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Category: holidays

  1. Thursday, November 16

    ATTENTION! ONLY ONE WEEK UNTIL THANKSGIVING!

    I love it when Thanksgiving is a little early because then there’s more time in between Thanksgiving and Christmas but HOLY CRAP HOW IS IT ONLY ONE WEEK UNTIL THANKSGIVING?

    Just letting you know I’ve tagged all of my Thanksgiving goodness on the blog. Simply click HERE to scroll through it all. You’ll find all kinds of goodness, including from-scratch green bean casserole that is to die for, cranberry slush, SERIOUSLY THE BEST WAY TO COOK TURKEY EVER and so much more. (Did I mention the turkey? Oh, yeah, okay, I did, but really, check out my turkey roasting technique.)

    Happy Thanksgiving prepping!


  2. Monday, November 21

    Easy Turkey Pudding Craft Perfect for Thanksgiving

    Before we take off on our Thanksgiving travels, I have to share this super cute, crazy easy Thanksgiving kids craft with you. Owen brought it home from school. It’s so simple and so cute (and so delicious…I love Hunt’s Pudding Snack Packs for some reason!) even I would do this craft with my kids. That is really saying something. I’m like the anti-craft mom.

    Simple and Easy Turkey Pudding Craft Perfect for Thanksgiving!

    Materials:

    • Chocolate Pudding Snack Pack
    • Small Googly Eyes
    • Construction paper, cut into feather shapes and small orange triangles for the nose

    Simple and Easy Turkey Pudding Craft Perfect for Thanksgiving!

    How To Make the Turkey Pudding Craft:

    • Flip the pudding snack pack upside down.
    • Using either a hot glue gun or scotch tape, attach the eyes, nose and tail feathers.
    • All done!

    You could even have the kids make these and then put them on the table at each place setting for decoration. It will keep them busy while the grown-ups are cooking and make them feel like they’ve contributed.

    I never thought I would say this on the blog…but…Happy Crafting!


  3. Sunday, November 20

    Week 513 Menu, THANKSGIVING and ‘Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life’ is Almost Here!

    Happy Thanksgiving Week! I’m going old-school-This-Week-for-Dinner and doing a weekly menu post filled with all kinds of stuff. Here we go!

    THIS WEEK’S MENU

    We were originally going to be hosting Thanksgiving here at our home, but plans have changed and now we’re driving to Utah to be with family there. Which means I don’t need to plan a menu for this week because we’ll be traveling. But if YOU have a menu planned for this week, please share it in the comments!

    classic pumpkin pie with homemade pie crust at @janemaynard

    THANKSGIVING!

    This November I’ve been feeling a lot of gratitude. Things have also been a little quiet here on the blog, on my podcast and on my social media channels. You see, two weeks ago I was in a car accident. I’m not going to get into details for now, and I am recovering very well. That said, the accident was scary and unexpected. In the end, though, it could have been so much worse and, from the moment the car came to a stop and I knew I was okay, I felt nothing but gratitude throughout the entire experience. That gratitude carried me through. And now, entering the busiest time of year, I’ve not only been forced to slow down, but I’ve also thought a lot about just how lucky and blessed I am. Instead of feeling frustrated by not being able to do more this November I’m just taking it in stride and letting it be a positive experience. Here’s to a holiday season that is less about the busy and more about the gratitude and love.

    That is why I haven’t been posting much or sharing any new recipes for Thanksgiving. But that’s okay, I’ve got tons of great Thanksgiving content on the blog already. If you’re looking for assistance for the big feast this week, I have some links you need to peruse!

    If you have your Thanksgiving feast planned, please share that in the comments! Links to recipes always welcome!

    We can't wait to bingewatch "Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life" on Netflix this Thanksgiving weekend! Woohoo!

    GILMORE GIRLS IS ALMOST HERE!

    Forget the accident, I think the new Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life episodes airing on Netflix the day after Thanksgiving is why I am feeling truly grateful this year. Just kidding! (Mostly.)

    Netflix sent me an adorable package filled with goodies to help us enjoy the new episodes. I’m still not sure if I’m going to bingewatch or spread out the new episodes, but the mailer got me and my girls watching old episodes together this weekend and it’s been so much fun. Nate is still flummoxed by the fact I can watch Gilmore Girls over and over and over again. (To be honest, I’m a little flummoxed by it myself.) Psst…I have an inside source who has already seen the new episodes. This little birdie didn’t give me any details (it’s a good birdie) but she did say that the new episodes are SO GOOD. Are you as excited as I am?!?!?! WOOHOO!!!!

