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  1. Thursday, November 15, 2012

    {Thanksgiving Prep} Cranberry Orange Slush

    Every year of my life I have had cranberry slush at Thanksgiving. It’s a tradition from my mom’s side of the family that we all faithfully stand by year after year, and with good reason. This stuff is delicious! Every year I put cranberry slush on my Thanksgiving menu, hoping some people reading will adopt it as one of their own holiday traditions. I think I’ve converted a few of you over the years!

    thanksgiving cranberry orange slush from @janemaynard at thisweekfordinner.com

    Cranberry slush is a great drink to serve when entertaining for the holidays. Cranberry-flavored anything reminds me of the holidays, and this recipe can be easily scaled up to serve lots of people. This year I’ve added a twist to the recipe, creating cranberry orange slush. Orange is another one of those holiday flavors that I love, so I figured throwing it in with cranberry would be a good thing. I was right! The cranberry orange slush is just as good as the original, just less tart with a sweet and fresh hint of orange flavor. I sort of feel like I’m betraying Great-Grandma Blomquist a bit by changing things up, but I’m sure she would approve of this tasty concoction!

    {Thanksgiving Prep} Cranberry Orange Slush
     
    From Jane Maynard, This Week for Dinner
    Author:
    Recipe type: Thanksgiving, Beverage
    Ingredients
    • 2 cans whole cranberry sauce
    • 4 cups orange juice
    • 2¼ cups cranberry juice
    • 2¼ cups ginger ale
    Instructions
    1. Run whole cranberry sauce through a colander (pictured here) or press through a fine sieve with a large spoon (pictured here) over a large bowl. Keep pressing until you just have skins left in the colander/sieve. Add the orange juice, mix well, then freeze until hardened (I always make this part of the slush at least a day or two before Thanksgiving). I freeze the juice in a flat, plastic container so it’s easy to break up later (this recipe fit in an 8½ cup flat tupperware, pictured).
    2. When ready to serve, mash up the frozen juice in a large bowl. I break it up with a butter knife and then smash it with my pastry blender. Add cranberry juice and ginger ale until it’s the consistency you like. I like to keep it on the slushier side and let it melt in the glasses, but feel free to add a bit more than the recipe calls for. Serve immediately! (Mixing the slush is the last thing I do before we sit down to the Thanksgiving table!)
    3. Makes about 12 servings.

    I used Tropicana’s Pure Premium orange juice, which is 100% pure Florida orange juice. I love that it is made with fresh oranges. It tastes mighty fine. In fact, I may have taken a few swigs straight from the bottle on occasion. I kind of can’t resist. Connect with the folks at Tropicana at Facebook.com/Tropicana.

     


  2. Wednesday, November 14, 2012

    {Thanksgiving Prep} Caramel Apple Galette

    For the last week, I’ve been brainstorming a way to make a caramel apple pie. In theory, it sounds delicious. But Nate and I both agreed that in practice it might not work the way we envision it. I can’t put my finger on it. Maybe it would work and I’m just over thinking it! Regardless, all this caramel apple pie thinking inspired what I actually ended up making…a caramel apple galette! For some reason, in my brain the caramel just seemed to work better with a galette than in a pie.

    Yesterday I made this caramel apple galette and it came out great! Super yummy and I loved the caramel flavor paired with the apples (I know, big surprise). I also sprinkled a bit of coarse salt on top at the end. Salted caramel is always welcome in my world!

    I didn’t add the caramel until right after the galette came out of the oven. I wanted the caramel to be smooth and gooey, not burned or caramelized. This technique worked perfectly.

    I combined a few recipes and also simplified things by using a store-bought crust. Feel free to use your favorite homemade crust recipe if you like. For Thanksgiving cooking, I like to simplify wherever I can. In this case, a store-bought crust did the trick and tasted wonderful!

