Today’s Featured Recipes: Turkey Crepes with Pistachio Pesto

Turkey Crepes with Pistachio Pesto

Tony’s talking turkey this morning on North Dakota Today with Chris and Andrea, and is sharing two of our favorite Thanksgiving-inspired recipes: Turkey Crepes with Pistachio Pesto.

CLICK HERE to WATCH TONY on NORTH DAKOTA TODAY

Turkey Crepes are an elegant and creative way to utilize leftover turkey meat, or to put a new twist on your Thanksgiving Day menu. The focus of these two recipes is simplicity – these are elegant, yet uncomplicated dishes that you can easily make right at home. Tony even gives us permission to skip the hassle of making crepes from scratch, and encourages us to find fresh ones in the produce department of our local grocery store. As a busy mom, I love any kind of tip that helps me save time – thanks, Tony!

The pistachio pesto couldn’t be easier to make, but don’t let that fool you – with its wonderful nuttiness and buttery flavor, this pesto takes these basic turkey crepes to the next level. This pesto is incredibly versatile, and could also be used with chicken or fish, or even as a dip with hearty crackers. For this recipe, Tony uses pre-shelled and salted pistachios, so no additional salt needs to be added to the pesto.

CLICK HERE for the Turkey Crepes RECIPE

CLICK HERE for the Pistachio Pesto RECIPE

 Be sure to check out our Thanksgiving 101 section here on the blog for Tony’s Top Ten Turkey Tips (T to the 5th), Thanksgiving Wine Pairings and Turkey Thawing Guidelines.

Twenty Years Ago Today…

Twenty Years Ago Today, I woke up, went to the hair salon, and came out with amazingly big 80s hair, for the first, and only, time in my life. So grateful to have this image captured on film for our son to ridicule.

I also married the love of my life. I can’t believe it’s been 20 years, Tony…we made it! We have filled these 20 years with so many adventures, journeys, dreams, accomplishments, new beginnings, and love. Thank you for being my friend, husband, antagonist, champion, partner, lover, and the father to the other love of my life, Gio.

I look forward to enjoying the next 20 years with you, and love our new vow to fill them with dancing, date nights, dining with friends and whatever else life might throw at us.

This Thanksgiving I am grateful that, twenty years ago, a boy with the biggest brown eyes I had ever seen asked if he could carry my duffel bag aboard the M/V World Discoverer. He won my heart that day, forever, and I’m so glad that he chose to get lost with me.

Ti amo moltissimo, per me sei tutto, bello. Happy anniversary, Tony!

Whipped/Mashed Potatoes Q&A: How do I…?

As we expected, potatoes are a popular topic, especially at this time of year. We’ve received a couple of really good questions from our readers about our Whipped Potatoes recipe, and our answers are below:

Marilyn H. writes:
“Love the mashed potato ideas…but how do you strain a pot of potatoes, then put them back in the kettle on medium high heat for 10 minutes without scorching /burning them?”

Tony says:
Great question, Marilyn, and thanks so much for asking us. Of course, every stove is different, so what works on ours may not necessarily work on yours. If you think medium-high will be too hot on your stove, start out at a lower heat, and stir frequently.

If your pot seems to be getting too hot, remove it from the burner for a minute or two, adjust your heat down, and return it to the heat for another minute or two. If the potatoes seem to be getting a little brown, just remove from the heat – they should be ready. Five to ten minutes of extra cooking should be ample.

If you pay attention to the potatoes throughout this process, you should have good results.

M.B. asks:
“Can I make whipped potatoes ahead of time and keep them warm in a crock pot?”

Tony says:
Another great question – who wants to eat cold potatoes? The answer is a resounding yes, the crock pot is a great way to hold the whipped/mashed potatoes until you’re ready to serve them. Just follow these easy steps, and your potatoes should stay warm for up to 4 hours:

  1. Prep the crock pot: Grease the inside of the pot with butter, and pour a small amount of heavy cream into the pot (approx. 1 to 2 tablespoons).
  2. To keep food in the “safe-serving” zone, make sure you transfer the potatoes to the crock pot while they’re still warm – re-heating refrigerated food in a slow cooker is a no-no.
  3. Set the crock pot on LOW and stir at least once an hour, for up to four hours before serving.
  4. Stir the potatoes again before serving, as the cream may tend to separate.

Joyce G. asks:
” I enjoy reading your columns and am planning to make your whipped potatoes for our Thanksgiving meal.  Your recipe specifies unsalted butter, but I only have the regular salted version on hand.  Is it ok to use that and just cut down on the added kosher salt?  How much salt should I use?  Thanks for your help!”

Tony says:
Very good question – Yes, you may use salted butter for this recipe. Taste the potatoes as they’re being mixed and then add kosher salt according to your taste. I would start with a half-teaspoon first and go from there.

