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2012 holds many new culinary adventures for Amanda and I, and we want to make sure we're sharing our stories as best we can. Since YOU'RE the one reading our blog, we'd love to hear your feedback! Let us know what works, what doesn't, and what you'd like us to feature on the blog. More health tips? more meatless recipes? more reviews?

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Leftover Recipe: Turkey Pot Pie

This week end, A hosted his hockey team (and a few more friends) for our - now annual - Christmas potluck dinner. Everyone brought some amazing dishes to the table, meaning there was definitely enough food to fill up our 21 little gluttonous bellies! Among them, my mamma's turkey recipe was a big hit!

There was so much food however, that there was A LOT of turkey left over. As much as I love my turkey, there was no way I was going to finish the portion I took home with me (which was essentially half the turkey meat) - especially with C going back home for the holidays. That's why I decided to make turkey pot pies that I could freeze and eat when I have lost all my energy from eating too much over the Christmas break.

Using a filling I found on allrecipes.com, I made the most amazing turkey pot pie. Granted it's not the healthiest one (with close to 500 calories per serving - although it does contain some good veggies and lean meat), but it's definitely one that everyone could appreciate. For the crust, I used the dough I made for the spinach pies, which turned out to be more of a bread than a pie crust, but it still turned out delicious! :)

Here we go. For the filling of 2 pies (because the 1 dough recipe is enough for 2 pies):

  • 1 dough recipe, or any pie crust recipe you prefer
  • 4 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 2 small onions, minced
  • 4 stalks celery, chopped
  • 4 carrots, diced
  • 4 tablespoons dried parsley
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 1/2 cups of chicken stock
  • 6 potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 3 cups cooked turkey
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 pie shells

  1. If you don't have already made dough/pie crust, make that first and set aside for an hour and a half (as per the recipe).
  2. In the meantime, melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a large sauce pan over medium heat; add the onion, celery, carrots, parsley, oregano, and salt and pepper. Cook and stir until the vegetables are soft. Stir in the chicken stock. Bring mixture to a boil. Stir in the potatoes, and cook until tender but still firm.
  3. In a medium skillet, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. Stir in the turkey and flour. Add the milk, and heat through (yes, you've just created a turkey bechamel sauce. delish!). Stir the turkey mixture into the vegetable mixture, and cook until thickened and remove from heat.
  4. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F.
  5. Once your dough is ready, split it in 4 parts. Roll out 2 parts into bottom crusts and place them in your pie shells.
  6. Pour the turkey mixture into the unbaked pie shell. Roll out the top crusts, and place on top of the filling. Flute edges, and make 4 slits in the top crust to let out steam.
  7. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F, and continue baking for 20 minutes, or until crust is golden brown.

Enjoy your delicious pies or bring them over when you visit family and friends during the holiday season, along with a good bottle of Chardonnay! :)

Happy holidays everyone!

- CK

Unquenchable: A Tipsy Quest for the World's Best Bargain Wines by Natalie MacLean


Unquenchable by Natalie MacLean
Doubleday Canada, 2011
$29.95 CAN (also available as an ebook)

Though CK and I throw back our share of the red wines in this world (and have a damned good time doing it too! Not to mention the actual “wine-throwing” incident...), we’ve both always not-so-secretly wished that we knew more about the wines we were buying and drinking. We both love to learn, and wanted to understand what makes a wine tick, and how to get the most out of any delicious experience (and maybe more importantly, how to turn wines that make us screw up our faces into wines we love by pairing them more appropriately), but we also both really appreciate the bigger picture that contextualizes our purchases, particularly those that go in our mouths. We needed help, particularly as the wonderfully wine-soaked holiday season approached.

