Sunday, November 28, 2010


We had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Me and a couple of my girlfriends put together an ACE Thanksgiving menu. I thought I'd share a couple of the dishes... I only have recipes for the ones that I made, so I'll just give the titles of the things the others made, and you can google them.

I am blessed beyond measure. To be able to share a special day with friends is incredibly important. I am so thankful that we have such good friends and that they are willing to indulge a couple of Americans in their need for tradition. And it doesn't hurt at all that they're good cooks.

I decorated the apartment a little- in my mind's eye it was much grander than it turned out. But I was pretty pleased with the home-made decs. 

(that last one is Mike's Opie-dog-turkey)

For starters, we had Jamie Oliver mulled wine. It was incredible.  We followed the recipe pretty closely, although put in a little bit less sugar than the recipe said (mainly because we ran out). It was really beautiful, not too spicy or sweet. It was a really nice warm starting drink. It snowed about 4 inches here, so everyone was coming in from the cold, and it was nice to be able to give them something warm on their arrival.

For meat, we had "turkey a la Minnesota". We couldn't find a whole turkey, that didn't cost a kidney, so we had to make due with a turkey crown. This was PLENTY of food, so it's probably good we didn't have a whole turkey. Basically, I followed Alton Brown's roast turkey recipe and added some sage butter rubbed under the skin. I also used some heather rock salt instead of kosher salt in the brine, which gave it a beautiful smell. And I didn't use any oil for the aromatics. I thought it was too much with the butter under the skin. We also had a lovely French Canadian meat pie called Tortiere, which was really savory and lovely. Finally, we had apple cranberry sausage stuffing. It was a perfect compliment to the meat pie and turkey, because it had a nice sweet flavor.

For sides we had maple butternut squash casserole, sweet potatoes with sugared pecans, a lovely Jamie Oliver salad, rolls, my grandma's mashed potatoes, corn pudding, and whiskey gravy. I only have the recipes for the mashed potatoes, corn pudding, and gravy.

Mashed potatoes:
1 lb potatoes quartered
1/2 heavy cream
5 tbsp butter

In a large stock pot, boil the potato quarters until they fall apart when pierced with a fork (10ish mins). Drain and transfer to a bowl. Add small cubes of butter, salt, pepper, and the cream and smash (if you don't have an electric mixer) or mix (if you have an electric mixer), add as much or little milk to get it to the consistency you want. More milk is runnier, less is chunkier and stickier. Add more salt, pepper, and butter to taste.

Corn pudding:
Cook's note: this is almost my most favorite christmas/thanksgiving dish ever. It's a Mike's Alabama/Kentucky family special. It's loooovely.

3 Tbs flour
3 Tbs sugar
5 eggs
1/2 C milk
1 14 oz can creamed corn
1 14 oz can whole corn drained
1 C heavy cream
2 Tbs melted butter

In large mixing bowl, combine sugar, flour, salt and pepper to taste.  Gradually whisk in cream.  Add eggs and whisk till smooth.  Stir in milk and all corn.  Drizzle the butter on top.  Bake 350 for 45 min. or till set.  (around 1 hour for me)

Whiskey Gravy:
1/2-3/4 cup whiskey
1/4 cup cream
drippings from the turkey
salt and pepper to taste

Start by making a roux in a small-medium saucepan with the cream and flour. Whisk the flour into the cream over low heat. Whisk in enough flour to thicken the cream. Add in the whiskey- the more you add the stronger the taste. Pour in 5-6 ladles of drippings from the turkey. Whisk in milk and more flour to thicken. For thicker gravy add more flour, for thinner add more milk. Keep over low heat. Add in more drippings or more whiskey to taste.
We would have had pumpkin pie and tartre al sucre (french-canadian sugar pie) but it snowed about 2 inches in an hour, on top of the 5 inches that we already had and everyone needed to get home... it wasn't the perfect end to the dinner, but it was a great meal, great camraderie, great homey feeling all the same. 

It's still pouring snow, so we might be stuck here for the next week. Thankfully we have enough leftovers!

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