    And with that I am DONE. I kind of love today’s post. I don’t have to plan a weekly menu (I know, ironic). THANKSGIVING! And GIMORE GIRLS! As I mentioned before, if you have a weekly menu and/or Thanksgiving plan to share in the comments, please do. And, of course, any and all discussion of the Gilmore Girls is welcome! Happy Thanksgiving Week!


  4. Thursday, December 10

    Time for Pumpkin Pie

    Today is the last pie recipe of the week. And it’s a classic: pumpkin pie.

    classic pumpkin pie with homemade pie crust at @janemaynard

    Every time I make pumpkin pie, I can never remember how I made it the last time. Was it the recipe on the a pumpkin puree can? From a cookbook? From a website? I do know that I once used a pumpkin pie recipe I saw on the America’s Test Kitchen TV show and it came out beautifully – the pie didn’t even crack! But that recipe is a little involved (it’s very similar to the one in the Cook’s Illustrated cookbook), so I rarely feel like tackling it. When I try other recipes, well, I never keep track of which one I’ve tried. So, this year, I paid attention. I made notes. And I’m putting what I did in this blog post…I’ll never have to dig around again!

    classic pumpkin pie with homemade pie crust at @janemaynard

    This pumpkin pie recipe is very straightforward. Nothing crazy, just subtly-spiced, wonderful, creamy pumpkin pie. This recipe is originally from The America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook. This ATK recipe is a bit simpler than the one I tried a few years ago, but has nearly identical technique. This year’s pie did crack, but we decided that we don’t care if our pumpkin pie cracks. The cracks give it character!

    classic pumpkin pie with homemade pie crust at @janemaynard

    There are a few aspects to the technique of this recipe that make the pie come out nicely (thanks, America’s Test Kitchen!). First, the pumpkin gets mixed in the food processor, to eliminate any fibers and make the filling smoother. Second, you cook the pumpkin, spices and sugar on the stovetop. The America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook says this improves flavor, but the Cook’s Illustrated recipe also says that it helps you get the right amount of moisture in the pie filling. Lastly, the filling is warm when it is added to the warm crust, which helps with the overall texture of the pie custard and the crust.

    classic pumpkin pie with homemade pie crust at @janemaynard

    So, here you go! The pumpkin pie recipe I will use from here on out!

    Pumpkin Pie
     
    Adapted from The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook - I cut way back on the amount of spices in this recipe, but the rest of the recipe is pretty much the same. I use a different crust recipe than they do and I rewrote some of the instructions to reflect exactly what I did.
    Ingredients
    • 1 single pie crust (see recipe below)
    • 1 15-ounce can pumpkin puree
    • 1 cup packed brown sugar
    • ½ teaspoon ginger
    • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
    • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
    • ½ teaspoon salt
    • ⅔ cup heavy cream
    • ⅔ cup whole milk
    • 4 large eggs
    Instructions
    1. Once your pie crust is rolled out and in a 9.75-inch pie dish, freeze for 30 minutes.
    2. Preheat oven to 375º F. Remove pie crust from freezer and line the pie crust with a double layer of non-stick aluminum foil (non-stick side down), covering the edges.
    3. Fill the pie crust with beans (about 1½ pounds), pennies, or pie weights. Bake for 25 minutes.
    4. While the pie crust is doing the blind bake, make the pumpkin filling. You want to fill the crust with the pumpkin filling while the crust is hot from the blind bake, so it's important to make the pumpkin filling while the crust is baking. Process the pumpkin, brown sugar, spices and salt in a food processor for about 1 minute.
    5. Transfer the pumpkin mixture to a medium pot and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. (Leave the processor as is...you're going to use it again in a few minutes, no need to clean!) Stir constantly to avoid the pumpkin bubbling and exploding all over your stove. Cook for about 5 minutes, until thick and shiny. Whisk in the milk and cream, bring mixture back to a simmer, then remove from heat.
    6. Place the eggs in the food processor and process until uniform, about 5 seconds. With the machine running, slowly add about half of the hot pumpkin mixture through the feed tube. Stop the machine, add the rest of the pumpkin and process again for about 30 more seconds until everything is uniform.
    7. The timing should work so that the pumpkin filling is done and warm when the pie crust is done blind baking. When you remove the partially-baked crust from the oven, turn the temperature up to 400º F and remove the pie weights you used and the foil. Immediately pour the warm pumpkin filling into the hot partially baked crust. If you have extra filling, ladel it into the crust 5 minutes into the baking time.
    8. Bake the pie until the filling is puffed and lightly cracked around the edges and the center wiggles slightly when jiggled, about 25 minutes. Cool pie on a wire rack and serve warm or at room temperature. Store leftover pie in the refrigerator, wrapped, up to 2 days.

