Cook. Nourish. Heal. Celebrate.

Posts tagged as holidays


Posted by Stephanie Meyer on Dec 21, 2011 at 2:03pm


It actually hurt me a little bit to bake a pan of popovers for the photo. I don’t miss many things since giving up gluten – mostly good beer, honestly – but oh, popovers! Truly the world’s most perfect butter delivery vehicle, soft and eggy, steamy and crusty, marvelously ragged with melted-butter-pooling crevices. In college, I would make myself a batch of twelve, eat eight hot out of the pan – with soft butter – then save four to fry the next morning – in melted butter.

I long for those days.

Make a gluten-free batch, you say? I’ve tried. They’re fine but not holy, not like real popovers, so I’m trying to make my peace with remembering how they taste. I was home alone with the batch pictured, so I just smelled them, watched them cool, put them away, and fried them in butter for my son the next morning to eat with maple syrup.


If you’re not as maniacal about butter as I am, keep in mind that popovers are phenomenal with roast beef, particularly beefy pan drippings. If you make a lovely roast for the holidays, use a bit of fat from the pan to grease the muffin tin and call them Yorkshire puddings.

Recipe for Popovers at Dara & Co./Minnesota Monthly Magazine.

Thanksgiving 2011

Posted by Stephanie Meyer on Nov 28, 2011 at 12:36pm

fried quail

Thanksgiving kicked off when my dad pulled up to the house last Tuesday afternoon, fresh from a quail hunt in Tennessee. My stepmom Susanna flew in a few hours later from Sheridan, Wyoming, their now home.

dad marinating quail

My house and kitchen were immediately improved. Dad sharpened my knives and starting halving and marinating quail in buttermilk and hot sauce. Susanna started washing dishes, straightening the house, and running loads of laundry. I felt a huge weight lift from my over-scheduled shoulders that can only come from guests who don’t ask what needs to be done, but just find things and jump in. Usually those guests are family members, but not always.

Whoever the hell they are, they are always welcome in my home.

Sasha came by for dinner Wednesday night, just home from her freshman year at Wellesley. It was so good to see her! While we all chatted, Dad fried the quail: After their buttermilk soak, he dredged them in flour (gluten-free AP for me, which worked like a charm), let them rest on a rack for 15 minutes or so, then fried them in a couple of inches of hot oil.

fried quail

My god. Tender-crispy-sublime. We devoured them.

Later that night David, Etta, and my cousin Craig arrived in various shifts from NYC and DC. I had big plans to stay awake to feed them late dinners. I even went for an almost-midnight walk, giddy in the balmy air, but upon return…I totally fell asleep.

Which was probably for the best, given my early-Thursday-morning playdate with butter and herbs and the big ol’ turkey that I had brined overnight Tuesday, then let dry out in the fridge overnight Wednesday. That one-two punch always yields ridiculously crispy skin, lightly salty, perfectly buttery. I hit it pretty hard while Dad carved the bird.

In fact, if I could eat just crispy turkey skin and a pile of stuffing and call it Thanksgiving dinner I’d be so happy.

herb roasted turkey

Which is why I am in fact I am happy, because that’s exactly what I did.

mashed potatoes with sour cream and chives

OK, I – as well as my uncles Bruce and Jim, aunts Mary and Marge, cousin Craig, brother David, sisters Stacey and Etta, John, Mom, Dad, and Susanna – also inhaled these amazing Melissa Clark sour cream mashed potatoes, prepared by Stacey & Susanna. They have earned a do-ahead spot on my Thanksgiving table, for sure. The chives are a particularly lovely addition, as is Parmesan cheese on top. We skipped the called-for breadcrumbs and didn’t miss them.

My aunt Mary brought green beans – no, not those green beans. Her version was fresh and simple – fresh beans tossed in an anchovy vinaigrette. Delicious.

cornbread dressing gluten-free

I was thrilled with the way the (gluten-free) cornbread stuffing turned out. I added both spicy and sweet sausage, mushrooms, plenty of fresh sage, and Parmesan cheese. We’ve been frying the leftovers for the last few days, to top with poached eggs… Goodness do that.

wild rice salad

My stepmom Susanna was the first to bring this gorgeous wild rice salad to the Thanksgiving table, sometime in the mid-90s, and one of us makes it every year, this year my aunt Mary. The citrus dressing is a welcome sweet-tangy palate cleanser in the midst of lots of buttery sausagey richness.

My mom made a cranberry-orange sauce and The Curry Diva herself, lovely Heather Jansz, gifted me a jar of her precious chutney. Both were stunning with the turkey, at the dinner table and on many sandwiches afterward.

