Every year at Thanksgiving I’m reminded of a round we used to sing in grade school:
Oh, give thanks
Oh, give thanks
Oh, give thanks unto the Lord
For He is gracious and His mercy endureth
Endureth, for ever.
It’s been a long time since then, but it’s funny how the things from your childhood stay with you so well, huh?
Anyway, yesterday was a cooking day across the nation, and it was no different here at our house. Only 11 people, but still plenty of food to be made. I kind of took charge of the food, and everything turned out well: pumpkin pie, pecan pie, cranberry almond crostatas, apple cranberry stuffing, sweet potato casserole, turkey, perfectly fluffy mashed potatoes… it was delish. My aunt showed up with green bean casserole and apple pie slices, and Grandma came with a lemon meringue pie. Too much food, plenty of left-overs, and I’m hoping I didn’t gain weight. 🙂
A few things I learned:
- All these years I thought people painstakingly arranged pecans on top of their pecan pies. Man was I pleasantly surprised when I found out that the pecans just rise to the top all by themselves. Gives a whole new meaning to “easy as pie”!
- Empty cans made a great punch out for the pie dough circles I needed for my crostatas.
- My pumpkin pie recipe calls for 3 eggs. I wanted to make sure it was light and fluffy, so I separated my eggs, put the yolks in the filling, and then whipped my egg whites and folded them into my pie. It worked like a charm – lightest pumpkin pie I’ve ever had!
- Making pie dough from scratch is NOT worth it. The ones from the freezer section at the grocery store taste exactly the same as my grandma’s lovingly rolled out crusts.
- Cranberries pop when you boil them and also appear to have quite the gelatinizing properties!
Anyway, I wanted to share a few recipes with you that were a hit yesterday: Cranberry Apple Stuffing, Sweet Potato Bake and Good Eats Roast Turkey (Alton Brown).
CRANBERRY APPLE STUFFING
- 1 1/2 c. apple juice
- 2 T. butter
- 1 apple, cored and diced
- 1/2 c. fresh cranberries
- 1/2 onion, sliced very thinly
- 1 box Stove Top chicken stuffing
Bring everything except stuffing mix to a boil. Remove from heat, add stuffing, stir, cover and then fluff after five minutes. It was easy, and it was a nice twist on the norm. I’m thinking of making a stuffed pork loin soon this may very well be my filling of choice.
SWEET POTATO BAKE
- 3 c. sweet potatoes, cooked skin-on
- 2 beaten eggs
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/3 c. melted butter
- 3/4 c. brown sugar
- 1/3 c. corn syrup
- 3/4 c. pecans, chopped
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat eggs and add pumpkin. Salt and pepper to taste. Pour into a greased 8×8 dish. In separate bowl, combine butter, brown sugar, corn syrup and pecans. Mix well and spread over potato mixture. Bake for 25 minutes or until edges are bubbling.
GOOD EATS ROAST TURKEY
- 14-16 lb. turkey, thawed and innards removed
- clean 5 gallon bucket
- 1 gallon vegetable stock
- 1 c. salt
- 1/2 c. brown sugar
- 1 T. peppercorns
- 1 1/2 tsp. allspice berries
- 1 1/2 tsp. candied ginger, chopped
- 1 gallon water, very cold
Bring stock, salt, brown sugar, peppercorns, allspice and candied ginger to a boil. Remove from heat and pour into clean, appropriately sized container. Let chill completely. Once chilled, pour into 5 gallon bucket and add 1 gallon of very cold water. Stir. Place turkey into brine, breast-side down and then fill bucket the rest of the way full with ice. Cover and refrigerate for up to 16 hours.
- 1 red apple, quartered
- 1/2 onion, quartered
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 c. water
- 4 springs rosemary
- 6 leaves sage
- olive oil
Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Remove turkey from brine and rinse thoroughly. Put apple, onion, cinnamon stick and water into a microwavable bowl and microwave for 5 minutes. Add to turkey’s cavity along with rosemary and sage and rub with olive oil. Set into roasting pan and bake at 500 degrees for 30 minutes. Reduce oven temp to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 2 to 2 1/2 hours. Once done, loosely cover with foil and let rest for 15 minutes before carving. (Discard apple and onion mixture before carving as well.)