    homemade pie crust recipe by kate lebo
    All-Butter Crust
     
    From "Pie School: Lessons in Fruit, Flour and Butter" by Kate Lebo. Reprinted with permission.
    Author:
    Ingredients
    • 2 ½ cups flour
    • 1 tablespoon sugar
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 cup (2 sticks) well-chilled unsalted butter
    Instructions
    1. Fill a spouted liquid measuring cup with about 1½ cups of water, plop in some ice cubes, and place it in the freezer while you prepare the next steps of the recipe. The idea is to have more water than you need for the recipe (which will probably use ½ cup or less) at a very cold temperature, not to actually freeze the water or use all 1½ cups in the dough.
    2. In a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar, and salt. Cut ½- to 1-tablespoon pieces of butter and drop them into the flour. Toss the fat with the flour to evenly distribute it.
    3. Position your hands palms up, fingers loosely curled. Scoop up flour and fat and rub it between your thumb and fingers, letting it fall back into the bowl after rubbing. Do this, reaching into the bottom and around the sides to incorporate all the flour into the fat, until the mixture is slightly yellow, slightly damp. It should be chunky—mostly pea-size with some almond- and cherry-size pieces. The smaller bits should resemble coarse cornmeal.
    4. Take the water out of the freezer. Pour it in a steady thin stream around the bowl for about 5 seconds. Toss to distribute the moisture. You’ll probably need to pour a little more water on and toss again. As you toss and the dough gets close to perfection, it will become a bit shaggy and slightly tacky to the touch. Press a small bit of the mixture together and toss it gently in the air. If it breaks apart when you catch it, add more water, toss to distribute the moisture, and test again. If the dough ball keeps its shape, it’s done. (When all is said and done, you’ll have added about ⅓ to ½ cup water.)
    5. With firm, brief pressure, gather the dough in 2 roughly equal balls (if one is larger, use that for the bottom crust). Quickly form the dough into thick disks using your palms and thumbs. Wrap the disks individually in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for an hour to 3 days before rolling.
    6. Click here to read my (as in Jane's) instructions and photos for rolling out the pie crust.

    Click here to see my instructions and photos for rolling out pie crust.


  5. Wednesday, December 9

    Chocolate Chip Pie, a.k.a. Butter Pie with Some Chocolate Thrown in for Good Measure

    When I was growing up, my mom would often make Nestle Toll House chocolate chip pie for the holidays. I loved that pie. It was gooey and buttery and right up my chocolate-lined alley. Since I’ve been an adult, however, I think I’ve only made this pie once, and it was many many years ago.

    chocolate chip pie from @janemaynard

    This Thanksgiving I decided to resurrect the chocolate chip pie. I made one for Thanksgiving. It was delicious, although the proportions weren’t right for a standard-sized pie dish. In the name of good pie, I made another one to get the recipe just right. You’re welcome.

    chocolate chip pie from @janemaynardchocolate chip pie from @janemaynard

    A few quick notes before we get to the recipe:

    • This pie is buttery. As in it has a ton of butter. You can see and taste that butter in the finished pie and it is a good, good thing. But, I thought I should warn you that my nickname for this is “Butter Pie.”
    • Chocolate chip pie is much better served warm. When you are eating leftovers, heat up your slice for 12-15 seconds in the microwave and it should be perfect.
    • Even though this pie has eggs, I store it covered at room temperature. The crust stays much flakier that way and I figure the pie is like a giant cookie and cookies are fine at room temperature. So far I’ve never had a problem. (The original Toll House recipe has no instructions about storage.)
    • You can click here for the original Toll House recipe, which is for a 9-inch 4-cup volume pie crust, which is smaller than a homemade crust made in a 9.75-inch pie dish. The original version cooks faster than my version below. You can use the original recipe in the larger homemade crust, but the filling will only fill up the crust about halfway, although it cooks much faster.

    chocolate chip pie from @janemaynardchocolate chip pie from @janemaynard

    Chocolate Chip Pie
     
    Adapted from a Nestle Toll House recipe. My proportions below are for a larger 9.75-inch homemade crust, the Toll House recipe is for a smaller 9-inch pie crust.
    Author:
    Ingredients
    • 1 unbaked 9.75-inch pie crust (standard pie dish size; see pie crust recipe below)
    • 4 large eggs
    • 1 cup all-purpose flour
    • 1 cup granulated sugar
    • 1 cup packed brown sugar
    • 1½ cup (3 sticks) butter, softened to room temperature
    • 1½ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
    • 1 cup chopped nuts (optional - I never add nuts)
    Instructions
    1. Preheat oven to 325º F.
    2. Freeze pie crust for 30 minutes before filling and baking.
    3. In a large mixer bowl, beat eggs on high until foamy and very light in color. Beat in flour and both sugars. Beat in butter and mix on medium-high until fully combined.
    4. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts (if using).
    5. Spread batter in pie crust. (Please note: this recipe is for a 9.75-inch standard pie dish. If you are using a store-bought crust say from the freezer section, the crust may be smaller. If this is the case, fill the crust near the top, but if you have extra batter, just leave it out.)
    6. Bake for 60-90 minutes (if you use a smaller 9-inch crust and leave out the extra batter, it will be about 60 minutes, if you use a deep-dish, larger pie crust, it will take more like 90 minutes). When you nudge the pie dish in the oven, the middle should still jiggle just a little bit. If the top and crust are getting too brown, lightly cover with foil while the pie finishes baking.
    7. Cool on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes before eating. Store at room temperature, covered, and warm leftover slices in the microwave for 12-15 seconds.
    Notes
    Whipped cream or ice cream go great with this pie!