I got too busy eating, talking, and drinking wine to snap a pic of my aunt Marge’s perfect pumpkin chiffon and pecan pies! No! Needless to say, they were attacked as usual. Gone baby gone. She is a master.

ruhlman oven stock turkey

I made this Michael Ruhlman oven stock from the carcass. It’s the best stock I’ve made and so easy! With the stock, turkey, and leftover mashed potatoes I made a shepherd’s pie, which we dug into last night. And turkey wild rice soup and latkes, which we ate Saturday night. And I’ll be making this Mark Bittman turkey & spinach coconut curry for tomorrow. (I’m taking a break from turkey today…I need a little breathing space. Uff.)

puppy jake

mom with etta

Mom’s cranberry sauce has appeared in three batches of muffins, one of which I brought with me to AM950 on Saturday morning, when I was on the Fresh & Local Show with Mike Madison of Unknown Prophets. We talked leftovers for an hour with host Susan Berkson and barely scratched the surface! The whole conversatoin left me starving so I came home and made myself a big batch of turkey nachos. I do so love turkey with chiles.

What fun have you been having with leftovers? I hope you all had a terrific holiday!

Pumpkin Cake

Posted by Stephanie Meyer on Nov 20, 2011 at 7:50am

pumpkin cake

Spicy, tender Pumpkin Cake to eat warm with whipped cream.

Lovely for dessert, but devoured ’round these parts…for breakfast! When we ran out of whipped cream I just poured heavy cream over warm pieces, in a bowl, and made my son very happy. A little grating of fresh nutmeg over the top is a nice finish.

Happy Almost Thanksgiving! Recipe for Pumpkin Cake at Dara & Co./Minnesota Monthly Magazine.

Cornbread Dressing

Posted by Stephanie Meyer on Nov 20, 2011 at 7:41am

cornbread dressing gluten-free

Last Thanksgiving was my first since giving up gluten, so to keep things easy, I just skipped eating my favorite part of my favorite meal…the dressing. Boo! I really missed it, as much as I dig turkey and mashed potatoes.

Which is very, very much.

This year, particularly since I’m hosting, I decided to play around a bit and see if I could come up with a gluten-free dressing. Even though it’s not my family’s tradition, I’m a big fan of cornbread dressing, loaded with sausage and fresh sage; given that cornbread can be made gluten-free quite nicely, it seemed a particularly tasty place to start.

The beauty of this dressing – and all dressing – is that you can add in whatever you like. Apples, nuts, wild rice, cheese, mushrooms, oysters, pork in any form, any herb, on and on.

Recipe for Cornbread Dressing at Dara & Co./Minnesota Monthly Magazine.

On the Lighter Side

Posted by Stephanie Meyer on Dec 27, 2010 at 12:01pm

grilled salmon salad with greens avocado

I am stuffed to the max from rich holiday foods.  Even though I was successful in avoiding gluten and grains, the salt really catches up to me.  Puff city.  And after a week of heavier foods, salads, fish, and brothy soups just sound so right to me.

While these recipes aren’t new, I thought you might appreciate having a few ideas for taking it down a notch this week.  Above is one of my favorite salads, Grilled Salmon with Greens & Avocado.  Warm salmon, cool greens, and a mustard vinaigrette hit the spot in any season.

chicken vegetable soup

I posted my aunt Mary’s Chicken Vegetable Soup at Dara & Co./Minnesota Monthly Magazine a few weeks ago.  It’s delicious anytime, and can be adapted to use up leftover turkey if you’re lucky enough to have some on hand.

grilled shrimp tostadas with spicy slaw

Grilled Shrimp Tostadas with Spicy Slaw are easy to mess around with.  Saute or broil the shrimp if your grill is buried in snow.  Skip the tortillas if you’re watching your grain intake.  The cool, crunchy slaw sets off the hot shrimp nicely.

Fried Chickpeas with Chorizo & Spinach

A pan of Fried Chickpeas with Chorizo & Spinach can be on the table in minutes and is hearty and spicy enough to chase away a chilly evening.  How do you wind things down when the holidays are over?

Last-Minute Labor Day Ideas!

Posted by Stephanie Meyer on Sep 6, 2010 at 10:15am

Happy Labor Day!  Are you stopping by for a little last-minute holiday cooking inspiration?  I have to confess that this day rather snuck up on me too – denial that summer is ending, I suppose.  If you’re running to the market today, wanting to pull something festive together for later this evening, here are some quick-to-make ideas:

Pork Tenderloin Tacos, easy to pull together, fun to eat, great for a crowd
Souvlaki, more pork (as you know, I do love pork), packed with flavor and everyone’s favorite, especially with copious amounts of grilled naan or pita bread
Perfect Burgers, topped with whatever your heart desires, nothing more to say
Summer Tomato Soup, since it’s a bit chilly out there, alongside Grilled Corn – a meatless meal, straight from the farmers market
Grilled Steaks with Herb Butter feel decadent and celebratory, but are really easy and fast to make (shhh!)
Farmer’s Market Potato Salad, substitute green beans for asparagus, enjoy the delicious basil vinaigrette for weeks on everything
Gazpacho with Poached Eggs Over Potato-Green Pepper Pancakes, my personal fave lazy-day meal of the season

And for dessert, Blueberry Kuchen, baby, The Dessert of Summer 2010! It’s my dear friend Susie’s recipe, and won the Kingfield Market Berry Bake-Off when I submitted it earlier this summer.  Substitute other fruit for blueberries (as my friend Kelli at I Had A Delicious Time beautifully did) if you like.  Plums, peaches, apples…just don’t forget the whipped or ice cream to melt over the top, mmm.

