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Posts Tagged ‘Thanksgiving’

My favourite Thanksgiving dish is stuffing.  Bursting with flavour and never twice the same, stuffing makes turkey exciting.  As a kid, my mother followed Gourmet’s  Christmas 1987 recipe.  Filled with pork sausage, this stuffing is absolutely decadent.  This year, however, I was cooking for a dozen friends, three who followed the Halal diet and one who was a vegetarian, so pork stuffing was out of the question.

My friend Alex and I decided to be inspired by Joy of Cooking’s basic stuffing.  We brightened it by tossing in cranberries and apricots, and included a few extra of our favorite herbs.  Now the secret to delicious stuffing is fresh herbs and lots of butter, so we ensured that both were prominently featured.  The stuffing disappeared rapidly enough that there is no after picture – but I can attest that it lived up to my stuffing expectations!

Stuffing ready for the turkey

Savoury Stuffing

(1 turkey worth)

Ingredients:

1 loaf of bread, cubed into ½ squares (the more interesting the bread, the better)

2 onions, chopped

3-4 ribs of celery, chopped

¼ cup of butter

Generous handful of cranberries

Generous handful of apricots, diced

1 bunch parsley, thyme, and sage, coarsely chopped

Poultry seasoning

Salt and Pepper

1 ½ cups broth

Directions:

Gently toast the bread cubes in a low oven for about 5 minutes.  Sauté the onions and celery in the butter until cooked through.  In a large bowl, toss together the toasted bread cubes, cooked onions and celery, cranberries, apricots, and herbs.  Season to taste with the poultry seasoning and salt and pepper.  Before stuffing into turkey, moisten with the broth. (Be careful not to add too much broth – you want the stuffing to be moist, but not soggy).

Place the stuffing inside the turkey.  (A secret I was taught this weekend is to put the stuffing in pantyhose and then in the turkey. It makes removing the stuffing at the end so much easier.) The stuffing is cooked properly when it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Serve with your favorite holiday fare!

Bon appétit!

–       Catherine

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Looking through the last dozen posts we’ve made, I see we’re really doing well in sharing seasonal recipes! This is yet another one in that category – I can’t help but keep eating pumpkin and squash, because it is delicious and versatile; and, especially, because starting in one month I will not be eating many vegetables for the next half-year…

I’m also curious to ask what other recipes people have for squash and pumpkin? Feel free to comment and share – as I’d love to try a few new ones myself!

This recipe was a great success. It’s simple, and I made it to use up the remaining pumpkin purée from the pumpkin pie I made for Thanksgiving. Not only did it help by re-interpreting left-overs, but it made a special brunch.

Ingredients – makes 16 scones

-2 cups all-purpose flour
-1/4 cup sugar (I used light brown sugar)
-1/2 tsp both ground ginger and cinnamon
-pinch of nutmeg
-1 tsp baking powder
-1/2 tsp baking soda
-pinch salt
-1/2 cup cold butter, diced
-1/2 cup walnut pieces
-1/3 cup cream (or yogurt if you are looking to reduce your cream intake)
-2/3 cup puréed pumpkin (I like to use fresh if I can, but if not, pure canned pumpkin can be substituted)
-1 egg, for brushing

Directions

Puréed pumpkin

To make the pumpkin purée, preheat oven to 400F. Halve a cooking pumpkin, remove the seeds, and place cut-side up on a baking tray. Bake for 40 – 60 minutes (approximately), until the flesh is tender and a few brown spots appear on the pumpkin. Remove from oven, let cool, and then scoop the flesh out of the skin. Place in a blender or food processor (or use a potato-masher, if you have one), and purée the pumpkin thoroughly (if you do it by hand, make sure you really put in the effort to purée it – it does not work well if it is watery or stringy).

Pumpkin scones

Preheat oven to 375F. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Add the spices, sugar, salt, and stir.

Cut in the butter using a pastry knife or your hands (quickly), until mixture looks like breadcrumbs (you can also use a food-processor if you have one!).  Add the walnuts in after.

