Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Thanksgiving’

The menu of 2010 is finalized!  It’s nothing fancy, folks.  I’ve got a 3 month old baby and just went back to work and we have a small crowd, so I’m deciding to go simple this year.  And what better place to look for simple but delicious food than the Farmer’s Market?!!  A couple weeks ago we went to our beloved Carrboro Farmer’s Market to find some inspiration for our menu.  Most of what we’re eating is in season at the market now.  Many of the ingredients came from our local farmers, including our favorite hot country sausage from Brinkley Farms that will be going into the stuffing, the pecans for the pie and the pepper jelly for our appetizer.  I have a couple new recipes here, which I really do know is inadvisable for Thanksgiving but they are dishes I want to include and so we’re going to give them a try.  I think most of this is pretty basic…a few things that will all need to be done at once, but hey, that’s Thanksgiving!  The applesauce and sweet potato muffins are already done and in the freezer, I will make the pies the day before, and I will spend most of Thanksgiving day prepping all my ingredients so that everything can be thrown together quickly at the end.  Add in some nice wines and we’re good to go!

Wherever you will be, I hope your day is full of delicious food, precious friends and family, and much gratitude!

Appetizers: Pepper Jelly with Cream Cheese and Crackers, Roasted Cashews

Dinner:

Perfect Roast Turkey

Homemade Gravy

Sausage Stuffing with Fennel and Squash

Brown Sugar Baked Sweet Potatoes

Sauteed Kale

Roasted Applesauce

Sweet Potato Muffins (recipe follows)

Dessert: Pumpkin Marscapone Pie and Pecan Pie

Sweet Potato Muffins

½ c butter

1 ¼ c sugar

2 eggs

1 ¼ c canned sweet potatoes, mashed (can substitute yams)

1 ½ c flour

2 tsp baking powder

¼ tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

¼ tsp nutmeg

1 c milk

¼ c pecans or walnuts, toasted and chopped (optional)

½ c raisins, chopped (optional)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and grease or line one muffin tin.

Cream the butter and sugar.  Add the eggs and mix well.  Blend in the sweet potatoes.

Sift flour with baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Add alternatively with milk.  Do not overmix!  Fold in nuts and raisins if desired.

Fill muffin tins 2/3 full and bake for 25 minutes.  Be sure muffins are fully cooked – they may brown a little around the edges but this is fine.  Makes 12 large muffins.

Read Full Post »

The major cooking holiday is here again and this year we are taking an approach best described as ‘simple’.  Rustic is the word I’m thinking of that will dress that up the best! 😉  I’m still working on the final menu but in the mean time I thought I’d share my ‘formula’ for any of you who are also planning a Thanksgiving feast!  Since we change the menu up each year with a new theme, I drafted this formula to help me make sure I’ve ticked all the boxes that are required for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, even if the dishes themselves have a different twist each year.

Appetizers (usually 3, including something like nuts that don’t need to be cooked)

Turkey

Gravy

Potatoes and/or Sweet Potatoes (my husband insists on both)

Non-potato Starch (grits, mac&cheese, rice)

Stuffing

1 green vegetable

1 other vegetable

Cranberry or Apple chutney/sauce/garnish

Bread (rolls or muffins)

Pumpkin dessert

Other dessert


Depending on how many people we have, I may cut some of these items because it can end up being waaaaaaaay too much food for, for example, four people.  This year we have 5, possibly 6 of us, so I’m not going to be making every single one of the categories.  And I have to admit that the two desserts are pretty much always pumpkin pie and pecan pie.  I can’t really make do without either!

Read Full Post »

One last post on this year’s Thanksgiving…

Since there were only four of us for dinner, and since of course we still need to have all the usual dishes, we had a LOT of leftover.  Also, I was not thinking clearly the day I picked up my turkey at Trader Joe’s and for some reason did not think the 13lb turkey would give us enough leftovers, and since there was nothing else in between, brought home the 18lb turkey.  Michael weighed the leftover picked meat on the scale – 6 lbs.  Ooops!

