Tea | I’m Steeply Into It

tea from Good Coffee in PortlandFragrant Leaf green tea brewing in a Kinto one-touch teapot at Good Coffee in Portland

If you take a look at the Rogue Pepper Instagram feed, you will probably notice that I spend a lot of time at coffee shops. Doing homework, eating brunch, hanging out to write, or having less-formal meetings; the coffee shop is a terrific “third place” for me and so many others.

The thing is, I can only drink so much coffee in a day.

(It’s an unpopular opinion, I know.  Try not to hold it against the other great articles on this blog, eh?)

There are plenty of times when I want a hot beverage, but don’t want the supreme rush that comes with a quality coffee drink. Likewise, between work, school, commuting and side projects, quality coffee drinks aren’t always accessible. In my office, for example, we have a Keurig machine and a cafeteria that sells several varieties of powder-based, sugary instant coffees. With the closure of two nearby cafes last year, and the limited hours at Rollover Coffee & Donuts, usually the only brew within a mile radius is that small, Seattle-based chain called Starbucks.

So rather than lament the dearth of choices, I decided a while back to take things into my own hands and start exploring that ancient beverage so many of us have turned our back on.

That Lipton Stuff?

When I was a child, our mother would make iced tea, and none of us would drink it. I blame this on two factors:

  1. It was a bunch of bags of supermarket tea that was probably more sticks and bark than anything else.
  2. In a pitcher/jug, the tea could easily be mistaken for grape Kool-Aid, which resulted in a shocking reaction from a young version of me that thought he was about to drink some delicious purple concoction straight from the jug.

Either way, as I entered adulthood, my only experience with tea were those ill-fated gulps that were probably karmic retribution for bad manners. So when I decided a while back to start taking tea as a serious alternative to other caffeinated beverages, it was without much foundation.

What I Like about Tea

As we have friends who are seriously into artisanal coffee or craft beers, I wish I could say that I had a particular expertise in tea preparation, brewing, regions, etc.  At this point, though, I am best classed as a “passionate amateur”, if anything.  That’s not to say, however, that I cannot at least share some of my favorite aspects from the exploration so far.

Ritual Behaviors – All forms of tea have at least some of the same procedural/habitual aspects of quality coffee preparation.  If you want the best possible drink, you need to be mindful of getting the right amount of water to tea and steeping for the appropriate amount of time and not much longer.  If one were really serious about quality, I’m told there are elements to consider surrounding the vessel for brewing/serving, and even the method of heating your water.

Tree-mendious varie-tea* – Green, white, oolong, pu-erh, herbal, the range of flavors, intensities and kick provided by a cup of hot tea are so variable, I’m not certain there is much need to drink the same cup of tea twice in a lifetime.   This part may be intimidating to some, I didn’t know where to start when I first dove in, and I’m sure I drank some poor quality teas, or badly mangled some good leaves with amateur mistakes. Luckily you’re the only one who has to know, and trying again isn’t that costly.

Social experience – I’m sure when you started reading this post, one of the images that came to mind was either a butler pouring tea into little white cups, or a stereotypical grandmother doing the same.  What’s clear is that we have a deep association between tea and conversation. Sitting around, enjoying a hot beverage and good company is one of the best, most rewarding experiences we can share with our friends and family, and one that tea supports very well.  Around the office, too, tea is a lot more tradable than coffee, and has encouraged a few conversations among folks who don’t normally work together or collaborate. Bonus, none of us have to lament Keurig-quality instant “coffee” drink.

Calming/Meditative/Soothing – We all live busy lives, I’m sure mine is no busier that most reader’s, and it’s tough for us to really set aside the time we should be taking to either enjoy the day or at least catch a breath between our other demands. With a cup of tea in my hands, though, each sip gives me a moment’s respite.  I can use it to appear thoughtful as I consider the next thing to say at work (pretty much the behavior that Twix turned into their ad campaign), or to just silently shut the world out for a few seconds.  With a disposable coffee cup in your hand, the expectation is “go, go, go”, but nobody looks at you weird when you take your time after sipping tea from a mug. Hooray for unspoken expectations!

kettle

So What Have I Been Drinking

Work – Lately I’ve been making a double-matcha green tea from Republic of Tea at work, and mixing it up with a coconut and green tea from Harney & Sons.  The double-matcha makes a great, frothy first cup of the day, and while the second steeping can’t compare because of the absence of the free-floating matcha dust, it does a fine job of providing energy and clarity of mind through some longer meetings.

