If I had to pick a favorite holiday, it would be Thanksgiving, and for 2 simple reasons:
the food and the fact that no gift-giving is involved. Family, tradition, gratitude, celebration ... yeahyeahyeah-it's all good, but give me the food. I'm happiest in the kitchen anyway, so I consider Thanksgiving as MY holiday.
Today I'll be sharing two pie recipes you might consider for your Thanksgiving table - a pumpkin pie and a pecan pie.
I've included one of my favorite pie dough recipes, but if you don't want to make your own pie dough, I recommend the refrigerated roll-up doughs that come two to a box, not the frozen pie doughs in the tins, which are smaller and tend to crack.
Makes 3 pies.
4 cups flour
1 tsp kosher salt
1 TB sugar
1 ½ cups chilled Crisco, cubed
1 TB white distilled vinegar
½ cup cold water
Stir flour, salt, and sugar to combine. Cut in Crisco with a pastry
blender or by hand until you have coarse crumbs.
Add in egg, vinegar,
and water and quickly form into a dough.
Flatten into a disk, cover with
plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
My usual mantra is, “fresh is best,” but in the case of pumpkin pie,
I’ll go with canned pumpkin purée any day. It’s consistent. Making
homemade pumpkin purée isn’t worth the effort. You must cut, clean,
seed, and roast the pumpkin, then you purée it, cook it down, and you
must strain it to remove stringy fibers. Even then, you won’t get a
texture as smooth as canned. When you buy canned pumpkin, be sure to buy
100 percent puréed pumpkin, not “pumpkin pie filling,” which has
already been spiced.
As for your spices, fresh is best here. Use freshly grated nutmeg and
ginger root to put in bright flavors and take this pie over the top.
I have found that the cooking and stirring of the pie ingredients on
the stove top produces bolder, more assertive flavors and that the
blending of the ingredients results in a smoother, less grainy custard.
1 9-inch pie crust
1 15-ounce can pumpkin purée
¾ cup packed light brown sugar
¾ tsp cinnamon
1 ½ tsp grated fresh ginger
¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
¼ tsp kosher salt
3 large eggs
1 egg yolk
1 ¼ cups heavy cream
Heat oven to 375°.
Arrange the pie dough in a 9-inch pan. Crimp the edges. Place a sheet
of parchment paper inside the pie crust. Fill it with dry beans. Bake
for 15 minutes. Set aside to cool. Reduce oven temperature to 350°.
While the crust bakes, mix the purée, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger,
nutmeg, and salt in a small saucepan.
Cook over medium low heat,
stirring often, for 8 minutes.
Transfer pumpkin mixture to blender and purée about 15 seconds.
Add the eggs and yolk, one at a time, processing after each
With the processor or blender running, slowly pour in the
cream and mix well.
Discard the beans and parchment from the crust and pour in the
Bake about 1 hour, covering the edges if necessary to prevent
over-browning, until center is set.
Cool completely on a rack before
For the leaves, cut dough out with a leaf cutter, place on baking
sheet, sprinkle turbinado sugar over top, and bake until golden brown.
Cool leaves on a rack, then arrange on top of pie.
Serve pumpkin pie with a dollop of whipped cream.
I don’t remember where this recipe for Pecan Pie came from, but it’s been in my dessert binder for 40 years. It’s that good.
1 9-inch unbaked pie crust
1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
3 eggs, beaten
⅓ cup unsalted butter, melted
½ tsp kosher salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 big heaping cup of pecan halves
Heat oven to 350°.
Combine corn syrup, sugar, eggs, butter, salt, and vanilla. Mix well.
Pour into unbaked pie crust and sprinkle with pecan halves or be very
OC and individually place each pecan half just riiiiight.
Bake about 1 hour 15-20 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.
Tent after the first 30 minutes so the edges and pecans don’t brown too
I like to serve this warm with a scoop of ice cream.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. Enjoy the bounty and take time to count your blessings.
so be ready for lots of oyster preparations coming your way.
A cold front is moving through,
the wind is gusting,
it's starting to rain,
and we're under a tornado alert.
It's the perfect time to make oyster stew.
I'm writing down the recipe
as I make it up.
Rosie's mind can be a scary place at times.
I wrote down lettuce when I meant celery.
In my defense, I do know the difference,
but both words have a "c" in them,
so you can easily see how I could make that mistake.
Let me straighten this up a bit for you.
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1 celery stalk, diced
1 potato, diced
1 shallot, minced
1/2 cup dried shiitake mushrooms
1 TB unsalted butter
1 TB oil
1 TB unsalted butter
2 TB flour
1 cup seafood stock
1/2 cup cream
1/2 cup skim
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 cups freshly shucked oysters with likker
1 TB sherry
Pour boiling water over the shiitake mushrooms,
cover, and let sit for 15-20 minutes.
Heat the butter and oil over medium heat.
When the butter is foamy,
reduce heat a bit and add in
prepared carrot, celery, potato, and shallot.
Sauté about 5 minutes,
then add in a TB of butter and 2 TB flour.
Cook the flour about a minute or two.
Add in the stock, slowly,
stirring to scrape up the goody bits from the bottom of the pan.
Keep stirring until thickened.