    homemade pie crust recipe by kate lebo
    All-Butter Crust
     
    From "Pie School: Lessons in Fruit, Flour and Butter" by Kate Lebo. Reprinted with permission.
    Author:
    Ingredients
    • 2½ cups flour
    • 1 tablespoon sugar
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 cup (2 sticks) well-chilled unsalted butter
    Instructions
    1. Fill a spouted liquid measuring cup with about 1½ cups of water, plop in some ice cubes, and place it in the freezer while you prepare the next steps of the recipe. The idea is to have more water than you need for the recipe (which will probably use ½ cup or less) at a very cold temperature, not to actually freeze the water or use all 1½ cups in the dough.
    2. In a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar, and salt. Cut ½- to 1-tablespoon pieces of butter and drop them into the flour. Toss the fat with the flour to evenly distribute it.
    3. Position your hands palms up, fingers loosely curled. Scoop up flour and fat and rub it between your thumb and fingers, letting it fall back into the bowl after rubbing. Do this, reaching into the bottom and around the sides to incorporate all the flour into the fat, until the mixture is slightly yellow, slightly damp. It should be chunky—mostly pea-size with some almond- and cherry-size pieces. The smaller bits should resemble coarse cornmeal.
    4. Take the water out of the freezer. Pour it in a steady thin stream around the bowl for about 5 seconds. Toss to distribute the moisture. You’ll probably need to pour a little more water on and toss again. As you toss and the dough gets close to perfection, it will become a bit shaggy and slightly tacky to the touch. Press a small bit of the mixture together and toss it gently in the air. If it breaks apart when you catch it, add more water, toss to distribute the moisture, and test again. If the dough ball keeps its shape, it’s done. (When all is said and done, you’ll have added about ⅓ to ½ cup water.)
    5. With firm, brief pressure, gather the dough in 2 roughly equal balls (if one is larger, use that for the bottom crust). Quickly form the dough into thick disks using your palms and thumbs. Wrap the disks individually in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for an hour to 3 days before rolling.
    6. Click here to read my (as in Jane's) instructions and photos for rolling out the pie crust.

    Click here to see my instructions and photos for rolling out pie crust.


  6. Tuesday, December 8

    Crumble Apple Pie with Homemade All-Butter Crust and Two Streusel Topping Options

    I’m suddenly obsessed with making pies. I’ve made SIX in two weeks. My podcast chat with pie expert Kate Lebo really had an influence on my behavior apparently! Since I’ve got pie on the brain, this week I’m going to share the recipes for the three pies I made for Thanksgiving. They were all mighty good, so it’s only right I do some blog posts. Also, I don’t want to forget what I did so I can make them again myself. So, in the end, I guess I’m just being selfish. But at least you benefit, right? Today I’m kicking things off with Crumble Apple Pie.

    crumble apple pie with homemade pie crust and two streusel topping options by @janemaynardPictured here: Streusel Topping #2

    Traditional apple pie with a double crust is good and all, but I really love crumble apple pies, you know the kind, with a crumbly streusel topping. Flaky crust on the bottom, buttery crunchy yumminess on top. The combo can’t be beat.

    crumble apple pie with homemade pie crust and two streusel topping options by @janemaynard

    crumble apple pie with homemade pie crust and two streusel topping options by @janemaynardPictured here: Streusel Topping #1

    I have made two crumble apple pies in the last two weeks, with two different streusel toppings. Honestly, our family can’t decide which we like better, so I’m going to give you both streusel recipes!

    crumble apple pie with homemade pie crust and two streusel topping options by @janemaynard

    A note about the apples: I discovered the best way ever to slice apples for pie. Peel the apple, then cut off the opposite sides of the apple, getting as close to the core as possible, then cut off the last two opposite sides, so you’ll end up with 2 large half-apple pieces, and 2 smaller wedges. Turn those pieces on their flat side, then cut the apples into perfect, even-width apple slices. Slicing the apples went so quickly this way and it was a cinch getting the apple slices the same size as each other.

