Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Oy, my feet! Ach, my back!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVE, everyone (gobble, gobble)! I decided since I have been in the kitchen ALL DAY and my back has now rendered me semi-paralyzed, that I would cop a squat for a few and post about tomorrow's menu. From the scope of it, you would think we were having tons of people coming, but it's just going to be me and the roomie and perhaps our next-door neighbor. But it's all about the LEFTOVERS, don'tcha know? ;-) Here's my plan:

Pickle Assortment (dill pickles, pickled baby carrots, and dilly beans)
Mini Cheeseburger Puffs*
Spicy Devilled Eggs
Brined and Roasted Turkey
Cornbread and Sausage Stuffing with Fresh Sage
Ultra-Creamy Mashed Potatoes with Pan Gravy
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon
Lima Beans
Golden Brioche Loaf*
Oreo Cheesecake*
Zoann's Pumpkin Dessert*

The little cheeseburger puffs were on Paula Deen's Thanksgiving special, and we couldn't resist trying them for an appetizer. I have the burgers made and the puff pastry thawed; I'll bake them tomorrow. The spicy devilled eggs with minced pickled jalapenos (the secret ingredient--props to my heat-loving friend, Mike!) are done, and it's been very hard keeping Cyd out of them until tomorrow! The turkey is brining. The stuffing is done, just needs to be baked off. (On a side note, can you believe that I managed to get fresh sage and lime thyme out of the garden at Thanksgiving?? That's one good thing about global warming!) The world's most dangerous potatoes (a la Pioneer Woman) are done, just need to be reheated. Tomorrow, I'll roast the turkey then make the gravy. I will also cook the veggies (brussels sprouts were Cyd's hideous choice, lima beans are mine), and I will bake the brioche loaves (from Dorie Greenspan...again!). The Oreo Cheesecake is done (actually leftover from trivia last night), and the dessert we lovingly refer to as "the pumpkin goo" is in the oven as I type. WHEW! What am I most thankful for? Sitting down!

I hope you and yours have a wonderful holiday! Selected recipes (*) follow, and if nothing else, I STRONGLY urge you to make the pumpkin goo, aka pumpkin dump cake. It's one of my all-time favorite recipes! In fact, I can't believe I haven't posted about it heretofore. I don't even like pumpkin pie all that much, but I love this. The recipe I use is from one of my favorite college professor's mother in Oklahoma, by way of my dear friend, Kurt, in Salt Lake City. But if you google pumpkin dump cake, you'll find a bazillion variations. Whichever recipe you choose, it's soooooo easy to make that you can readily whip up a batch tomorrow before your big feast, even if it wasn't originally in your plan. Enjoy!

Mini Cheeseburger Puffs
(Source: Jamie Deen via
Food Network)

1 pound ground chuck
2 teaspoons steak seasoning (I would advocate using just one teaspoon here)
1 teaspoon Paula Deen's Silly Salt* (I used a vegetable salt blend)
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 Vidalia onion, minced

1 package puff pastry sheets
20 (1-inch) slices cheddar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine the first 5 (0r 6 if using Worcestershire) ingredients. Hand-form patty to 1/4 normal burger size, about 2-inches in diameter. In a grooved black skillet, cook burgers to medium. Turn once. Do not overcook.

Roll out thawed puff pastry. Cut 10 (6-inch) even panels. Place burger in center of square and top with 2 slices of cheese. Fold edges up and twist on top. Bake 20 to 25 minutes and serve warm.

* Paula Deen Silly Salt is a blend of salt, dehydrated onion and garlic, spices, soybean oil, and lemon flavor.

Cook's Notes:
-Try serving with bacon or tomatoes.
-Havarti and ground pepper boursin cheeses are good substitutes for cheddar.

Golden Brioche Loaves
(Source: Baking: From My Home to Yours, Dorie Greenspan)

4 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/3 cup just-warm-to-the-touch water
1/3 cup just-warm-to-the-touch milk
3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature but still slightly firm

Put the yeast, water, and milk in the bowl of a stand mixer and, using a wooden spoon, stir until the yeast is dissolved. Add the flour and salt, and fit the mixer with the dough hook, if you have one. Toss a kitchen towel over the mixer, covering the bowl as completely as you can to keep you from being covered in flour! Turn the mixer on and off in a few short pulses, just to dampen the flour (you can peek), then remove the towel, increase mixer speed to medium-low and mix for a minute or two. At this point you will have a dry, shaggy mess.

Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula, set the mixer to low and add the eggs, followed by the sugar. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat for about 3 minutes, until the dough forms a ball. Reduce speed to low and add the butter in 2 Tablespoon size chunks, beating until each piece is almost incorporated before adding the next. You’ll have a dough that is very soft, almost like a batter. Increase the speed to medium-high and continue to beat until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl, about 10 minutes.

Transfer the dough to a clean bowl, cover with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature until nearly doubled in size, 40-60 minutes. Deflate the dough by lifting it up around the edges and letting it fall with a slap into the bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and put it in the refrigerator. Slap the dough down in the bowl every 30 minutes until it stops rising, about 2 hours, then leave the covered dough in the refrigerator overnight.

If making brioche loaves: Butter and flour 2 8.5 X 4.5 inch loaf pans. Pull dough from the fridge and divide into two equal pieces. Cut each piece of dough into 4 equal pieces and roll each piece into a log about 3.5 inches long. Arrange 4 logs crosswise in the bottom of each pan. Put the pans on a baking sheet lined with parchment or silicone mat, cover the pans lightly with wax paper and leave the loaves at room temperature until dough fills pans.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Bake until loaves are well risen and deeply golden, about 30-35 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the pans and turn the loaves out onto cooling racks. Cool at least one hour.

Oreo Cheesecake
(Source: adapted from

48 Oreo chocolate sandwich cookies, divided
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted
4 packages (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 eggs
1 cup sour cream

Place 28 of the cookies in food processor container; cover. Process 30 to 45 seconds or until finely ground. Add butter; mix well. Press onto bottom and slightly up the sides of a springform pan (or a 13x9-inch baking pan).

Mix cream cheese, sugar and vanilla with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Add eggs; mix just until blended. Blend in sour cream. Chop remaining 20 cookies. Gently stir 1-1/2 cups of the chopped cookies into cream cheese batter. Pour over crust; sprinkle with remaining chopped cookies.

Bake at 350°F for 40-50 minutes or until center is just set. Cool. Refrigerate 3 hours or overnight.

Zoann's Pumpkin Dessert

Beat three eggs and add a 29-ounce can of pumpkin, one can of evaporated milk, two teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice, 3/4 cup brown sugar, and 1/2 cup white sugar. Pour this mixture into a sprayed 13x9-inch pan. Sprinkle one box of yellow cake mix over the top (though I think spice cake would be fabulous, too!). Slice thin pats from one and a half sticks of butter or margarine (margarine actually works better for this!) and place all over the cake mix, then top that with one to one-and-a-half cups of chopped nuts (walnuts, pecans, or both--and I tend toward two cups myself!). Bake for about 50 minutes in a 350 degree oven (or until set). Serve with a generous helping of Cool Whip (yes, you heard me--Cool Whip!).


Randi said...

I made that oreo cheesecake 2 weeks ago. I also made pumpkin goo( although we call it pumpkin dump cake) for Canadian Thanksgiving.

Joy Bugaloo said...

Where do you think I got the idea for the cheesecake, silly? (I posted a comment, but you never responded. I think I found the recipe on Kraft's website, so no worries.)

Pumpkin Dump Cake is a great/descriptive name! I'll try to use it, but that dessert may be forever known at my house as "the pumpkin goo." ;-)