I spent the Sunday after Thanksgiving repurposing our leftovers into a freezer of food for nighs I don’t want to cook.  It was so much fun to think of creative ways to use up all the food!  Briefly, here are the things that we now have stored up for the winter.

Open-face Turkey Melt

Ok, this one isn’t in the freezer – this was our lunch while I was cooking up the other dishes.  Michael loves his turkey sandwiches really basic – turkey, mayo, white bread.  I need more flavor that.  So I used a slice of sourdough bread as the base to an open face sandwich.  For the mayo, I added flavor with some diced roasted red peppers (from a jar in the fridge), fine-diced red onion, and a splash of lemon juice.  I spread this on the bread.  Then I added shredded turkey and topped it with cheddar cheese.  I popped the sandwich in the toaster oven and heated it until the cheese just started to brown.  YUM!

Turkey Empanadas

This is a recipe that I found in Bon Appetit’s Thanksgiving edition and thought it sounded like a great way to use up leftover stuffing and potatoes as well as the turkey.  You use frozen puff pastry as the base and then spoon on layers of potatoes, stuffing, turkey, gravy – whatever!  Then fold over the top, crimp the edges, and voila!  I made two batches of these – one with turkey, sweet potatoes and stuffing (for Michael) and one with turkey, buttermilk mashed potatoes and greens (for me).  I put the sealed empanadas on a rimmed sheet in the freezer until they were just frozen, then wrapped each individually in foil and put them into labeled ziplock baggies.  So we now have individual meals ready to bake off in the toaster oven at a moment’s notice!  I haven’t tried them yet so can’t swear that they are good, but given that most people love all the Thanksgiving flavor together (especially sine we had our New Orleas theme and all the flavors should blend well), I figure it should at least as good with buttery puff pastry!

Turkey and Vegetable Soup

Soup is SO much easier to make than most people think.  In general, it’s simply a saute of onions and other vegetables, some stock or broth, and as assortment of beans, vegetables or meats.   To make a little turkey soup, I started with a base of onions, carrots and celery (a starter combination known as ‘mirepoix’.  I added in chicken stock and then the shredded turkey, leftover corn maquechoux, a little of the greens, and salt, pepper, thyme and sage for flavoring.  Easy peasy!

Turkey and Collard Green Gumbo

I made this for our dinner after a day of leftover baking.  Gumbo is a dark velvety soup of sorts, started from a roux, which is flour and oil cooked until it is dark brown.  To this I added what in New Orleans they call ‘the Trinity’ – onion, celery and green pepper.  You then pour in some chicken stock, a bottle of beer and a bunch of spices.  The recipe calls for smoked turkey, but I just added the leftover shredded roasted turkey, and instead of cooking the greens in the gumbo, I just dumped in our leftover cooked greens.  Once all cooked, you serve the gumbo over rice with a dusting of parsley on top.  This dish is not spicy, like you might assume about a gumbo – it’s a smooth, dark, rich flavor.  We ate our fill that night, and then I put the rest in the freezer for another time.

It’s nice to know all the effort put into the Thanksgiving meal lives on…in my freezer…for another day!

Read Full Post »

Gosh, I am SO sorry, dear readers, that it has taken me so long to get back to you about Thanksgiving dinner!!!  I started this ages ago but got distracted trying to add pictures…I am just going to send it out into the blogisphere as is at this point.  We didn’t have many pictures anyway – too busy eating!!!

All in all, it was really successful and delicious.  I’m not sure whether I picked fewer or easier dishes, or somehow managed to prepare better, but the kitchen was less chaotic in the hour before we ate than it was last year, which is really nice!  I did a lot of prepping the day before and day of, but it really paid off in a smooth final lap to the dinner table.  Everything had good flavor and spice and I was happy with all the new recipes.  And my parents and Michael loved it and that’s the best reward of all – happy eaters!!!

