Monday, 10 October 2011

My Thanksgiving with Bobby Flay('s new cookbook!)

Bobby Flay's Bar Americain Cookbook
Celebrate America's Great Flavors

by Bobby Flay, Stephanie Banyas and Sally Jackson
Hardcover, 272 pages
Also available as an eBook

This has to be the warmest Thanksgiving on record for us, and Bobby and I were heating up the kitchen together.

Now, I don't want to make you jealous (yes, I do) or start any rumours (that too) - but we were getting pretty cozy. Doesn't he look so handsome at the head of our holiday table?

Which is not to say that Bar Americain is just a holiday cookbook - it has a delicious array of American recipes that reflect the multitude of diverse regions and local ingredients that America has to offer. You'll find the classic American upscale pub and bistro fare that Bobby's famous for, as well as a whole range of classic American fare from all over the country - Bobby style. And you know that means flavour, bold and fantastic flavour.

The chapters include: 
* Cocktails * Soups and Salads * Sandwiches * Appetizers * Fish and Shellfish * Poultry and Meat * Sides * Breads and Desserts * Brunch * Sauces and Stocks * Kitchen Essentials (including American Pantry, Equipment Essentials, and Cooking Techniques)
Bobby, please pour the wine!
Since it is Thanksgiving in Canada this weekend, and Bobby has a lovely array of family table style dishes, I decided to do an all Bobby Thanksgiving. Well, wouldn't you?
Herb Roasted Turkey
We cooked up his Herb Roasted Turkey - lovely deep mahogany bird that is rubbed all over with herb butter and then basted with chicken stock for a rich and tender holiday centerpiece. The flavourful pan juices are reduced, restaurant style, to a brilliant thick sauce for the bird. And for the potatoes, and for anything else I can think of to put that incredible sauce on. No more fussing with flour for me. Bobby has shown me a whole new world, and it is delicious. 
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pomegranate and Hazelnuts
For my daughter, it isn't Thanksgiving without Brussels sprouts. I made her Bobby's Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pomegranate and Hazelnuts. Delightfully tangy and fresh with the addition of pomegranate molasses and seeds, as well as citrus zest and crunchy hazelnuts. Another winner!
Sourdough, Wild Mushroom, and Bacon Dressing
Deep and earthy, this Sourdough, Wild Mushrooms, and Bacon Dressing was the perfect accompaniment to the turkey. My son even ate it, lots of it. It's that good.
Chopped Apple Salad with Toasted Walnuts, Blue Cheese and Pomegranate Vinaigrette
The Chopped Apple Salad with Toasted Walnuts, Blue Cheese and Pomegranate Vinaigrette was just right as a bright contrast to the rich holiday fare. The sweet apple, crunchy walnuts, bitter greens and tart dressing made for a lovely side to our dinner.

Chopped Apple Salad
Toasted Walnuts, Blue Cheese, Pomegranate Vinaigrette
From Bobby Flay’s Bar Americain Cookbook

This is a sophisticated take on an American classic, the Waldorf salad. Tart crisp apples, piquant blue cheese, and rich, crunchy walnuts combine to create a salad with layers of flavor and texture. Slightly sweet, deliciously tangy pomegranate molasses is the key ingredient in the vinaigrette, binding all of the elements in place of the traditional mayonnaise-based dressing. Tender baby spinach and crisp endive amp up the fresh factor of this hearty salad.

Serves 6 to 8
4 apples such as Granny Smith, Gala, or Fuji, cored and cut into 1⁄2-inch dice
2 ounces baby spinach
2 large heads of Belgian endive, thinly sliced crosswise
1 1⁄2 cups coarsely chopped walnuts, toasted
1⁄2 pound blue cheese such as Maytag, crumbled (2 cups)
Pomegranate Vinaigrette (recipe follows)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Combine the apples, spinach, endive, walnuts, and blue cheese in a large bowl. Add the vinaigrette and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Pomegranate Vinaigrette
Makes about 1 cup
3 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 heaping tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey, or more to taste
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2⁄3 cup extra virgin olive oil

Whisk together the pomegranate molasses, vinegar, mustard, and honey in a medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Slowly whisk in the olive oil until emulsified. The dressing can be made 2 days in advance and stored in a container with a tight-fitting lid in the refrigerator.

Excerpted from Bobby Flay’s Bar Americain Cookbook by Bobby Flay with Stephanie Banyas and Sally Jackson Copyright © 2011 by Boy Meets Grill, Inc. Photographs Copyright © 2011 by Ben Fink. Excerpted by permission of Clarkson Potter, a division of Random House of Canada Limited. All rights reserved.

Cranberry, Fig, and Pinot Noir Chutney
And of course you have to have cranberry sauce! Bobby's Cranberry, Fig, and Pinot Noir Chutney was a sophisticated twist on the classic sauce that we love so much. The wine gave it such depth, while the fig melted nicely into it lending sweetness and the crunch of the tiny seeds. Wonderful!

Sweet Potato Pie with Cinnamon Crunch Ice Cream
Dessert was a toss-up between his Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Spicy Caramel Apple Sauce and the Sweet Potato Pie with Cinnamon Crunch Ice Cream - but the sweet potato pie won out in the end as- a) I have never had one before, much less made one, and b) my daughter loves sweet potato pie, and c) it could all be made the night before. Sold!
We loved the creaminess of this fall-flavoured pie, and the ice cream was to die for. Seriously rich, seriously delicious.
Thanks for dinner, Bobby! We loved sharing this special day with you.
What a fantastic Thanksgiving dinner we had! But of course Bar Americain is more than just holiday fare - some of the other recipes I have bookmarked include:

Barbecue Cocktail * Shellfish and Andoulle Gumbo with Crispy Okra * California-Style Blue Crab Salad with Avocado, Nicoise Olives, and Meyer Lemon Dressing * Lobster Club Sandwich with Green Onion Dressing, Crispy Ham, and Arugula * Mussels and Fries Americain with Green Chile Broth * Red Snapper with Cabbage Slaw, Salsas, and Flour Tortillas * Country-Style Ribs with Bourbon Barbecue Sauce, and Tomato Corn Bread * Lobster Potato Salad * Deep-Dish Chocolate Cream Pie * and Bananas Foster Crepes with Walnuts, and Creme Fraiche!