Turkey and Roasted Butternut Squash Orzo... Leftover Turkey #5

I'm all in.  It's been one week.  I am 1/6th through and I'm all in - I've bought the farm so to speak.  Jumped into the deep end.  I've decided to stop thinking about how hard it will be and just do it.  However, that gets difficult when there is no beer at home to dull the senses.  I've learned my lesson and am working to correct the situation.

A friend put some comic thing from bitstrips on FB about me.  I hate bitstrips.  I don't feel the need to be in my own personal comic strip.  I don't find them entertaining.  In this case, it's fine.  I swallowed my hate.  I smiled.  I left a nice, if slightly strange, comment and have moved on.  I love my friend.  She's a real friend and not just a FB friend.

Our Mayor is still the Mayor which is weird because nothing else seems to be happening in this city but figuring out what to do with the Mayor.  I wish that we all got this upset about his governing (or lack thereof) and not just the crack smoking, constant inebriation, domestic issues and alleged criminal connections - although all of those things add up to quite an impressive resume to discuss.  All of this has come out over the last two weeks.  Imagine where we'll be by the end of November.  I was going to link you all to some Rob Ford article or other but there are so many.  Just google him and you can check out all of the tawdry details yourself.

I am conducting one of our choirs at Mass tomorrow.  I don't really know what I'm doing.  I'm not really a conductor.  I fake it.  The boys do this every Sunday from September through June.  They know what to do.  If I forget to tell them to stand it's ok - they remember and do it themselves.  If I forget which way the go to line up for the Eucharist, it's ok - they line up on their own.  Tomorrow happens to be the one Sunday when we are being taped by a tv station.  The Sunday I am subbing and trying not to look like I don't know what I'm doing.  Oh.

I forget that this time of year sucks.  I forget that it's really hard to get out of bed.  I totally forget that I always feel like I can't move out into that dark space outside of my door past 7pm.  I went for a long run today and remembered that when I don't run it's ten times worse.  Biking is great.  Biking gets me to work and it helps me feel like I've accomplished something good.  However, running is my happy drug.  Especially in the winter.  There is no replacement for it and I need it like I need medication.  I cannot go for five days without my medication.  I started to feel like a human being again.

This recipe leaves me with one 3 lb bag of turkey left in my freezer.  I will pull that bag out week after next.  I don't yet know what I will do with that turkey.  The second to last bag in the freezer turned into Turkey Paprikash - which turned out well and I wish that I had written the recipe down so that I could share it - and this orzo thing with butternut squash.  I guess the Paprikash thing really makes this 'Leftover Turkey #6'  The squash really needs to be roasted.  It just does.  The recipe is tasty and although it didn't get gobbled, it did get mostly eaten entirely.  A month of turkey later that is saying something.

Turkey and Roasted Butternut Squash Orzo
serves 6

1 med butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks
4 tbsp oil or grease
1 small onion, sliced thin
2 1/2 cups leftover turkey or chicken, cut into big chunks
3 cloves garlic, crushed
3 cups chard, thickly sliced
3 cups turkey or chicken broth
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp mixed herbs (parsley, oregano, rosemary, marjoram is a nice mix)
pinch of cayenne, chipotle powder or pepper sauce
pinch of saffron
pinch of cumin
2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp honey
3/4 cup orzo (cooked for 3 minutes in boiling water, drained and set aside)
1/2 - 3/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 cup cream

Preheat oven to 350°F.
Combine the butternut squash chunks and the oil or grease of your choice.  Mix to coat and place the chunks onto a baking sheet in 1 layer.  Bake for 45 minutes, tossing half way through.  Remove from the oven and set aside.

Heat a large dutch oven over low heat.
Add a little oil and add the sliced onion.  Cook over low heat for about 10 minutes, stirring to prevent sticking.
Add the garlic and turkey or chicken.  Cook for about 2 minutes.
Add the Worcestershire, soy sauce and herbs.  Mix to combine.
Add the turkey or chicken broth.
Bring to a simmer and add the saffron, cumin, salt and honey.  Stir to mix and add in the orzo.
Continue to simmer for about 5 minutes.
Add the chard and mix.
Cook for another 5 minutes.
Turn the heat down to low and add the roasted butternut squash and the parmesan cheese.  Mix to melt the cheese.
Add the cream and stir to mix.  Check the taste and adjust if necessary.

