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Broccolini with Toasted Almonds - Meatballs&Milkshakes

This crisp broccolini is topped with toasted almonds and breadcrumbs to give it some texture and depth of flavor from the almonds. The oils from the almonds permeate the breadcrumbs, and help to give some crunch as well. Best of all, this is a quick and healthy side that you can make in under 10 minutes.

Broccolini with Toasted Almonds

1 bunch broccolini

1/4 cup breadcrumbs

1/4 cup sliced almonds

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Blanch the broccolini in salted water for 5 minutes, until they become bright green and slightly tender. Meanwhile, toast the almonds and breadcrumbs in half the olive oil until they start to brown. Remove to a bowl. Saute the broccolini for 2 minutes in the remaining olive oil, being careful when adding the wet broccolini to the hot oil. You may want to add a little of the cooking water if it spatters too much. Remove to a plate and top with the toasted almonds and breadcrumbs.

Broccolini with Toasted Almonds - Meatballs&Milkshakes

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Herb Roasted Almonds - Meatballs&Milkshakes

These make a great snack with drinks, before dinner, or just about anytime. These will be on my table for New Year’s Eve, but they were also out throughout the holidays and were great to munch on between all the big meals. I first had these kind of specially roasted almonds in LA last year, where they were artisanally roasting nuts with various spices. The options are endless, just take a look in your spice cabinet or refrigerator for inspiration.

Herb Roasted Almonds

12 ounce package of almonds, unroasted and unseasoned if possible

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil plus extra

2 tablespoons Aleppo pepper

2 tablespoons Herbes de Provence or chopped rosemary

2 tablespoons salt

Pour the almonds onto a foil-lined sheet tray. Pour the olive oil and spices on top, and using your hands, mix everything so the nuts are well coated in olive oil and spices. Spread them out and bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes, until the nuts start to toast and they are fragrant. Toss when they come out of the oven to make sure they continue to absorb flavor as they cool. Add a little more olive oil if they seem dry, or to give more fresh olive oil flavor.

Herb Roasted Almonds - Meatballs&Milkshakes

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Well, it’s time for the pre-Thanksgiving round-up. After several lovely meals for the holiday, I can say I’m done with turkey until next year. Not including turkey sandwiches or ground turkey. But the whole bird…I’ve had enough for a while.

I thought we were getting a de-boned and butterflied turkey breast from the butcher, but it turned out there were bones. Hmmm. So, I set about to deboning. It actually wasn’t that bad, I just cut out the backbone and started from one end of the chest cavity. It took about 20 minutes, but I got those things out of there. They immediately went into a pot for some turkey stock, which simmered for about an hour with some water.

I butterflied the breast and then salted the skin and let it sit in the fridge to dry out for a couple hours. Then the bird got stuffed and rolled and roasted for a while. We served the extra stuffing on the side along with some roasted brussels sprouts, homemade butternut squash ravioli and cranberry sauce. And of course, a delicious apple pie.

Gareth’s Stuffing

1/2 loaf crusty Italian bread, cubed and toasted in the oven

1 onion, chopped

10 sage leaves, chopped

1 apple, diced

1 cup almonds

1 cup beer (we used Dale’s Pale Ale, but any tasty beer would work)

2 tablespoons olive oil

Saute the onion in the olive oil until softened. Meanwhile, blanch the almonds in boiling water for a minute and drain into a towel to rub off the almond skins. Saute the almonds in a teaspoon of olive oil for a few minutes until starting to brown.

Add the sage and apple to the onion and saute together for a couple minutes. Add the bread and toss. Add the almonds and remove to a baking dish. Pour the beer over and bake for 30-40 minutes, until browned on top.

Turkey Roulade

1 deboned and butterflied turkey breast, skin on

1 cup Gareth’s Stuffing (before it’s baked)

2 tablespoons olive oil

kitchen twine

Lay the turkey out skin side down. Season with lots of salt and pepper. Spread the stuffing out in the center, making sure to keep it from the edges since it will spread out as you roll. Starting at one end, roll like a jelly roll making sure to tuck in any loose pieces. Tie with several pieces of twine to keep it as uniform in width as possible. The skin that gets rolled into the center will virtually baste it from the inside out. Place on a baking sheet or roasting pan and drizzle with the olive oil.

Roast at 425 degrees for 30 minutes, then lower to 350 degrees for another hour or until the center reads 165 degrees on a thermometer. Let rest 20-30 minutes before slicing. The skin should be nice and crisp, if it’s not crisping up while roasting, turn the temp back up to 425 degrees until it does. You can use the pan drippings to make gravy, just deglaze with a little wine turkey stock and whisk in some flour. Cook a few minutes to get the flour taste out and it’s ready to serve when it has thickened a bit. If it’s too thick, add some leftover turkey stock.

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