Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving for Two

As usual, Cyd and I received an invitation to share Thanksgiving with my very kind and generous officemate and friend, Lee Ann, and her family. But we had also been invited to our newly-married friends Tony and Larry's first Thanksgiving gathering of friends down in the City. So we declined Lee Ann's kind offer, as we would go out of town instead. But as the date drew near, Cyd and I confessed to each other that we were simply EXHAUSTED, and just couldn't face the impeding road trip. Plus, I have also been hemorrhaging money lately, with home and car repairs and such. So we decided just to stay home, in our jammies, and watch the entire first season of Homeland, and make our own Turkey Day feast.

I had yesterday off, so I made almost everything ahead of time while my roomie was at work and I had the house to myself. First, I assembled my traditional holiday pickle bucket. Then I prepared my new favorite Thanksgiving tradition from last year, the zesty cranberry strumpet. Next, I made two side dishes from the Pioneer Woman, who never lets you down for a holiday feast. I made her cornbread, sausage, and apple stuffing, and also some deceptively simple, but really delicious Spanish green beans. In fact, I think it's to be a new holiday staple at my house!

Next, for something really out of the ordinary, I made kimchi mashed potatoes. Yes, kimchi! A friend had sent me the link to the recipe on Facebook, and I suspect he was kidding about it, but I thought it sounded great. And I really loved how they turned out, a sweet, orange-colored melange of both white and sweet potatoes, as well as carrots, although I did pull way back on the kimchi (and consequently, on the cream). Unusually scrumptious! Then for my last day-ahead project, I baked a pecan pie. WHEW!

So then today, after watching one of my favorite PBGVs, Fabio, get a Group Two in the National Dog Show (YAY!), I spatchcocked and roasted a 13-pound turkey slathered with herb butter (as I did last year) and made a simple gravy with the pan drippings and some Gew√ľrztraminer to deglaze. While the turkey was in the oven, I also roasted some Brussels sprouts with maple syrup and a squirt of sriracha and garnished them with toasted hazelnuts. Finally, I confess that I cheated and bought some sweet multigrain rolls to complete our Thanksgiving spread. Not bad for a simple dinner for two, eh?

I hope you are all having a lovely, restful Thanksgiving with your loved ones. ENJOY IT!

Pioneer Woman's Cornbread Dressing with Sausage and Apples
(Source: adapted from The Pioneer Woman Cooks!)

32 ounces white button or crimini mushrooms
4 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 cups cornbread, cut into 1-inch cubes
4 cups French bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
4 cups artisan/crusty bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
1/2 pound Italian sausage
2 cups diced onion
5 whole Granny Smith Apples, large dice (I only used two apples)
5 tablespoons brown sugar
1 cup white wine
1/2 teaspoon salt
32 ounces low sodium chicken broth
1 teaspoon ground thyme
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
2 teaspoons rosemary, minced
*I added 1 tablespoon ground sage

1/2 teaspoon (additional) salt
black pepper, to taste
fresh parsley, minced

Allow diced bread to sit out on cookie sheets for several hours or overnight, until dried out. Preheat oven to 500 degrees.

Wash mushrooms thoroughly and pat dry with paper towels. Toss in a bowl with canola oil and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Mushrooms will be very coated, but that’s good! Divide mushrooms between two sheet pans and roast in the upper half of the oven for at least 20 minutes, stirring once halfway through roasting. Remove from oven when mushrooms are deep brown. Set aside.

In a large skillet, crumble and brown sausage over medium high heat. Remove sausage from skillet and set aside. Without cleaning the skillet, add in diced onions and brown for five minutes. Increase heat to high and add diced apples, brown sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes, or until deep golden brown.

Decrease heat to medium and pour in wine (be careful if you’re using an open flame). Stir and cook to reduce liquid by half, about two to three minutes. Pour apple/onion mixture into a bowl and set aside.

Return skillet to medium heat (again, without washing) and add thyme, turmeric, rosemary, sage (if using), 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper. Heat for a few minutes, then set aside.

Add bread to a large bowl, then add browned sausage, mushrooms, and apple/onion mixture (and juice that might have accumulated.) Next, add broth mixture gradually as you toss the ingredients, being prepared not to use all of the liquid according to your taste.

Check seasonings at the end and add in minced parsley. Pour into a large baking dish (I used an iron skillet) and bake at 375 for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden brown on top. (Or you can stuff the turkey if you’re into that kind of thing.)

Pioneer Woman's Spanish Green Beans
(Source: adapted from The Pioneer Woman Cooks!)

5 slices bacon
1 medium onion
1 pound whole green beans (I use frozen)
1 can (14.5 oz.) whole tomatoes (I prefer diced, fire-roasted for this=more smoky flavor)
cayenne pepper, to taste
Slice the bacon up into 1 inch pieces and start cooking them in a large skillet or Dutch oven.
Keep cooking until bacon turns brown.

Meanwhile, dice one onion. When the bacon is beginning to brown, drain some of the fat and then add the onions. Cook, stirring now and then, until bacon and onions are both turning a nice golden.

Add the green beans right into the pan with the bacon and the onions. Next, throw in the tomatoes with their juice. Stir around gently and then cover and reduce heat to low. Cook for about 45 minutes.
When they are finished cooking add cayenne pepper to taste up to about 1/4 of a teaspoon for a hotter dish. Stir gently and serve.

Kimchi Mashed Potatoes
(Source: adapted from NPR)

1 pound russet potatoes, peeled and quartered
1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled, quartered
1/2 pound carrots, peeled, quartered
1 yellow onion, cut in large dice
3-4 garlic cloves
1 quart chicken broth
1 quart milk
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 pound butter, unsalted, cut into cubes
1 cup heavy cream, warm (I used much less)
2 cups kimchi, drained and cut into small dice (I only used 1/2 cup which was plenty, without being overpowering)

1. Boil potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, onions and garlic in chicken broth and milk. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Drain well.
2. In a large mixing bowl, add butter, cream, and potato mixture. Mash well.
3. Add kimchi and mix well. Season with salt and pepper.

Yield: 8-10 portions

Maple-Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Toasted Hazelnuts

1 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts
1/4 cup olive oil
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon (or 10 grinds) black pepper
2 tablespoons maple syrup
*I added a squeeze of sriracha...and I'd do it again!
1/2 cup toasted hazelnuts, coarsely chopped ( probably used half this much and there were plenty)

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
2. To prepare the Brussels sprouts, remove any yellow or brown outer leaves, cut off the stems and cut in half.
3. In a large bowl, toss the Brussels sprouts, olive oil, salt and pepper together. Once all of the Brussels sprouts are coated in oil, spread them into a 9- by 13-inch (or larger) baking dish or sheet tray to roast. Note: You may want to line your sheet tray with foil for easy cleanup because the caramelizing process leaves a sticky residue. Place in oven.
4. After 15 minutes, stir the Brussels sprouts with a spatula or large spoon to even out the browning. After 30 minutes, stir in the maple syrup and sriracha, if using. (Steps 1 through 4 can be done a day in advance; store covered in the refrigerator. Continue with Steps 5 and 6 right before serving.)
5. Continue to roast the Brussels sprouts for about 15 more minutes, or until they are fork tender (about 45 minutes total roasting time).
6. Toss the roasted Brussels sprouts with the hazelnuts and devour!

Yield: Serves 6

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Everything was just perfect!