The reason we use unsalted butter in all of our recipes is that this allows us to control the level of salt in the recipe, according to our taste. This is a classic rule among professional chefs, but many home cooks are accustomed to using salted butter.

Karen K. asks:

“How do you heat your make-ahead whipped potatoes?”

Tony says:
While there are whipped potato recipes geared for the purpose of making them well in advance of serving, ours isn’t one of them. For best results, we recommend serving the potatoes immediately once they’re ready. *See above answers for heating instructions.

Nona O. asks:
“Can I cook the mashed potatoes a day ahead and then re-heat in the oven the next day like in the morning and then put into a crock pot to keep warm until afternoon serving time?”

Sarah says:
We would not recommend doing this for this particular recipe, as we feel that the potatoes will just be too dry when it’s time to serve them. Instead, I’m going to recommend a recipe from Ree Drummond (a.k.a., The Pioneer Woman), which uses cream cheese.

My grandmother used to make a dish very similar to this one, which she would prepare the day before and bake on Thanksgiving day. To be honest, we don’t know how these will keep once transferred to a crock pot, but if you go this route, add a little cream to the pot before the potatoes go in, and be sure to stir every so often. Hopefully, that should work for you.

Here is Ree Drummond’s mashed potato recipe: http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2007/11/delicious_creamy_mashed_potatoes/

Nona O. asks:
“Would you provide information on how one should re-heat the Sarello’s Whipped Potatoes. Temperature, time and any other suggestions”

Tony says:
Great question, Nona, thank you for asking it. For cold whipped potatoes, we recommend the following:

Place potatoes in a sauté pan over medium to medium-high heat. Add a 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup of cream, and stir constantly to soften the potatoes and work the cream in. Keep stirring until well mixed and hot. If the potatoes start to dry up, add more cream. This process will take about 5 to 10 minutes.

CLICK HERE for the Sarello’s Classic Whipped Potato Recipe

If you have any questions you need answered before Thanksgiving, feel free to post them here on the blog or send us an email to dine@sarellos.com.

Be sure to check out our THANKSGIVING 101 section, which has Tony’s Top Ten Turkey Tips, Thawing Guideilnes, Wine Pairings, and Recipes.

Remember: We’re here for you, and you CAN do this! 🙂

Thanksgiving Prep: Our Top 8 Things To Do THIS Weekend…

Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and early preparation is the KEY to a successful holiday for your guests AND YOU. Below is our list of the Top 8 things to get done during the weekend before Thanksgiving. We hope our suggestions will help you get and stay organized during the crazy lead-up to Turkey Day.

This weekend:

  1. Make a list of all the foods you’re preparing and write down the serving dishes and utensils each dish will require. Check your inventory and purchase any items you may need.
  2. Plan which LINENS (tablecloth, napkins, etc.) you will be using, and wash/iron them this weekend or purchase new ones if needed.
  3. Check your storage container and plastic bag inventory and stock up if necessary.
  4. Clean out your refrigerator and pantry to make sure you have ample room to store the ingredients and completed dishes.
  5. Review your recipes, prepare your grocery list and do most of your shopping this weekend.
  6. Check the timing for each recipe to determine what can be done in advance, and schedule the time on your calendar for each recipe.
  7. If you plan to buy a frozen turkey, it has to be purchased this weekend to allow ample time for thawing. You’ll need about 1 pound of uncooked turkey for each guest.
  8. Check out my Top Ten Turkey Tips, Thawing Guidelines, Wine Pairings, and Recipes, and be sure to let us know HOW DO YOU GOBBLE? by taking our poll on the right side of this page!

How To Make Perfect Whipped Potatoes – Every Time

Very few foods say comfort like real Whipped Potatoes do; in fact, they ooze comfort. Out of all the wonderful dishes we’ve served at Sarello’s over the past thirteen years, our whipped potatoes have remained a staple on our menu, and a favorite among our guests. Our whipped potatoes are so consistently good that, for many years, a certain well-known potato farmer has enjoyed joking with Tony that they must be made from instant potatoes.

Whipped (or mashed) potatoes are a common dish on many holiday tables, and each year at this time we receive an influx of requests for our recipe. With only four ingredients, there’s nothing complicated or unusual about our recipe, but a few extra steps along the way will ensure an excellent outcome, every time. This is what Tony calls “adding the love.”

We use Idaho (Russet) potatoes at the restaurant, which are usually large, up to one pound each, with brown skin and white flesh. They have a high starch content and are low in moisture, which makes them ideal for mashing or baking. The drier texture of the Idaho potatoes when cooked will result in fluffier whipped potatoes.

Once the potatoes are cooked, we come to another important step. After draining the potatoes, we return them to the stock pot and continue to cook them over medium-high heat for about ten minutes to cook off the excess moisture. This ensures that the potatoes are as dry as possible so that they will fully absorb the cream and butter.

