November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving 2009

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year.  I love both the food and the idea of it.  It does not involve trying to find the perfect present, religion, celebrating a famous dead person's birthday, or anything remotely similar.  According to Wikipedia Thanksgiving Day "is a harvest festival celebrated primarily in the United States and Canada. Traditionally, it is a time to give thanks for the harvest and express gratitude in general".  For me it is a day to be grateful for a wonderful family, friends, and good food.

A lot of preparation goes into getting ready for the day but I love the end result (and the leftovers for the next few days).  I decided to stick with a lot of tried and trues this year.  Everyone in my family seems to have their favorites so I try to accommodate them.  Some of the recipes have been making an appearance at the table for years now, and there is no way I would want to change them, as it just would not be Thanksgiving without them.

The November food magazines are usually a source of inspiration for something new to try.  However, this year I really didn't see anything that caught my attention.  It wasn't until I watched Alex Guarneschelli's new show Alex's Day Off that I saw something new to try.  I love butternut squash and she made a recipe for Roasted Squash with Brown Butter and Orange that looked and sounded amazing.  I guess something was left out of the recipe when they transferred it to the Food Network's website because the orange disappeared from the recipe.  Not that it mattered much, as we did not care for this dish at all.  I tasted it when I pulled it out of the oven and decided not to even bother serving it.  I think it is either one of those love it or hate it kind of recipes because it got very mixed reviews on the Food Network's website.

My youngest daughter was my sous chef for the day and chief table decorator and, as you can see, she did a wonderful job.

And now for the recipes........

Cranberry Cumberland Sauce

2 cups cranberries
3/4 cup Tawny Port
1/4 cup Grand Marnier
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons orange juice
3/4 teaspoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
pinch ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 cup golden raisins
1 tablespoon grated orange peel
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel

  1. Combine berries and port in heavy saucepan over medium heat. Cook until berries burst, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. 
  2. Add both sugars and salt, stir 1 minute. 
  3. Combine orange juice, cornstarch, dry mustard, lemon juice and spices in small bowl, whisk to combine. Stir into berry mixture. 
  4. Add raisins, Grand Marnier, orange peel, lemon peel, simmer until thickened stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. 
  5. Pour into serving dish and let cool.  May be made three days in advance.

Adapted from Bon Appetit

Apple Pecan Corn Bread Stuffing

(8x8 inch) pan corn bread, cooled and crumbled
1 (8 ounce) container herb-seasoned dry bread stuffing mix
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 cup butter
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped onion
2 cups apple cider
2 cups chopped apples
3 eggs
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup dried cranberries

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Butter one 3 quart casserole dish. 
  2. In a large bowl combine the corn bread, stuffing mix, parsley, salt and ginger.  
  3. In a heavy saucepan melt the butter and sauté the celery and onion for 8 to 10 minutes or until tender. Add this to the cornbread mixture and mix well. Stir in the chopped apple, chopped pecans, apple juice, dried cranberries, and beaten eggs. Toss lightly. Spoon dressing into the prepared casserole dish.  
  4. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 30 to 35 minutes.
Adapted from Allrecipes

Potatoes Dauphinoise

4 large potatoes
approx 3 cups cheese (I use a mix of pre-shredded cheese from Costco), separated
approx. 4 teaspoons ground nutmeg, separated
2 eggs
2 cups cream
cooking spray

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Peel and cut potatoes into thin slices.
  3. Coat a casserole dish with cooking spray.
  4. Place 1 layer of potatoes in casserole dish, top with a sprinkle of cheese, nutmeg, salt, and pepper.
  5. Repeat layering another three times.
  6. Beat eggs and cream together and pour over potatoes.
  7. Top with a sprinkle of cheese, nutmeg, salt, and pepper and place in oven for about 1 1/2 hours.  Test with a knife to check that potatoes are fully cooked. May be made in advance and reheated.
This recipe was adapted many years ago from a recipe I found in an Australian Woman's Day magazine.

Creamy Mashed Potatoes

8 medium potatoes
8 tablespoons cream cheese
8 tablespoons butter
1/2 - 1 cup cream or 1/2 and 1/2

  1. Peel potatoes and cook till tender.
  2. Mash potatoes (I use a ricer) and add cream cheese and butter, allow these to melt.
  3. Add salt and pepper.
  4. Add cream (or 1/2 and 1/2) and mix until well combined.
  5. Can be made ahead and reheated.


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