Thursday, November 29, 2007

Why did Constantinople get the works?

An irritating fourth-place finish at trivia tonight. Irritating, because we were supposedly tied for first going into the final question, and we were told that only two teams got that question right, including the team that was tied with us. Turned out, someone claimed a score discrepancy, and was ahead of us all along. Not much to do about that, I guess.
There was a question about the original location of New Amsterdam. Thankfully, there were no questions about Chuck Norris, though there was a category that referred to him. Next week: Pirates vs. Ninjas trivia. Don't pinch yourself; you're not dreaming.

1. What "trophy" does the winner of the Colorado State - Wyoming football game receive? (as an example, the winner of the Stanford-Cal game receives The Axe.)
2. What Christmas present does Ralphie want in A Christmas Story?
3. What was the name of Pete's Dragon?
4. What nickname did Frank Sinatra and Whitey Ford share?
5. Each king in a standard deck of playing cards is based on an historical king. Who are the four kings? Extra credit for matching them with the suits, though this was, apparently, not required.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

The answer to every question is "turkey"

Obviously, trivia is off this week. I considered coming up with theme questions (What bird did Ben Franklin originally propose as the national bird of the U.S.? What do you call three consecutive strikes in bowling?), but you'll get enough of that soon; one of the next two weeks will be Pirates vs. Ninjas trivia.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

You could even add cranberry sauce

I spent yesterday on the road, but today we get a very very special Thanksgiving Day ROTW. If you're coming here at 1:00 to get any recipes for today, you're in trouble, but what to do with all that leftover turkey? You could make soup. You could make sandwiches. Heck, you'll probably make soup and sandwiches, and still have leftovers. Here's another idea, which incorporates our second-favorite food here at the Preschool: risotto.
Thanksgiving Risotto

6 cups stock (turkey if you've got it, chicken if you don't)
2 T. butter or oil
1 medium onion, diced small
2 cups arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
salt and pepper
1/2 pound or more cooked turkey, shredded
1/2 cup leftover vegetables (corn is great, carrots and cauliflower is okay, green bean casserole is risky)
1 4-8 oz. package mushroooms, sliced

heat the stock and hold at a simmer.
melt the butter (or heat the oil) in a large, heavy bottomed pan over the same heat level you're using on the stock. Add the onion and cook until translucent. Add the rice and stir until every grain is coated with oil and is slightly toasted. Add the wine; stir until the liquid is absorbed, then add salt and pepper to taste.
Add the stock by ladlefuls (about 1/2 cup at a time) and stir the rice constantly, adding more liquid whenever the stock is absorbed (this process will take 20-30 minutes). After ten minutes, add the mushrooms and continue stirring. When the mixture becomes creamy and the rice grains are no longer crunchy, stir in the turkey and vegetables. Cook five more minutes to heat the turkey and vegetables. Serves a whole lot of people.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Do the Truffle Shuffle

We're continuing a very special Thanksgiving Week here at BOAD (I'm trying the acronym thing here, maybe it will catch on) with multiple days of recipes. Today we're dipping into our favorite genre: the cookie. This year, we've got a five-hour drive on Wednesday, which gets us to Dad's place too late to have a proper supper, but too early to go to bed on an empty stomach. The solution, clearly, is snacks; and, as long as you're going to snack, you might as well have cookies. Dark brown sugar and dark chocolate give this cookie a deep, complex flavor. I've tried several strategies (the shortening, chilling the dough, etc.) to get (1) the cookies to bake high and (2) the chunks to hold their shape. I've met with limited success. One important point is to keep the chunks fairly large. Small pieces of chocolate melt quickly and blend into the dough - not that that's a terrible thing. You could also add pecans or walnuts to this recipe.

Cranberry Chocolate Chunk Cookies

2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon water
1 teaspoon grated orange zest (optional)
1 cup dried cranberries
4 - 6 oz. bittersweet chocolate (60% - 70% cacao), broken into pieces

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt, and set aside.
Cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Mix in the eggs, vanilla, water, and orange zest, and mix until fully combined. Slowly stir in the dry ingredients, then add the cranberries and chocolate chunks and stir until incorporated. chill the dough in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 375°F. Form the dough into two-tablespoon balls, and arrange the cookies on a greased or lined baking sheet. Bake until cookies begin to brown at the edges, 12 to 14 minutes. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for two minutes, then move to racks and cool completely. Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Be My Sweet Potato

The Recipe Of The Week fell by the wayside sometime over the summer, but with Thanksgiving looming, it's time to bring it back. This was inspired by a soup at a Southwestern restaurant in Winston-Salem.

Sweet Potato Soup

2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 small to medium onion, diced
1 small clove garlic, pureed (to do this, mince the garlic, sprinkle with a pinch of salt, then use the flat of a knife or back of a spoon to crush the minced garlic to a jelly-like consistency)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter or extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 tablespoon (or less) brown sugar
salt and pepper
4 oz. mushrooms (any style you like; I use cremini), sliced or diced
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1/2 cup whole milk or half & half (optional)

melt two tablespoons of butter in a large saucepan or stockpot over medium-high heat. Add the onion. When the onion becomes translucent but not browned yet (about 2 min), add the sweet potatoes, garlic, chili powder, and brown sugar. Cook, stirring, until the onion and potatoes are well-browned (10-15 minutes). In a second pan, sautee the mushrooms with the remaining tablespoon of butter and thyme over medium-low heat, until the mushrooms just begin to brown (8-10 min).
Transfer the onion-potato mixture to a blender or food processor and puree. Return the sweet potato puree to the saucepan and add the stock, milk and salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the mushrooms, and cook until the soup is heated through. Serves 2-3.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Watch This Space

We missed a total of six questions at trivia this week. Unfortunately, the Triviatrix did not have a hard copy of the questions, and I didn't write down the misses (because I was expecting her to have a hard copy). So, I'm working from memory here.

1. True or false: there is no complete video of Super Bowl I.
2. How many U.S. Presidents are NOT buried in the United States? (Yes, this question is as dumb as you think it is.)
3. The island of Corsica is a territory of which European nation?
4. What was the first song known to have been sung in outer space (i.e., on a NASA mission)?
5. The yo-yo is based on an ancient weapon from what Pacific island nation?
6. Which of the three Apollo 11 Astronauts did NOT walk on the moon?

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


I have managed to lose the last two sets of trivia questions between the time I left the restaurant and the time I got a free moment to blog. That's the reason for the lack of questions lately. They will return this week, along with another formerly regular feature.