If you’ve ever made whipped potatoes, you’re already aware that heavy cream and butter are key components in this dish. We hate to say it, but for really flavorful, fluffy potatoes, the more cream and butter in the dish, the better. For this recipe, be sure to use unsalted butter and real cream, not milk or half and half.

We always warm up the cream and butter before adding them to the cooked potatoes, so as not to shock the potatoes. First, mix the butter, cream and salt together in a small pot over medium-low heat, until all the butter has melted and the ingredients are fully incorporated. Next, add this mixture to the potatoes, in stages, as they are being whipped.

Once the potatoes are ready, use a mixer with the whip attachment, which works better to incorporate air into the potatoes so that they are fluffy, light, and smooth – and ready to melt in your mouth.

To make whipped sweet potatoes, follow the same recipe but add a half-cup of light brown sugar and one tablespoon of ground cinnamon when melting the butter and cream mixture.

A good rule when planning your menu is to allow about one half-pound of potatoes per person. I’d take that one step further and add two or three more potatoes to account for leftovers. I have fond memories of my mother making potato croquettes for breakfast from our leftover whipped potatoes.

The cold potatoes can be formed into balls or patties, then dredged in an egg-wash followed by plain or panko breadcrumbs, and fried over medium-high heat until golden brown and completely heated through. The oil in your pan should come up to about half the height of the croquettes.

If you’re looking for more recipes, turkey tips and ideas, we invite you to check out our THANKSGIVING 101 section and feel free to contact us with any questions.

Sarello’s Classic Whipped Potatoes

Serves: 10 to 12

Ingredients:
6 Idaho potatoes, peeled ( approximately 5 to 6 pounds, or a ½-pound per person)
1 stick butter, unsalted
2 ½ cups heavy cream (whipping cream 35%)
2 tablespoons kosher salt

Directions:
Fill a large stock pot with plenty of water and boil the peeled potatoes over high heat. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium and simmer for about 60 minutes. Use a set of tongs to check for doneness by squeezing a few of the potatoes, which should break apart when done.

Strain the potatoes over the sink, and return them to the stock pot. Continue to cook over medium-high heat for ten minutes, stirring occasionally with a spoon. This will remove any excess moisture.

Transfer the potatoes to a mixing bowl and use the whip attachment or beaters, on a medium-high setting, to whip the potatoes. As this occurs, heat the cream, butter and salt in a sauce pan over medium heat, until the butter is melted, about five to seven minutes, stirring constantly.

Reduce mixer to low speed and slowly add the warm cream and butter mixture to the potatoes in several stages, scraping the sides of the bowl with a spatula after each addition. Once all the liquid is added, turn mixer to high and whip for 2 to 4 minutes until smooth and fluffy. Check for seasoning and adjust to taste.

To store: Cover with plastic wrap or transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to three days.

Tony’s Tips:

  • To make whipped sweet potatoes, follow the above recipe but add a half cup of light brown sugar and one tablespoon of ground cinnamon when melting the butter.
  • To ensure leftovers, add 2 to 3 potatoes to this recipe.
  • For smaller groups, simply halve the recipe.
  • To make potato croquettes from leftover whipped potatoes, simply form them into balls or patties, dredge in egg-wash then plain or panko breadcrumbs, and fry in oil over medium-high heat until golden brown and heated through. The oil in your pan should come up to about half the height of the croquettes.

How Do YOU Gobble?

WE WANT TO KNOW:

  • How Do YOU Gobble?
  • What’s your favorite part of the bird?
  • What’s your favorite Thanksgiving side dish?
  • Do you keep everything separate on your plate, or mix it together?
  • Do you welcome new foods to the table, or prefer to stay traditional?

Cast your vote in our poll here then write your answers in the Comments below! (you may have to refresh your browser to view the poll)

THANKSGIVING 101: Turkey Day Tips & Guidelines

THANKSGIVING 101:
TURKEY DAY TIPS & GUIDELINES

Thanksgiving is a feast that requires attention to detail and advance planning in order to pull it off. we’ve created  Tony’s Top Ten Turkey Tips to help you get through Turkey Day with style. We’re also posting Turkey Thawing Guidelines, and Thanksgiving Wine Pairings, and below you can find a list of some of our favorite Thanksgiving recipes – and we will be adding more recipes to this list throughout the season, so be sure to stop by again.

Good Housekeeping also has a terrific chart called “How Much Do I Need?” to help you figure out serving sizes for various Thanksgiving dishes.

Before you get into the details, take a minute to let us know…How Do YOU Gobble?WHITE or DARK meat? Vote for your favorite in our poll located on the right side of the home page!

Helpful Thanksgiving Guides
Tony’s Top Ten Turkey Tips (T to the 5th!)

