Turkey Wild Rice Hotdish

I am so far down the road of sufganiyot testing and hallmark movie watching that I have to remind myself that thanksgiving still hasn’t happened or else I’ll get confused about the turkey cupcakes on my Instagram feed. Still I have no regrets about having moved forcefully in the direction of holiday cheer from the moment that Halloween ended. I mean, let’s hear a round of applause for this bagel macaroni noodle menorah and this narwhal address stamp and the new Sia Christmas album. zooomg. 

We are going to Chicago for the long weekend, where we’ll celebrate Eggboy’s birthday, Stoopie’s birthday, Thanksgiving obviously, and the National Dog Show hosted by Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir. Oh, and my high school reunion, to which I will be wearing the closest thing to adult footie pajamas that Eileen Fisher gift cards can buy

I am extremely ready for my Thanksgiving routine, which goes like this:

Wake up to Stoop placing her small dog, Audrey, on my head (Eggboy has been up for hours, chatting with mum and reading the newspaper),

Flop down stairs, pour a coffee, migrate to the couch, struggle for five minutes with mum’s remote controls, and then finally find the Macy’s parade. Sing and dance along when the Camp Broadway kids come on.

Exchange sup dudes with Stoop husband. Alternate between the parade, twitter, pickin my nose, and Audrey being placed on my head until it’s time to oversee Eggboy’s annual pumpkin pie production. (He plans to repeat last year’s success, which consisted of Sarah’s filling and Yossy’s crust.)

Assist with stuffing tasting, vegetable chopping, etc. 

Gush over the sheep dogs during the dog show.

Check Instagram. Crimp Eggboy’s pie, tweet about his progress. Decide if he is a pieboy or not a pieboy this year. 

Ad lib until it’s time to eat and then just keep my head down until it’s clear that everyone’s forgotten about going around the table to say what we’re thankful for. It’s just so mushy 😭😭😭😭😭

Fall asleep in front of a movie, any movie. Maybe Elf this year??

Here is a perfect way to use up your Thanksgiving leftovers, a turkey wild rice hot dish that is topped with leftover stuffing!! It's soo cozy and good, and it's basically a thanksgiving sandwich that you can eat from a bowl. The thing about this wild rice hotdish though is that it should be made anytime during the winter months, not just when you have leftovers. Around here we pretend like it’s a little more of a grownup hotdish since it has ~local wild rice~ adding bite and nutrition, but it’s just as buttery and creamy and rich as, say, its tater tot counterpart. You can totally sub out the turkey for roasted chicken or ground beef or a vegan meat substitute (as so many of you did with the tater tot hotdish)!! And when it’s not stuffing season—which is sad to think about because stuffing should be eaten at all times of the year, right??—go ahead and top this with the traditional crushed cracker topping. Eggmom uses saltines! I bet ritz would be good too. Or cheez-its. Mmmmm.

Happy Thanksgiving, friends!!!!


Turkey Wild Rice Hotdish with Stuffing (AKA Thanksgiving Leftover Hotdish)

makes 6 - 8 servings

ingredients

3/4 c (135g) wild rice, rinsed and drained

2 c (480g) water

Kosher salt

6 tb (84g) unsalted butter

2 carrots, finely chopped

2 stalks celery, finely chopped

1 large onion, finely chopped

3/4 c (95g) all-purpose flour

3 c (715g) whole milk

2 tb vegetable, or chicken soup mix (i prefer the orrington farms brand, but something similar, like a bouillon cube or better than bouillon or a homemade bouillon will work)

Black pepper

1 tsp dried rosemary, chopped

4 c (about 515g) cooked shredded roasted turkey*

4 c leftover stuffing (I like this recipe)*

*Since it's impossible to predict exact leftover amounts, don't fret if you have a little more or a little less stuffing or turkey! These amounts are just a ballpark.

Leftover cranberry sauce, for servinng

clues

Preheat the oven to 375ºF.

In a medium saucepan, combine the wild rice, water, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for 30 minutes, until al dente. Drain the rice and set it aside.

To make the creamed soup, in a large pot, melt 6 tablespoons of butter over medium high heat. Add the carrots, celery, onion, and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring, until soft, about 12-15 minutes. Stir in the flour and cook for another minute. Stir in half of the milk and cook, stirring, until thickened. Stir in the remaining milk and cook, stirring, until very thick. Add the soup mix, a bunch of turns of black pepper, rosemary, and salt to taste. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.

