What will you gobblegobblegobble this Thanksgiving?

Reply Wed 23 Nov, 2005 05:41 pm
Are you trying any new recipes or are you sticking with tradition?

Does your traditional dinner include anything odd?

This is the first Thanksgiving that (fingers crossed) my little family gets to have the day to ourselves so I'm making some new things and sticking with some old things in hopes of creating traditions of our own.

The new things I'm making are home-made cresent rolls and sweet potato, pecan pie. I'm making mini-pies and some cookies to pass out to my neighbors that I adore.

We'll have the traditional turkey, stuffing, and vegetable, too.

I thought about making potato candy since it was a Thanksgiving tradition that died along with my grandmother but I figured that now, as then, I'd be the only person to gorge myself on it and, frankly, my waistline doesn't need quite that much indulgece.

What about you and your family?
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Reply Wed 23 Nov, 2005 06:54 pm
Turkey, gravy, sage/cornbread dressing, salad, mashed potatoes, sweet potato pie, cranberry melange, green bean cassarole, dinner rolls, pumpkin pies w/ cool whip, strawberry-rhubarb pie.

I think I'll start early and feel stuffed now....
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Reply Wed 23 Nov, 2005 09:29 pm
Stuffed is a nice feeling!

It is the ultimate un-Atkins day of the year.

You do sweet potato pie? Up here on the Pacific Rim, sweet potato pie is as odd as okra.

I kind of burned mine just a bit - the pecan part - but Mr. B pronounced it "delicious!".
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Reply Wed 23 Nov, 2005 09:48 pm
I am unreasonably elated because I did all of my Thanksgiving grocery shopping without first consulting cookbooks, just off the top of my head, and after doing the post-shopping menu and consult I have everything I need!!! Including the very last fresh, free-range, organic turkey at Trader Joe's


That said, it's a pretty boring menu. I like doing boring/ traditional on Thanksgiving -- perhaps now that I've reached the plateau of actually remembering every ingredient involved, I'll branch out next year.

This year it'll be:

Turkey (13-pounder)
Stuffing (Old-fashioned bread stuffing -- yum)
Mashed potatoes
Green Beans Amandine (yes, I even remembered the slivered almonds!!!) (I haven't made this one before but I thought hmm, I think there's some green beany recipe that uses almonds...)
Cranberry sauce
Cranberry bread

Then store-bought rolls and cranberry and walnut tart.
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Reply Wed 23 Nov, 2005 09:50 pm
Oh gravy too.

And the old-fashioned bread stuffing has sage. Mmm, sage...

I also got some holiday swag thing at T.J.'s that is pine, juniper, holly, and some other stuff and smells absolutely divine. Keep getting whiffs...
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Reply Wed 23 Nov, 2005 09:59 pm

That spells (and smells) holiday!

My menu is pretty traditonal but some of it is stuff I've not made before.

There is something so comforting about the traditional Thanksgiving menu.

Right now, I am BIG into comfort!
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Reply Wed 23 Nov, 2005 10:02 pm
Tell me about potato candy...
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Reply Wed 23 Nov, 2005 10:19 pm
Potato candy....

It is made from mashed potatos, mixed with powdered sugar, rolled flat, smeared with peanut butter, rolled up to make a spiral and sliced. It is some kind of yummy.

I've had fake stuff made with cream cheese but it isn't the same.

My grandma (Anna Graham -- isn't that the best name EVER? I love word puzzles because of that) was the only person I knew who made it out of potatos.

She also used to make this cake that didn't have any dairy - it was from some recipe popular during the depression. It used fruit juices to make it moist. It didn't have frosting either so it was more like a bread than a cake.

I would do cartwheels all the way around my big fat block for one little piece of that cake. I have tried several recipes for "Depression Cake" but none comes even close to hers.

That chicky-baby could cook.
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Reply Wed 23 Nov, 2005 10:23 pm
The name took me a minute -- I was looking for whatsit, same backwards and forwards (I'm tired), then I got it. SO cool!

Potato candy does sound yummy.

Reminds me of lefse in a roundabout way. (Very thin potato pancake/ crepe things smeared with butter, sprinkled liberally with sugar, and rolled up. Mmmm.)
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Reply Wed 23 Nov, 2005 10:29 pm
We've got a whole crowd of family coming - Friday, though, not Thursday ... just worked out that way with family schedules and all. No big deal, it'll be a memorable event, I'm sure; these things always are; there's almost never any real violence, subsequent legal actions are exceedingly rare, nobody's ever actually died during or directly as a result of one, and everybody comes away with a buncha new stories to tell ... some, no doubt, fact-based, at least in part.

