November 26, 2010

Come, Ye Thankful People

I am giddy about Thanksgiving. As Ina Garten said, "Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year. All I have to do is cook." However, as previously mentioned, I am dictatorial when it comes to planning the menu and assigning entrée responsibilities. I am a little bit like this letter writer... Or maybe a lot like that writer. I'm writing this post for myself and posterity. I always like to look back at pictures and menus from previous holidays and see what we did, what worked, what flopped, etc. I think this year's meal could go down as one of the best.
Roasted Turkey and Gravy
Cornbread Dressing
Mashed Potatoes
Roasted Sweet Potatoes
Pumpkin Stuffed with Everything Good
Green Beans
Cranberry Salad
Apple Pie
Pumpkin Pie

This year I didn't try to get fancy with the turkey. I can't believe that a couple of years ago, I served my turkey with chimichurri instead of gravy. That's sacrilege! I usually rub some butter and spices under the skin. This year was no different, but I used cumin, smoked paprika, and ginger this go-around.

Roasted Turkey

I watched this video a few times to refresh my memory on how to carve a turkey and also because I like New York accents.

Thanksgiving 2010

I would drink that gravy on its own.

Pumpkin Pie

I don't think I've made a pumpkin pie before this one. I like pumpkin, but I usually put it in a cheesecake for Thanksgiving. I haven't had many good pumpkin pies, but this one was a worthy competitor.

Thanksgiving 2010

Nancy got to lick the beaters from the whipped cream. And eat a drumstick the next day.

Nancy Kay Thanksgiving

November 9, 2010

Clean out Your Refrigerator Crème Brûlée

It's only Tuesday, and I've already had a heckuva week, my stress culminating with my freezer/refrigerator dying. I have a bad habit of skipping breakfast and lunch and overeating when I get home. In a desperate attempt to clean out my fridge and freezer, today I had eaten two or three yogurts and a frozen dinner by lunch time. I should invite everyone over for a clean out the fridge feast. Although I'm not sure we want to eat whatever's in the back of my fridge.

Need a way to use your cream and eggs before they go bad?

Crème Brûlée

When life hands you lemons, make Crème Brûlée. Recipe

Update: November 15 is Clean out Your Refrigerator Day. I was ahead of the curve.

November 7, 2010

Boston in the Fall

"Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns."
~ George Eliot
I read that quote on one of my favorite blogs and loved the sentiment so much that I decided to post it here as well. Autumn is all well and good in Lubbock, but I learned firsthand that the season is completely magical in New England.

Leaves' colors changing on the trees - apparently that's a real thing in some parts of the country.

Fall Foliage

Fall Foliage

Fall Foliage

Leaves there fell gently and slowly to the ground one by one, drifting downwards as if they're in control, rather than becoming brown, lifeless projectiles hurled around in a West Texas windstorm.

I never before understood the literary romanticism of cemeteries, but after seeing dozens of overfull burying grounds with headstones from the 1600s embellished with skulls and winged creatures, where witches were once put on trial, where the sun sets early and brightly colored leaves dance in the chilly breezes, I can see how the setting is perfect for a haunting.

Granary Burying Ground

Whilst in Boston, I ate at Ariana, an Afghani restaurant in Allston-Brighton. I tried their Kaddo Bourani appetizer, and it was one of my favorite things I ate during my trip. They took a pumpkin, baked it in sugar, then covered it with yogurt and meat sauce. Since tasting it, I've wanted to find savory pumpkin dishes to make for myself.

Katie tipped me off to a wonderful recipe with which to celebrate fall's bounty and make use of all those pumpkins you purchased to decorate the house for Halloween: Pumpkin Stuffed With Everything Good. And it's another Dorie Greenspan recipe, this one from Around My French Table.

I was actually able to make the recipe with ingredients I had on hand. Even better. Start with a small pumpkin (around three pounds; don't use the big jack-o-lantern pumpkins), cut the pumpkin top off, and scrape out the seeds and stringy bits. Salt and pepper the inside. Toss bread, cheese, garlic, bacon, chives, and thyme together and fill the pumpkin with the mixture. Pour a mixture of heavy cream and a pinch of nutmeg over the filling.

Pumpkin Stuffed with Everything Good

Top the pumpkin with the cap, and bake at 350° for about two hours. Remove the cap for the last 20 or so minutes. The filling will be lightly browned and the pumpkin skin will be dark and can be easily pierced with a knife.

Pumpkin Stuffed with Everything Good

The dish can be impressively cut and served at the table. Plate the pumpkin and cut it into wedges, ensuring that each has a good amount of the filling.

Pumpkin Stuffed with Everything Good

As Dorie said, "Who wouldn't love this?" I'm planning to use this as a Thanksgiving side. Why should the only pumpkin on the Thanksgiving table be in a pie?