    How thick should the apples be? The thicker the slides the more bites of cooked apple pieces there will be in the pie. If you make the slices thinner, then there will be less apple chunks and the apples all kind of cook together into a delicious mess. I like thinner, personally, but I know other people love big chunks of apple. Do whatever makes your apple-pie-loving heart happy.

    Without further ado, Crumble Apple Pie with two streusel topping options. Oh, if you haven’t made homemade pie crust, do it! It’s the best and really not hard…promise.

    Crumble Apple Pie
     
    Adapted from Mark Bittman's "How to Cook Everything"
    Author:
    Ingredients
    • ¼ cup brown sugar
    • ¼ cup white sugar
    • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
    • 2 pinches salt
    • 8 granny smith apples, sliced
    • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
    • 1 pie crust (see recipe below)
    • Streusel Topping (see recipes below)
    Instructions
    1. Place 1 pie crust in a 9.75-inch pie plate. Trim and crimp the edges. Freeze pie crust for 30 minutes. (Please note: Kate's crust recipe is for a 9-inch pie plate, but it works for my 9.75-inch pie plates as well - the crust is thin, but not too thin and tastes great.)
    2. Preheat oven to 450º F.
    3. While crust is in the freezer and the oven is preheating, toss together brown sugar, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and cornstarch.
    4. Peel the apples. To slice, for each apple cut off the opposite sides of the apple, getting as close to the core as possible, then cut off the last two opposite sides, so you'll end up with 2 large half-apple pieces, and 2 smaller wedges. Turn those pieces on their flat side, then cut the apples into even slices. The thicker the slices, the more apple chunks there will be in the pie. (I like to go thin, it's a personal preference.)
    5. Toss the apples in the sugar mixture. Pile the apples into the pie plate, making the pile taller in the middle.
    6. Evenly spread the streusel topping over the top of the pie, packing it down and around the apples.
    7. Place the pie on a cookie sheet. Put in oven and bake for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350ºF and bake for about an additional hour, starting to check the pie around 40 minutes for doneness. Keep an eye on the streusel topping – if it starts to get too brown while baking, cover with foil, though this will probably not be a problem. Pie is done when a knife very easily pierces the pie. Do not undercook.
    8. Cool on a rack before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature.
    9. Can be stored, covered, at room temperature for 1-2 days. If you need to store it longer, refrigerate.
    10. You can also freeze the pie. Freeze fully cooked, uncut pies for up to 3 months. Let pie cool completely, wrap well, then freeze. Defrost in the refrigerator then reheat in a 350º oven for about 25 minutes until just warmed.

    crumble apple pie with homemade pie crust and two streusel topping options by @janemaynardPictured here: Streusel Topping #1

    Streusel Topping #1 for Crumb Apple Pie
     
    From Epicurious. This streusel topping is lighter and has more of a sandy texture. Describing it as "sandy" makes it sound not good, but that could not be more untrue. It's delicious!
    Author:
    Ingredients
    • 1 cup all purpose flour
    • ½ cup sugar
    • ¼ cup (packed) golden brown sugar
    • 1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
    • ½ teaspoon salt
    • 6 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes (Jane note: next time I'm going to try 8 tablespoons of butter just because I'm curious!)
    Instructions
    1. Combine all ingredients except butter in a large bowl. Add butter and blend together by hand with a pastry blender or fork until mixture resembles wet sand. Alternatively, add all ingredients to a food processor except butter. Blend together. Add butter a few tablespoons at a time, pulsing the food processor, until mixture resembles wet sand.
    2. Top on an apple pie before baking (see recipe above).

    crumble apple pie with homemade pie crust and two streusel topping options by @janemaynardPictured here: Streusel Topping #2

    Streusel Topping #2 for Crumb Apple Pie
     
    Adapted from Mark Bittman's "How to Cook Everything." This streusel topping is a little heavier in texture than Streusel Topping #1 - it sort of "melts" more together, although melt is not really the right word. It's a bit butterier and not as crumbly. Equally delicious, just different!
    Author:
    Ingredients
    • 8 tablespoons cold salted butter, cubed
    • ½ cup brown sugar
    • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 2 pinches salt
    • ½ cup flour
    Instructions
    1. Mix all ingredients together with a pastry blender until evenly incorporated. Place on top of an apple pie (see recipe above).

