Monday, December 7, 2009

Thanksgiving Feasts

This post is not as timely as I would have liked to have made it, but hey, better late than never, right?? I figure with Christmas still around the corner and many different parties on most people’s calendar, it is still appropriate to post about my favorite food holiday: THANKSGIVING. And boy, am I thankful for thanksgiving. How can you go wrong with turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, gravy, and more gravy? I love it.

Thanksgiving was the holiday that sparked my interest in cooking. Several years ago, rather than sleeping in and only helping clean and hand out drinks to guests, I decided to roll up the sleeves and learn how to make my dad’s famous turkey. I discovered that not only is it fun to cook (you get to be quality control and taste the food as it is being made!) but it is also not as hard as you would think.

I have posted photos of our weekend that is worthy of a couple posts—but for simplicity’s sake, I will condense it to just this one.

Us with Kyle's grandparents and Uncle Dale...This was taken pre food-coma at our FIRST of two thanksgiving meals in one day...

Carving up that big ol' turkey!

Here is a recipe for the best stuffing you have ever tasted:

Step One (the most important step): You have to use giblets--I know some people may think it is gross, but it is essential in order to get a great and full flavor to the dish. Make sure to use a very sharp knife in order to cut the giblets into very small pieces.

Also dice up about 15 crimini mushrooms, 3-4 stalks of celery, and one medium sweet onion.

Step Two: Get a wok or a large frying pan VERY hot and add some olive oil and half a stick of unsalted butter. Put giblets in and cook. Add veggies in and stir fry until onions are tender and liquid begins to cook out and evaporate. Add a couple tablespoons of sage, salt and pepper to taste (I recommend using kosher salt since it adds more flavor that table salt).

In the mean time, boil about 4 potatoes (depending on turkey size, that is for a large turkey). Once they are tender, drain and peel. Mash the potatoes and add the giblet/veggie mixture to the potatoes and mix together and add salt and pepper to taste. Potatoes should remain chunky and not too smooth of a texture to get a robust end product.

Stuff the turkey right before roasting, if you do this too early, you are at risk for a very bad food borne illness--this is why many people do not choose to stuff turkeys.

If you are not willing to take the risk (although their is big rewards, the stuffing is so yummy when it is flavored by the bird!) you can put the potato/giblet/veggie mixture into a baking dish and bake at 350 degrees for one hour.

I have another recipe that I will include, and it is for my mom’s delicious and addicting candied yams. If you are interested in any other recipes, feel free to leave a comment, and I will follow up!

Step One: Bake yams in 350 degree oven until they are tender. Slice up and put in large baking dish. Cover with 1/2 - 1 cup brown sugar.

Step two: Pour about 1/2 cup of orange juice over yams and brown sugar (the better the OJ, the better the results! We used fresh squeezed OJ).

Step Three: Cover with mini-marshmallows (optional, if you don't like marshmallows). Bake in 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes.

Enjoy these yummy yams!

We finished off our two meals with some homemade vanilla and egg nog ice cream I made to compliment our many pumpkin, apple, and other pies, cakes and treats. One of my best friends, Becca, gave me an ice cream maker that I have had a lot of fun with lately. I will post some more concoctions and my favorite recipes soon!

Happy Eating and Happy Holidays to all,


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