Out & About – If I skip my morning almond milk latte at Royal Coffee, I’ll have them make me a cup of jasmine green tea, which I can credit with helping me conquer my statistics test prep last semester.  I’ve also been switching to a hibiscus green tea after a certain hour when studying at Lux.

Home – By the time I get home, it’s usually later so I’ll go lighter on the caffiene, opting for a “gingerly jasmine” from Tazo.  With green tea, jasmine, ginger and rose, this tea hits several levels of flavor, with just a little bit a sweetness.  One of these days I’m sure I’ll be raving about someone recreating the mint tea they had in Morocco.

I know these are all on the “big brands” sort of tea producers, but I assure you that the trend won’t continue.  We’ve been picking up some great teas on our travels, I just haven’t had them enough to give a quality review of each one.

—–

* I’m rather confident this particular pun will get cut by the editor, but can’t blame me from trying.

Quick Bites | Read This 01

Everyone loves a good ‘ol fashion link-up, right?  Here are a few things that have caught our attention lately:

Good for a laugh . . . comments on recipe blogs.

Local coffee love.

Rene’s hunt for the perfect taco.

A charming little video on how to cook spaghetti squash and why.

Don’t read this while eating, but please at least consider buying your next chicken from a local / small / sustainable / responsible / kind purveyor. I promise you, it’s worth every penny.

Oldie but goodie on Cooking 101 from one of the first food blogs that found its way into my reader.

These instagram accounts: one | two

Ode to Yolk

YOLK by Michelle MinSource | Design and Photography by Michelle Min @ Touch.Taste.Design.

He started at the edges.  With each bite he’d carefully dissect away the whites until all that was left on the entire plate were two bright golden disks.  With a big grin and knowing glance, in a single bite, all at once. . . POP! Echos of giggles and “ewws” were heard in tandem as yolk often found itself drip-dropping into his full grey beard.

I wish I would have thought to ask my grandpa if he really enjoyed egg yolks that much, or if it was simply getting a reaction out of everyone that drove this funny little habit of his.

. . . .

Some dreams you remember vividly. You can recite the details in the morning as though it were the plot of that movie you’ve seen hundreds of times.  This doesn’t happen to me often, but in one of the more random instances. . .

There was a stampede of jungle animals coming down the street in front of my parent’s house Jumanji style.  Out of nowhere, a person wearing a bear suit demanded that I make eggs benedict lest we get trampled by the approaching herds.  I had no clue how to poach an egg let alone make hollandaise sauce.  The recurring dream always ended badly.  Somehow no one got hurt, but my childhood home would be flattened and I’d be quite embarrassed at my lack of egg preparation abilities.

. . . .

Scrambled, always scrambled.  Whether at home or eating out, that’s how I take my eggs, preferably with a healthy sprinkling of cheese.  No sunny side up, over easy or fried for me.

I’m not certain why, but for most of my life I’ve been yolk averse.  Sure, I’d have a bite of other’s breakfast here and there, and it’s not that I found it repulsive, but I never changed my ways.  Old habits die hard or just foolish?

. . . .

As recently as the last couple months I’ve seen the glorious golden light that is the egg yolk.  The sublime silky center that I was all too quick to scramble in the past. Holy hell had I been missing out.  On top of sweet potatoes and pulled pork, on the side of my bacon and tomatoes, poached, soft boiled, or over medium on toast. . .  I’ll take my eggs up, please.

The Scavenge | Eggs (almost) Florentine

eggs almost florentine

This week has been a bit of a change for our household. With the new semester starting, my school-work-home schedule is adjusting, and so our cooking habits are still in flux. That’s to say nothing for our meal planning and me figuring out how to still eat healthy while traveling across town.

Today I ended up with a few minutes to spare before I needed to be out the door, and I wanted to make something that would keep me full until lunch. I decided to cook up some eggs and prosciutto as quickly as I could, and then see what I could dress it up with from the fridge. The keys here were things that could cook nearly instantly and didn’t require any chopping or other prep.

