Cramming for Turkey TimeWednesday, November 26, 2008
So, you left it to the last minute as usual, huh? No worries. I have pretty much been reading nothing but Thanksgiving recipes for the past three weeks and in the spirit of giving, would like to share my favorite findings with you! So here you go. Your Turkey Day Crib Sheet (just like those you used to slip inside your TI-89 for those chemistry quizzes).
Adapted from Heidi Swanson’s 101 Cookbooks recipe, these Double Baked Coconut Sweet Potatoes are a wonderful twist on a classic. I’m a sucker for anything with coconut milk in it, so I knew I would love this. In this recipe, it adds a lovely, mellow, sweet creaminess. My adaptations to Heidi’s recipe: I doubled the amount of coconut milk (I use Chaokoh brand, which is unsweetened) … I told you, I love the stuff … cut down the amount of grated ginger to 1 teaspoon, used honey instead of maple syrup, and didn’t have macadamia nuts on hand, so I substituted with pecans. It came out so good, I’m glad I bought a whole case of sweet potatoes from Costco
One of my favorite food blogs, The Bitten Word, has been tracking the coming of our national eat fest with a number of posts that have been getting me pumped for this holiday since the beginning of the month. If you want to get inspired, check out their collection of recipes pulled from every food magazine there is (Turkey Time: What the Food Magazines are Recommending, Starters and Sides for This Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving Desserts, Our Thanksgiving Menu). Kudos to Clay and Zach, creators of The Bitten Word, for doing all the legwork!
Some standout recipes that I’m excited to try:
Hot Crab Dip – A kind of deconstructed crab cake, Thanksgivinged up with the addition of a crumbled cornbread topping.
Polenta and Sausage Stuffing – Served as a side rather than actually stuffing the bird with it, this uses three of my favorite ingredients: polenta, sausage, and parmigiano-reggiano.
Mark Bittman’s Favorite Bread Stuffing - Your classic in-the-bird stuffing, with four variations, courtesy of Serious Eats. Apparently, hot dog buns provide the perfect consistency for this
Silky Pan Gravy with Cream, Cognac & Thyme – Cream and cognac? Yes, please.
Brussel Sprouts with Pancetta and Shallots – Rezpeni on the Chowhound boards suggests browning your brussel sprouts in olive oil and then adding a bit of stock a little at a time to ensure cooking them through. The result should be a nicely caramelized outside and a tender inside. For aromatics and seasoning, try pancetta, shallots, garlic, salt, pepper, and a little grated nutmeg.
(Ok, so I went a little overboard on the pumpkin desserts…there are worse crimes.)
Pumpkin Ginger Cheesecake Pie – I think this is the pumpkin dessert I’m going to go with this year. It just looks too gorgeous not to make.
Bourbon Pumpkin Cheesecake – Supposedly one of Gourmet’s most requested recipes, they promise it will cause an appreciative pause in dinner conversation.
Pumpkin and Brown-Sugar CrÃ¨me BrÃ»lée – A good reason to break out the mini blow-torch.
Spiced-Pumpkin Soufflés with Bourbon Molasses Sauce – Sounds like a dessert with wow-factor. Instead of the molasses sauce, I would split open the top of the soufflés right before serving, and spoon in some bourbon vanilla cream sauce. A great trick for the cream sauce: just melt some vanilla ice cream and mix in a bit of bourbon. Voila!
Besides all the excessive food and drink, this holiday is really about all the amazing people we share it with. Lots of love to my wonderful family and friends back home. Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Eating, everyone!