Gonna slow-smoke a huge turkey - takes about 12 hours, and requires around 25-30 pounds of charcoal and wood, mixed. Charcoal is added throughout the process as needed to keep the temperature in the smoking chamber in the proper range, and well-soaked fruitwood chips and twigs are scattered onto the charcoal bed from time to time.

One drawback to the method is that in-the-bird stuffing isn't an option, but that's no big deal - you just make your favorite stuffing and bake it in the oven. My fave is cornbread dressing too, with sage, garlic, chopped onions, chopped celery, and the finely chopped, boiled "odd parts" :wink: from the turkey - the liquid from the boiling process being used to moisten the stuffing. Another drawback to smoking the bird is that gravy has to be made from turkey stock, but that works out just fine too.

I've picked up a few bottles of a couple nice wines, and there will be steaming spiced apple cider, plenty of authoritative coffee, and milk, and whatever anyone else brings. There's also a cheese,fruit, crackers, and snack meat tray - was gonna be a big shrimp ring, too, but I screwed up and forgot to buy it. I doubt it'll be missed.

There'll be mashed potatoes, of course, and wild rice with almond slivers and julienned green beans, and candied sweet potatoes baked with a maple syrup, brown sugar, and butter glaze, and it just wouldn't be a celebration dinner without lots of scratch-built country-style buttermilk biscuits, piping hot, with real butter and drizzled with honey. Home-made whole-berry cranberry sauce with a bit of tart orange marmelade added for accent is a given, a Caesar sald will start things off, and the desert selection will include a pecan pie, a pumpkin pie, a mincemeat pie, real fresh-whipped heavy cream, and French Vanilla ice cream ... all produced right here at Castle Timber, as much as practical using produce from the Castle Timber garden.

Then there's the post-prandial cleanup ... funny how the crowd thins out as that rolls around.
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Reply Thu 24 Nov, 2005 07:40 am
Yum timberlandko!

I love smoked turkey. My dad used to do the smoking of the family dinner and I really miss those days. Compromising on the stuffing and gravy is well worth it.

Yah... clean up. Ugh. That wonderful overstuffed feeling is greatly diminished by piles of dishes.

I'm making creme anglaise for desert sauce instead of whipped cream. I haven't made it in years and years and I'm hoping I don't completely screw it up.
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Reply Thu 24 Nov, 2005 07:52 am
Happy Thanksgiving to you!

We don't celebrate Thanksgiving here (Austria) as you do. But as we have many Americans living here, there are of cf course Thanksgiving parties. We are going to one tonight. The menu looks good.
I am looking forward to the turkey and the cornbread.

Cold Dishes
Crayfish cocktail with pink grapefruit and bamboo coated with ginger-ciltrano cream
Duckling liver tureen in portwine jelly
Marinated salmon " Provencale" on pickled pumpkin sticks
Smoked turkey breast on " Waldorff" salad
Zucchini feta tureen with rosmary and blacl olives
Prosciutto crudo with fresh parmesan and caper berries

Hot Dishes
Roast turkey with corn bread stuffing, honey sauce, sweet potato gratin and chilli beans
Grilled fillet of red barbel and turbot with fresh hot basil pesto, spaghetti tricolore and balsamico zucchini
Medium roast-beef tenderloin with whipped mustard and thyme butter or cherry egriot gravy, gratinated polenta slics and seasonal vegetables


Small pear strudel with vanilla-Crême fraiche
Plum dumplings with roasted buttered bread crumbs and cinnamon sauce
White chocolate mousse
"Rote Grütze"- Marinated beries in light jelly
American pumpkin pie
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Reply Thu 24 Nov, 2005 08:30 am
That menu looks GREAT, ul!

Crayfish cocktail with pink grapefruit sounds like an incredible combination of flavors.

Americans in Austria know how to do it up right. Have a great time at the party.
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Reply Thu 24 Nov, 2005 08:33 am
Happy thanksgiving! Smile

This year we're having

Turkey (oof, and it's huge)
Chestnut and sage stuffing
Asparagus and mushrooms, steamed
Cranberry mélange (which I have canned m'self)
Mashed taters
Corn on the cob
Cheese crisps

The cheese crisps are new. They're just grated or shredded cheese put on a silpat mat and stuck in the oven at 350, 375 for 10 minutes. Let 'em cool and take 'em off the rack. I guess they're kind of a flat version of cheese straws.