    homemade pie crust recipe by kate lebo
    All-Butter Crust
     
    From "Pie School: Lessons in Fruit, Flour and Butter" by Kate Lebo. Reprinted with permission.
    Author:
    Ingredients
    • 2½ cups flour
    • 1 tablespoon sugar
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 cup (2 sticks) well-chilled unsalted butter
    Instructions
    1. Fill a spouted liquid measuring cup with about 1½ cups of water, plop in some ice cubes, and place it in the freezer while you prepare the next steps of the recipe. The idea is to have more water than you need for the recipe (which will probably use ½ cup or less) at a very cold temperature, not to actually freeze the water or use all 1½ cups in the dough.
    2. In a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar, and salt. Cut ½- to 1-tablespoon pieces of butter and drop them into the flour. Toss the fat with the flour to evenly distribute it.
    3. Position your hands palms up, fingers loosely curled. Scoop up flour and fat and rub it between your thumb and fingers, letting it fall back into the bowl after rubbing. Do this, reaching into the bottom and around the sides to incorporate all the flour into the fat, until the mixture is slightly yellow, slightly damp. It should be chunky—mostly pea-size with some almond- and cherry-size pieces. The smaller bits should resemble coarse cornmeal.
    4. Take the water out of the freezer. Pour it in a steady thin stream around the bowl for about 5 seconds. Toss to distribute the moisture. You’ll probably need to pour a little more water on and toss again. As you toss and the dough gets close to perfection, it will become a bit shaggy and slightly tacky to the touch. Press a small bit of the mixture together and toss it gently in the air. If it breaks apart when you catch it, add more water, toss to distribute the moisture, and test again. If the dough ball keeps its shape, it’s done. (When all is said and done, you’ll have added about ⅓ to ½ cup water.)
    5. With firm, brief pressure, gather the dough in 2 roughly equal balls (if one is larger, use that for the bottom crust). Quickly form the dough into thick disks using your palms and thumbs. Wrap the disks individually in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for an hour to 3 days before rolling.
    6. Click here to read my (as in Jane's) instructions and photos for rolling out the pie crust.

    Click here to see my instructions and photos for rolling out pie crust.


  7. Wednesday, December 2

    How to Cook the Perfect Turkey. And by perfect I mean PERFECT.

    I’m just gonna say it. I make the perfect turkey. After years of researching various methods and trying many of those methods, I finally have the definitive answer for how to cook the perfect turkey.

    how to perfectly roast a turkey by @janemaynard | spatchcock + dry brine + roast with mayoPhoto credit: Anne Wallin

    My mom and I have had so many Thanksgiving conversations over the years that go something like this. “Our white meat this year was delicious. I have no idea why!” Or,”Our white meat this year was just so-so. I have no idea why.”

    Those conversations are a thing of the past. From now on this is what I’ll be saying to my mom the day after Thanksgiving. “Our white meat and our dark meat and everything about our turkey was perfect this year and I know exactly why.”

    And I’m going to share the magic formula with all of you, of course. There are several steps to the process, each of which on their own would make for a good turkey. But combine them all together and you end up with a great turkey. Here’s the formula:

    SPATCHCOCK + DRY BRINE + SLATHERED IN MAYONNAISE + ROAST AT HIGH HEAT = PERFECT TURKEY

    I will never use another method. This is it. I’m done. Turkey perfected. And I’m going to explain the process in great detail so that, A) I know how to do it again, and B) you can do it, too.

    how to perfectly roast a turkey by @janemaynard | spatchcock + dry brine + roast with mayo

    BUY A FRESH, UNFROZEN TURKEY.

    Buy a fresh, unfrozen turkey so that you can spatchcock it easily. Buy the turkey 3 days before you’re going to cook it. So, if you’re cooking a turkey for Thanksgiving, buy the turkey Sunday night or Monday morning and prep that baby Monday morning. (You can dry brine for just 1 or 2 days, but 3 is optimal, and this post is all about making the perfect turkey. So, go with 3 days.)

    HOW TO SPATCHCOCK A TURKEY:

    What is spatchcocking, you say? When you spatchcock a turkey, you cut out the backbone and then roast the turkey flat. It looks crazy, but the bird cooks faster and more evenly. The dark meat portions are more exposed to heat, so they finish cooking not long after the breast meat finishes cooking. “But I want to stuff my bird!” you may be thinking. Never fear, you can still “stuff” the turkey. I mean, it’s totally different, but you can do it and I’ll explain that in the roasting section below. But first, how to spatchcock.

