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Friday, November 23, 2012

Leftover Turkey? Here's a great option.

I love Thanksgiving and I also enjoy turkey sandwich's, but sometimes eating straight turkey every day for a week is just too much!  Here's a twist, and a great way to put to use your leftover turkey.  If you can't find fresh okra, you can buy it in a jar.  I find a hot version at local supermarkets that works well.  Don't skip it though...It acts as a necessary thickener.  If  you are not experienced at making a roux, be patient.  Don't allow it to burn, or you'll have to start over.  It's easy if you take your time, don't overheat, and stir it constantly.

3 cups okra, sliced 1/2 inch thick
1 pound smoked sausage or andouiIle sausage, cut into 1/4-inch slices
Turkey (or chicken) meat, about 2 pounds, cooked and cut into bite size pieces
Louisiana hot sauce or ground cayenne pepper to taste
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
Salt to taste
1/2 cup oil or shortening or bacon drippings
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped green onions
1/2 cup chopped bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup chopped celery
1 gallon of stock, (16 cups) more or less, made from the leftover turkey, or use chicken stock.
1 tablespoon chopped garlic

Heat the oil in a large, heavy pot over medium heat, then add the flour, reduce heat a bit and make a dark roux. Stir constantly, and make sure not to burn the roux! This will take about 30 or 40 minutes. Here's the roux, almost ready:

To the roux add the onions, green onions, bell pepper, parsley, and celery, stirring after each addition, and cook until the onions are clear. Add 1 cup of the stock and stir well to form a thick paste. Stir in the minced garlic, then the remaining stock. Stir in the okra, sausage, and chicken. Season with hot sauce, Worcestershire, and salt; stir to mix well. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer at least 3 hours, stirring occasionally. Serve over cooked rice. This can be frozen in containers to be eaten another day. 

My preferred hot sauce...

Friday, November 16, 2012

Dish Osteria and Bar

Dish Osteria & Bar on Urbanspoon

A very unassuming restaurant, nicely away from the bars and bustle of Carson street, Dish is one of my favorite Pittsburgh restaurants.  Tucked away among residential housing, you could walk by here and not even realize that this restaurant exists.  The building was initially built as a tavern in 1885.  As you enter, a small cozy bar sits to the left with a few tables on the other side.  The restaurant itself is also very small but warm and comfortable.

Even though the bar is usually diners waiting on tables, don't hesitate to stop for a drink and try an appetizer to get the flavor of the place.  Because they are so busy, you need to make reservations early so the first couple of visits I ended up at the bar.  The wine list largely favors regional Italian selections, and the Dirty Dish Martini, made with Boyd and Blair Potato vodka, olive juice and mountain gorgonzola stuffed olives is a good choice.

My go-to appetizer is the grilled calamari, served with sautéed spinach, lemon, parsley and extra virgin.  This isn't typical fried calamari.  It's grilled until slightly blackened and flavored with a squirt of lemon.  The flavor is phenomenal! Another good appitizer choice is the mushroom bruschetta, described as: Bruschetta ai Funghi Sautéed portobello, shiitake, cremini mushrooms and fresh basil. Served on grilled ciabatta bread.

While the menu changes daily, if you are lucky they might have the pan roasted breast of duck in a red currant demiglace served with grilled mushroom polenta and a julienne of sauteed Brussels sprouts...Wow.

Dish is located at 117 South 17th Street, on the South Side of Pittsburgh.  Be aware, finding the place can be difficult, and so can parking.  While it's not on Carson street, it's not a long walk from there, so take the first space you find!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Meat and Potatoes


Meat & Potatoes on Urbanspoon

Chef Richard DeShantz has operated the upscale restaurant Nine on Nine successfully for five years now.  Seeing a need for a less formal eating option in the area, Chef DeShantz decided to open a gastropub.  What is a Gastropub?  It's simply a pub that serves great food, or in Chef DeShantz's own words, “food that a chef would eat after a busy day at work, food you grew up with, comfort food and street food.”  Well, that sounds good to me!

The interior is old time comfortable, with high ceilings and tables surrounding a large rectangular bar.  The place is noisy, but a good noisy.  People sitting at the bar, chatting over pots of Moules and munching on Devils on Horseback.  They also have a nice outdoor patio for nice weather dining.  The menu is a single page with a choice of a couple of daily specials. 

My choice was the Chicken Paillard, described as Parmesan crusted with arugula, tomato and pickled red onion. This was really pleasing, as was the Brisket that was served alongside a huge slice of jalapeno cornbread and a great slaw. On a previous visit I had the Torta sandwich which is pork shoulder, pickled red cabbage, jalapeno, and chorizo mayonnaise, served with house made chips. The mix of flavors was delicious!!!

Meat and Potatoes is on Penn Avenue, right in the Cultural District in Pittsburgh, right next to the O'Reilly Theatre.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Market Square Farmers Market


I stopped by Market Square last Thursday and was pleasantly surprised to see the Farmers Market still going strong, even at the end of October.  Lots of tables full of fresh veggies, a live band playing, several food trucks, along with all the new restaurants with outdoor dining.  Really vibrant!