No matter what you make or eat, enjoy the end of summer, friends. Here’s to a lovely fall!

Ooh! Aah!

Posted by Stephanie Meyer on Jul 5, 2010 at 3:59pm

I cooked my brains out this weekend and loved every minute of it.  See Saturday’s results -  icy cold gazpacho, as well as poached eggs over potato pancakes – below.  Both are new favorites, and why not?  Crunchy, creamy, salty.  Pretty much everything I crave.

So where, you might wonder, are the pics of Sunday’s pork ribs, coleslaw, crushed potatoes with garlic & preserved lemon, and mini-burgers?  Well…

…I hate to say it, but the Annual Super Duper Shubert Coopster July 4th Celebration meal went largely unphotographed.  Turns out, I am terrible at entertaining and taking pictures at the same time.  Cory Shubert took the pics above and below – thanks man!

Luckily I possessed a no-fail pork ribs pic from when I posted the recipe on Dara & Co./Minnesota Monthly mag’s blog a few weeks ago.  If you look hard enough, you’ll see that these are everyone’s favorite ribs, falling-off-the-bone-tender with a crusty, spicy-sweet glaze.  It’s harder to see that they’re ridiculously easy, making them the perfect party food.  But it’s true.  If you give them a try, let me know.

I’m kicking myself for not snapping pics of the coleslaw and crushed potatoes – you’ll just have to take my word for it that both turned out so pretty.  I added sliced cucumber, quartered cherry tomatoes, and crispy bacon to the coleslaw.  Good move, I recommend all three additions.  The recipe for the excellent potatoes, via The Pioneer Woman (with the addition of garlic and preserved lemon), is below.  You could boil the potatoes a couple of hours ahead of time, keep them at room temperature, then crush (crash!) and roast them right before sitting down to dinner.

For dessert, Suz brought her now-famous blueberry kuchen, one of the best desserts on the planet.  Also easy (see a pattern?) – make it now through the end of the summer, when blueberries are at their peak.  Serve warm with a scoop of melty ice cream – fireworks in your mouth and a real crowd pleaser.

If you make it, take a pic and send it to me!

So there it is.  Another 4th of July, another summer celebration.  We swam, we sipped, we grilled, we ate.  We laughed our butts off, doused ourselves in bug spray, and hauled our chairs out onto lovely Interlachen Golf Course for fireworks.  The rain held off, the fireworks dazzled, and we made our way home to bed.  Oooh.


I hope you all had a great 4th!

Crash Hot Potatoes
Adapted from The Pioneer Woman
Serves 6

12 whole new potatoes
4 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. chopped rosemary (or other fresh herbs)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 of a whole preserved lemon, seeds discarded, minced (I find jars of whole preserved lemons at Whole Foods)
coarse salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400F.  Bring a pot of salted water to boil.  Add potatoes and cook them until they are fork-tender.

While the potatoes cook, add heat 2 Tbsp. olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat.  Add the rosemary and garlic and saute until garlic is fragrant and just softening, about 4 minutes.  Stir in preserved lemon and set aside.

Drizzle the remaining 2 Tbsp. of olive oil on a baking sheet and spread evenly.  Drain potatoes and place tender potatoes on the cookie sheet leaving plenty of room between each potato.

With a potato masher, gently press down each potato until it slightly crushes, rotate the potato masher 90 degrees and crush lightly again.  Spoon a bit of the garlic oil on each potato, using all the oil.  Sprinkle the potatoes lightly with salt.

Place potatoes in the oven and roast for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.  Grind black pepper over the hot potatoes and serve immediately.

“Oh, this pool is as warm as a Turkish Bath!” – Sullivan Shubert, age 8, in response to How’s the water Sully?, July 4, 2010
“I love these hamburgers so much I want to marry them, but the funeral won’t be long after…” – Sullivan Shubert, age 7, regarding mini-hamburgers, July 4, 2009
“They start big but end fast, like a good sneeze.” – Sullivan Shubert, age 6, explaining fireworks to Cooper, July 4, 2008
“Wow, those would make Vivian feel fancy!” – Sullivan Shubert, age 4, regarding super-sparkly fireworks, July 4, 2006