Add in cream and milk.
Taste test and season with salt and pepper.
Drain and chop the mushrooms and add to the pot.
I happened to have a cup of steamed oysters
and 1/2 cup freshly shucked oysters and likker.
I threw in the fresh oysters in first for a minute or so,
then I threw in the steamed oysters.
It needed the soupçon of sherry.
Serve with oyster crackers.
Velvety smooth, oystery goodness.
Oyster in every spoonful
and, if you're lucky,
you'll get the occasional little crab.
These are called crab slough oysters.
They contain tiny crabs which are not babies,
but fully-grown adult "oyster crabs."
These soft shell crabs use the oysters' shells for protection
and they feed by stealing the oysters' food.
Now, for the step-by-steps.
Potato, celery, carrot, shallot.
Dice and mince.
I had dried shiitake mushrooms
and dried black button mushrooms.
I poured boiling water over the mushrooms,
covered, and let it sit while I started on the soup.
I sautéed the potato, carrot, celery, and shallot
in butter and oil.
Add in the flour and cook stirring.
Slowly stir in seafood stock,
scraping up bottom bits,
Milk and cream in.
Keep just under a simmer
until potatoes are fork tender.
Squeeze moisture out of re-hydrated mushrooms and finely chop.
Add to soup.
I had some steamed oysters
from yesterday's afternoon snack.
But you could use all freshly shucked.
Look at all the little crabbies!
Mr. Hawthorne shucked a few extras.
Always save the erster likker.
Look at this little crab.
He's waving at me!
Ersters in. Heat through.
Season with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.
Then swirl in that sherry.
I'm fond of what I call, "pockets of flavor."
I like a little extra ground pepper on mine.
You know what?
You could put some shredded iceberg lettuce on this
and it would really kick it up a notch.
I told you.
Rosie's mind is a scary place.
Toss in some oyster crackers.
Perfect for this weather.
We didn't eat all of this the first day.
Mr. H. just had this the second day.
"I don't know how, but this is even better the next day."
Our second course, paired with a 2013 Bodega Gratia Sauvignon Blanc,
was Cornish hen Ballontine stuffed with lamb and spinach,
and served on an inspired bed of quinoa and apple salad
spiked with raisins.
Unfortunately, I have no picture of this delectable dish.
No light at my table and Rosie never does flash,
unless it's outside fill-in.
And The Saltbox didn't have pictures either.
I'll just have to recreate this myself
and shoot pictures.
Photo courtesy Saltbox Café.
2011 Bedega Gratia Malbec with grilled local tuna,
crisp plantains, papas verde, and salsa cruda.
Not a lot of seafood holds up well to red wine,
but this grilled tuna was a perfect pairing.
The tuna was served on a potato purée
with chilies, tomato, and cilantro.
Rosie loves her some grilled tuna!
Photo courtesy Saltbox Café.
Like I said, I love the personal attention
shown to the Saltbox customers.
Chef Randolph stopped by our table to chat
and I gave him a note for Amanda.
I was unable to shoot pics because of NO light
and she graciously invited me into the kitchen,
where all the magic happens,
for the next three courses
so I could shoot while they were plating.
Thanks, Amanda and Randolph!
Photo Courtesy Saltbox Café
I love Chef Sprinkle's intensity here.
Our fourth course was roasted veal tenderloin
with a delicious brown butter Hollandaise sauce
that I must replicate next time I make Eggs Hawthorne.
This was paired with a 2012 Bodega GratiaCabernet Sauvignon.
I believe bonito flakes were involved somewhere in here.
Please explain about the bonito.
I have bonito flakes which I used to make dashi,
but I'd love to know other uses for it.
Micro greens and sweet, tender baby carrots
rounded this out quite nicely.
The wine was a 1010 Bodega Gratia Marchiori Malbec.
The dish was grass-fed beef,
New York strip,
with fried cassava root, corn porridge,
and a classic chimichurri sauce.
Color me happy!
Fabulous dessert served with
Susana Balbo Late Harvest Malbec.
Chocolate spiced cake with dulce de leche mousse,
sea salt caramel gelato, and dulce de leche sauce.
I tasted pumpkin!
I think I died and went to heaven after this.
Photo courtesy Saltbox Café.
Thanks, Chefs Sprinkles,
for a wonderfully delicious
and deliciously wonderful evening!
Not to worry, readers.
The Hawthornes do not drink and drive.
We enlisted the services of Middle Hawthorne
to deposit us and pick our sorry asses up.
Sprinkles, we'll be back December 4,
for the French inspired dinner.
We've been buying our tuna salad
from a certain seafood establishment for years.
(Rhymes with Silly's Seafood.)
It's simply the best.
It started out at $6.95/pound.
Now it's gone up to $9.95/pound
and Mr. Hawthorne refuses to buy it.
So he makes his own and it is excellent.
Mr. Hawthorne's Tuna Salad
3/4 lb. tuna filet
1/4 cup sweet relish
1/2 stick celery, minced
1/3 cup mayonnaise
Cut the tuna into small chunks - about 1-inch cubes
and drop into boiling, salted water.
Cook about two minutes, until tuna flakes,
or until water comes back to a boil.
Drain tuna and cool quickly under cold running water.