Thursday, November 24, 2016

Thanksgiving Feast!

I know it's just me, but that doesn't stop me anyways.  A friend upon seeing my spread commented, "If I lived alone, I would probably just eat cereal."  Seriously?  If you don't love yourself a little more than that, how do you plan to love others?  It starts with being good to me...and it helps that I just love to cook!

Well, and it's also NOT just me.  My faithful canine companion, Roméo, is always nearby checking out the lay of the land and picking up cooking tips.  He's so observant that I swear, if he but had opposable thumbs, I wouldn't have to do the cooking any more!

The meal starts the night before with the making of the pie.  This year it was my own take on the classic Buttermilk Pie.  I make mine with pears!

Step one is to quarter a pear, a nice d'Anjou pear, core each quarter and then cut them into five wedges for a total of 20.  Blanch them for about two minutes in boiling water, remove and let cool.   Place your crust in the Pie Dish and then arrange the pear wedges in a fan!

 Add your filling contents:


1 Stick of Butter melted, but not hot
3 Eggs
1 Cup of Buttermilk
1 tsp of Vanilla extract
1 1/2 Cups organic Cane Sugar
3 Tbsp of organic (I prefer King Arthur brand) All Purpose Flour
Ground Nutmeg to sprinkle on top

And Bake @ 350˚ for 50 minutes or until set (the toothpick test!)
Just so you know, you'll be making this wonder often once you've experienced it magic!

Next, first thing in the morning, prepared the appetizer.  I did right after making a breakfast of Bacon, 2 Eggs sunny-side-up and Toast from a bakery purchased French County Loaf (as an aside, there is nothing more essential to life than bread, and I swear to god, I don't buy shitty bread!  You shouldn't either!  Find a bakery and buy the real deal or do without.  You have only got this one life, don't toss it away on industrial produced bread.)  This is important, because I used 3 slices of Bacon in the appetizer.

8 oz of Philadelphia Brand Cream Cheese
8 oz Sour Cream
1/2 Cup of Mayonnaise
1 pkg frozen chopped Spinach
1 little jar of marinated Artichoke quarters (chopped up without the liquid)
3 strips of Bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 Cup of finely grated Parmesan Cheese
Some additional grated fresh Parmesan Cheese on top before baking

Bake @ 325˚ for 30 minutes and then Broil for an addition 90 seconds or so to lightly brown the top. I served it with a couple of varieties of Potato Crackers (Spinach/Garlic and White Cheddar Cheese)

On to the main event!  The Menu for the Day:

1) Roasted Turkey Breast (compliments Snyder's Market in Silver Spring) with Gravy and Three-Leaf-Clover Roles.
2) Old-fashioned Green Bean Casserole with Bacon Ritz Cracker topping.
3) Maple Syrup glazed Carrots with fresh Ginger and Mandarine Oranges
4) Savory Bread Pudding with Kale and Wild Mushrooms (in place of a stuffing)
 The results in their full glory!

1 bunch Kale, roughly chopped
1 Tbsp extra virgin Olive Oil (to use in place of the Bacon Grease or to supplement it when cooking the Kale--see below)
½ pound Baby Portobello Mushrooms, sliced
1 tsp fresh Thyme leaves
1 Garlic clove, crushed then minced
Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper
A loaf of French Country Bread, cut into 1" cubes (I used about 80% of the loaf and gauged it off of the size of my baking dish)
1/2 Cup Gruyère cheese, grated 
1/4 Cup Parmesan cheese, grated
4 eggs

2 cups low-fat milk

I set the bread cubes out over night to dry out.  I also used the breakfast's bacon grease to sauté the sliced Mushrooms first, and then separately the chopped Kale along with the Garlic and some Kosher salt.  I combined the eggs, milk and Thyme from my garden in a blender.  Once the other ingredients were in the casserole dish, I poured the egg-milk mixture on it and let it sit for 30 minutes before baking it.  Cook @ 350˚ for 50 minutes.

3 large Carrots
2 Tbsp Butter
A healthy splash of Vermouth
1 root section of fresh Ginger (about 3 oz), peeled and sliced into little wedges
1 small can of Mandarin Oranges
Vermont Maple Syrup (the REAL DEAL)
Ground Cinnamon to garnish

You will first sauté the sliced carrots in the Butter and Vermouth.  Toss them and then cover them and let them cook for about 10 minutes on a medium heat or until they are shiny but not soft.  Next arrange them in a shallow baking dish with slivers of fresh Ginger and Mandarin Oranges.  Drizzle with generous amounts of Maple Syrup, add the remaining liquid from the sauté pan and some of the juice from the Mandarine Oranges--and then drizzle some more Maple Syrup on top.  Cover with Aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes @ 325˚  How handy it is to have a double oven at times like these!
 My finished plate!
And desert later in the day!

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