Here’s what I came up with:

Eggs Over-Medium with Spinach

2 eggs
2 slices of prosciutto
2 oz. of mushrooms (chopped)
1 pinch fresh cilantro
1 handful spinach
olive oil
seasoning to taste

I tore up the prosciutto into pieces and sautéed it with the mushrooms for 2-3 minutes. As soon as the mushrooms looked like they were softening up, I cracked the eggs directly over the other ingredients.  By a flavor miracle, neither yolk broke, so we were in business for a proper over-medium egg. A minute or two later the eggs were stabilized enough to flip, so added the cilantro and spinach, and hit it all with a dash of Flavor God lemon garlic spice mix.   One minute later, the whites were finished and I was on my way to enjoying a tasty, salty, golden-yolked breakfast that was jam-packed with protein and healthy fats, with some leafy greens to boot.

I don’t really know what all is required to be able to call something “florentine” other than including spinach, so I’ve added an “almost” in there as a precaution.

(Sorry for the dodgy image quality. Had to work with what I could get at 5:50am.)

Marrakech, Morocco | Mint Tea

I’m a sucker for a good tradition, especially when traveling, and even more especially when it comes to food. While I can appreciate sometimes the popular options while traveling can be overrated, there is usually a good reason something becomes well known or synonymous with its location. Phoenix and killer taco options, New York City and pizza slices*, London and fish ‘n chips*, and now – for me – Marrakech and mint tea.

mint tea with breakfast

Mint Tea is more than just a popular beverage option in Morocco, it is an engrained part of their hospitality and culture. Declining mint tea when on offer can even be perceived as rude or disrespectful. And when it comes to shopping, especially for the incomparable Moroccan carpets, when you’re offered mint tea while browsing, take it as confirmation that you and your wallet are in for it.

We had mint tea nearly every morning and every afternoon and sometimes we stopped for more just to rest our feet. We had mint tea from the guy that sold us carpets, and the guy that sold us slippers, and the guy that sold us spices. We had mint tea made for us in our riad, and at the sister riad property, and once on makeshift stools sitting outside our new friend Hassan’s home/shop.

mint tea with hassanmint for teaOn our day trip out to the Ourika Valley the lovely women at the Argan Oil co-op gave mint tea to our driver as we learned about their process and browsed the store. He hadn’t ask for a drink, it was a simple unspoken understanding of hospitality and graciousness. Next to partaking in the sweet hot tea ourselves, observing the tradition will forever be one of my fondest memories.

Moroccan Mint Tea

(As taught to us by our lovely caretaker, Nadia from Riad Petit Palais)

  • Loose Chinese gunpowder green tea
  • Water
  • Large sugar cubes
  • Fresh mint

Add 1 palm size bunch of loose Chinese gunpowder green tea to your teapot, I’d guess it was a heaping tablespoon (I brought some tea home, but THIS is the stuff). Pour in about a cup of boiling water (boiled separately from the tea pot) and let brew for 30 seconds. After this quick brew, poor the liquid into a glass, setting it aside, but keeping the tea leaves in the pot. Nadia described this first quick boil as the “essence” or “heart” of the tea which will be used in a moment. Add in a large bunch of fresh mint and 2-3 large sugar cubes to taste, the ones she used were the size of business cards! Pour the quick brewed “essence” of the tea back in your teapot and then fill the rest with water (about 3-4 cups depending on the size of the pot you’re using). Put your teapot directly on the stove and let the goodness simmer for 4-5 minutes over medium heat. Once done, pour the tea from the pot into your tea glass and then back into the pot repeating this a few times. The process helps mix all the flavors together properly. When it’s all ready, pour from a healthy distance high above your delicate tea glass. This lovely step isn’t just for show, it creates a bit of fizz at the top of your glass and also helps any loose leaves to float to the bottom.

Elderly Berber man wearing a turban sitting on the floor on a rug pouring traditional mint tea from a silver jug, Kelaa M'gouna

source

With the teapot and tea I brought home from Marrakech, it will be a few attempts of trial and error to get my ratios of tea, water, mint, and sugar just right. While not common, we were told that mint tea can be made omitting the sugar or using honey in its place. Though both options seem to miss the point of the tradition, we did have some mint tea sans-sugar and it was almost just as good!

Teapots

PS: Has anyone tried THIS?

*other options I couldn’t not mention include, but are not limited to: NYC street hot dogs, pretzels, black and white cookies, or my personal favorite Nuts for Nuts | London Town bangers and mash, curries, kebabs, or my seasonal favorite mince pie and custard.