In a separate bowl, mix the cream and pumpkin purée. Add this to the dry ingredients, and mix them together with your hands or a wooden spatula until the dough begins to form into larger balls. Do not over-work.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Take small amounts of dough into your hand and form them into a disc. Place on the baking sheet. Beat the egg together and brush over scones.

Bake for 15-20 minutes (check after 15, it’s best to be careful because you don’t want the bottoms to burn). Cool on a wire rack, and serve with jam, butter, or anything else you like with your scones!

-Sitelle

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For the past several years, I have embraced coming up with new or unusual ways to cook traditional foods usually eaten at and around Thanksgiving. Like Catherine, Thanksgiving is also a favourite holiday of mine. The brilliant colours around me remind me of the changing seasons, and this year, they remind me of a bountiful harvest had at our (now previous) home in Toronto. Although I loved the autumn colours in Toronto, I must admit they are absolutely stunning out here in Western Montréal. I frequently have to travel at least an hour to visit field sites at work, and I am really fortunate because I end up driving along some of the most beautiful roads in Canada. Driving doesn’t feel like a chore, in that case – but rather a treat!

This year I spent Thanksgiving in Ottawa. We decided to have a roast beef (rosbif en français), and so I thought I should try to make something different with squash, because squash are something I can never get enough of. A relative of mine who knows me well gave me a beautiful Kuri squash (aka red hubbard) as a housewarming gift a few weeks ago. What a great idea! It had a smiling face carved into it naturally in a few crevices – and made a lovely meal which I greatly enjoyed sharing with my family. I made this recipe without parmesan because of a dietary restriction – and I think in the end that allowed the subtle squash flavours to really come through. I based the recipe off one found on Bon Appétit‘s website which I bookmarked last year as a must for 2011. This is quite an ambitious project to take on if you’ve never made gnocchi, but don’t shy away just because of that. Especially if you have the helping hands of a mother or friend, it ends up being really fun and the outcome is certainly worth it.

Ingredients – 6 side portions

-1 medium kuri (red hubbard) squash
-1 Tbsp olive oil

-3 small potatoes or 1 large potato – approximately 350g
-1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
-1 egg, beaten
-1/2 tsp (freshly if possible) grated nutmeg
-1/2 tsp salt

-4 Tbsp butter
-2 Tbsp chopped fresh sage
-pinch of salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

Cut squash in half lengthwise, and remove seeds. Place cut-side up on a baking dish and brush with olive oil. Cook in oven at 400F for 75-90 minutes, or until the squash is fully roasted and some brown spots begin to appear on it.

Meanwhile, boil the potato whole for about 20 minutes or until a fork can be poked in and flesh is tender. Remove from water, peel, and purée the potato (use a potato ricer if you have  – which my dad and his wife do to my great surprise!). Purée the potato while it is still warm, and if you do not have a ricer, mash it up thoroughly. I like to pass it through the ricer several times because it makes the gnocchi that much more delicate

While letting the puréed potato cool, scoop the squash flesh out of the skin and purée it (I did it by hand because I did not have a food processor – but that would be great if you have one). Then place the purée in a pot and heat over medium heat, stirring constantly, for 4-5 minutes until the mixture is hot and thickens. Remove from heat and let cool.

To the cool potato, add the nutmeg, egg, and salt. Then add the squash, and mix thoroughly. Add the flour in 1/4 cup at a time, mixing well enough that the mixture is even but not over-worked. If the dough is still quite sticky once all the flour has been mixed in, add a couple of table spoon fulls of flour until it is not too sticky to handle.

When you are ready, roll small tea-spoonfuls of the dough on floured hands, and then roll over a fork to create indentations. Place on a well-floured cookie sheet or if you have parchment paper this is the time to use it on the baking sheet.

Once your gnocchi are all formed (congratulations! it’s not the easiest thing to make), place them in the fridge for an hour.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, and then cook the gnocchi in batches of 1/4 at a time. Place them into the water carefully, and wait for them to begin to float. Once they are cooked (floating), remove them with a slotted spoon and place in a single layer on a baking dish again. Repeat until all gnocchi are cooked.

