Saturday, November 27, 2010

Very THANKFUL this year!

I have SO MUCH to be thankful for! Since this time last year, I have been blessed to move into my own home, my BFF and roomie, Cyd, returned from living in MN for over a year, and I have survived both cancer and a serious car accident. And I am so very grateful to God and to faithful friends who have sustained me through it all. HAPPY THANKSGIVING, EVERYONE!

Having said all that, I'm not really one for going all gourmet crazy at Thanksgiving; I'm very much a traditionalist. We went to my friend Lee Ann's, as we often do on the actual day, and they have all of the traditional fare. I was assigned an hors d'oeuvre and a chocolate dessert, so I took an easy appetizer called Swiss, Bacon and Tomato Bites (the recipe is from a friend at work, originally from Pampered Chef, that I amped up with a little minced garlic) and a classic French silk pie.

I also brought along some of my one experimental dish this year, inspired by Bobby Flay and one of my blogger friends, Kitchen Mage: cranberry-blackberry-jalapeno chutney. (Ooh...let that idea marinate in your thoughts for just a moment!) This was based on a blueberry habanero chutney that Cyd and I love, especially on grilled salmon and pork chops. But I thought I'd Thanksgiving it up with cranberries. The addition of blackberries was thanks to recent episode of Bobby Flay's "Throwdown." It turned out so well, I think it's the start of a new Thanksgiving tradition!

As for the home menu that we prepared for Black Friday, we brined and roasted a 22-pound beast of a turkey that Cyd bought from a co-worker who raises them, made a sausage, sage and veggie dressing, the Pioneer Woman's decadent mashed potatoes, homemade gravy (of course--there is NO substitute!), green beans with bacon, brussels sprouts for Cyd (ick), and we had some delicious leftover pumpkin cheesecake that we brought home from Lee Ann's. YUM! I hope you all enjoyed your holiday, too!
Cranberry-Blackberry-Jalapeno Chutney

2 onions, chopped
2-4 jalapenos, seeded and chopped
1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
1 cup orange juice
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 lb. fresh cranberries
1 lb. frozen blackberries

Combine the onion, at least two of the peppers (for a pretty mild sauce), vinegar, orange juice, sugar, salt and pepper. Simmer until the liquid is reduced to about 1/3 its original volume.

Add cranberries, blackberries, and more jalapeno to taste. Simmer gently until thickened and jammy-looking, stirring every minute or so to avoid scorching. Let cool before serving.

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