Tag Archives: Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Dinner: Cranberry Ginger Fizz

8 Dec

I LOVE Canada Dry Cranberry Ginger Ale, but it is the hardest thing to find!  The recipe below is my own cranberry ginger ale concoction that I make when I can’t find the original in stores.  Since ginger is a natural ingredient to help queasy stomachs, this drink is also a good one to make after a few too many pear bellinis the night before. 🙂

Cranberry Ginger Fizz

Ingredients
Ginger Ale (preferably Canada Dry)
Cranberry Juice (no sugar added, not from concentrate)
Lemonade
Limes

Directions (per serving)
1. Fill a highball glass with ice cubes.  Fill glass 3/4 of the way with ginger ale.  Fill glass remaining 1/4 with cranberry juice.  Top with a splash of lemonade.
2. Garnish with lime wedge.
Note: If you want to prevent this drink from getting watered down, fill an ice tray with cranberry juice the night before and use cranberry juice ice cubes!

Thanksgiving Dinner: Dad’s Turkey Gravy

5 Dec

My Dad adapted this recipe from my Grandmother’s original recipe (created in November 1960!).  In addition to broth, he uses wine and flour to add depth and thickness to the gravy.  His adapted recipe is below.

Dad’s Turkey Gravy

Ingredients
Chicken broth or turkey stock
Flour
Marsala wine
Juices from bottom of turkey pan

Directions
1. Cook turkey according to instructions in Thanksgiving Dinner: Grandma’s Turkey.  Drain most of the liquid from the pan except for about 2 tbsp for each cup of gravy wanted.
2. Move the liquid wanted to a small saucepan and stir over medium-high heat.  Gradually, add an equal amount of flour.  Stir consistently.
3. After gravy is well-browned, add Marsala wine and some chicken broth or turkey stock to the pan until it is the right consistency.  (Note: If you run out of broth, you can use water as a substitute.)
4. When hot and of desired consistency, strain broth and keep hot until serving.

Thanksgiving Dinner: Grandma’s Turkey

1 Dec

The recipe below is for my Grandmother’s Thanksgiving turkey recipe.  I love this recipe because it’s simple, but produces the juiciest turkey that isn’t over-seasoned.  My Grandmother wrote this recipe in November 1960 and it’s still a crowd pleaser today.

Grandma’s Thanksgiving Turkey

Ingredients
1 9-12 lb. turkey
Stuffing (see Thanksgiving Dinner: Mom’s Stuffing post for recipe)
Salt & pepper
Poultry Seasoning
2 sticks unsalted butter

Other Items Needed
Cheese Cloth
Baster

Directions
1. Follow directions for thawing bird if frozen and be sure to allow enough time for this.  Then clean bird thoroughly and remove any traces of lining from inside around the bones.
2. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
3. Rub salt, pepper, and poultry seasoning along the inside cavities of the bird.
4. Stuff the bird according to directions on Thanksgiving Dinner: Mom’s Stuffing post.
5. Rub salt, pepper, and poultry seasoning along the outside of the bird.  Cover the breast of the turkey with cheese cloth (this will prevent the breast from burning or drying out).
6. Place turkey in a shallow pan.  It’s best to use not too deep of a pan as the turkey will brown better in a shallower one.
7. Melt 2 stick of butter and pour 3/4 of this over the turkey.  The remaining 1/4 you will use in your first basting of the turkey.
8.  Pop the turkey in the oven and set your timer for 20 minutes.  When it rings, open the oven and pour the remaining butter over the turkey.  Also, use your baster to take the juices from the bottom of the pan and cover the turkey.  Put the turkey back in the oven.
9. Set your timer for 20 minutes.  When it rings, open the oven and baste the turkey using the juices from the bottom of the pan.  Continue basting the turkey every 20 minutes until the meat thermometer has popped and the turkey is done.  This should take about 20 minutes per pound, or 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 hours for a 9-12 lb. turkey.  (Note: If you want the breast to be browner, remove the cheese cloth for the last 30-45 minutes of cooking.)
10. Remove turkey from oven and set on a carving board.  Cover with tinfoil and let sit 20 minutes before carving/serving.  Save the juices at the bottom of the pan as you will use these for the gravy (see Thanksgiving Dinner: Dad’s Turkey Gravy).