In a 9 x 13 casserole dish, 1/3 soup on the bottom, then 1/2 the rice, and 1/2 the turkey. Repeat and then top with the remaining 1/3 of the soup mixture. Top with stuffing and bake for 45 minutes, until bubbly. If the stuffing is getting too browned on top, cover with foil.

Serve with leftover cranberry sauce. 


classic cookie salad

I’ve been watching so many '60s period dramas that dressing up to make cookie salad felt like a fun thing to do. And it totally was! I figured since we had so much fun with classic tater tot hotdish, it was also time to make another classically upper Midwestern delicacy, the cookie salad. Cookie salad blows the other upper Midwest sweet salads, like candy bar salad, out of the water. Easily. It’s not like hotdish, where wild rice and tater tot would definitely make for an edge-of-your-seat 7-game neck-and-neck series. It’s truly more like a UND hockey team versus every team in their conference situation, where they are just in an entirely different league and there are fireworks at every game. 

A typical cookie salad consists of the following things:

Fudge stripe cookies 

Canned Mandarin oranges or sliced bananas

Vanilla instant pudding mix stirred into buttermilk

frozen whip

They all get mixed together into a fluffy puddingy dessert and then topped with crushed cookies or cookies broken in half and stuck on top to look like little tombstones. This is an important distinction. Your family either crushes or breaks and there’s not a whole lot of overlap except for now because Eggmom crushes and look, I break. I just like the aesthetic, ok? Eggmom taught me both though. She also taught me that mini marshmallows and jelly beans are acceptable mix-ins (I love the textural sensation that marshmallows add).

And,

Ok,

Here is where things get a little…different: Eggmom serves this with the main course. And so does everyone else!!!!! I thought I was hearing things when she said she serves it with the ham (!!!!) but as I dug further and further it slowly became clear that this. is. actually. served. with. the. salads. and. not. the. desserts. 

This is a next level sweet/savory relationship, right???? 

If ham and cookie salad can work as a marriage then surely we aren’t all doomed.

I present to you, my audition picture for women laughing alone with salad:

On my journey to a homemade cookie salad, I did the following:

Made homemade fudge stripes! I went with a simple buttery shortbread that’s sweet and crispy and has a hint of almond. And rather than dealing with the mess of getting chocolate on the bottom, like regular fudge stripes, I gave them thicker-than-usual stripes on top. 

In place of the pudding + buttermilk combo, I experimented a bit with making homemade buttermilk pudding but found the buttermilk to be just too sour for my tastes. I don’t remember it being this sour when Eggmom made me hers. I wonder if something in the instant pudding packets offsets the sourness of buttermilk. Instead I went with a rich vanilla pastry cream.

And instead of frozen whip I obviously went with a good old fresh whip because duh. I’ve always been a sucker for fresh whip, it is the heavy cream at its best. I’m using Land O Lakes® Heavy Whipping Cream here which has a deliciously pure flavor. 

I stuck with the canned mandarins for this but you could definitely go with fresh mandarins as well. 

Lastly, here is a pro-tip: make this the day before so the cookies soak in the pudding and take on a cake-like texture. It is so satisfying. I love it forever. And of course the fact that this can be prepped a day (or even two days!) ahead of time makes this a perfect Thanksgiving dessert. I mean salad! Omg. 


Classic Cookie Salad

Serves 8

ingredients

For the pudding

3 tb (24g) all-purpose flour

6 tb (75g) sugar

1/4 tsp kosher salt

3 egg yolks

1 1/2 c (360g) Land O Lakes® Heavy Whipping Cream

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 tsp almond extract

 

For the cookies

1 1/4 c (159g) all-purpose flour, more for dusting

1/2 c (60g) powdered sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla extract 

1/2 tsp almond extract 

1/2 c (113g) Land O Lakes® European Style Unsalted Butter, cold and cubed

5 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips

 

For assembly

1 1/2 c (360g) Land O Lakes® Heavy Whipping Cream

1/4 c (30g) powdered sugar

2 (11 oz) cans mandarin orange slices

Sprinkles, optional

Clues

To make the pudding, combine the flour, sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan. Whisk in the egg yolks and then the heavy cream. Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly until it’s thickened and coats the back of a spoon. Add the vanilla and almond extracts, pour into a heat safe bowl, and cover with plastic wrap so that it touches the surface of the pudding. Refrigerate until cooled, about 1 hour or overnight. 