    {Thanksgiving Prep} Caramel Apple Galette
     
    Author:
    Recipe type: Dessert, Thanksgiving
    Ingredients
    • One 9-inch pie crust (homemade or store-bought from the refrigerated section at the store)
    • 3 granny smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced about ¼”³ thick
    • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
    • ⅓ cup granulated sugar
    • ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 3 pinches of salt
    • 1 tablespoon turbinado sugar (i.e. sugar in the raw) – you can use regular sugar if you need to
    • 1 egg, whisked with a bit of water
    • Caramel ingredients:
    • ½ cup of granulated sugar
    • 2 tablespoons water
    • 2½ tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
    • ¼ cup heavy whipping cream, warm
    Instructions
    1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
    2. Place sliced apples in a large bowl. Toss with lemon juice. Add ⅓ cup granulated sugar, the cinnamon and salt and stir well.
    3. Lay rolled out 9-inch pie crust on cookie sheet lined with a silpat or parchment paper. Make sure there aren’t any holes in the pie crust!
    4. Pile the applies in the middle, leaving about a 3 inches of crust around the edge. Fold edges of the dough up around the apples. Make sure not to break any holes in the dough and also make sure the dough wraps up and over the apples so there isn’t any leakage. Pour most of the sugary-lemon juice leftover in the apple bowl over the apples.
    5. Brush outside of crust edges with egg then sprinkle with coarse turbinado sugar. I sprinkled a bit of that sugar over the apples as well!
    6. Bake for about 40 minutes, until crust is dark brown. Remove from the oven and immediately pour caramel sauce (see directions below) over the apples, making sure to not spill over the edge of the galette. I poured most of the caramel from this recipe over the galette, with about ¼ cup or so left over.
    7. If desired, sprinkle galette with a bit of coarse salt.
    8. Caramel Instructions:
    9. While galette is baking, combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan. Do not stir. Cook over medium-high heat until it starts to brown, swirling as it begins to brown to distribute the sugar. While the sugar and water are going at it, heat up the cream in a saucepan or microwave just until warm.
    10. Once sugar water is light brown, remove from the heat and add your room temperature butter. Whisk the butter in, being sure it’s totally combined. Add the warmed cream and whisk vigorously. (Watch out for steam when adding the butter and especially the cream.) Let sit until galette is done. Caramel should be pourable consistency.
    Notes
    A note on transferring to a serving platter:
    If you want to transfer the galette to a serving platter, as I’m sure you will, it is a 2 person, 3-4 spatula job. Four-year old Anna was my assistant with moving the galette and she did beautifully!


  3. Tuesday, November 13, 2012

    {Thanksgiving Prep} Brown Butter Squash

    Last week I met some friends for dinner at an Italian restaurant in San Francisco. We ordered a salad appetizer to share, which was topped with squash cooked in brown butter. The salad was good, but honestly, I could have eaten a pound of that brown butter squash for dinner and been happy.

    Since squash pretty much screams autumn, I decided brown butter squash would make for a great Thanksgiving side dish. It’s easy, it’s wholesome, it’s comforting. And that bit of sage sprinkled in? That seals the Thanksgiving deal. I don’t know about you, but all I have to do is smell a bit of sage and I’m immediately transported to Thanksgivings past.

    brown butter squash with sage by @janemaynard from thisweekfordinner.com

    Owen and I are eating the squash that is pictured for lunch today. He’s gobbling it up.  Pun intended. In fact, I’m going to see how many times I can use the word gobble before Thanksgiving arrives…get ready!

    Brown Butter Squash
     
    From Jane Maynard, This Week for Dinner
    Author:
    Recipe type: Side Dish, Squash
    Ingredients
    • 1 acorn squash (or any kind of winter squash you like), peeled, cored and cut into small cubes (about ½”³ in size) – my acorn squash yielded about 4 cups of cubed squash
    • 4 tablespoons butter
    • ½ teaspoon dried sage
    • salt & pepper
    Instructions
    1. Heat a medium-large-ish skillet over medium heat. Add butter and whisk until butter browns. Here’s what will happen”¦the butter will melt, then it will start to bubble, then it will really start to bubble and foam, then that bubbling and foaming will stop (although there will still be residual bubbles) and THEN the butter will brown. Take it off the heat at this point – you don’t want it to burn. This whole process takes about 5 minutes.
    2. Whisk in the sage, then add the cubed squash to the pan and toss to coat in the butter. Return the pan to the heat, heat the pan back up to medium, then turn the heat down to medium-low, cover the pan and cook until the squash is soft. This will probably take about 5-10 minutes. Once it’s the consistency you want it, take the lid off, sprinkle with salt & pepper to taste, carefully stir and flip the squash to coat, let cook 1-2 more minutes, then transfer to serving dish. Be sure to pour all that yummy browned, seasoned butter over the squash because, darn, that is some good butter.
    3. Probably about 4-6 servings if used as a side dish. Feel free to use more squash, just up the amount of butter and spice accordingly!

     


  4. Friday, November 18, 2011

    Pat’s Butternut Squash

    It’s a good thing my mother-in-law came to visit last week because it actually gave me some food to write about! It’s been great being able to post about the delicious food she made for us…and so much of it is perfect for Thanksgiving, so it’s great timing!