The biggest surprise to me was the turkey – which, if I do say so myself, was AWESOME!  Remember I don’t like turkey, so I was looking for a way to add some good flavor and keep it moist.  And this is definitely the best effort ever!  We used Emeril Lagasse’s Pepper-Stuffed Turkey recipe, which asks you to cut strategic slits in the turkey and get a teaspoon-ful of spiced butter and a mixture of chopped peppers, onions and garlic shoved in the meat of the bird.  My mom and I were alternating between the directions and poking the turkey for a while to figure out where Emeril wanted us to make the cuts, but we must have gotten more or less close to the right thing because the whole bird was super flavorful and really moist!  We also put the butter mixture and a bit of the pepper mixture under the skin, and poured the rest of the pepper mixture inside the turkey.  YUM YUM YUM.  I would absolutely make this again.  I would also use the recipe and tweak it with different flavors – for example, Herbes de Provence in the butter mixture, and fennel, olives, garlic and shallots with olive oil and champagne vinegar for the spice mixture?

The Andouille Sausage and Cornbread Stuffing was my mom’s favorite – it smelled wonderful with the andouille sausage and pork sausage cooked with all the yummy veggies!  The recipe made a TON of food – I would recommend halving it, and or putting half the cooked sausage and veggie mixture in the freezer to mix later with the cornbread stuffing mix and get another dish out of it.  All in all, it added great New Orleans flavor to the meal.

The Sweet Potato Pudding was not a lot different from the usual sweet potato dish – it had a sprinkling of brown sugar, butter and pecans on top and the usual spices.  But the eggs that were added made the texture a bit lighter than usual, and it was also a little sweeter and less sweet-potato tasting (in the one bite I had!).  One thing I really liked about this dish was that I could make it a day ahead and put the complete dish in the fridge, then pop it into the oven to cook after the turkey came out!

Corn Maquechoux is one of my favorite side dishes when I make a New Orleans-style meal.  I like it because it’s a flavorful veggie dish, but not too heavy.  Yes, you finish it with a swirl of cream, but that really just helps all the spices and flavors coat the corn better.  This is always a good counterpoint to a spicy or heavy dish to me, so it was just a solid side for this feast.  The link will take you to a recipe I found online – the one I use is similar but doesn’t have jalepenos; the rest is the same.  If you wanted something really hot, you could go ahead with the jalepenos as well as the red peppers.

Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes are a Barefoot Contessa recipe.   I like her potato recipes, because they add lots of flavor but still taste very potato-y, if that makes sense.  Her Parmesan Mashed Potatoes are my usual staple, but I thought the parmesan might be a bit too heavy with Thanksgiving.  I also considered an Emeril recipe for Garlic Mashed Potatoes that blends roasted garlic  into the smashed potatoes, but I felt we really needed something on the plate that wasn’t screaming at you with flavor.  My usual inclination is to pile on the rich, spicy, flavorful dishes – and then I have to go back and edit to make sure there are enough things on the plate that quietly and gracefully accompany the extroverts.  It makes for a happier meal.  And I was very pleased with these potatoes, because they did just that.  I like to mash my potatoes to look a little rustic – I used red skinned potatoes and cooked them with skins on so the end result is chunky and has the flecs of red skin.  It tastes heartier and healthier to me that way, but if you like a more refined potato, skin them before boiling and blend them in your mixer with the paddle attachment.  NEVER use a food processor – I only made that mistake once, hoping for a really smooth and luxurious texture, and ending up with glue.  The food processor overdevelops the glutens and the potatoes become totally inedible.

Southern Braised Greens with Bacon was indeed a VERY flavorful version of braised greens, and happily, one that didn’t require some kind of bone, which I did not have, for flavor.  The only complaint for this dish might be that it was TOO flavorful – you could only eat a little bite at a time because of how strong it was, and I was pairing bites up with some meat or some potatoes.  I did love the way it complemented those other foods,  but it was slightly overpowering.  I would like to look into some other  braised greens dishes and see if it’s possible to get them cooked and broken down (which is what you use the beer and vinegar for in this recipe) without making it taste so strong.

