Monday, December 1, 2014

Thanksgiving Recap.

Here's the recap of the Hawthornes' Thanksgiving Dinner.
It was all good!

I hope you all had a very Happy Thanksgiving.
All my Hawthornelets were home
 - both two-legged and four-legged -
and I am quite thankful for that.

I had a plan of attack for Thanksgiving,
starting as early as Sunday when we put our turkey 
in a brine of water, apple cider, and salt.

I didn't bother to blog about every dish I made,
else we'd still be waiting on dinner.
But now that things have calmed down a bit,
I'll give you a Thanksgiving recap.

Here's my game plan.
And yes.
I write to-do lists.
For everything.
Even though I made spreadsheet for Thanksgiving
(Who does that?),
this will be a meandering, 
stream of unconsciousness post.
I'm grasping at all my Thanksgiving threads
and trying to tie them all together.

Please, bear with me.
At least it's in chronological order.

One of my Thanksgiving traditions
is making Julia Child's Gâteau of Crêpes.
In case you're not familiar with Julia's gâteau,
it's a three-layered concoction of sautéed carrots and dill,
mushroom duxelles, and chopped cooked broccoli,
filled with a custard sauce and cheese,
with each layer separated by crêpes and the whole encased in crêpes.
It's one of the best things I've ever put in my mouth.

If you ever make this, 
don't even think about doing it in one day.
Take your time.

Follow me on my Thanksgiving journey to joy!
On Monday, I made the crêpes.
 To make your own crêpes,
here's the how-to.

On Tuesday,
I cooked the broccoli, the carrots, and the mushroom duxelles.
 I refrigerated these for gâteau assembly the next day - Wednesday.

How-to for carrots.

Also on Tuesday, I started on my sweet potato casserole.
Here's the base, 
and I'll top it and cook it on Turkey Day.

Rosie's Sweet Potato Casserole
2 large sweet potatoes, about 4 cups or so, cooked until tender
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/ stick melted butter
buttered 7 x 11 inch baking pan
Peel the sweet potatoes, dice them, and cook them in simmering, salted water until tender.
Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then beat in the sugar and melted butter.  Spread evenly in buttered pan.  (At this point, I covered and refrigerated the dish, waiting until Thursday to top it and bake.)
marshmallows to cover
brown sugar, sprinkled over top
pecans, sprinkled over top
pats of butter
Bake at 350° about 45-50 minutes, until marshmallows are nicely browned.

I topped off the sweet potato casserole
with pecans, marshmallows, brown sugar and butter.
This would be really good with vanilla ice cream.

On Wednesday,
my game plan consisted of assembling,
baking, and unmolding the gâteau.

Let the games begin:
Sautéeed julienned carrots and dill layer.

Mushroom duxelles.

Each layer has custard sauce.

Ready for baking.


 Is this not beautiful?

It's still Wednesday.
What else is on my list?
Oh yes.
I need to make the potato rolls I make every year.
 Dough is ready to pinch off and roll into balls
Potato Rolls
Makes 4 dozen muffin rolls.
3 medium potatoes, unpeeled, diced, and cooked until very tender in simmering, salted water
2 cups potato water
1/2 cup shortening
1/4 cup sugar
2 packages yeast
1 TB salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup sugar
flour to form a soft dough (about 7-8 cups)

Boil the potatoes in salted water, reserving 2 cups of the water.  
Add yeast and 1/4 cup sugar to warm (not hot) potato water.
Let proof.
Add in potatoes, shortening, and remaining 3/4 cup sugar, mashing to mix all together.
Add a little flour, then the eggs.
Continue adding flour, 1/2 - 1 cup at a time, until you have a soft dough.
Knead it a bit, adding flour.
Place into oiled bowl.
Let rise until doubled.
Roll into small balls and place in buttered muffin tins.
You can roll 3 small balls for each tin, or one larger ball in each tin.
Let rise until doubled
Bake at 375° about 10 minutes, until nicely browned.

 Apple Pie.  Check.

Apple Pie
1 recipe pastry for a 9-inch double crust
1/2 cup unsalted butter
3 TB flour
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
6 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
Heat oven to 425°.
Melt butter in small saucepan.  Stir in flour to form a paste.  Add in water and sugars and bring to a boil.
Reduce temperature and let simmer for a few minutes.
Place bottom crust in pie pan and crimp edges.
Fill with apples, mounding slightly.
Cover with lattice work.
Carefully and slowly pour sugar and butter liquid over the crust.
Set pie in another pan to catch any spills.
Bake 15 minutes at 425°, then reduce temperature to 350° and bake 45 minutes.

 Pumpkin Cheesecake Pie.  Check.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Pie
1 9-inch single pie crust
Cheesecake Filling
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1-inch knob frozen ginger
Pumpkin Filling
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1 15-ounce can pumpkin purée
1 cup cream
3 eggs, beaten

Heat oven to 425°.
Place crust in a pie pan that's 9 inches wide and 1 1/2 inches deep.  Crimp edges.
For cheesecake filling:
Combine softened cream cheese and sugar, beating until mixture is smooth.
Beat in egg and vanilla.
I always have frozen knobs of ginger so it's available whenever I need ginger.
I nuked a one-inch piece of ginger about 25 seconds, then squeezed it to use the juice.  Next I put the pulp through a garlic press and scraped the first two pressings into the mixture.
Pour the cheesecake filling into the pie crust.
For pumpkin filling:
Whisk sugar, salt, and spices.  Stir in pumpkin purée and cream until very smooth.
Gently spoon pumpkin mixture atop the cheesecake layer, so as not to disturb the cheesecake.
Bake at 425° for 15 minutes.
Reduce heat to 350° and continue to bake for 40-45 minutes, covering edges if necessary, until pie is set.
Remove from oven and cool to room temperature.
Refrigerate until serving time.

