Food Talk And Fabulous Finds - Thanksgiving




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zeffryn
11-12-2008, 11:21 AM
So, this will be the second year that the kids have taken over Thanksgiving. Last year it was due to medical reasons and this year, a divorce.....plus, it's just fun :)

My second child is due just a few days after Christmas, so we're doing our "big" family meal at Thanksgiving. Nothing is too extravagant this year....well....beluga caviar would put a hurting on my wallet, but you know what I mean.

What are you ladies (or men) planning? Great recipes would be appreciated.


modkittn
11-12-2008, 12:32 PM
I go to other houses, but I always bring cranberry relish with me. Its a bag (the smaller one, not the big one) of cranberries, apples (I like to use macintosh), sugar, and some OJ to prevent browning of the apples.

Chop cranberries in a food processor. Set aside in a large bowl. Cut up apples (removing core, skin is optional) and chop in a food processor. Add to cranberries. Add sugar and OJ to taste.

I usually buy about a pound and a half of apples (about 6), and add them until it looks and tastes right. If I have any left over, I just eat them :)

JulieJ08
11-12-2008, 02:33 PM
I don't think my cooking is trusted yet :o I've been asked to bring the salad. I like to do it this way: Spinach and romaine, sugar-cayenne walnuts, cranberries, apples, feta, homemade vinaigrette. A little bit of onion and some cherry tomatoes.


PhotoChick
11-12-2008, 03:05 PM
I always make homemade cranberry compote. It's so much better than the canned jelly stuff.

1 bag cranberries, picked over and rinsed
1 cup orange juice
1/2 cup sugar
water to cover

Bring to a boil and then simmer until the cranberries pop and everything begins to thicken (about 30-40 mins). Add a cup of chopped walnuts if you want the crunch.

Remove from the heat and pour into pretty glass jars. Makes 3-4 pints.

I make 2 batches of this right before Thanksgiving and we eat it all the way through to New Years. It's GREAT on turkey sandwiches with a little cream cheese or on an english muffin in the morning.

.

kittycat40
11-12-2008, 03:14 PM
I always make homemade cranberry compote. It's so much better than the canned jelly stuff.

1 bag cranberries, picked over and rinsed
1 cup orange juice
1/2 cup sugar
water to cover

Bring to a boil and then simmer until the cranberries pop and everything begins to thicken (about 30-40 mins). Add a cup of chopped walnuts if you want the crunch.

Remove from the heat and pour into pretty glass jars. Makes 3-4 pints.

I make 2 batches of this right before Thanksgiving and we eat it all the way through to New Years. It's GREAT on turkey sandwiches with a little cream cheese or on an english muffin in the morning.

.

This sounds great. I have last year's can in my cupboard- still.

Maybe some spenda, some sugar?

PhotoChick
11-12-2008, 03:35 PM
If you're going to use Splenda, I'd add it after the stuff comes off the stove, and stir it in well before it cools and thickens up completely.

I use organic cane sugar exclusively and I've found that depending on how tart you want the compote (and how sweet your orange juice is) you can sometimes reduce this to 1/4 cup of sugar. You just have to taste it and see what appeals.

.

ghost
11-12-2008, 04:05 PM
I give thanks with my friends, even though I have a huge family here on the isle. Its our chace to gather our chillin's and be the adults and do the cooking (when you live in the same town as 5 living generations you have to get out from under grannies apron sometimes). I'm roasting the turkey and making the potatoes...and maybe something like stuffing but not really like stuffing cause none of us really likes stuffing and actually eating something out of the cavity of a turkey seems like a biohazard to me.

PhotoChick
11-12-2008, 04:20 PM
and maybe something like stuffing but not really like stuffing cause none of us really likes stuffing and actually eating something out of the cavity of a turkey seems like a biohazard to me.In the South we make "stuffing" as a casserole dish and call it "dressing". :)

I've never gotten into "stuffing" in the turkey. But I love a good cornbread dressing, doused with turkey gravy. Mmmmmmm.

.

raw23
11-12-2008, 04:25 PM
Same here. I've never actually cooked stuffing in the bird... or seen anyone do it - except on tv. Seems to me like the stuffing would be done hours before the bird is. We do a casserole dish... but it's nothing healthy, so I won't post the recipe :)

BlueToBlue
11-12-2008, 09:13 PM
I love stuffing and I especially love it cooked inside the turkey, because then all the juices from the turkey drip down into it while it's cooking. But it's not exactly diet-friendly, since I'm sure part of what is dripping into the stuffing that makes it taste so good is fat from the turkey. Carbs and fat, yum... And my understanding is that there are some food safety considerations; you do have to be careful to get the turkey hot enough to kill bad bacteria and the stuffing can hinder it from reaching the right temperature. But I love stuffing enough that I'm also perfectly happy with it cooked as a casserole outside the bird.