Sweet Potato Muffins are a classic in the Brill family – so much so that they were, this past Thanksgiving, made on THREE continents!  Both my sisters made these for their respective Thanksgivings in Dubai and Johannesburg.  These are not your typical fluffy muffins – they are dense and very moist and they are awesome.  It truly is not Thanksgiving for my family without them.  Luckily they go with all the menu themes I have drafted for Thanksgivings to come!  The recipe follows – these are a wonderful accompaniment to any winter meal.  You can make them a few days in advance and either keep them in the freezer or fridge and then toast before serving with butter.

Sweet Potato Muffins

½ c butter

1 ¼ c sugar

2 eggs

1 ¼ c canned sweet potatoes, mashed (can substitute yams)

1 ½ c flour

2 tsp baking powder

¼ tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

¼ tsp nutmeg

1 c milk

¼ c pecans or walnuts, toasted and chopped (optional)

½ c raisins, chopped (optional)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and grease or line one muffin tin.

Cream the butter and sugar.  Add the eggs and mix well.  Blend in the sweet potatoes.

Sift flour with baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Add alternatively with milk.  Do not overmix!  Fold in nuts and raisins if desired.

Fill muffin tins 2/3 full and bake for 25 minutes.  Be sure muffins are fully cooked – they may brown a little around the edges but this is fine.  Makes 12 large muffins.


I have nothing more to say about the Perfect Pecan Pie recipe – it was, once again, perfect.  We never even got to the Pumpkin Pound Cake because it was so good!   So the cake is in the freezer for another day.  I am overwhelmed by the number of you who have checked this blog for the menu and the report-out…thanks so much for reading!  Hope you all had a joyful and yummy holiday, and are excited about more festive meals to come this Christmas!

Read Full Post »

Life being what it is in our household this fall, I’m a little behind on my Thanksgiving planning.  I had a rough idea of the menu we were going with this year, but really committing to recipes and getting my grocery list and cooking schedule together has been VERY slow in coming – ideally I should have already started cooking this past weekend, and I did not.  I feel pretty good about what I’ve picked though, that there’s nothing overly complicated and that we should be able to pull it off on Thursday.

As I explained last year, we’re moving to a tradition of hosting Thanksgiving for alternating families, and each year picking a different ‘theme’.  The same old dishes, which are exactly what some (or even most?) people love about Thanksgiving are a teensy bit boring to me.  Part of that I guess is that I have never really loved Thanksgiving dinner – I don’t like sweet potatoes, I don’t like stuffing, and frankly roasted turkey is just not the most exciting meat out there.  Picking a regional theme for the menu makes me, as the cook, excited about cooking a big meal.  And so our families will be the unwilling guinea pigs every year of a different Thanksgiving feast.  My hope, however, is that it will always be a feast, and a time to celebrate the plenty God blesses us with, with those we love the best.  Those ingredients don’t vary.

Last year we debuted the tradition with a Southern Thanksgiving.  This year, we’re going to my one of my favorite food cultures in the world – New Orleans!  I fell in love with the food (and really the whole city) of New Orleans when I lived there in grad school.  The unabashed richness and spice of that cuisine is totally enchanting.  I think the whole mindset of New Orleans food and cooking is very Thanksgiving-ish – heap it on, baby!!!

And so without further ado, the Skena Family Thanksgiving Menu of 2009:

Appetizers for nibbling throughout the day til early dinner – Parmesan Thyme Biscuits, Roasted Winter Squash Dip, Sausage Bites, Cranberry Bruschetta and Rosemary Roasted Cashews

Dinner – Pepper-stuffed Turkey, Andouille Cornbread Stuffing, Sweet Potato Pudding, Corn Maquechoux, Southern Braised Greens, Sweet Potato Muffins

