/4 cup heavy cream (or 1/2 cup cream and 1/4 cup red wine). Immediately reduce heat and cook until thickened.

That’s it – a very tasty pasta dish for New Year’s Eve. Serve with a special red wine (we served ours with a wonderful Copain Anderson Valley Pinot Noir that was a Christmas gift from good friends)

Happy New Year! Best wishes for a wonderful 2010!

Christmas Dinner: A Dry-Brined and High-Heat Upside Down Turkey

Merry Christmas!

Today, for our Christmas dinner 2009, we’ll be cooking a 14-lb Diestel turkey that we’ve dry-brined this week using this recipe from an article in the Los Angeles Times. Dry brining requires thinking ahead – like three days ahead when the turkey needs to be salted and tucked away in the back of the refrigerator.

We’ll be cooking the bird today using our high-heat upside down roast turkey recipe, a family favorite that produces wonderful results.

Friends are bringing a couple of side dishes to have along with the stuffing we’ll be making. Yum! – getting hungry already!

Update: Just a quick note to report that the Christmas turkey turned out to be excellent – moist white meat, great flavor! Our little experiment in dry-brining the holiday bird was a big success! Thanks to Russ Parsons for his article and recipe!

Some Tips on Pinot Noir for Thanksgiving Dinner

Last week, the Wall St. Journal’s Tastings column by Dorothy Gaiter and John Brecher features a list of pinot noirs they recommend for Thanksgiving dinner.

While they personally say they prefer a great aged Cabernet Sauvignon with their turkey, many folks prefer the lighter Pinot Noir. They note that “Pinot Noir, at its best, has elegant, sometimes earthy tastes that would pair well with Thanksgiving dinner without adding yet another big, challenging taste to the table.”

What’s on their list? (Click here for the complete article):

We’re also partial to the Navarro Pinot Noir Méthode à l’Ancienne from the Anderson Valley in Mendocino county. Navarro is one of our favorite wineries and their Pinot is a delight! Enjoy!

Are you doing the cooking the turkey this Thanksgiving and looking for a great recipe? Be sure to checkout our all-time most popular recipe: Scott’s High Heat Upside-Down Roast Turkey Recipe!

Looking for something other than turkey? Here’s another all-time favorite: Scott’s ‘Lazy-S’ Easy Oven-Roasted Tri-Tips!

Aunt Maxine’s Strawberry-Blueberry Spinach Salad

We had this special – and delicious – Strawberry-Blueberry Spinach Salad with our ham and tri-tips on Christmas Eve this year. The combination of flavors is just amazing! This is a delicious and easy to make spinach salad that everyone will enjoy.

Salad Ingredients

  • 1 (6-oz.) package of baby spinach
  • 8 oz. (1-1/2 cups) fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced in half
  • 1/2 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1 medium cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup red onion, sliced in thin wedges
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds

Dressing Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp. poppy seed

Directions

  1. Mix dressing ingredients until well blended. If necessary, cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
  2. In large salad bowl, mix and toss the salad ingredients.
  3. When ready to serve, pour dressing over salad to lightly coat.

Enjoy!