Banana, Chocolate Chip Cake

The reason that you are getting a third banana recipe in a row is two fold.  Please understand that I am not offering these reasons as an apology but merely as an explanation.  No apology for cake should ever be offered - ever.  The first reason is that I had just about a bakers dozen overripe bananas in the freezer.  I now have a total of two.  That's better.  The second reason is that I forgot to take pictures of the fifth leftover turkey dish (with roasted butternut squash no less) and now that it's dark pictures will have to wait until tomorrow.  I am not going to number the banana recipes because I'm already doing it with the leftover turkey madness and more than one number system at a time feels kinda lame.
There is nothing especially spectacular about this cake which is probably why it feels so approachable.  It comes together fast and looks big but it has a short, simple ingredients list.  It does use egg whites instead of yolks.  This is something that suits me just fine because I use truckloads of egg yolks in my ice cream.
Speaking of ice cream, I believe that I have recently perfected chocolate ice cream.  This elevates my chocolate ice cream to a level that I believe could be used for leveraging.  Things I could possibly leverage with my ice cream:
 - marriage proposals (a little late there)
 - purchasing property
 - keeping my kids in line (you won't get any ice cream if you keep on....)
 - work promotions
You get the idea.  What was my problem with chocolate ice cream you ask?  Well, I had problems getting the graininess out of the cocoa powder and sugar first.  I learned that slow, low heat whisking can solve that problem.  The second problem was then getting the graininess out of the chocolate when adding it to the custard.  The first thing I tried was pre-melting the chocolate.  That achieved a degree of success but I had to be careful when adding it to the warm custard as it could easily seize up.  Once I got that figured out, I had to make sure that the chocolate didn't become little chocolate shards in the ice cream... solution: cool it slowly and on refrigerate once completely room temperature.  The last thing I did was add a little salt and a little instant coffee powder to the whole thing.  Result:  Perfection.  Smooth.  Chocolatey.  Bliss.

Compared to 'Smooth. Chocolately. Bliss' this cake is a bit underwhelming but these things can often just be a matter of expectations.  Banana cake is great thing to have with tea or something.  I wouldn't make it for someone's birthday or anything but if someone showed up at my door unexpectedly (like that ever happens) I could throw this together quickly and easily.  Fortunately, I found some leftover vanilla buttercream icing in the freezer that I thawed and added some more vanilla and cream to.  I spread it over half of the cake and Kid #2 nearly died.  Icing.

Banana, Chocolate Chip Cake adapted from 'Simply in Season'
makes 1 9x9 cake

2 1/4 cups unbleached, all purpose flour
1 1/4 cups sugar
3 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
pinch cardamom and nutmeg

3 overripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
4 egg whites
2/3 - 3/4 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla

3 oz dark chocolate chips or chunks

Preheat the oven to 350°F
Butter and flour a 9x9 inch baking pan.  Set aside.
Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cardamom and nutmeg together.  Mix to combine and set aside.
In another bowl beat together the butter and bananas until combined.  Add the egg whites and beat for about 2 minutes.  Add 2/3 cup of milk (reserve the rest) and the vanilla and beat together for another minute.
Add the banana mixture to the flour mixture and fold until flour is completely mixed in.  Add the remaining milk if the batter is too thick to spread easily.  Stir to combine.
Fold in the chocolate chips until incorporated.
Pour into the prepared pan.
Bake for about 30 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean from the middle.
Cool for about 15 minutes before removing from the pan.

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St Michael's Choir School is celebrating it's 75th anniversary year of service to St Michael's Cathedral. Part of the school celebration is a trip to Italy where our boys from Grades 5 - 12 will be performing and celebrating Mass. This blog will be chronicling our adventures. Wanda Thorne is the Vocal Coach at St Michael's Choir School. Gerard Lewis is the Grade 7/8 Homeroom teacher at the Choir School.

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  • Naparima Girls High School Cookbook
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Wanda Thorne
St Michael's Choir School is celebrating it's 75th anniversary year of service to St Michael's Cathedral. Part of the school celebration is a trip to Italy where our boys from Grades 5 - 12 will be performing and celebrating Mass. This blog will be chronicling our adventures. Wanda Thorne is the Vocal Coach at St Michael's Choir School. Gerard Lewis is the Grade 7/8 Homeroom teacher at the Choir School.
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