    Today I have a nice, simple side dish for you that would be perfect right along with some turkey and stuffing, although we had it with filet mignon and that was pretty perfect, too. Pat ate some butternut squash at Whole Foods once that she loved, so she went home and recreated it. It is simple, easy and delicious. Just the kind of recipe you need for that busy Thanksgiving day.

    Pat's Butternut Squash
     
    From my mother-in-law Pat Maynard
    Author:
    Recipe type: Side Dish, Thanksgiving
    Ingredients
    • 1 medium-sized butternut squash, peeled and cut into ~1”³ squares
    • One small onion, cut into thin slices
    • 1-2 Tablespoons butter
    • 1 Tablespoon olive oil.
    • 2 teaspoons sugar
    • 3 heaping Tablespoons dried cranberries
    Instructions
    1. In a large pot, cook onions in butter and olive oil until soft over mediumish heat. Add sugar towards the end to sweeten/caramelize the onions. Add dried cranberries. Stir with onions about 1 minute or till softened a bit. Put the butternut squash into the pot with the onion mixture. Cover and steam/cook slowly over low-medium heat until squash is nice and tender (but not moist because Pat can’t stand that word and this is her recipe). Stir gently and add a pat of butter if needed before serving.

     


  5. Thursday, November 10, 2011

    Squash Rolls

    Two nights ago I started thinking about the date because, well, I haven’t thought much about the date lately. And then it hit me that Thanksgiving was just over two weeks away. It’s like I’ve been living under a rock or something. Oh wait, I have! Anyway, I haven’t the foggiest idea what we’re going to do for Thanksgiving this year and I probably won’t know until a few days before. But even with that lack of planning, I do have a few recipes I can share leading up to the big day that will be mighty scrumptious for your probably-much-more-organized Thanksgiving!

    I’ve had this recipe for squash rolls on the the site forever, but I never actually wrote a post about them. Because whenever I made them I didn’t have a chance to photograph them. Because we ate them too fast. And it’s a crying shame because if any recipe deserves a post, it’s this one.

    This recipe comes from Nate’s mom. Of course I asked her to make them while she was here. And of course she obliged because she is {seriously} the best mother-in-law around. These rolls are moist, sweet, delicious, homemade goodness. I guarantee you cannot eat just one…especially hot out of the oven and smothered in butter.

    If you do happen to end up with leftovers, be sure to zap your roll in the microwave for 20 seconds or so to get it piping hot again. And don’t forget that butter!

    Squash Rolls
     
    A holiday favorite from my mother-in-law, Pat Maynard
    Author:
    Recipe type: Side Dish, Breads
    Ingredients
    • 1 cup cooked squash
    • 2 tablespoons butter
    • 1 cup scalded milk
    • 1 yeast cake (1 envelope active dry) dissolved in ½ cup water
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 4-5 cups flour
    Instructions
    1. Mix squash, butter, salt and sugar. Add milk and mix. When cool, add yeast mixture. Add flour till bread dough consistency, just til it holds together. Turn dough over in a greased bowl to coat both sides. Cover with a dishcloth and let rise in a warm place till doubled. Punch it down and let rest for 5-10 mins. Shape into rolls in a greasy pan and let rise again till doubled. Bake at 400 for about 12-15 mins.
    2. A good way to find a warm place to rise is to turn the oven on (any temp) for 2 minutes and then shut it off and that way it’s away from drafts, etc.
    3. My mom and I have both had times where we make the rolls and the middle seems a bit underdone”¦Pat doesn’t ever seem to have this problem. I think next time I make them, I’m going to try making the rolls in two 8×8 pans instead of one 9×13. Just thought I would mention that!

     


  6. Tuesday, November 23, 2010

    Thanksgiving Prep: Roux for Perfect Gravy

    Today I made a white roux so that on Thursday we can make gravy. Smooth, delicious, lump-free gravy. Mmmmmm…

    Nate and I used to watch Good Eats. A lot. In fact, we were a little addicted. But we learned a lot from that show! Years ago, an episode called “Gravy Confidential” aired and that’s when I discovered the technique of using roux to thicken gravy. Until that point, I had always used what Alton calls a “slurry,” flour and cold water whisked together. It works fine, but I must admit that gravy made with roux is in fact richer and smoother.

    This is what the roux looks like right after I take it off the stove to cool. It turns a more golden color as it cools and all the bubbles disappear.