    • Remove the neck and giblets from inside the turkey if they came with the bird. Place them in a large pot.
    • Place your raw, fresh turkey on a large cutting board, breast down. With large kitchen shears or scissors, cut out the back bone. This requires some serious hand strength. I was spatchcocking two turkeys, so I had to take a little break, my hand was starting to hurt. But, if I can do it, anyone can. (This post on Serious Eats has good pictures that show how to cut out the backbone. If you Google “how to spatchcock a turkey” there are tons of videos out there, too.) ALSO: I have had great success just asking the butcher at the grocery store to cut the backbone out for me. I highly recommend this method. 😉
    • Once the backbone is removed, hack it in two and throw it in the pot with the neck and giblets. Fill the pot with water, bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 45 minutes. Voila! AWESOME turkey stock for your gravy! You’re welcome. Note: You can add other aromatics to the broth while it cooks, such as onions, carrots, parsnips, celery, and herbs. Not necessary but certainly delicious!
    • Back to the turkey. Now, flip the turkey over and place it on a large rimmed cookie sheet. Press the turkey firmly on the breastbone to flatten it out. Use your muscles!

    Now it’s time to move on to the dry brine. Oh, how I love the dry brine.

    HOW TO DRY BRINE A TURKEY:

    Now that your turkey is all flattened out and ready to go, it’s time to dry brine. This is exactly what it sounds like. You are brining the turkey and there is no water involved. It’s way easier than a water-based brine (trust me) and the results are fantastic.

    • You need 1 tablespoon KOSHER salt for every 5 pounds of turkey. You can add 1/4 teaspoon of pepper and 1/2 teaspoon of dried herbs (like sage and/or thyme) per each tablespoon of salt, but it’s not necessary.
    • Evenly rub the salt all over the turkey. You do not need to go under the skin, right on top works just fine. And you do not need to put salt in the cavity of the turkey (which, at this point, is the underside). Once you’ve used up all the salt, lightly cover the turkey with plastic wrap, place in the fridge and walk away. You can leave the turkey uncovered while it dry brines, but since there is other stuff in my fridge, I like to have a little protection so nothing touches the turkey directly. Let the turkey brine in the fridge for 1-3 days (3 days is optimal).
    • That’s it! You have successfully brined your turkey!

    HOW TO ROAST THE SPATCHCOCKED, DRY BRINED TURKEY…DON’T FORGET THE MAYO!

    Now it’s time to roast the turkey. You ready? Let’s go!

    • Preheat the oven to 450º F.
    • Line a large rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil (optional but makes for easier clean up).
    • IF YOU WANT TO “STUFF” THE TURKEY: Place a layer of stuffing on the baking sheet, concentrating the stuffing at the center where it will be directly under the turkey. Place an oven-safe cooling rack on top of the stuffing, then lay the turkey on the rack.
    • Slather about 1 to 1 1/2 cups mayonnaise all over the turkey. You can add pepper and herbs to the mayonnaise if you like (I added about a teaspoon of dry sage and thyme, along with some black pepper, to the mayo).
    • Roast for about 45-60 minutes, take the turkey out of the oven, have one person lift the turkey straight up while the other person scoops the stuffing off of the pan. Replace with vegetables as described in the next step (the “non-stuffing” step). Mix the “stuffed” stuffing with the rest of your stuffing and bake as usual for your stuffing recipe.
    • IF YOU DON’T WANT TO “STUFF” THE TURKEY: Place roughly chopped celery, onion, carrots and parsnips on the foil of the baking sheet. Place an oven-safe cooling rack over the veggies then place the turkey on the rack. (If you “stuffed,” you’ll simply put the turkey back down.)
    • Slather about 1 to 1 1/2 cups mayonnaise all over the turkey. You can add pepper and herbs to the mayonnaise if you like (I added about a teaspoon of dry sage and thyme, along with some black pepper, to the mayo).
    • FOR BOTH “STUFFED” and “UNSTUFFED”: Roast the turkey with an oven-safe thermometer placed deep in the breast. When the breast reaches 150º F, move the thermometer to the deepest part of the thigh and cook the turkey until the thigh temperature reaches 165º F, which will take about another 20 minutes. Total cooking time will be around 2 hours for a 15 pound turkey. Note: if you are not using an oven safe thermometer that just beeps when the temperature is reached, check the temperature earlier than you think you have to. Our 2016 15-pound turkey was fully done at 1 1/2 hours.
    • Take turkey out of the oven and let it rest for about 30 minutes before carving.
    • The veggies in the pan are great for snacking while you make the rest of dinner, and be sure to add the pan drippings to your turkey broth for making gravy!

    CARVING THE TURKEY:

    When it was time to carve the turkey, I did something I’ve never done before: I cut the entire breast off at once, then cut slices on a bias (see photos on Serious Eats). I carved all the meat off the wings, things and drumsticks. The turkey serving platter with all the carved meat was gorgeous. Sadly I didn’t get a photo, but my sister Instagrammed the carving process, which is the photo at the top of this post, so you can at least get an idea of how awesome the turkey platter was!

    how to perfectly roast a turkey by @janemaynard | spatchcock + dry brine + roast with mayo

    When my sister Anne and I started carving the turkey and taking bites, we could not believe how good the meat was. The breast meat was moist and flavorful all the way to the center. It was heavenly. It was miraculous. Oh, and the skin was awesome. This was the best turkey I’ve ever cooked (actually, turkeyS…I made 2!), and it might even be the best turkey I’ve ever eaten. Period.