Whole30 | Coworkers Are Too Kind

coworker with donutsThanks for coming in today. Here’s your donut. (Photo Credit: Daily Mail)

As we mentioned late last week, both of us have undertaken Whole 30 for the month of January.

Don’t worry, this won’t be a post advocating others to try it.  A week in, and I’m still on the fence myself.

So far, though, my biggest gripe hasn’t been changing the way we shop or cook, since we had been primarily going by the guidelines of clean eating and cooking whole foods anyways.

No, my biggest problem has been temptation in the form of overly-giving colleagues.

Business Lunch

I had already anticipated that lunch time would be the hardest obstacle for me to overcome. Though I’ve never read Keith Ferrazzi’s book, I have followed the prescription to “never eat alone” with greater than 90% success for years. Usually it’s just time spent socializing with folks from the office, but as a manager, it can be pretty invaluable to break down the walls and make myself more approachable whenever possible.

Knowing that I would be either bringing my own lunch most of the time, or riding my bike to Chipotle, I figured that this would just be a trade-off for the reported health benefits of Whole 30. What I didn’t count on was my coworkers, and even my boss, repeatedly inviting me after I’d politely declined, or otherwise made excuse for myself.

Boss: “You in on lunch today?”

Me: “Can’t, I’m doing this Whole 30 thing, so I’ve brought my own lunch.”

Five minutes later…

Boss + Direct Reports: “You sure you’re not in on lunch?”

Me: “Yeah, thanks though”

Boss: “You can pick where we go”

Me: “Really, I’m alright.  I’ll catch up with you later.”

Boss + Direct Reports: *awkward “who is this guy” glares*

All the Baked Goods!

Lunch is tough because it’s turning down a social opportunity and making myself an island. (A healthy, well-fed island)  The real kicker, though, is all the snacks that keep appearing at work.

Yesterday when I arrived, we had a selection of banana and pumpkin breads arranged at the entrance to our work area.

Today, there were yesterday’s snacks left, plus an entire box of holiday cookies.

Then later in the day someone from a neighboring work group showed up with birthday cake.

The holidays are over and everyone still wants to share their sweets.  How very neighborly of them! And how very tough to resist. Especially when I forget to pack enough Whole 30 approved snacks to make it through the day.

All that delicious, nutritionally-hollow, endorphin-rushing sweetness, sitting just a few feet away on an empty desk. Nobody will know if I just happen to touch one.  And then I’d have to eat it.  It’s just rude to not accept baked goods, right?

No. I’m staying strong. How would I expect to conquer the effects of previous poor eating habits if I can’t ignore a few cookies and cakes and, holy crap who put an entire gingerbread house over here?

Time to have some tea and take a walk. Hopefully by the time I get back, I’m either super busy or all the snack will have fallen on the floor.

 

Whole30 | January 2015

rpwhole30 1

Are you sick of hearing about Whole30 yet? Don’t worry, me too. I fully admit that the popularity of the program + the gung-ho attitude of those of us who have found success with it can become annoying. You get it, we’re eating healthier, shut up about it already, right?

I hear you and I agree. When people are so overzealous and enthusiastic about a topic, especially related to diet or health, it can become really annoying and preachy. It raises all these red flags in our cynical brains and we start to file things like Whole30 in the “fad diet” or “weight loss trend” categories. Much of the media coverage that Whole30 has received aids this perception, which is a real bummer because at its core, Whole30 is not about losing weight at all.

During both times I’ve completed a round of Whole30 (first in August then November – ending just before Thanksgiving), I’ve struggled with how to succinctly explain to people what it’s all about. I try and avoid the word diet and all the negative connotations that come with it. I explain it as more of a detox, to reset your mind and body on how different food groups effect you. More importantly, to break addictions to sugar and eat for a healthy gut. But the bottom line is this, I have never felt better in my life, than when I’m eating this way.

I’m not bloated, I sleep really well, I have energy all day long, my mood is regulated*, and I think more clearly. I feel motivated, accomplished, and truly just healthier – my skin looks less like a hormonal teenager and clothes fit better. Yes I’ve lost weight and inches, and that part is awesome. . . BUT, if I wasn’t feeling so great overall, or if I was really feeling restricted and deprived, then I wouldn’t stick with it, and the pounds or inches wouldn’t have gone away. For me, those parts are a bonus to the bigger picture goal of general health and wellbeing that come from eating real, whole foods and eliminating the junk.