Dessert – Pecan Pie and Pumpkin Pound Cake with Bourbon Whipped Cream

The nibbles are all favorites of mine, with the exception of the Barefoot Contessa’s Parmesan Thyme biscuits which I haven’t made before but sound SO delicious.  Sausage bites are a super easy traditional recipe made with cheddar cheese, Bisquick and hot breakfast sausage (and that’s it!).  The cranberry bruschetta is a perfect fall appetizer that’s a little spicy and a little sweet at the same time.  The Winter Squash Dip is from Martha Stewart, and I first had it when my friend Katy made it for Wine Club.  It makes an absolute ton so I made this a couple weeks ago and have some left in the freezer.  It’s a nice fall flavor with a little kick from chipotles and richness from cream cheese and sour cream.  The cashews are just an easy fix that taste like a party.

Many of the dinner recipes are from my Emeril Lagasse cookbook, Louisiana Real and Rustic, and are new – the Pepper-stuffed Turkey (which asks you to cut slits in the turkey and insert butter, spices and chopped peppers, doesn’t sound like the worst thing in the world), the Sweet Potato Pudding (a make-ahead dish that sounds smooth and rich) and Southern Greens (calling for 6 POUNDS of greens, which are currently taking up half of my largest shelf in the fridge!).  We actually made the buttermilk mashed potatoes last year, they are just a nice simple dish to sop up all the other flavors.  And speaking of sopping up, we don’t have a specific gravy recipe planned – the turkey recipe says you can just spoon the pan juices over the turkey.  We’ll see how much of these juices materialize, and if it’s not too much then I’ll just whip up a fast gravy using what is in there (just add a little butter, a little while wine, and some flour, and stir til you get the consistency you want!).   Corn maquechoux is one of my favorite Cajun sides – corn sauteed in butter with peppers, basically.  It’s VERY yummy.  And the sweet potato muffins are a Brill Family favorite – those I really can’t do without for Thanksgiving.  We’ve converted many folks into fans of these dense, moist flavorful muffins.  And really, they sort of DO go with all kinds of Thanksgiving menus.  My parents actually found the recipe from a restaurant in Colonial Williamsburg many, many years ago, so I love that tradition that goes with it too.

For dessert, I’m redoing the AMAZING pecan pie from last year.  Hands down the best pecan pie recipe ever.  Worth the five bucks for the special Lyle’s Golden Syrup!  The Pumpkin Pound Cake is a late addition to the  menu on my part.  I needed to bring a dessert to my in-laws house on Sunday for lunch, and I just plain ran out of time to make a pie for my father-in-law, who very sweetly and generously LOVES my pies.  Instead, I made a really easy but tasty recipe from the Orangette blog, Sweet Potato Pound Cake.  Except I subbed in a can of pumpkin puree for the sweet potatoes.  And it was EVEN better!!!  Sweeter, which I like.  It really tasted like pumpkin pie, without the same texture.  I served it with real whipped cream, which REALLY made it awesome.  And so after being so pleased with those results, I thought, why mess with another pie crust when that cake tastes so dang good and is so easy, and can be made in advance?  It’s a Bundt cake, and Bundt cakes and other breads always get better with a couple days to age.  So no worries whatsoever about making it earlier!  And even nicer, for those of you traveling on the holiday who agreed to bring something, it’s very easy to transport.  You could wrap it in foil, or fit it back into the Bundt pan and cover it, or put it in a tupperware cake carrier, but there is no frosting or topping to slide around and it will be much more durable than a pie.  You can find the recipe in the link above – just put in canned pumpkin instead of the sweet potato puree, and add a teaspoon of cinnamon.

So, that’s our menu!  I’ll report back with the results.  Happy cooking and happy eating!  I hope your holiday is full of family and food, joy and gratitude.

The General Thanksgiving (from the Book of Common Prayer):

Almighty God, Father of all mercies, we your unworthy servants give you humble thanks for all your goodness and loving-kindness to us and to all whom you have made.  We bless you for our creation, preservation, and all the blessings of this life; but above all for your immeasurable love in the redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ; for the means of grace, and for the hope of glory.  And, we pray, give us such an awareness of your mercies, that with truly thankful hearts we may show forth your praise, not only with our lips but in our lives, by giving up our selves to your service, and by walking before you in holiness and righteousness all our days; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit, be honor and glory throughout all the ages.  Amen!