The cranberry stuff is also new, although I've been making it for over a month, what I mean is, it's new to Thanksgiving. It's whole cranberries, cooked with water and orange juice and some sugar, then mixed with (uncooked) mandarin orange slices and walnut pieces, then tossed in a mason jar. Add cinnamon if desired. I served this at the last company potluck and it was much loved.

There will be just the 2 of us this year so we are expecting an enormous onslaught of leftovers. Viva Tupperware!
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Reply Thu 24 Nov, 2005 08:36 am
I like Creme Anglaise, even if it is a pain in the patoot to get right. A few things I've found that help some -

I generally use cream, about 4 or 5, mebbe 6 egg yolks for every cup of cream, and around a quarter to a third of a cup of sugar, plus a couple tablespoons of "sweet" (unsalted) butter (warning - I more or less cook using the "that looks about right" method :wink: )

Thoroughly separate the egg yolks, use a chilled metal bowl and a clean, dry wooden spoon to whip the yolks and sugar together, and prepare the sauce in a double boiler or a water bath - don't expose the pan holding the sauce-to-be to direct stove-top heat. Its OK to get the cream and butter up to a very low boil in a directly-on-the-stovetop saucepan, but not the sauce itself. You've gotta keep an eye on the cream, and stir it enough to keep it from scorching. Time your mixing of the yolks and sugar to coincide with the heating of the cream (to which I generally add a generous dash of pure vanilla extract - but other flavorings work well too - orange or lemon, raspberry, almond, peppermint - just about anything). When the cream is at the right temp, add a few generous spoonfuls one-at-a-time to the just-mixed yolks and sugar, whisking vigorously to thoroughly incorporate the cream into the yolks. Once you've gotten a pretty good emulsion going - smooth, no lumps, even, light-yellow-ish color, transfer to the preheated double boiler or water bath and then v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y and smoothly add the remainder of the heated cream, whisking like you really mean it.

DON'T LET THE SAUCE BOIL - get it to and keep it just at the point it is visibly steaming, and begins to thicken. Its done when it begins to really cling to the side of the cooking vessel, but a better check is to dip a clean, dry wooden spoon or spatula into it, holding it so the sauce runs to coat it, the swipe a finger through the coating; if the stripe remains, the sauce doesn't flow back into it, its doone. Good luck. Doesn't work perfectly for me every time either, but a good blender can be a handy thing to have around ... just in case. Cornstarch or arrowroot can be nice to have handy too Rolling Eyes :wink: Laughing
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Reply Thu 24 Nov, 2005 09:28 am
Hey Jes! I just bought a silpat and I love cheese so I'm trying that. Really all you do is put the shredded cheese on the mat and bake? You don't mix anything with it?

All of this cranberry talk has made me crave cranberries. I know I have to make a quick trip to the store today and I'm thinking I'd btter get cranberries.

Thanks for the tips, timerlandko! I'm usually a "that looks right" cook myself but with this sauce -- not so much. If Mr. B hadn't specifically requested it I would not even attempt it.

I used to make it all the time when I made pastry in a restaurant and even then I'd goof it up once in a while.
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Reply Thu 24 Nov, 2005 09:32 am
Far as I can tell, yeah all you do is dump cheese on the silpat. I'm experimenting today so if you hear of a large cheese-fueled explosion in Brighton, well, you know I've been busy. Smile
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Reply Thu 24 Nov, 2005 11:31 am
Our "sweet potato pie" is probably not what you're thinking of. Mix equal parts mashed sweet potatoes, butter, and brown sugar. Put it all in a cassarole dish, cover with mini-marshmellows.

OK, I'm kidding about the butter but just a little.
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Reply Thu 24 Nov, 2005 01:17 pm

My creme englaise is quietly resting in a gentle ice bath. It seems to have come out just fine!

Your sweet pototo pie isn't that different from mine except mine comes in a pie crust and I make a little brown sugar/butter/pecan strusel type thing (blast under the broiler for about three minutes until the sugar carmelizes) instead of mini-marshmallows. Next time maybe I'll try both the strusel and the mini-marshmallows!

I'll keep my ears open for cheese explosions, otherwise tell me how it turns out, jes.
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Reply Thu 24 Nov, 2005 02:12 pm
I spent the morning making a the world's biggest fruit salad (pineapple, oranges, grapefruit, apples, pears, cantaloupe, kiwi, strawberries, blueberries) and baking standard issue Toll House chocolate chip cookies, which were my assignments for dinner.

I have no idea what my sister and sister-in-law are making, and I'm enjoying the suspense. I'm sure there will be turkey and dressing, but other than that, anything is possible.
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