To make the cookies, combine the flour, powdered sugar, and salt in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. With the mixer running on low, add the vanilla and almond extracts and then gradually add the butter. Mix until the mixture comes together into a dough, slowly increasing the speed once you’re confident that doing so won’t result in flour flying everywhere. Divide the dough in half, press into discs, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes or overnight. (If you’re impatient, fine, skip this step.)

Preheat the oven to 350ºF, and line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set them aside. On a floured surface, roll out the dough to 1/8”-1/4” thick. Cut out 2” circles with a biscuit cutter and then use a big piping tip to cut out 1/2” holes from the center. (Re-roll scraps as needed.) Place them on the baking sheets an inch apart and then bake until they’re jusssst starting to brown around the edges, start checking for doneness at 12 minutes. Let cool on the pans. Meanwhile, melt the chocolate in a double boiler or in a microwave in 30 second increments, stirring after each. Let it cool slightly and then pour it into a piping bag. Snip off the tip and then pipe on 4 thick chocolate stripes. Let the chocolate harden at room temp or in the fridge.

To assemble, first make the whipped cream. In a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the cream and powdered sugar to stiff peaks. In a large bowl, fold together the whipped cream and pudding. Crush the cookies by hand or in a ziplock bag with a rolling pin or other blunt object (reserving 6-8 for the topping) and fold them in. Drain the mandarin slices and fold those in (reserve some of these for the topping too). Top with remaining cookies, mandarin slices, and sprinkles. Refrigerate until you’re ready to serve. 

-yeh!

thanks to land o’lakes for sponsoring this post!

photos by chantell and brett quernemoen

turkish coffee brownies

Ok some little life updates!

The snow is here to stay, I believe. I keep seeing the high of 37º that’s in the forecast for the middle of the week and get very nervous that the snow will leave but Eggboy has assured me that because the ground is frozen the snow likely won’t be going anywhere.

I wear one kind of sock now. They are thick hiking socks, made by Stance, that hug my feet and will never get holes. I never thought I would feel so satisfied about finding a good sock but then again I also never thought that I’d be living in the north pole. 

It’s floor length parka weather!! 

I am in a fantasy figure skating league. I didn’t rank so well for the Cup of China but I’m hoping to be as familiar with this year’s competitors as possible so that the Olympics are that much more exciting. I’ve also obviously begun planning my Olympic party menus, which, no offense to my friends, will probably be served during all of the other sports besides figure skating because when the Shib Sibs come on I’ll need to be in silence and alone so that I can weep. 

An embarrassing amount of my time these days is spent looking for an outfit for my 10 year high school reunion. Do I wear a dress that shows that I’ve been going to the gym an average of 3.5 times a week and eating my yogurt? Or do I wear a wool romper that says that I don’t care if they care that I’ve gone to the gym an average of 3.5 times a week and et my yogurt? Or do I just wear my winter going out uniform of a dark grey turtleneck and dark jeans because it’s comfy and this is about seeing my old friendsies?????? Do they even want to see me????? Will there be name tags??? Should I wax my eyebrows?? Plz send help. But mostly Shopbop gift cards. 

Macaroni have let themselves go. It gets dark around here practically right after lunch and then doesn’t get light again until after my twelfth coffee so there is basically just enough sunlight to foster the entire Macaroni flock laying a collective one egg a day. It is so dumb!!!! The ones who lay the blue eggs have just stopped. 🙄 Come on you silly birds. 

It’s fine though cause I’ve also let myself go and went to bed at 9:50 last night. Yolo!

So in keeping with the theme of letting ourselves go, let’s make something that will be ready by the time the sun goes down. It always blows my mind how quickly and easily brownies come together and I wonder why I don’t make them more often. But easiness does not equal a lack of fanciness in this case, no way. These brownies are based off of my mom’s fudgey schnapps brownies (in Molly on the Range) but instead of schnapps, they’re taking on a flavor profile inspired by Turkish coffee, which often has cardamom mixed in. I first had a Turkish coffee brownie at Fargo’s cute little bagel shop, Bernbaum’s, and recognized its beauty right away. Coffee and chocolate are an obvious good match, but coffee and chocolate and cardamom??? That is a power trio on par with Haim, ya dig? I’ve added a bit of cinnamon as well to help drive home the warmth of the cardamom and the result is one truly fancy brownie.

And a fancy brownie needs a fancy nut!!! Here I’ve added Heirloom Walnuts, which are part of Diamond of California’s new line of Heirloom Reserve Nuts (Pecans and Marcona Almonds are the other two nuts in this line). These walnuts are a varietal that have remained unchanged for generations and have natural, beautifully rustic irregularities. They lend wonderful flavor and texture to these brownies!!


turkish coffee brownies

makes 16 brownies

ingredients

1/2 c (64g) all-purpose flour

1 c (200g) sugar

1/3 c (27g) unsweetened cocoa powder

1/4 tsp kosher salt

1/4 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground cardamom

2 tsp instant espresso powder

1/2 c (113g) unsalted butter, melted but not hot

2 large eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

3/4 c (90g) toasted chopped diamond of california heirloom walnuts, plus more for topping

 

for the glaze:

1 c (120g) powdered sugar

3 tb (15g) cocoa powder

3 tb unsalted butter, melted

1 tb brewed coffee or 1/4 tsp espresso powder + 1 tb water

1 tb (21g) honey

1/4 tsp cardamom

Pinch salt

1 tsp vanilla

 

Sprinkles, for topping

clues

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Grease an 8” by 8” pan and line with parchment paper, allowing 1” wings to hang over the edges.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, cardamom, and espresso powder. In a medium bowl, whisk together the butter, eggs, and vanilla. Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and stir to combine. Fold in the walnuts and pour the mixture into the pan. Spread it out evenly (it will be quite a thin layer) and bake for 25 minutes.

Cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes. Lift them out of the pan and place on the rack to cool completely.

To make the glaze, whisk all ingredients until smooth. Pour the glaze on the brownies, spread it around, and top with walnuts and sprinkles. Let dry and then cut into squares. Enjoy!

-yeh!

Thank you to diamond nuts for sponsoring this post! Starting this month, their new line of Heirloom Reserve Nuts are available in the produce sections of fine grocery retailers. To learn more about Diamond of California, visit their website and follow their Instagram and Facebook.

photos by chantell and brett quernemoen

pictured: plate, pan, pot, pastry cutter

my dad's coconut cream pie!

A few years ago, my dad, who has always been more of an eater/human garbage disposal than a cook, casually started mentioning his “famous coconut cream pie.” I would get text message pictures on pi day of this pie, or he would just throw it into everyday conversation about dessert, and one time when our family convened in Los Angeles he had brought an entire pie on the airplane from Chicago. This coconut cream pie thing all seemed to happened out of nowhere, I don't remember him making it when I was little, it just became his "thing" all of a sudden! And I don’t know how it became famous or if it actually is famous, I think he just started calling it that one day?!?? I asked him about it once and he named someone from work who thought it was famous or something… so he went with it. Stoopie and I eventually just shrugged it off and went with it because why not??

And then a lot of things became clear when I made the connection that Eggboy, who is also nary a cook, has his one pie that he makes and, on good years, considers to be very famous. And then I thought: Am I, as a deeply loyal member of #teamcake (well, until very recently), forcing all of the pie-loving humans in my family to step out of their comfort zones and make their own pies? And then I thought: 🙄🙄🙄 I should shut up and not make this about me. 

So then I decided that I shouldn’t dwell on the origins of this pie and whether or not it actually is famous and instead I should learn how to make it. So! I texted my dad for the recipe and he sent back a picture of a printout of a Martha Stewart recipe from 2010 that had some very important annotations in the margins. Martha’s recipe was your typical pudding pie, made with a chocolate cookie crust and topped with whipped cream and toasted coconut. But, as my dad had penciled in, it should be made with 80 chocolate cats (referring to the Trader Joe's cookies), not the 30 wafers that it called for, and it should be made in a springform pan, not a pie pan. And the pudding should be made in a medium saucepan, not a small saucepan. Idk if there is an exact reason for the cats other than that they’re cute and you get to call for “80 cats” in an ingredient list which is fun, but the reason for the springform pan is so that you can see the whipped cream on the sides. And I like the look, it’s so geometrically pleasing! 

I took the recipe for a test run before my dad’s visit, and because our nearest Trader Joe’s is a million miles away, I went the old fashioned route, ordered a plump lil cat cookie cutter online, and made my cats. And because I was making them from scratch, I thought why not make the cats themselves coconutty?? So I threw in some of bob's red mill coconut flour, and this completed their journey to becoming coconut cocoa coco cats. (Coco is one of our farm cats who usually gets out shined by Sven because she is less of a dog cat, but she’s great and plump like these cookies and I named her!) I wanted to make these cocoa cocos with just coconut flour but it turns out that coconut flour is mainly a flavor enhancer, as opposed to a substitute for all-purpose flour. Too much coconut flour will make dense grainy cats, so you just need a little of it to get good flavor! And because they’re plumper than Trader Joe’s cats, you only need about 40 of them. 

I think the only other change I made from my dad’s/Martha’s recipe was to use unsweetened coconut, since it’s easier to control the sweetness that way and since I love the look of the toasted flakes on top. I think pops agreed! I tried to get away with skipping the step where you bake the crust because I typically like a denser moister cookie crust, but he would hear none of that. It had to be crispy like a cookie, he said. And once I stopped being lazy and added that baking step back in, I saw what he meant. Overall I think our pie kicked butt!! It's got a big thick crust (we love crust in this family!!!!), a pudding that is just sweet enough, tons of whipped cream, and a great rustic yet clean aesthetic. It’s definitely worthy of being famous. Right?! Right.

You know what your Thanksgiving dessert table needs? This. And you know what can be made ahead of time?? This!

coconut cream pie

makes one 9" pie

ingredients

For the cats:

1 1/2 c (190g) bob’s red mill all-purpose flour
7 tb (50g) bob’s red mill coconut flour
1 c (80g) unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more for dusting
1 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 c (225g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 c (150g) sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp coconut extract

For the crust:

5 tb (63g) unrefined coconut oil
1/8 tsp kosher salt
1/3 c (27g) unsweetened shredded coconut

For the filling:

2 3/4 c (660g) whole milk
4 large yolks
2/3 c (132g) sugar
1/3 c (43g) cornstarch
2 tsp vanilla bean
3/4 tsp kosher salt
1 1/4 c (100g) unsweetened shredded coconut

For the topping:

1 1/2 c (360g) heavy whipping cream
1/2 c (40g) unsweetened coconut flakes
Shaved chocolate or chocolate sprinkles

clues

to make the cats: preheat the oven to 325ºf. line two baking sheets with parchment paper.


in a small bowl, whisk together the flour, coconut flour, cocoa powder, salt, and baking soda. in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. mix in the vanilla extract and coconut extract. with the mixer running on low speed, add the flour mixture and beat until just combined. it will still be a bit crumbly. pour the mixture onto a work surface and give it a few kneads to bring it all together. (at this point you can wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour, up to overnight, but I find that the dough is stiff enough that this isn't totally necessary).
on a work surface, roll out the dough to 1/4" thickness, dusting with cocoa powder if the dough is sticky, and cut out small cats or 1 1/2" circles. transfer them to the baking sheets, 1" apart (using a small offset spatula helps with this step). re-roll the scraps and cut out more rounds. 


bake the cookies until the tops are no longer shiny, about 12 minutes. let cool on the pan. Cookies can be made up to a couple of days in advance and stored at room temperature.

To make the crust: Preheat the oven to 325ºf. Line the bottom of a 9” springform pan with parchment and set it aside. In a food processor, combine 40 of your ugliest cats (you'll have some leftover and since those are staying in tact you want them to be the pretty ones) with the coconut oil and salt and pulse until the mixture is sandy and starts to clump together. Add the coconut and pulse just a couple more times to get it evenly distributed. Press the mixture firmly into the bottom of the pan, pressing it up against the sides to give it a 1-1 1/2” tall crust and bake until set, 25 minutes. Let it cool. 

To make the filling: In a medium saucepan, whisk together the milk, egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch, vanilla, and salt. Cook over medium high, whisking constantly, until thickened. Stir in the shredded coconut and pour into the cooled crust. Refrigerate for 2 hours, until set. (This can be done up to 2 days in advance; keep covered in the refrigerator.)

To make the topping: With an electric mixer or in a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the heavy cream to stiff peaks. Spread it on the pie. Toast the flaked coconut in a dry skillet over medium heat, stirring often, until golden brown. Let it cool and sprinkle it on the pie. Top with shaved chocolate or chocolate sprinkles and refrigerate until ready to serve. When you’re ready to take it out of the pan, run a small offset spatula around the edge and carefully remove the sides. Enjoy! 
 

-yeh!

Thanks to bob's red mill for sponsoring this post!