Tony’s Thanksgiving Wine Pairings
Tony’s Turkey Thawing Guidelines
Good Housekeeping’s Serving Size Chart

Appetizers/Bread
Baked Brie with Puff Pastry, Candied Pecans and Cranberry Sauce
Norwegian Meatballs
Cranberries Gone Wild Dip
Cranberry Focaccia Bread
Tony’s Marinated Olives
Homemade Crescent Rolls

Soups
Apple Butternut Soup
Cream of Chicken Soup
Cream of Parsnip Soup
Pumpkin Soup
Pumpkin Butternut Soup
Roasted Fennel Soup
Sweet Potato Soup with Andouille Sausage

Salads
Apple Spinach Salad
Honey Gorgonzola Hearts
Honey Poppy Seed Dressing
Winter Salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette

Mains
Butternut Chicken Scaloppine
Stuffed Turkey Breast with Pomegranate Butter Sauce
Turkey Crepes with Pistachio Pesto

Sides/Sauces
Sarello’s Whipped Potatoes
Green Beans Nasello

Comforting Mac n’ Cheese
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Shallots
Apple Cheddar Bread Pudding
Fall Vegetable Casserole
Roasted Red Peppers
Pomegranate Butter Sauce
Pistachio Pesto 

Desserts/Sweets
Sweet Potato Cheesecake with Caramel Sauce
Pumpkin Toffee Cheesecake
Pumpkin Cheesecake
Pumpkin Ice Cream Pie

Pumpkin Spice Macaroons
Real Whipped Cream

Breakfast
Apple Sausage Breakfast Ring
Homemade Bacon Pancakes
Easy Fresh Fruit Salad

DIY Gift Projects
Homemade Vanilla Extract
Homemade Limoncello
Peppermint Bark

Creamy Comfort: Sweet Potato Soup with Andouille Sausage

There’s an autumn chill in the air and in our home we are welcoming the return of comfort food. For us this means hearty baked pasta casseroles, pot roast with mashed potatoes, roast chicken, and soup. Lots of soup. This week we’re sharing the recipe for one of our favorite fall soups: Sweet Potato with Andouille Sausage.

Sweet potatoes are not commonly found in Sicilian cuisine and, in fact, the very first time Tony ever tasted a sweet potato was at Thanksgiving dinner with my family about eighteen years ago. My mother was preparing the classic sweet potato dish topped with marshmallows, which Tony gently poked fun at – until he tried it. He has since become a big fan of sweet potatoes.

Like its distant cousin, the potato, the sweet potato is also a starch, but with increased nutritional value, and is a great source for fiber, complex carbohydrates, Vitamins A and C, iron and even calcium. This creamy, sweet root vegetable is also incredibly versatile, and can be used in both sweet and savory dishes. In our debut column last November, we featured a dessert recipe for Sweet Potato Cheesecake, and we’ve also enjoyed making sweet potato pancakes for breakfast at home.

There is a lovely autumn warmth to this vegetable, and our soup embodies that feeling in both color and flavor. The gorgeous, rich, orange tone of the sweet potato is wonderfully enhanced by the addition of fall spices such as cinnamon and cloves.

For this recipe, we also introduce Andouille Sausage, a spicy Cajun specialty with a smoky richness. We like the texture of Andouille sausage, as it is firm in body and stands up well in the soup, unlike Chorizo, which is too crumbly for this recipe. The sausage brings complexity to this simple soup, adding a wow-factor that takes it from being just another good soup to one you will soon find yourself craving.

We begin the recipe by roasting the sweet potatoes in a 350 degree oven for about 45-50 minutes. Roasting concentrates the flavor and is a great way to bring out the natural sweetness of a vegetable.

To check for doneness, insert a fork or knife into the potato; if it goes all the way through with little resistance, remove the sweet potato from the oven and cool at room temperature or refrigerate until cool to the touch. If the potato isn’t quite this soft yet, keep baking at 350 and check again in five minute intervals.

When buying sweet potatoes, look for ones that are firm and free of blemishes. For this recipe, we roast ours whole, with skins on, and peel them when they’re just cool enough to handle.

Tony’s favorite tool for making soup is a hand-held immersion blender, but you can also use a liquid blender or food processor. What’s nice about the immersion blender is that you can keep everything in one pot as you puree the mixture, which makes for an easier clean-up process. We love our Kitchen Aid immersion blender, which has a removable, dishwasher-safe blade, and is often available at our local stores for about forty dollars.

If you plan to head out into the chilly darkness tomorrow night with your little ones, treat yourself to a nice, hot bowl of Sweet Potato Soup with Andouille Sausage just before you leave to stay warm inside and out. Happy Halloween!

Click Here for Sweet Potato Soup RECIPE
Click Here to Watch Tony’s VIDEO DEMONSTRATION