Read Full Post »

Les Resultats!

Many of you have been very sweet in enquiring about the results of the Southern Thanksgiving.  It scares me a little that people are out there paying attention to what I’m writing, but since they are all loved ones I guess it’s ok. 🙂

In general, things went smoothly, which on its own is something to be grateful for.  Oh, there’s always the random mess-up, like when I realized the bottle of “buttermilk” that I’ve been saving in the fridge the past couple weeks was actually skim milk (rather problematic for Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes), but happily the dishes were done around the same time and the new recipes worked well.  There was one big exception, which was a terrible disappointment: the Sweet Tea Pie.  It was really sad, folks, but it was a HUGE MESS!  I was very upset about it so Michael dug around online to see what he could find out, and the bottom line is that the ingredients for the crust were mistakenly doubled in the cookbook, and that mistake was repeated on the blog where I found it, which meant the crust was absurdly thick and the filling never set.  I left it cooking in the oven almost 3 hours while other pies cooked, so it set somewhat after that long – at least enough for us to discern through some runny bites that it will in fact be a DELICIOUS pie when made with the correct crust proportions.  So it turned out to be a mercy that I’d added the third pie at the last minute, because that way we at least had two!

Here’s a rundown of the day’s work:

A Southern Thanksgiving

Appetizer: Champagne and Spicy Cranberry Toasts: We didn’t end up eating these because everyone got hungry earlier and we had to throw some other appetizers at them.  My mother-in-law and I drank our Prosecco while cooking in the kitchen and that was highly enjoyable. 🙂

Dinner:

Roast Turkey and Apple-Cider Gravy: This came out a bit dry, but I always think turkey is dry.  I stuffed it with apples, lemons, onions, rosemary, sage and thyme and people seemed to think it had a good flavor.  The Apple-Cider gravy was a hit (http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/cooking-live/roast-turkey-with-apple-cider-gravy-recipe/index.html).

Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes: Due to the logistical issues cited above, these were canceled at the last minute and another recipe I’d found in the Martha Stewart magazine was used instead – Big Martha’s Mashed Potates.  Just your basic mashed potatoes with cream cheese.  People liked them, but really, what’s not to like?

Smoky Bacon-Biscuit Dressing: This was a big hit!  I actually do not like traditional stuffing (wet bread is not my thing…just can’t get over the texture!) and I was hoping these would not be soggy, but sadly for me, they were still very wet stuffing-ish.  I think I’d use less chicken stock than was called for next time, but Michael LOVED them, so I think it’s a keeper recipe. (http://www.williams-sonoma.com/recipe/recipedetail.cfm?objectid=0575A357%2DD165%2DEAD9%2DCE4423F416B551EE)

Macaroni and Cheese:  Duh.  Awesome.  I love this recipe for ‘fancy’ Mac and Cheese – don’t bother with the Gruyere, the Pecorino Romana and White Cheddar is the perfect combo.  (http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2007/12/martha-stewart-macaroni-and-cheese-recipe.html)

Baked Tomato and Squash Casserole: Confession: this is actually a french recipe from Barefoot Contessa in Paris cookbook!  It calls for a trio of tomatoes, potatoes and zucchini baked in layers.  I usually substitute eggplant for the potatoes when I make this, to make it a healthier veggie side.  For the Southern Thanksgiving, I decided to make it with tomatoes, zucchini and squash and call it a casserole to be more appropriately regional.  I think this actually did not work too well since there were too many tomatoes which created too much liquid in the dish.  I had to pour a bit of it out while cooking, actually, and I still thought it ended up a bit too soggy.  This is a wonderful dish but I think best made as originally suggested or with the eggplant sub for potatoes. (http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/vegetable-tian-recipe/index.html)

Green Beans with Walnuts: This was a somewhat basic (boring) side but with all the other rich dishes we needed something green and crisp.  The blanched green beans were quickly sauteed with walnut oil and butter and tossed with toasted walnuts.  This easy and tasty basic was well-liked.