AGerman Riesling and Argentinean Malbec:
two delicious wines recommended in Unquenchable
Enter Natalie MacLean’s latest read, Unquenchable: this journey through 8 wine regions, with blessedly specific emphasis on local treasures, serves up a delightful blend of personal travel narrative, wine tasting, pairing, and (best of all) drinking tips for the aspiring oenophile. The book is made mighty by a really satisfying socio-cultural and historical exploration of the worlds and conditions (not to mention a good dose of accessible and fascinating scientific explanation) that bring some of MacLean’s favorite wines to life. Readers who care more about where their wine is really from, and who put their heart, souls, (and sometimes fingers or feet) into it, more than what’s on the label description, will be truly grateful for this human side of wine. Moreover, this isn’t one of those books that will make you feel shabby about your 10$ safety-net Shiraz; instead, Unquenchable is all about introducing the reader to remarkably budget-friendly vintages from around the world. MacLean pulls even the most impressive wines down off their lofty pedestals, turning them into stories and experiences best shared with friends and family, in sloshing raised glasses, to hearty toasts, and belly cheer. Her travels and discoveries are punctuated by memorable information, and followed up by helpful short lists of the chapters’ best value products and producers, sure-fire food pairings, and other handy tools to take to the liquor store.

Argentinean malbec from Mendoza paired
with cheddar cheese and dark chocolate
Other novice wine readers like ourselves might feel a tad disoriented by what is probably very basic wine language, and might regret the lack of a glossary, however one of the perks of Unquenchable is that it prefers storytelling over taxonomy, and so even the newcomer to the ins and outs of wine will feel at home. That being said, having a dictionary (okay, the internet) on hand, will give readers quick insight into what things like tannins are. Though, even without definitions, the stories soon compensate for any vocabulary that isn’t immediately obvious.
Unquenchable will reignite the desire for new experiences in anyone who has settled into a stable wine routine, and will give you lots of good reasons to try things you never thought you would. MacLean makes pairing easy and exciting (thanks to a beautifully written chapter about Argentina, CK and I are currently recovering from an Argentinean-Malbec-and-cheddar-cheese-bliss-coma that everyone should try at least once), and leaves the reader room to make the experience of wine choosing and drinking as thoughtful (or as purely sensual) as they want it to be. 
Unquenchable makes a great holiday gift for any wine lover this year, and is an excellent addition for anyone who loves to travel. Be prepared: it’s not only your yen for wine culture and experience that will become unquenchable, but also your desire to see the places MacLean gifts to her readers in such living detail. Natalie MacLean’s thirst for life and living is part of the true pleasure of this read, and it’s a pleasure we hope she’ll keep on sharing.
Unquenchable is ripe for the picking at your local book retailer or online at http://www.nataliemaclean.com/, where you can find lots of other great resources.

Winter Beef Stew

Winter cold hasn't really hit us yet, but here in Canada, that only means very cold months ahead. That's why this hearty beef stew is the perfect dish for those upcoming cold winter evenings. It'll warm you up and fill you up so you can go to bed satisfied.

This very simple recipe, that I slightly changed from this one, requires:

  • 2 to 2 1/2 pounds very lean beef stew meat
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 2 cups chopped onions
  • 1/2 cup sliced celery
  • 5 large potatoes, cut in eighths
  • 4 or 5 large carrots, cut in 2-inch slices
  • 1 teaspoon of 7 spices (this can be found in middle eastern markets. If you don't have this, you can simply use pepper).
  • salt
  • 1 can condensed tomato soup

You can either prepare this in a Crockpot or on the stove top. I did it on the stove top and this is what I did:

  1. In a large pan, brown stew meat in oil. 
  2. Add chopped onions and sliced celery and cook until tender. 
  3. Add vegetables and 7 spices
  4. Add soup and a soup can of water. 
  5. Simmer over lowest heat for about 2 to 2 1/2 hours, or until meat and vegetables are tender. Add more water as needed.

Crockpot Directions: Do steps 1 and 2. Then, transfer the mixture into the Crockpot along with all other ingredients, cook on LOW for 8-10 hours or on HIGH for 5-6 hours. Add water if necessary.