Monday, November 18, 2013

Tarnishing the Brand

Yesterday was a run-through for Thanksgiving dinner, which means not everything had to be traditional. For example, I did not stuff the turkey, hoping to spend less time working on it on Sunday. Instead, my husband and I each made stuffing that we baked separately. That worked out just fine, but I doubt he'll go along with it for Thanksgiving itself.

Since I picked up a fresh turkey at Costco on Friday, I decided to try a dry rub instead of a brine and I used the mix I found in the February issue of Bon Appetit, with star anise, fennel seeds, fresh thyme, hot pepper flakes, brown sugar and kosher salt. The rub worked well and everyone enjoyed the turkey. Unfortunately, the rub proved too much for the Cuisinart Spice and Nut Grinder I bought from Sur La Table.

I'd wanted an actual spice grinder for some time. When the coffee grinder was one of the losses from the house fire, I had an excuse to buy one made for spices. I think I had a discount at Sur La Table after taking a class and they had the Cuisinart in stock, so I bought it. Unfortunately, I can't remember when exactly I bought it (certainly within the past two years, because it did not precede the purchase of the new house.) I did not actually use it until Saturday.

It ground to a complete and utter stop. I thought it might have just overheated, so I let it cool off. Dead as a door knob.

I am very disappointed. I suspect it is too late to return it. I no longer have the box, although I guarantee I've got the receipt somewhere in a box. I own a lot of products with the Cuisinart name--I still have my original food processor, purchased in 1978, and it works just fine. But this item did not live up to expectations.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Roasted Radishes

Every year, I like to try a new dish at Thanksgiving to add to the standbys. Four or five years ago, I learned how to make a sweet potato souffle, which has been a huge success and beats the hell out of the sweet potatoes with marshmallows everyone seems to expect and then won't eat. This year, I gave roasted radishes a try. I'm still stunned by the approval ratings.

The dish was prompted by the many bunches of radishes that were arriving twice a month in my farm box. Like fresh tomatoes, I think I'm the only person in my house who will eat the fresh radishes, so they were piling up in the refrigerator. I stumbled upon a recipe on-line and realized it would be a quick fix during the busy prep that is Thanksgiving. It also turns out to give a lovely burst of color to the table and it could not be easier.

Remove the greenery and long root from three bunches of radishes and scrub the bulbs. Coat the radishes with a layer of olive oil and spread on a roasting pan. Generously sprinkle with kosher salt and fresh herbs (thyme and rosemary are good choices.) Stick the pan in an available space in the oven (I think I used a temperature of 375F, but I've seen 425F suggested.) Cook for 30-40 minutes, stirring as you have time, until tender but not mushy.

As I said, very easy. And very good.