Wednesday was a looooong day.
Two pies.  Done.
48 potato rolls.  Done.
(Two dozen more potato rolls on the counter.)
Julia's Gâteau of Crêpes.  Done.

 Then I decided to get ambitious and make some 
Cheddar and Sausage Bites.
Sausage, Apple, and Cheddar Bites
3/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 lg pork sausage
2 cups grated cheddar cheese
2 TB maple syrup - Use the real stuff.
1 Granny Smith apple, cored, peeled and diced
Heat oven to 375°.
Stir together dry ingredients.  Then add the sausage, cheese, maple syrup, and apple.  Mix well.
Form into small balls and place in a single layer on lightly greased baking pans.
Bake at 375° 12-14 minutes or until done (160°)

 If that wasn't enough,
I made more baguettes.
For a ridiculously easy baguette recipe,
click on the link.

It's finally Turkey Day!
 I skewered some pineapple slices and maraschino cherries
and studded cloves in my ham.
I cooked it to an internal temp of 165°.
And I made a glaze of butter, brown sugar,
cherry juice, and pineapple juice.

Since I had leftover pineapple,
I decided to make Maxine's Pineapple and Cheddar Casserole.
Here are the leftovers.
That's a tiny container.
Maxine's Pineapple Casserole

Maxine's Pineapple Casserole 
1 16 ounce cans pineapple chunks, drained
 3 TB flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
1/2 stick butter, melted
1/2 package Ritz crackers, crushed
(Don't crush to uniform crumbs.
Leave different sized crumbs - large/medium/small.)
 Put pineapple in 9 inch square baking dish.
 Mix sugar and flour.
 Sprinkle evenly over pineapple.
  Layer cheese, then crushed crackers over top.
  Pour melted butter over dish.
Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.
I also made a Swiss Corn Casserole.
Here are the leftovers.
Again, tiny container.
Swiss Corn Casserole
2 eggs
1 can creamed corn
1/2 cup cream
1 cup grated Swiss cheese
1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 cup crackers, crumbled
4 TB melted butter

Beat the eggs.  Add in the creamed corn and chopped onions.  Mix well.
Stir in the cheese and pour into a 9-inch square buttered casserole dish.
Crumble crackers into melted butter and sprinkle mixture evenly over top of casserole.
Bake 350° for 45 minutes.

 I had a little bit for breakfast this morning.
Corn on left.
Pineapple on right.

Next up is my giblet and mushroom turkey gravy ...
 Here are the turkey drippings.
I refrigerated them
so I could scrape off the fat on top
and use the rich, condensed, congealed broth underneath.

 Added a little flour to the shrooms and bits and parts.
 Cooked it for two minutes.

 Plop in the turkey broth/aspic.
Whisk and you got gravy, baby.

Rosie soldiers on.
 Cooking potatoes for mashed in the background.
In foreground, steamed al dente green beans on right and
bacon, onions, halved Brussels sprouts, and walnuts on left.
I was going to put cranberries in this,
but I couldn't find them.
 I bought them,
but can't find them for the life of me.
Can't wait to eventually see where I stashed them!

I put all my Thanksgiving dishes on the counter.

Let's see...
I had...
Mashed Potatoes
Giblet/Mushroom Gravy
Potato Salad 
(Hah!  I snuck that one in right under the wire!)
Sweet Potato Casserole
Julia's Gâteau of Crêpes
Swiss Corn Casserole
Pineapple Casserole
Brussels Sprouts, Green Beans, Bacon, and Walnuts
Potato Rolls
Sausage Cheddar Balls
Apple Pie
Pumpkin Pie
And everything was covered in foil.

I was getting ready to shoot the picture of the spread,
but stupidly decided to go "freshen up."
Mere minutes later, when I returned,
the circling vultures had landed.
It was all gone.
My Southern Living Cover Picture for Thanksgiving Bounty
had been desecrated.

 So here's my plate.

NOW for the BEST PART.
You have seen all those dishes I've done for Thanksgiving.
But you haven't seen that Tom Turkey, have you?
So where is our turkey? 

I've done everything.
Freakin' everything.
 Except the turkey.

Mr. Hawthorne, being Mr. Hawthorne,
said he would cook the bird.

OK, I said.
Go for it.

That said,
I brined the turkey Sunday through Thursday,
then rinsed it off and trussed it.
Put it in the pan.
Called in Mr. Hawthorne
 1 1/2 hours after he'd preheated the oven 
to come in and cook the turkey.
It's 12 noon.
He finally comes in.
Oils the bird and puts on s&p.
Sticks it in the oven and leaves.
Nap time.

No timer.
No nothing.

About an hour later,
he comes back,
checks the turkey,
says, "Hmmm,"
and tents the bird.

This is not a good sign.

I intervened at this point.
I came in and stuck in the thermometer probe.
When the probe hit 165°,
I went to tell Mr. Hawthorne the turkey was ready.
No response.
 I took the tented turkey out.

Mr. Hawthorne, where ARE you?

Now, the man had ONE thing to do.
And this is what he does:
 Blackened turkey.
At least the thermometer was in there
so I could pull the bird out in time.
Just blackened skin.
Not to worry.
But sheesh.
He had ONE THING to do.

Happy Thanksgiving, all!

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