If the stress of holiday cooking makes you want to curl up on the couch and binge watch old episodes of Portlandia, you can combine your fondness for addictive TV-watching with your desire to eat a decent holiday meal. Here’s a menu made up of recipes from new cookbooks based on some of your favorite shows. (After all, what soooort of rhymes with Kardashian? Tryptophan.)
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Cream of Watercress Soup
From A Year in The Life of Downton Abbey, by Jessica Fellowes
If you’re counting down the days until the January 4th season premiere, this photo-packed cookbook may help ease the wait. Nestled between hints about the upcoming season and behind-the-scenes shots are 24 classic British recipes, including one for this elegant soup.
3 ½ tablespoons butter
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
1 large leek (white part only), washed and sliced
1 large potato, peeled and chopped
Salt and pepper
3 cups hot chicken stock or water
9 cups watercress, de-stalked and chopped (can substitute sorrel or spinach)
Large pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
⅔ cup light cream
Melt the butter in a heavy-based saucepan, then add the onion, leek and potato and stir to coat them in the butter. Season with salt and pepper, turn the heat to low and let the vegetables sweat with the lid on for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. When the vegetables are tender, add the hot stock or water. Bring back to the boil, then add the watercress and cook for a further 5 minutes. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Take the pan off the heat and liquidise the soup. Stir in the cream and pour into bowls to serve. Serves 4.
Copyright © 2014, reprinted by permission of St. Martin’s Press, LLC.
From The Portlandia Cookbook, by Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein with Jonathan Krisel
The show that lovingly parodies all things Portland has spawned an eclectic collection of recipes for foodies and freegans alike, such as this variation on sautéed shrimp.
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced
Crushed red pepper flakes
1½ pounds ripe plum tomatoes, peeled and coarsely chopped with seeds
1½ pounds cleaned and deveined medium shrimp
½ cup (about 3 ounces) pitted kalamata olives, coarsely chopped
¼ cup chopped fresh dill
6 ounces Greek feta, crumbled
In a large skillet, heat the oil over high heat until shimmering. Add the onion and red pepper flakes and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook until softened, crushing with the back of a wooden spoon, about 5 minutes longer. Add the shrimp and olives and season with salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the shrimp are curled and cooked through, about 3 minutes. Stir in half the dill and half the feta and cook just until the cheese is heated through, about 1 minute. Transfer to plates, sprinkle with the remaining dill and feta, and serve with crusty bread. Serves 4 to 6.
THE MAIN EVENT
Pennsatucky’s Family Beer Can Bird from Orange Is the New Black Presents: The Cookbook, by Jenji Kohan and Tara Hermann
Remember when Crazy Eyes went nuts in the cafeteria and hurled a piece of pie at Alex? Now you can make that same dessert and 50 other treats to remind you of the funniest/saddest/craziest moments at Litchfield prison—including the entree to your TV dinner.
For the rub:
2 teaspoons dry mustard powder
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon ground cayenne
One 12- to 14-pound (5.5- to 6.25-kg) free-range turkey
1 medium chunk of smoking wood, such as apple wood
One 24- or 25-ounce (740-ml) can of beer
Fire up a smoker or grill to 325F (160C) on one side. In a small bowl, combine all the rub ingredients. Remove and discard the neck and giblets from the turkey. Rinse the turkey under cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Rub the cavity with about 1 tablespoon of the rub. Using your fingers, gently separate the skin from the meat underneath the breasts and around the thighs. Spread about 1 tablespoon of the rub under the breast and thighs. Open the beer can and pour yourself about one third of the beer. Make a few more openings in the can using a can opener and leave the rest of the beer in the can. Add about 1 tablespoon of the rub to the beer can. Sprinkle the remaining rub into the cavity of the turkey and all over the turkey, inserting it under the skin.
When the grill comes up to temperature, add the wood chunk. When the wood ignites and starts to smoke, place the beer can on the grill over the unheated portion. Carefully lower the turkey onto the beer can, legs down. Adjust the legs so the bird is stable on the grill. (If it’s hard to get it to stay stable, you could place the bird, beer in butt, in a roasting pan before placing it on the grill.) Cover and smoke until an instant-read thermometer registers 160F (70C) in the thickest part of the breast, 2 to 3 hours. Remove the turkey from the smoker, place it on a carving board, and let it rest for about 20 minutes. Remove the beer can, carve, and serve.
Herbed Garlic Bread from In the Kitchen With Kris, by Kris Jenner
Even if you can’t afford a personal chef or Hermès china for your celebrity offspring, you can still get a taste of the Kardashian life. Here’s an amped-up garlic bread recipe to go with dinner:
6 garlic gloves, minced
2 teaspoons olive oil
4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
¼ cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh oregano
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 large, elongated crusty bread, such as ciabatta, cut in half horizontally
Preheat over to 350°F. Heat the garlic and olive oil together in a small skillet over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the garlic is tender but not browned, about 2 minutes. Scrape the mixture into a medium bowl and let cool completely. In the same medium bowl, combine the Parmesan, parsley, oregano, and thyme. Using a rubber spatula, mash the mixture together until combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Divide and spread the herb mixture on the cut sides of the bread. Wrap the loaf in a double thickness of aluminum foil. Bake for 20 minutes. Open up the foil and continue baking until the loaf is crisp, about 5 minutes, Cut into 1-inch wide slices and serve warm. Makes 8 to 12 servings.
Blue Meth Crunch from Baking Bad, by Walter Wheat
How did Walt get his bake so pure? You won’t learn Heisenberg’s secret recipe in this hilarious (and drug-free) parody cookbook inspired by Breaking Bad. But you will find novelties like Mr. White’s Tighty Whitey Bites, Ricin Krispie Squares and this blue rock candy:
½ cup (118ml) water
¾ cup (177ml) light corn syrup
Do not use chili powder. It’s for amateurs
14 ounces (350g) granulated sugar
2 teaspoons (10ml) peppermint extract
Blue gel food coloring
You will need a candy thermometer
Line a baking tray with aluminum foil, or use a heatproof glass tray. Spray with non-stick baking spray. Find yourself a decent accomplice. Underachieving ex-students are a good choice, though psychologically fragile. In a medium saucepan, combine the water, corn syrup and sugar. Stir the mixture over medium heat until the sugar dissolves, then turn up the heat to bring to a boil. Stop stirring and insert the thermometer and use a pastry brush dipped in water to wet the sides of the pan (this will prevent crystals forming). Cook the mixture until the temperature reaches 285F(140C). Immediately remove the pan from the heat and take out the thermometer. Let the mixture stand until all the bubbles have stopped forming on the surface.
At some point you’re going to need a distributor. But don’t worry about that now. Add a few drops of peppermint flavoring and enough blue color to give the correct Blue Meth hue. Quickly pour the mixture onto the baking tray, lifting the tray from side to side to spread the mix. Don’t worry if it’s not perfectly smooth or has holes in it. Let the candy cool to room temperature. Once the candy has cooled, use a hammer to break it up. Put into little plastic baggies or serve as is, whichever your clients prefer.
All recipes reprinted with permission.