It's just two of us (at least I hope--there's an off chance my SO's mother will join us, which would not be a good thing) so we're going out. I already have our dinner reservations at one of my favorite restaurants. I'll definitely be having some stuffing and I won't be asking how they cooked it.

zeffryn
11-12-2008, 09:59 PM
mmk....I should probably stress that healthy and diet friendly have nothing to do with my Thanksgiving ;)

I'm usually a stuffing girl, but I've been transplanted to the south where we now do dressings.

Here is a question for everyone....how to do an awesome gravy when one isn't cooking a turkey? My SIL is bringing a turducken and I'm making a huge roast (which I still have to find a roasting pan big enough for). Canned gravy tastes like crap....

-
PC - I make a similar cranberry compote to yours, except I use whole oranges as well. I too make way more than we need so we can use it for weeks afterwards. I love it as a pancake topping and to stir into oatmeal.

my salivary glands are already into hyperdrive with all this talk of good food.

jennyjo
11-12-2008, 10:26 PM
can you please tell me how you got your lady bug in the grass thing at the bottom of your post - I just signed up today and am very out of the looP?

Jenny

zenor77
11-12-2008, 10:32 PM
Here is a question for everyone....how to do an awesome gravy when one isn't cooking a turkey? My SIL is bringing a turducken and I'm making a huge roast (which I still have to find a roasting pan big enough for). Canned gravy tastes like crap....


Make a roux with equal parts butter and flour, then add a good quality store bought stock to make the gravy. It may not be quite the same, but it will be MUCH better then the canned or powdered stuff!

zenor77
11-12-2008, 10:35 PM
We are going to a friends house this year and I think we are in charge of bringing a couple of appetizers. I'm not sure what we are making yet, I need to find some fabulous recipes!

Zeff~ I agree on not worrying about the food being diet friendly! It's the one day I only eat twice (light breakfast then the BIG meal.) I do try to get a walk in, but I refuse to stress over one day. It's the days between Thanksgiving and Christmas I have to be careful about. :)

PhotoChick
11-12-2008, 10:46 PM
Here is a question for everyone....how to do an awesome gravy when one isn't cooking a turkey?I start with the Williams Sonoma turkey gravy base (which is almost, but not quite, a demi-glace).

Make a dark flour roux with butter and flour, then add the gravy base, then thin with chicken stock. It's the only thing I've found that's as good as the real thing.

.

LindseyLouWho
11-12-2008, 11:46 PM
This year I'm making the feast and we're going all out with the fattening stuff. I've never tried any of these recipes before, but they were all highly rated.

Here's our menu:
Brined, Herb Roasted Turkey (http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/emeril-lagasse/brined-herb-roasted-turkey-recipe/index.html)
Glazed Carrots (http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/glazed-carrots-recipe/index.html)
Savory Spinach and Artichoke Stuffing (http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/emeril-lagasse/savory-spinach-and-artichoke-stuffing-recipe/index.html)
Apple Gorgonzola Salad with Italian Vinaigrette (http://meemoskitchen.blogspot.com/2008/07/buca-di-beppo-apple-gorgonzola-salad.html)
Creamy Macaroni and Cheese (http://find.myrecipes.com/recipes/recipefinder.dyn?action=displayRecipe&recipe_id=259028)
Cranberry Sauce (http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/paula-deen/waynes-cranberry-sauce-recipe/index.html)
Pumpkin Pie (http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/paula-deen/pumpkin-pie-recipe/index.html)
Pistachio Petit-Four Cake (http://smittenkitchen.com/2008/06/pistachio-petit-four-cake/)

I've allowed myself approximately two days to do the cooking and I hope that'll be enough. It's quite the undertaking. The cake I'm planning on making the first night I get into town, which will be that Tuesday. I'll freeze the layers and then decorate it maybe on Wednesday. As far as the sides, I'm planning on doing as much ahead of time as I can. Probably just the cranberry sauce and the stuffing will be okay prepared ahead and then just heated the day of. I'm just happy my mom has two ovens so that I can bake the turkey in one and other stuff in the second.

Wolf Goddess
11-12-2008, 11:53 PM
Here is a question for everyone....how to do an awesome gravy when one isn't cooking a turkey?

You could buy a pack of turkey necks from the store - I can find them for about $1.30 each. One pack gives you three necks, and you can simmer one in water with some onion, celery, carrots, and spices. Use that to make your gravy and it is divine, as well as being pretty cheap.

zeffryn
11-13-2008, 09:29 AM
Lindseylouwho - pumpkin pies freeze well. I've already made 3 :)
Also, the mac and cheese might freeze as well - or at least you should be able to make it a day ahead of time and just bake it off Thursday.

Thanks for the gravy tips, guys. I don't know why Louisiananians aren't gravy people...I'm definitely a gravy person.

I sent off an order to Williams Sonoma today - they have some BEAUTIFUL serving platters.

-
Jenny - about the counter, I think the rules are no pictures in signatures until you've been here for 20 days and 20 posts....someone correct me if I'm wrong.

LindseyLouWho
11-13-2008, 10:20 AM
Hm, I never thought about freezing the pumpkin pie. I'll have to see how much room there is in my mom's freezer. It's usually insanely full.