Where I’ve made missteps thus far, is on day 31 and beyond. After the previous 2 rounds of Whole30, I haven’t properly reintroduced food groups into my diet to determine what affects me and how. That is one of my big goals for the January round of Whole30. I really want to have the process help inform what’s going to be best for my day-to-day diet and health moving forward.

In the last month or so I’ve had a few friends ask me questions or tips on Whole30 and I’m so very happy to answer! Mainly because I’m eager to help and excited for them to try Whole30, but also because I had a couple friends do the same for me and it was invaluable when I was trying to navigate the program during my first round. Here’s what I’ve shared time and again:

EatWhole30-Facebook

General Tips

Read the book It Starts With Food and/or comb the free Whole30 website so you learn the ins and outs of the program and know what to expect.  The more prepared you are, the better off you’ll be, I can’t stress that enough. Do whatever you can to set yourself up for success– clean out your fridge and pantry, tell friends and family what you’re doing, don’t make plans that involve eating out for at least the first couple weeks, carry approved food options with you at all times, etc. Take your weight, measurements, and pictures on day 1 and 31. Especially the measurements and pictures – they are much more motivating than the scale. The most difficult part of Whole30 is the all of the time it takes to prepare, cook, plan, and repeat. Also, the amount of dishes. . . I’m not going to lie, that part sucks.

Go-To Foods

These are the things I eat a lot of during Whole30. All of which, of course, are compliant options sans added sugar and other crap, but always make sure to read ALL THE LABLES: eggs, avocado, guacamole (wholly guacamole single servings from Costco are my BFF+E), baby carrots, lara bars, pickles, tuna (with guac), sweet potatoes, apples, almond butter, coconut milk, applegate brand all beef hotdogs and roast beef slices, aidelle brand chicken sausage, homemade almond milk, raw nuts. This isn’t all I ate of course, just a few favorites and suggestions.

Pantry & Cookbooks

Pantry staples for me include coconut oil, avocado oil, EVOO, vinegar options for dressings, and lots of spices. . . I love using red pepper flakes and cumin on sweet potatoes and sautéed greens. I’m also anxious to try Flavor God seasonings that we’ve recently ordered. While Pinterest and Instagram are full of fantastic recipe sources, if you’re looking for a tangible cook book I really love the Against All Grain books – I have the original one and Meals Made Simple. I’m also a fan of Nom Nom Paleo, Well Fed, and It’s All Good. A couple e-book favorites are Clean and Colorful Cooking and Jenna’s Kitchen.

dream-is-free-ig

After indulging over the holiday season, I’m so very excited to use the brand new year as a jumping off point for Whole30 round 3. Ryan took the plunge and is doing his first Whole30 with me, so I’ll be anxious to hear about his experience as the month continues. Let us know if you’re joining in, there’s anything you’d like to ask, or if you have any tips to share with us!

Happy New Year, dudes.

*relatively speaking of course and not accounting for the “Whole30 hang over” that happened the first round when I would have killed for cheese and bread those first 10-ish days.

Slow Simmer Through the Holidays

As apparent by our recent radio silence, life has gotten the best of us these last few weeks.  Finals! Work Deadlines! New Nephew! Holiday Schedules! But don’t fear, Rogue Pepper is far from fizzling out . . .

We have some ideas we’re pretty excited about cooking up for 2015 (see what I did there?!):

  • Guest posts
  • Profiles of our favorite local food peeps
  • The continued journey for a healthy balance
  • Culmination of Phoenix burger rankings
  • Travel diaries
  • And more

For now, we’re going into mise en place mode so we’re ready for a January service. We’ll still be over on instagram in the meantime, come say hi!  We hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season full of good eats and relaxation.

Cheers!
Stephanie & Ryan

Phoenix Burger | Hula’s Modern Tiki Hula Burger

Hula Burger with CheddarHula Burger with Cheddar

This hasn’t been an easy post for me to write.  Not because I am at all conflicted in my opinions about the Hula Burger, but because I tried to be sure I was talking about the sandwich itself, and not my estimation of how good this burger is compared to all the rest I’ve eaten. Admittedly, I have a bit of a bias to overcome as the Hula Burger is one of the few that has remained at the top of my list for years (alongside the Delux Burger), and I’m extra proud to have such a good sandwich available to us in Midtown Phoenix.