    If you want to see the Good Eats episode that changed my gravy life forever, click here for Part 1 and click here for Part 2. Part 1 has lots of introductory information (and, of course, some silliness), but the first 5 minutes of part 2 is where Alton actually makes the roux and is the part I find most helpful.

    So, let’s make some roux! I’m giving you a play-by-play, so it might seem daunting at first glance, but it’s really quite simple to whip up!

    Thanksgiving Prep: Roux for Perfect Gravy
     
    Author:
    Recipe type: Thanksgiving
    Ingredients
    • 1 oz butter (2 tablespoons)
    • 1 oz flour (I do 3 tablespoons since {gasp!} I don’t have a kitchen scale. True confessions, people.)
    • Roux made from these measurements will thicken 1 cup of fluid*
    Instructions
    1. Since I know I’m going to be making gravy for a bunch of people on Thursday, and even making my own turkey again next week as per Cate’s request, I decided to make a lot of roux at once. You can put it in the refrigerator for up to one month, and you want it cool or at room temperature when you add it to your hot liquid, so having some on hand in the fridge works perfectly. Today I used 1 cup of butter and 1½ cups of flour to make my roux. This will thicken 8 cups of fluid.
    2. Melt butter (preferably in a saucier, but a regular sauce pan will work, that’s what I have) over medium heat. Have a whisk with lots of wire loops handy and ready to whisk! When the butter is melted and starting to bubble a bit, add the flour all at once and start whisking. Whisk constantly over medium heat until the roux starts to liquify. If you’re cooking a lot of roux like me, this takes a little while”¦be patient, it will happen! Once it’s liquifying, turn the heat to low and cook for about 3-4 more minutes, whisking occasionally.
    3. The roux and the liquid need to have opposite temperatures, so if your roux is hot, your liquid (broth) needs to be room temp or cool. If your liquid is hot (which mine always is), then the roux needs to be at room temp or cool.
    4. In the video, Alton talks about how gravies thickened with flour will thicken as they cool, so you probably want to have your gravy a bit on the thinner side on the stove so that by the time it reaches the table in the gravy boat, it’s the perfect thickness.
    Notes
    *In terms of the liquid”¦when it’s Thanksgiving, I always simmer the turkey’s heart, neck and giblets for an hour or two and save that broth, then combine it with the juices from the cooked turkey. If I’m still needing more liquid, I add chicken stock, but I don’t often have to do that. And don’t forget salt and pepper!

    A note on storage: I always just put my finished roux in a bowl or tupperware to store in the fridge. I would then chisel out pieces of roux to add to my hot liquid later. It’s kind of annoying. So this time around I’ve put the roux in a ziploc bag with the air squeezed out and I’m going to cool it in the fridge flat like this. I’m hoping it will be easier to break off pieces…we’ll see!

    Postscript 11/28/10: Storing the roux in these ziploc bags worked GREAT. I knew that each “brick” would thicken appx 4 cups, and it was super easy to break them evenly into fours, so I could estimate accurately how much roux I was putting into the fluid. And it was easy to break and pop out of the bag. Will definitely store the roux like this from now on!


  7. Tuesday, November 16, 2010

    Thanksgiving Prep: Corn Souffle Recipe…and My Thanksgiving Freezer Plans

    Each year I feel like a food blog failure because I don’t write any Thanksgiving posts until the week of Thanksgiving, when most of you have already turned off your computers to enjoy time with family and friends. And then I don’t even take photos of our Thanksgiving feast because, by the time I’m done cooking, I just want to eat!

    This year, in an effort to get myself more organized and also provide you with some actual helpful ideas BEFORE the big day arrives, I’m going to put together a number of the dishes ahead of time and stick them in the freezer. My photos still won’t be of the final product, but at least you’ll get to see what the food looks like at some stage of the preparation!

    Today I threw together the corn souffle. It’s so easy and fast. And decadent. It’s one of our friends’ family’s traditions (thanks, Jen and Mike!) that we happily adopted. Warning: this recipe contains lots of butter and sour cream and cheese. Which, in my book, is less of a warning and more of a signal of good things to come. 😉

    Before we get to the recipe, side note: I’m putting the food I prepare this week into whatever dish the food will be baked in, wrapping the dish in plastic wrap and then putting the dish’s lid on top. I’ll take it all out of the freezer about 24 hours before cooking time and keep it in the fridge to thaw out. I will then bake as per recipe instructions on Thanksgiving. I’ve never done this before. I’m just assuming it will work!