As far as the mac and cheese, I just remember from last year when I made one that it dried out the next day and got a little bit gritty, but was velvety smooth and plenty saucy when it was fresh. I'm not sure if that was a problem created after baking, but I don't want anyone complaining that they wish I would have made my aunt's recipe which doesn't really have much real cheese at all... it's some concoction involving condensed cream of cheddar soup and other things.:barf:

zeffryn
11-13-2008, 11:12 AM
Lindsey - as long as you don't bake it, it should be fine. My son loves mac and cheese and I make him homemade ones all the time. I put them into small ramekins and whenever he wants one, I pull it out of the fridge and pop it in the oven to bake. Tastes perfectly fresh.

LindseyLouWho
11-13-2008, 04:14 PM
Zeffryn, thanks for the reassurance. Hopefully I'll be able to get that prepared the day before in that case.

Wolf Goddess
11-13-2008, 11:06 PM
As far as the mac and cheese, I just remember from last year when I made one that it dried out the next day and got a little bit gritty, but was velvety smooth and plenty saucy when it was fresh. I'm not sure if that was a problem created after baking,

Cheese is like chocolate; the temperature differences can make it sort of curdle. Did it cool all the way before you refrigerated it?

LindseyLouWho
11-14-2008, 12:04 AM
Definitely. I made it at my apartment and then transported it to my mom's house that was then 45 minutes away. It then sat out on the counter for a while until dinner. I actually think that when we ate it it was lukewarm at best... haha. Buffet items during our holidays never seem to all be hot when we actually sit down to eat... Hmm... maybe we should work on our timing. :lol: I'm using a different recipe this year, though, so maybe that will make all of the difference. I think the biggest issue I have is that when reheated, mac and cheese never seems to have enough sauce. I guess it sort of solidifies when it cools and never really melts back down when reheated?

zeffryn
11-14-2008, 10:42 AM
Lindsey - you may want to add a little milk or cream when baking if you've made the sauce ahead of time. The baking usually causes the sauce to congeal a bit which makes it harder to really distribute well again. As long as you only bake it once - no reheating afterwards! it should be fine. If you need to make it at your house, just make it and let the sauce cool. Cover and bake at your mom's.

I forgot to tell you to let it cool completely before putting it in the fridge, I'm glad someone else brought that up.

LindseyLouWho
11-14-2008, 10:46 AM
Thanks Zeffryn and Wolf Goddess for your suggestions! I'll give them a whirl and see how it goes. :)

Wolf Goddess
11-14-2008, 05:44 PM
I think the biggest issue I have is that when reheated, mac and cheese never seems to have enough sauce. I guess it sort of solidifies when it cools and never really melts back down when reheated?

Once boiled, pasta will keep absorbing more liquid until it's saturated - at which point the noodles disintegrate. Even when it's just in the fridge or room temperature, cooked noodles will sponge up moisture.

crayphish
11-15-2008, 12:08 PM
Hi Zeffryn, I'm from Louisiana and cannot live without gravy!! My biggest challenge is the gravy as I am on Sugar Busters and cannot find any of their bread locally. I used to clean my plate at every dinner with some kind of bread....oh how I miss that. I've ordered turduckens before and usually they offer a few types of gravy as well but the recipes here will make wonderful gravy!!

I'm off to gather some recipes!!

zeffryn
11-15-2008, 05:36 PM
crayphish - I tried to order a turducken....I guess I was late on that decision. I haven't found a place yet within a 50 mile radius that isn't all booked up for turkey day.

I sincerely hope that my sister in law is willing to do either the turkey or the roast - I don't think I want to undertake both of them!

zeffryn
11-19-2008, 01:26 PM
ok...I'm an idiot.

I was going to order the WS Turkey Gravy base a week ago, completely forgot and now am going to have to pay $37 for a jar to be delivered before Turkey Day. I don't have a WS anywhere close.

OR....anybody else know of any suitable replacements? Does any place offer boxed turkey stock?

I guess worse case scenario, I could go to a specialty meat shop that does turduckens and boneless turkeys and see if they have any carcasses. Make a stock and then make the gravy...

me thinks that is a lot of work for Thanksgiving day.

PhotoChick
11-19-2008, 01:28 PM
Oh no!

What stores do you have there? Is there a Whole Foods? If so, the turkey demi-glace is very close to the WS stuff.

.

crayphish
11-19-2008, 01:49 PM
Look in the spices and/or soup section of the grocery. I have Turkey Base which is better than boullion cubes and makes a great gravy. Restaurants use this at times to make their gravies. You can get Beef and Chicken too. It comes in a short wide mouth container.

zeffryn
11-19-2008, 07:23 PM
No Whole Foods in this city. There is one in Baton Rouge, but I would prefer not to drive an hour.

I looked at Fresh Market this afternoon. They had a poultry demi-glace that I might use if I can't find anything else.

I'm going to scour supermarkets and specialty shops tomorrow.