Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Oh Sh@#! Thanksgiving is next week

While I do feel somewhat inspired to attempt this Roast Turkey with Black-Truffle Butter and White-Wine Gravy (sans the gluten), I think it's a good thing that I won't. My mother-in-law and brother-in-law are visiting us next week from Los Angeles. He has suggested that we go out to an Italian restaurant on Thanksgiving. Hah. I don't think so.

You may, however, wish to try this lovely recipe from Gourmet food editor Shelley Wiseman. *Please note: this is not a gluten free recipe.*


* 1 (12-to 14-pound) turkey at room temperature 1 hour, neck and giblets (excluding liver) reserved for turkey stock
* 6 ounces black-truffle butter, softened, divided
* 3 cups water, divided
* 1/2 cup finely chopped shallots
* 2 cups dry white wine
* 4 cups hot classic turkey stock
* 5 tablespoons all-purpose flour

* Equipment: kitchen string; a 17-by 14-inch flameproof roasting pan with a flat rack; a 2-quart measuring cup or a fat separator


Preheat oven to 450°F with rack in lower third.

Rinse turkey inside and out and pat dry. Working from large cavity end, gently run your fingers between skin and meat to loosen skin, being careful not to tear skin. Push two thirds of truffle butter (4 ounces) under skin, including thighs and drumsticks, and massage skin from outside to spread butter evenly. Mix 2 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper in a small bowl and sprinkle it evenly in turkey cavities and all over skin. Fold neck skin under body, then tuck wing tips under breast and tie drumsticks together with string.

Put turkey on rack in roasting pan and pour in 2 cups water. Roast, rotating pan 180 degrees after 1 hour of roasting and adding remaining cup water, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into fleshy part of each thigh (test both; close to but not touching bone) registers 170°F, 1 3/4 to 2 hours total.

Carefully tilt turkey so juices from inside large cavity run into pan. Transfer turkey to a platter and let stand, uncovered, 30 minutes (temperature of thigh meat will rise to 175 to 180°F). Discard string.

Strain pan juices through a fine-mesh sieve into 2-quart measuring cup and skim off fat (or use a fat separator), reserving fat. Straddle roasting pan across 2 burners and cook shallots in 1/4 cup reserved fat over medium heat, stirring, until golden, about 2 minutes. Add wine and boil, stirring and scraping up brown bits, until mixture is reduced to about 1 cup, 5 to 8 minutes.

Add enough turkey stock to reserved pan juices to bring total to 4 cups, then add to wine mixture and bring to a boil. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a 2-to 3-quarts heavy saucepan, pressing on and then discarding solids, and bring to a boil.

Mix flour with remaining 2 ounces truffle butter to make a paste, then add to boiling sauce, whisking until thickened. Simmer, whisking occasionally, 3 to 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve turkey with gravy.

Cooks' notes: •Butter can be put under skin 1 day ahead; chill turkey, covered with plastic wrap. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour before roasting.
•Flour paste (with truffle butter) can be made 1 day ahead and chilled.

OK, I'm tired now.

Pre-made bird from Whole Foods anyone?

(photo by John Kernick)

Monday, November 17, 2008

Celebs eat gluten free too

Recognize any of these ladies? Maybe not the one in the bright red costume. That's Oscar-winning actress Rachel Weisz. BBC News states that Weisz has a wheat intolerance. (Yes, I realize there's a difference between wheat and gluten.)

remember Elf?

looking fierce

But... The View's Elisabeth Hasselbeck definitely lives the gluten free life because she has celiac disease.

Watch her on YouTube talking with Dr. Peter Green, Director of the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University and author of Celiac Disease: A Hidden Epidemic:

Here you can read articles about Zooey Deschanel's wheat gluten allergy and Victoria Beckham's craving for gluten free chocolate cookies.

(Photos via Google Images)

Friday, November 14, 2008

Have a weekend

What are you doing this weekend? I may try some of these:

tasty facial at The New York Times

gluten free apple vegetable stuffing at Living Without

woven wheat ornaments
at Craftzine
If you are gluten-intolerant, please don't eat the ornaments.

transforming dark wood panel on kitchen cabinets
at Apartment Therapy

finding uses for plastic squeeze bottles at Apartment Therapy

turkey-shaped treat bags at Craftzine

making kids pants from old sweaters at Green Kitchen

Then again. I may not.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Rainy day today

Today's weather gives me an excuse to post a few images from one of my favorite films, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (Les Parapluies de Cherbourg in French). The dialogue is entirely sung, even the most casual conversation. Imagine that? Beautiful French actress Catherine Deneuve stars in the film along with Italian actor Nino Castelnuovo.

It's the story of two young lovers who are torn apart when Guy (Castelnuovo's character) is drafted and sent to Algeria for two years. Amazing art direction with cool colors, regular talk set to 50s French music, and heartbreak... It's good.

I absolutely love how these colors look here:

Wanna buy it? Look here.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

I Love Charlotte

Before the birth of this blog I had movie clips posted at Vanilla Spoons. There's a movie to correspond with each gluten free gift basket. (For example, a scene from On the Waterfront went with On the Camp Front, The Graduate with The Graduate, and so on.)

Well here's the Sex and the City clip I had used. (It goes with the Mix and the City basket in case you're wondering.)

Don't you just love Charlotte? Her spontaneous reaction of genuine delight upon hearing Carrie's news makes me smile every time I watch it. :)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Vanilla Spoons Of Course

Who are we kidding? The only reason I started this blog was to plug Vanilla Spoons. So plug away I shall.

In search of the perfect gift that shows them you get it? (I am referring here to your loved one's gluten/wheat intolerance.) After spending nearly a decade checking and re-checking ingredients labels, I decided to start a little gluten free gift basket business. (My son was diagnosed at age two with celiac disease which means he can't eat foods containing gluten.) Me putting on a gluten free baker's apron and opening a bakery just wasn't in the cards.

There are 7 different baskets to choose from ranging in price from $69.95-$139.95. You'll notice a movie theme thing going on over at Vanilla Spoons. For instance, there's Close Encounters of the Sweet Kind filled with sweet stuff like chocolate bars, licorice and white chocolate peanut butter. Yum. And there's Mix and the City which has an assortment of gluten free mixes and comes with VANILLA extract and wooden SPOON. I know. Corny.

So please do check out the store if you'd like. Holidays are right around the corner, yada yada.

Friday, November 7, 2008

A Sign Of Things To Come

Welcome to Absolutely Not Martha.

See this cupcake? When I was a young girl I asked my friend Judi how she was able to get the pleats of the paper baking cup just like so around each cupcake. I'm kidding. Sixteen is not young.