Before:

After:

Thanksgiving Dinner: Green Beans with Miso & Almonds

30 Nov

The following recipe is adapted from the November 2011 issue of Bon Appetit magazine.  If you want to try their original recipe, you can find it here.  For my adaptation, I followed their directions closely, but changed the ingredients as I found the original recipe was a little sour/bitter.  Nothing that tripling the amount of sugar couldn’t fix! 🙂  I picked this recipe, because I wanted to try a lighter green veggie recipe this year.  Normally whatever green vegetable we serve at Thanksgiving is soaked in cream (think: creamed spinach) or high in fat (think: asparagus wrapped in bacon).  I was kind of shocked by how much dressing was coating the green beans when I followed the recipe amounts, but was very pleased that the green beans were still crispy and not soaked in dressing, despite sitting in our warming oven for 1.5 hours before dinner was served.  If I were to make this recipe again, I would likely halve the amount of dressing used so the green bean flavor could come through even more.  The recipe below is exactly what I made on Thursday.

Green Beans with Miso & Almonds
Adapted from Bon Appetit, November 2011 Issue

Ingredients
2 1/2 lb. fresh green beans (ends trimmed or snapped off)
kosher salt
1/4 cup white miso (fermented soybean paste)
3 tbsp. thinly sliced scallions, dark green parts only, divided
3 tbsp. unseasoned rice vinegar
1 tbsp. mustard powder mixed with 1 tbsp. water (Note: BA recommends 2 tbsp. Japanese prepared hot mustard (not wasabi) and this is the alternative)
2 tbsp. olive oil
3-4 tbsp. sugar, to taste
1/4 cup, sliced almonds, toasted

Directions
1. Boil a medium sized pot of salted water.  When the water is boiling, toss in the green beans and cook until crisp-tender (about 7-8 minutes).
2. Drain green beans and transfer to a large bowl of ice water to cool.  (Note: This is what keeps the green beans crispy – don’t skip this step!)
3. In a small bowl, whisk miso, 2 tbsp. scallions, vinegar,  mustard (and water), oil and sugar.  Season dressing to taste with salt.
4. Place green beans in a serving bowl.  Pour dressing over; toss to coat.
5. Pre-heat oven to 350 degree.  On a baking sheet, lay out flat sliced almonds and toast until they are lightly browned.  This should take about 15 minutes.
6. Right before serving, garnish dish with toasted almonds and remaining 1 tbsp. scallions.  Serve warm or at room temperature (I prefer warm).

Note: After completing step 4 above, I put the green beans in our warming oven for 1.5 hours until the turkey was ready.  I did steps 5-6 immediately before we sat down to eat.

Here is a close up of the finished product:

Thanksgiving Dinner: Pear Bellinis (aka Christmas in a Cup)

29 Nov

Pear Bellini

My Mom started making this recipe a few years back.  It’s a great seasonal twist on a traditional bellini; adding with rosemary and cranberries as a garnish makes this cocktail even more festive for this time of year!

Pear Bellinis with Rosemary & Cranberry

Ingredients
Pear nectar (I like this one)
Prosecco, or any other dry sparkling white wine
Fresh rosemary sprigs, for garnish
Handful of fresh cranberries, for garnish

Directions (per serving)
1.  Pour ~2 oz. pear nectar into a champagne flute.
2. Slowly fill glass to top with ~4 oz. prosecco.
3. Add 1 sprig of rosemary and 3-4 fresh cranberries for garnish and you have Christmas in a cup!! 🙂

Thanksgiving Dinner: Mom’s Stuffing

28 Nov

This recipe was passed down from my Great Grandmother on my Mom’s side.  I credit this recipe to my Mom because a few years ago, she made a key adaptation to a previously unchanged recipe that made it truly GREAT.  I was never a stuffing person growing up; I found it gummy, flavorless and, most of all, full of raisins (which I strongly dislike).  A few years back, my Mom switched out the raisins for craisins (dried cranberries) and I am now a huge fan of this dish.

Mom’s Stuffing
(For a 9-12 lb. turkey)

Ingredients
Pullman size loaf of bread (toasted – crusts removed) (Note: If you’re short on time, you can use one bread from of the Pepperidge Farm stuffing bags. No one will know the difference and this saves a ton of time.)
1/2 bag craisins (or 1-2 generous handfuls) (Note: if you prefer, substitute *plumped raisins for craisins)
1 large onion, chopped
4 large celery stalks, chopped
1/2 lb pork sausage (bulk-medium hot) (drained)
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
Poultry seasoning, to taste
Sage, to taste
Broth (strained)
1 egg, beaten
1 stick unsalted butter