Deviled Eggs: My mother-in-law brought these, actually a mandated dish for our Thanksgiving (we could forego the usual traditional recipes for the theme as long as we had some kind of deviled egg!), and they were consumed with great appreciation by my cute husband. 🙂

Dessert:

Sweet Tea Pie: The aforementioned disaster…I’ll try this again and share the correct recipe with you if it’s as good as I think it will be!

Pumpkin Pie: I love pumpkin pie, especially for breakfast, and I don’t think there’s a lot that can be improved upon from the basic recipe off the back of the Libby’s Pumpkin can.  I did try a different recipe this time, however, and I was somewhat surprised to find that I really did like it better.  There’s not a HUGE difference – it’s basically the same recipe but calls for actual cream instead of evaporated milk – but the subtle improvement makes it a keeper.  (http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Perfect-Pumpkin-Pie-236476)

Pecan Pie: GOLD STAR WINNER!  Y’all – this was AMAZING!!!  Please, please, please try this pie if you or someone you love is a Pecan Pie fan.  There’s a wonderful background about the recipe written on the blog where I found it (http://www.travelerslunchbox.com/journal/2008/11/24/perfect-pecan-pie.html) but to make a long story short, you use dark brown sugar, toast the pecans before adding to the mixture, and use a rather pricey but very yummy imported English Lyle’s Golden Syrup instead of regular white corn syrup.  It was absolute heaven – so flavorful and rich without being as sticky-sweet as the usual recipe (which, I hasten to clarify, I still love…there is no limit to my sweet-tooth’s tolerance).  This will definitely be the new Skena Family Pecan Pie recipe and despite the high cost of the Lyle’s syrup (which I found at Harris Teeter), it will be a special treat for birthdays and other minor happy celebrations.

So all in all, a great success!  My eaters were happy and I found some keeper recipes and nothing burned up or was undercooked, etc.  I can’t wait to see what menu we’ll choose next year…it’s probably too early to start planning now, right?  No?  Yes, ok, I thought so.  Luckily there are Christmas cookies to start thinking about.  Phew!

Read Full Post »

Addendum.

One addition to the menu below…we’re adding a third pie – classic Pecan.  I’m fully aware that this is slighly ridiculous but I promise there were several good reasons.  First, my sweet mother-in-law Express-mailed me some gourmet pecans to use for Thanksgiving, since she knows I love to make pecan pies and assumed I’d be making one for the big meal (as I did last year).  So now I have these gorgeous pecans and no pie to put them in, which I’m sure you can all appreciate, is a real shame.  Secondly, the Sweet Tea Pie has its own crust recipe, and the regular crust I was going to make for the Pumpkin Pie makes 2 crusts.  It’s not a problem to freeze pie crust dough, since it will keep for several months in the freezer, but since I was going to have an extra anyway… Thirdly, I forgot that Michael has a study group coming over on Sunday night and I like to have something for people to eat when they come over, so I figure that this way we’ll have PLENTY of extra pie to feed those poor hard-working, stressed-out students on Sunday.  Fourthly (have I convinced you yet??) I stumbled upon this very compelling recipe yesterday and since we ADORE Pecan Pie in our family it sounded too good to miss.  http://www.travelerslunchbox.com/journal/2008/11/24/perfect-pecan-pie.html Therefore, Pecan Pie is joining the dessert menu with Sweet Tea Pie and Pumpkin Pie.  All three crusts are currently made and chilling in the fridge waiting for some lucious fillings, so it’s a whirlwind of activity through a cloud of flour in my kitchen right now.  Which, needless to say, makes me feel content in the very center of my soul. 🙂

Happy Thanksgiving-Eve to you and yours!!!

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »