Boathouse Carrot Puree

image from the graphics fairy

I tend to be a wee bit unconventional about things.  Does that really surprise you?  I’m sorry if it does.  I like things the way I like them even if that goes against the norm.  Always have.  Always will.

In my younger days, this tendency may have resulted in me being thought of as difficult, rebellious, hard headed, or strong willed.  All of which are just really nice ways of saying huge pain in the behind.  As an adult, the unconventional label means the exact same thing.  But as an adult, I get to have a pretty big say about what is considered acceptable in my world.  This substantially cuts down on the number of “my house, my rules” arguments since it is, in fact, my house.

So what’s the point of fessing up that my head is harder than a cement block? Because that’s the context in which to understand holiday dinners at my house.  Once I got to play the “my house, my rules” card, holiday dinners became much more enjoyable.  See, I’ve got a secret.  I don’t like some holiday staples.  Like roast turkey.  The best things about the turkey are the crispy skin and the stuffing.  But there’s not enough skin to make a meal of and I’ve never mastered the art of stuffing (or dressing, since putting it inside the bird and making it actual stuffing is frowned upon).

Yes, my house is a Turkey Free Zone on Thanksgiving.  While others are stressed out over trussing and basting and dressing but not stuffing, I’m relaxed because all my ham has to do is reheat, or not, and it’s ready to serve.  What’s another benefit of being a TFZ? I don’t have to get up at the crack of dawn to prep a bird for the oven so I get to enjoy a few extra hours of sleep on a day off. And maybe my favorite perk of being TFZ is that my lack of allegiance to the main dish spills over to the side dishes.  One year I may serve chipotle mashed sweet potatoes and green bean casserole.  The next year, they might be nowhere to be seen.  It’s not that we don’t like them it’s just that there are too many good dishes to lock myself into any.  I don’t like a set menu anymore than I like roasting up a Butter Ball.

So while there’s always a chair at the table for guests, and if you’re in the neighborhood I do hope you’ll stop by, please check your expectations at the door.  Or at least satisfy the turkey and cranberry sauce cravings before you come over.

And if it’s possible, can you sneak me in some dressing?  Nobody besides us has to know and that’s the one traditional Thanksgiving dish that I really miss.

Carrot Puree

Adapted from The Boathouse

BAH Note:  I pulled this off my UnTurkey Day menu at the last minute.  My cooking collaborator requested the chipolte mashed sweet potatoes.  Since she was bringing the good stuff (pie, deviled eggs, and green bean casserole) I did not want to jeopardize their presence at the table.   This recipe appeared in the Summer chapter of The Boathouse cookbook.  Don’t let that keep you from making this anytime the mood strikes you.  It’s slightly sweet and very buttery, which knows no season.  The book said this serves 6 to 8 people.  I can not confirm that detail since The Mistah and I gobbled all of this down by ourselves.

  • 9 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 red onion, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • kosher salt

Cover the carrots and onion with water in a medium sauce pan.  Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to simmer and cook for 20 minutes or until the carrots are very tender.  Drain and transfer the carrots and onion to a food processor.  Add the butter and puree until smooth.  Taste for seasoning and add salt to taste.

{printable recipe}

Boathouse Roma Tomato Jam

I  have an affinity for the idea of southern living.  I don’t know if I would enjoy actually living down in Dixie but in my perfect world, life is full of southern grace, charm, and food.  I think it would really depend on where in the south I happened to find myself.

I don’t think I could take the heat and humidity that seems to thrive down south (not that Maryland is any picnic in the summer).  And then there’s the whole tornado thing.  Maryland isn’t much of a tornado alley so the notion of storm cellars and twisters that can level entire neighborhoods makes me kind of uncomfortable.  Maybe it’s just that I’ve seen The Wizard of Oz and Twister too many times not to have a prejudiced notion of what it means to live with the possibility of these storms…god forbid somebody drops a house on me. And then there’s the bugs.  Fire ants, palmetto bugs, and mosquitoes the size of buzzards. My perfect world of southern living does not make accommodation for these pests.

So maybe actual southern living is not for me.  Perhaps I am better served by small doses of southern charm during long weekends away from the Free State. Regardless, thanks to my friend who let me borrow her copy of The Boathouse cookbook, I can bring a taste of that southern food into my own kitchen.  And right now, the south tastes like tomato jam. I wish that I did have a big cellar so that I could make big batches of this and can it for proper long term storage.  In my mind, that’s what my basement is for. Not for seeking refuge from the storm.

I am entering this recipe in the Get Grillin’ Event run by Family Fresh Cooking and Cookin’ Canuck, sponsored by Ile de France CheeseRösleEmile HenryRouxbe and ManPans. This week’s theme is appetizers.  Check out all the entries and submit one of your own!

Roma Tomato Jam

Adapted from The Boathouse

BAH Note: I’ve used this as a sandwich condiment, as a topping on flat bread, and on wee rounds of toasted baguette.  I bet it would be fantastic on a grilled pizza with some lovely, salty feta.

  • 1 container roma tomatoes (I guess there were about 6 or 8 tomatoes), coarsely chopped
  • 1 red onion, sliced thin
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Heat olive oil in a large frying pan.  Add chopped tomatoes and onion and saute over medium high heat for about 5 minutes.  Reduce the heat to medium low and add the balsamic and brown sugar.  Stir to combine and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for approximately 30 minutes or until a jam-like consistency is reached.  I turned off the heat when a spatula run through left a clean trail in the pan.

Serve at room temperature.  Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator.

{printable recipe}