    Ha ha! I just copied and pasted the recipe into this post and realized I put the cheese on too soon! But, it’s already wrapped and in the freezer…soooo…I’ll just take the cheese off before I bake it and keep it to the side until it’s time to actually add the cheese. So, don’t do what I did if you try to do what I do. 😉

    Thanksgiving Prep: Corn Souffle Recipe...and My Thanksgiving Freezer Plans
     
    From Marie Carroll, my friend Jen’s mother-in-law
    Author:
    Recipe type: Side Dish, Thanksgiving
    Ingredients
    • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
    • 1 can cream corn (16 oz)
    • 1 can whole corn (16 oz), drained
    • 1 cup sour cream
    • ? cup melted butter (I don’t know the amount, I usually do ⅓ C)
    • 1 box Jiffy corn bread mix
    • 4 ounce grated swiss cheese (as you can see from my photo above, I usually just buy a few slices so I don’t have leftover swiss cheese)
    Instructions
    1. Combine all ingredients except the cheese. Bake 35 mins uncovered 350F – do not overbake – should be moist.
    2. Top with swiss and broil until cheese is golden brown.

     


  8. Tuesday, December 1, 2009

    Cranberry Orange Sauce

    I know I already shared this Cranberry Orange Sauce recipe within the last week, but I finally took a picture of the final product and it’s just too pretty not to share again! Besides, I don’t think cranberries are only relegated to Thanksgiving, right?

    cranberry orange sauce web

    I also know that I already posted a photo of this pie, but I just love the leaves on top. The picture has been BEGGING to make an appearance on the blog. I have acquiesced. I promise to stop putting fall-ish pictures up now that Thanksgiving is over and we are all roasting chestnuts on an open fire.

    pumpkin pie leaves web

    Cranberry Orange Sauce
     
    A recipe I found online somewhere, easy to make and very very yummy alternative to normal cranberry sauce on Thanksgiving
    Author:
    Cuisine: Side Dish, Thanksgiving
    Ingredients
    • ½ pound cranberries
    • ½ cup sugar
    • ¼ cup orange juice
    • zest of 1 orange
    • 4 oranges separated, pith and membranes removed
    Instructions
    1. Bring ½ C water to simmer. Add cranberries, sugar, OJ and zest. Simmer & stir until sugar dissolved and berries begin to pop, ~15 mins. Remove from heat – add orange segments

     


  9. Saturday, November 17, 2007

    Thanksgiving Prep: Stuffing

    Below is my mom’s stuffing recipe. This is what I make every year – it’s not fancy, but it is so good. There are TONS of fancier recipes out there that I’m sure are delicious, but I like my stuffing simple & straightforward. As with all my mom’s recipes, there are no measurements. So sorry!!! Also, there’s lots of good info in the comments on the Gravy post, so make sure you read them!

    Quick note on more Thanksgiving Prep posts to come: Tomorrow I will share my entire menu for Thanksgiving, including recipes. Monday is all about dessert – so get your favorite recipes to share ready! Tuesday is about timing the meal prep – this is probably the trickiest part of cooking on Thanksgiving. Wednesday…we may be done, we shall see! The coutdown begins!

    Stuffing
     
    As taught to me by mom. Measurements are mine, based on her very vague instructions over the years 🙂
    Author:
    Ingredients
    • 1 loaf cheap white bread, cut into small cubes
    • ½ of a medium yellow onion
    • 1-2 stalks celery, diced
    • 1-2 carrots, grated
    • ½ teaspoon salt
    • ¼ teaspoon pepper
    • ¼ teaspoon dried sage
    • 1 stick butter melted
    • ½ cup - 1 cup chicken stock
    • 1 egg well beaten
    Instructions
    1. After you have cubed the bread, let it sit out for a couple days to get stale OR bake in a 200º F oven for about 20 minutes until bread is starting to harden.
    2. Melt butter in large pan on the stove. Add onions and cook for about 5 minutes over medium heat. Add celery and carrots and cook over low for about 5 minutes.
    3. Whisk together the egg, salt, pepper and sage.
    4. In a very large bowl, combine the cubed bread with the egg and butter/veggie mixture. Add stock, ¼ cup at a time, until it seems like the right amount of moisture.
    5. Bake in a 350º F oven until hot all the way through. You can also stuff some of this in the bird then mix the "stuffed" stuffing with the "non-stuffed" stuffing and combine well.
    6. I always double, triple or quadruple the recipe, depending on how many people are coming! 🙂