Directions
*If you are using raisins, plump them before adding them to the mix.  To do this, pour boiling water over raisins until they are covered.  This should puff them right up.
1. Remove crusts from bread and toast lightly on both sides.  If you have stale or day old bread, it is better so buy this ingredient ahead of time if you can.
2. Chop onion and saute until golden brown in about 3 tbsp. of butter.  When onions are golden brown, add chopped celery and cook slightly.
3. In another skillet, break up the pork sausage and cook until almost done.  Start with a cold skillet and drain grease as it accumulated.  You don’t want to add the grease to the stuffing mix.
4. In a large bowl, break up the toasted bread into about six pieces per slice (you don’t want it too small as you don’t want mushy stuffing).  Pour the onion and celery mixture over this and then add the pork sausage, craisins (or raisins) and beaten egg.  Mix lightly.
5. Add small amount of broth to moisten (not too much as it will get juices from the turkey as it cooks).  Then add salt, pepper, poultry seasoning and sage, to taste.  Don’t forget the stuffing is going to cook inside your seasoned bird and will absorb many of the turkey’s flavors.  Go lighter rather than heavier on the seasoning and broth here.
6.  Stuff the neck of the bird and close it with a skewer.  Then flip the bird over and stuff the other side; cover with a thick slice of bread (you will discard this piece of bread, it is just to prevent the stuffing from burning or absorbing too much of the turkey baste).  Don’t overfill either opening as the stuffing will swell in baking.  If there is any extra stuffing, you can bake this separately at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes, until brown and warm.
7. Cook turkey according to directions on Thanksgiving Dinner: Grandma’s Turkey recipe.  When turkey is removed from oven, remove stuffing and put in a serving dish.  Serve immediately.

Here is a close up of the final product:

Thanksgiving Dinner: Creamy Mashed Potatoes

27 Nov

The following recipe is adapted from the November 2011 issue of Bon Appetit magazine.  If you want to try their recipe, you can find it here.  I kept BA’s directions, but changed the ingredients a bit: I flipped the ratio of russet to Yukon Gold potatoes as I find that Yukon Golds make creamier, more flavorful mashed potatoes.  I also used half & half instead of whole milk and heavy cream.  (This wasn’t by choice, but because we forgot to get whole milk and heavy cream at the grocery store – whoops!)  Half & half worked great though and I will continue using it when I make this recipe again.  The other thing I did was despite halving the amount of potatoes used, I kept the amount of liquid the same.  This resulted in the perfect consistency and also helped the potatoes stay creamy for leftovers for a few days.  The real secret to what makes these mashed potatoes the creamiest, fluffiest potatoes you’ve ever tried is a food mill.  I used an OXO Good Grips Food Mill to “mash” the potatoes.  It was more of an arm workout than I bargained for on Thanksgiving, but it was worth it!  Here is my adaptation of BA’s recipe below.

Creamy Mashed Potatoes
Adapted from Bon Appetit, November 2011 Issue 

Ingredients
2 lb. russet potatoes (2-3 large potatoes)
2 lb. Yukon Gold potatoes (about half a large bag or 12-15 potatoes)
3 tbsp. kosher salt
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
10 whole white peppercorns
1 sprig rosemary (or 1 tsp. dried rosemary, but use fresh if you can)
2-3 bay leaves (use fresh if you can)
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
Salt & pepper, to taste

Directions
1. Fill a large pot halfway with cold water.  Peel the russet and Yukon gold potatoes and cut into 2″ pieces, adding to pot as they are cut.  Add cold water to cover by 1″ if needed.  Stir in kosher salt.
2. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and gently simmer until tender, about 15 minutes.
3. Drain potatoes and transfer to a baking sheet.  Spread potatoes and let dry for 10 minutes.
4. Once you have turned the heat on the potatoes to medium-low, in a separate small saucepan, heat half & half, peppercorns, rosemary and bay leaves over medium heat, stirring occasionally.  Do this until mixture is very hot but not boiling, which should take about 10 minutes.
5. Remove from heat and let mixture infuse for 20 minutes; then strain and set aside.  (According to BA, this will add herbal flavor without coloring the liquid.)
6.  Now that your potatoes have cooled and dried somewhat, pass the potatoes through the smallest disk of a food mill along with 1 stick of butter into a large bowl.  (My mom and I went back and forth about which disk we should use and while the small disk took a long time, the result was unbeatable.)
7. Once the potatoes have all passed through the food mill, stir in the hot half & half mixture.  Season generously to taste with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Note: I prepared this dish three hours before the turkey was even ready to carve.  In order to keep it warm, I put the potatoes in a double boiler on the stove for two hours and then in our warming oven for the last hour.