Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Pre Thanksgiving Prep Work

It's 2:45 and I am at work running through all the prep work I need to do for Thanksgiving dinner. (Remind me why I agreed to work midnight to 7:00 am?) I've got peppers to chop, turnips to peel and cut, ground turkey sausage to cook for the stuffing, chestnuts to roast; The list goes on and on. It certainly is going to be a busy day sister's Kim and Megan are taking care of ALL of the desserts so that is a BIG load out of the way & my brother Bob is coming over on Turkey day to help in the kitchen. He's also a good cook but doesn't take direction very well so we will just stay on opposite sides of the kitchen and get done what needs to be finished.

Anyhow, back to the matters at hand. Wednesday's prep work. I'm making two soups for Thanksgiving dinner. Butternut Squash (recipe in previous post) and Spicy Tomato Bisque. Both of these soups need to be made the day before because there just isn't the time to do them on Thursday and I need to do the other things I listed above too.

A couple interesting things I am making are the Spicy Tomato Bisque Soup and Nutty Green Beans w/ Bacon & Blue Cheese (Not my recipe. Credit goes to Claire Robinson of TV's The Food Network). Below I am going to post both recipes and I hope you enjoy them.

Spicy Tomato Bisque Soup

4 oz. brie cheese
4 slices of rye bread
1 (28 ounce) can tomato puree
1 teaspooon red pepper flakes 

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon white sugar
1/4 cup whole milk
4 ounces cream cheese, cubed
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves 
Sriracha sauce, to taste.

Preheat the oven or a toaster oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Spread the Brie cheese onto two slices of bread, and top with remaining slices. Place on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for about 8 minutes, turning once halfway through. Cut in half, and set aside.

In a saucepan over medium heat, stir together the tomato puree, red pepper flakes, black pepper, basil, and sugar. Bring to a simmer, and cook for 10 minutes.

Whisk in the cream cheese until well blended, then stir in the milk. Heat through without bringing to a boil. Stir in the fresh basil, and remove from the heat. Taste for heat quotient. If more heat is needed, add Srirachi sauce a little at a time and whisk well into soup until you get the heat you desire.

To serve, place each sandwich half into a separate bowl. Ladle soup over each sandwich.

Nutty Greens with Bacon and Blue Cheese


  • Kosher salt
  • 1 pound haricots verts, trimmed
  • 3 slices bacon
  • 4 ounces blue cheese, cut into small chunks
  • 1 1/2 cups toasted whole pecans, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the haricots verts and cook for about 2 minutes. Remove the beans from the water and immediately place in a bowl of ice water. Remove the haricots verts from the ice water and set aside in a medium bowl.
In a large saute pan, over medium heat, cook the bacon until crisp. Remove the bacon and place on paper towels. Add the beans to the bacon drippings and cook over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the blue cheese and toss just until it starts to melt. Break the cooked bacon into bite-size pieces and add to pan. Finish by stirring in the toasted chopped pecans. Season with the freshly ground black pepper and just a tiny pinch of kosher salt. When you make this it should be the last item on your menu that you prepare because it's best served hot, right out of the pan. This is an amazing side dish that will knock the socks off of your guests. If you want to impress someone, this is your dish!

Earlier I was speaking of all the prep work I am doing today for Thanksgiving. Good kitchen tools are a must and you don't have to get killed on price to have good stuff. I check reviews before buying and have gotten some really good deals.

My cutting board is a 11 1/4" x 11 1/4" end grain bamboo cutting board. I've had it for two years and with a little care it still looks as good as the day I first used it.
Here's a link to the cutting board I have:

Good knives are also important so that you can work precisely, effortlessly, and without injury. Again, you don't have to spend a fortune to get good knives. You can pick up a decent set for under $75.00 easily. I have a pretty basic set I use at home that is made by Master Cutlery and endorsed by (don't laugh) Top Chef, the TV series. These knives are incredibly balanced and I haven't had to sharpen them more than twice in the 18 months I have had them & these are my everyday around the house knives.

You can take a look at my knives here:

Top Chef 5-Piece Knife Set by Master Cutlery

Last but not least, may each of my American friends have a Happy Thanksgiving & remember the reason for the day off (Hint: It's not to stuff your face until you explode or so that you can go get in line for the Black Friday deals). Give thanks for the important things in your life, especially the ones we take for granted on a daily basis. Peace out!

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