To make the brown butter: in a frying pan, melt the butter over medium/medium-low heat. Once it begins to bubble, keep a careful eye. It should eventually foam white, and then the foam should pick up a yellow tinge. This is the point the pan needs to be taken off the heat immediately otherwise the butter will pass the brown/hazelnut stage and burn. Place the chopped fresh sage in the butter and return over low heat for a minute or two.

Place the gnocchi in the pan with the brown sage butter, toss so the gnocchi are fully covered, and serve as an accompaniment to a special meal!

-Sitelle

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Turkey dinner just isn’t turkey without the cranberry sauce.   It adds pizazz to turkey and stuffing, not to mention leftover turkey sandwiches.  And who doesn’t love how the ruby-coloured sauce dazzles on your plate?   A well-kept secret is that cranberry sauce could not be easier to make.

As a kid, there was always two types of cranberry sauce on the table: pure cranberries and cranberry orange.  I have always had a slight preference for the orange infused cranberry sauce.  I love how the citrus undertones complement the tart cranberries.  As the sauce cools, it thickens beautifully.  The sauce can be made two or three days in advance and keeps well in the fridge for a week or two.

I whipped up a batch Saturday for Thanksgiving dinner and have been relishing it on hot turkey sandwiches since!

Cranberry Sauce

(about 2 cups of cranberry sauce)

Ingredients:

1 cup water (if you desire a more intense orange flavour, substitute the juice from the orange for some water)

1 1/4 cup sugar

340 g package of fresh cranberries (12 ounces)

Rind from one orange

Directions:

Boil the water and sugar together to form a simple syrup.  Add the cranberries and zest in the orange rind, and allow the sauce to return to a boil.  Simmer for 5-10 minutes, or  until the cranberries have burst and become soft and the sauce is slightly thickened.  Taste and adjust for sweetness and orange flavour intensity.  Allow to chill fully before serving.

Bon appetit!

– Catherine

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Thanksgiving is perhaps my favourite holiday of the year.  I love the crisp air and colourful leaves and changing of the season.  More than any other holiday, I love the meaning behind this tradition – to reflect upon and give thanks for the blessings in our lives.  And importantly, it’s a great excuse to cook up a turkey feast to be served with good wine and eaten with good company!

Pumpkin Pie waiting to be eaten

If I survive my thesis proposal defence this Friday, my friend Alex and I will be cooking Thanksgiving dinner for just over a dozen friends this weekend. No Thanksgiving dinner is complete without pumpkin pie.  Last weekend, I celebrated “Fake Thanksgiving” (one can never eat too many Thanksgiving dinners) – and decided to use the opportunity to test Silver Palate’s pumpkin pie recipe.   Perhaps the only thing better than one pumpkin pie is two.

Like any Silver Palate recipe, this pie was decadent, spiced to perfection and filled with a scary amount of cream (who would dare count calories on Thanksgiving anyways?). When I doubled the recipe, I had extra purred pumpkin, so I just added the extra to the filling, and the pie was extra pumpkiny.  One dangerous find was caramelized roasted pumpkin seeds from the Halifax market, which added a lovely crunch.  Served with whipping cream, this recipe aced the test, so I’ll definitely be whipping up another two pies this weekend for the real deal!

Silver Palate’s Pumpkin Pie

(makes one 9-inch pie)

Ingredients:

3 eggs

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1/3 cup light brown sugar

2 cups canned pureed pumpkin (make sure you buy unseasoned pumpkin puree)

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

Pinch of salt

3/4 cup heavy cream

3/4 cup half-and-half

1 unbaked pie crust

For garnish, pecan halves and toasted pumpkin seeds

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 450 Farhenheit. Beat the eggs and both sugars together in a mixing bowl, until light and fluffy.  Stir in the pumpkin puree, spices, and salt and mix thoroughly.  Stir in the cream and half-and-half.

Roll out the pastry on a slightly floured work surface and line a 9-inch bake pan with it; trim and crimp the edges.  Pour in the filling.

Bake the pie for 8 minutes, then reduce the heat to 325 Fahrenheit and bake until the filling is set and slightly puffed (a knive inserted in the center will come out clean), another 40 to 45 minutes.

Arrange the pecan halves decoratively around the edges, pressing them lightly into the warm filling.  Cool completely before cutting.  Delicious served with whipped cream!

– Catherine

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