    PHEW. That’s it! I know it seems complicated and involved, but I promise it is not hard. You just have to follow the formula. And the formula is magical.

    Happy Turkeying!

    Please note: In the photos the turkey is not on sitting on a rack and there are no veggies below it. This is because I moved the turkey to a new tray to rest. I really did cook it on a tray over veggies!


  8. Monday, November 23

    This Week for Dinner Podcast #9: Kate Lebo

    This Week for Dinner Podcast Episode 9: Pie Expert and Writer Kate Lebo

    Thanksgiving is just days away, which probably means that many of you are on the cusp of baking a pie (or two…or three!). Lucky for us today’s podcast guest is a pie expert! I was actually planning to buy my pies at the store this year (GASP!), but after talking with today’s guest, I’ve decided to make my pies from scratch after all. So, who is this powerful enchantress who has bewitched me into making homemade pie crust? Kate Lebo is her name!

    Kate Lebo is a writer, teacher, and baker from the Pacific Northwest and the the author of two books about the folk art of pie making, Pie School: Lessons in Fruit, Flour, and Butter and A Commonplace Book of Pie. Kate’s essays and poems have appeared in Best American Essays 2015, Best New Poets 2011, New England Review, Willow Springs, and Gastronomica, and she writes the “Cooking the Books” column for the Spokesman-Review. Basically she is an awesome writer with an MFA from the University of Washington who also happens to be obsessed with making great pie and teaching others how to make great pie.

    My chat with Kate was delightful and informative. And, while today’s episode is certainly timely for Thanksgiving, our conversation is perfect for any time of year because pie is always a good thing.

    Shownotes:

    It’s easy to listen to the show!

    • Via the web: Just click play below!
    • Via an app: For iPhone and iPad, subscribe to the This Week for Dinner Podcast on iTunes and listen to it through the purple Podcasts app. For Android devices, use the Stitcher, Podcast Addict or Pocket Casts apps. In all cases, launch the app, then search for This Week for Dinner Podcast. The benefit of using an app: once downloaded, you can listen to the show without an Internet connection.

     Other Stuff!


  9. Tuesday, November 17

    Kitchen Tip: The Best Way To Cut Dough for Crescent Rolls

    There hasn’t been much Thanksgiving prep happening here on the blog because, honestly, there just isn’t much Thanksgiving prep happening in my kitchen! I AM cooking next week, and I haven’t done one thing yet to get ready. Honestly, I’m not stressed about it. I’m sticking with the old stand-bys this year, so I pretty much know what we’ll be eating. Just need to do some shopping this weekend. It’s all good. However, if you are actually planning ahead, you can click on my “Thanksgiving Prep” tag and see all kinds of posts related to Thanksgiving!

    kitchen tip: cutting crescent rolls with a pizza cutter from @janemaynard

    I do want to share a quick Kitchen Tip today related to Thanksgiving. It’s one of those tips that is kind of a “Duh” thing to share, but I didn’t figure it out until last year, so I imagine I’m not alone in having not done this before. Every year I make crescent rolls for Thanksgiving. And every year I use a sharp knife when cutting dough for crescent rolls. You know, once you’ve rolled out a circle and cut the circle into triangles. Well, last year, I was about to use the knife and then, for some reason, I thought of the pizza cutter. It worked beautifully. Also, what did I tell you? DUH. How had I never done this before?!

    Please note that it works best to cut from the outside edge towards the center. If you cut from the center, sometimes the tips of the triangles roll up as you roll the pizza cutter.

    kitchen tip: cutting crescent rolls with a pizza cutter from @janemaynard

    Life changer, guys. Well, when it comes to making crescent rolls at least. You’re welcome and happy crescent roll cutting!


  10. Friday, January 9

    Friday Show and Tell

    Happy Friday!

    5 shortbread recipes that are divine from @janemaynard

    First off, you HAVE to go read my post on Babble this week where I share 5 shortbread recipe variations. Every last one of the flavors was divine. In addition, I have two fun holiday posts on Babble that I never shared here on the blog, so here you go!

    Before I sign off, Nate and I have been watching The Walking Dead on Netflix and went to bed last night after watching episode 8 of season 4 and all I have to say is…why are we torturing ourselves with this show?!?!?!? Good GOLLY. It’s just so good, we can’t stop!

    Show and Tell means the whole class gets to share…show us what you’ve got this week!