You may remember the picture for this post from my pre-season rankings (where the Hula Burger ranked second overall). That should say that I consider this to be an iconic Phoenix sandwich, and certainly worth a try when you’re hungry for something different.

The Meat

The beef in a Hula Burger is illogically good.  I say this because the burger itself often seems to be barely holding together, probably from an over-abundance of flavor packed in the patty and layered over by the grilled onions and hula sauce. With the ideal level of juiciness apparent from the first bite, this is absolutely a sandwich you don’t eat on a white shirt day. The beef is uniquely seasoned for the overall flavor profile of the Hula Burger, and I’m still baffled how they’re able to get a healthy amount of char without losing any natural juices; I’m going to presume some sort of voodoo/island magic is involved.

The Bun

Which leads us to the ciabatta bun. I’m not usually into oversized, super textured breads for sandwiches, but in this case, it just might be the ideal packaging that saves the day, and elevates the Hula Burger to such an enjoyable experience.  Between the incredibly juicy beef and the toppings, there’s a lot of flavor love that needs to be captured, which means it’s finally a perfect use of the nooks and crannies in a ciabatta bun. The chewy bite of a ciabatta bread is also an important part here, because of how fragile the beef patty is; it provides the satisfying full-mouth feeling to partner with the impactful flavors of the meat and toppings.

The Toppings

The grilled maui onions and “hula sauce” definitely play their part in elevating this from a well-made burger to a Top 3 contender. When you’ve got an exceptional meat element going on, the last thing you want to do is ruin it with overbearing toppings, and that could be easy to do with a substantial sauce and onions combo, but the Hula Burger dodges that bullet like it’s the Neo of my mouth matrix. I have a tough time describing the exact contribution of the grilled maui onions, but I know the time I ordered one without it, I was mad at myself for putting things off balance.

Also, c’mon, just take a look at that cheese melt in the picture up top. That’s a burger that was treated well, brought to me at just the right time to enjoy a peak performance. Kudos* Hula.

All in all, it may not be fair to compare the Hula Burger to other well-made burgers around town, because Hula isn’t at all going for the fast-casual burger stand vibe.  Theirs is clearly a sandwich with purpose and strength of flavor that requires you to be seated and dedicate some time to it. There’s no wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am with this beauty. We will have to see how that impacts the rankings at the end of burger season, but for now, I give the Hula Burger my whole-hearted endorsement.

* I wanted to say “cowabunga” but it felt too awkward in a sentence.

Thanksgiving | Butterball Hotline? Pffft!

This was our second year hosting Thanksgiving at our house, but other than the dishes that we might make regularly throughout the year (green beans, yay!), I can’t proclaim to remember how anything is made from year to year.

Turkey cooking time?
No Clue

Ham glaze?
Hmmm?

Roast potato?
Nope.

To be honest, previous generations must have had a huge margin of error, because I can’t imagine not having Google (or having to resort to the Butterball Hotline for cooking tips).

Here’s some examples of things I had to look up today, just in case any of it is useful to you in the future.

How long to roast a turkey

Searching for this term gets you one of the fancy new Answer Boxes, where it takes the information from one of the result pages without even requiring you to click.  The answer given, though, isn’t entirely precise. According to Butterball.com, a 10-18lb turkey should be cooked for 3 – 3.5 hours at 325F. The package our turkey came in gave a narrower range per weight.

We ended up roasting our 14lb for exactly 3 hours, with the first hour spent breast-side down. We then let it rest, unintentionally, for over an hour before carving.  The result was an evenly roasted, juicy and flavorful bird.  Hooray!

Duck fat potato?

Last year I had been working on a root veg with honey dish, that always came out with inconsistent results. I think I was getting pretty close, but honestly it wasn’t a hit a Thanksgiving 2013, so I wasn’t at all dismayed when Anie decided to do duck fat roasted potato as a throw-back to English Sunday Roast.

I nearly made a mistake with this one, as the first result provided came from Epicurious (normally a good source), but was actually for Pomme de Terre Sarladaise, which conjures up images of a more rustic, slightly crunchy version of scalloped potato. Luckily Anie grabbed this one by the horns and followed a recipe that resulted in phenomenally tasty, slightly smashed potato.

In the end, we had a terrific meal that was slightly scaled-back compared to last year, but met all the traditional requirements of too-much food and going back for seconds when I probably should have passed. We hope you and yours had a happy Thanksgiving.