No new post today everyone. Macheesmo needs holidays also!
I’m probably right smack in the middle of cooking a brined turkey and working on a few sides. I’m a bit nervous because I’m in charge of the main dish at Betsy’s family’s house this year… so wish me luck!
Or if you’re reading this in the afternoon, I’m probably curled up in a ball of comfort on the couch watching football.
Either way, I hope everyone is having a great holiday with friends and family!
One of my coworkers recently brought me the latest issue of Cooking Light and showed me this awesome recipe for a Vanilla-Bourbon Pumpkin Tart. It looked really good, but I’m honestly not one to practice the “Light” part of cooking.
Don’t get me wrong, I can do healthy, but if I’m going to make a pie or a tart or something, I generally want it to be delicious and not half-assed. So I’m very skeptical about light recipes, but it did look really good so I gave it a shot and tried to restrain myself from making too many adjustments to the recipe.
Not quite as light as the original recipe...
There were a few changes that I couldn’t help but make though. First, they call it a tart. To me, it’s a cheesecake. Semantics I guess. Second, I’m sorry but their crust recipe was just not going to work for me. I tried it and I couldn’t get it to stick together.
Also, I don’t believe in low fat cream cheese. Sorry, but that’s just the way I feel!
There’s always a lot of anticipation about side dishes on Thanksgiving. In fact, unless the turkey is just perfectly prepared (a rare thing), I find that the sides really make the meal.
And for me, there’s nothing like a good plate of stuffing. It’s the perfect side in so many ways. Since I usually brine or deep fry my turkey, I never actually stuff the bird with the stuffing. Instead, I always bake it separately.
My friend worked out a recipe last year that I continue to use and still say is one of the best I’ve ever tried. This year though, I decided to add some roasted chestnuts to it.
Very hard to beat this.
I posted on chestnuts in ravioli form a few weeks ago and there are some more detailed photos on how to prepare them in that post. You can also buy them jarred. Here’s the thing about the chestnuts in this version of the stuffing though: they are subtle.
I’m usually not one for pretty breads. I like my breads rustic and charred. But during the holidays it can be nice to change that up a bit and make a beautiful loaf of something. This braided bread is laced with walnuts and cranberries and tastes and pairs very nicely with other turkey day fare.
If the braiding thing scares you, you can bake this normally as a boule I guess. I think the braiding and stacking does add a certain wow factor to the final celebration bread loaf though.
Am I right?
So good for the holidays.
There’s a lot of flavor in this bread. It’s kind of sweet and heavy much like a brioche loaf, and it’s studded with cranberries and walnuts which gives it a very Thanksgiving feel to it.
For my two Thanksgiving appetizers on Thursday, I made a big batch of cranberry relish and I used only about 1/3 of it for the baked brie. The relish was so good though that I wanted to use it for a brunch dish.
I came up with the idea for making some cheese blintzes and then slathering them with the tangy cranberry relish rather than syrup or something like that. This plan of mine worked better than I expected.
Cranberry cheese blintzes are something you should make.
Did you know those are cheese filled?
If you haven’t made blintzes before, they are very similar to crepes. The batter is almost identical, it’s just a bit more eggy and therefore it produces a sturdier pancake. It’s a very small difference though.
This weekend I’m taking a road trip up to Connecticut which means I have to brave quite possibly the worst traffic situation ever: I-95 between New York City and Connecticut on a Friday afternoon.
Growing up in Wyoming, I’m really used to driving long distances and actually kind of enjoy a good road trip, but I really dislike horrible traffic. I guess that should go without saying. I don’t know too many people that get thrilled over a traffic jam.
Anyway, I have a post scheduled to automatically publish tomorrow just in case I’m still stuck in traffic. If you don’t hear from me by Monday, I might need someone to airlift my car off the Interstate…
No poll this week because I’m posting a lot of Thanksgiving stuff next week, but here are a few interesting links as always!
Will Wikis Work for the Kitchen - This is a really interesting article on the new trend for recipe sites – the wiki. The idea is that if you let a bunch of people contribute on a single recipe, they will produce a solid version of the recipe. Now, there are some people that completely disagree with this theory and say you need an expert on the case. I’m sort of torn on the debate because I’m not an expert, but I think I more or less produce quality recipes. That said, Christopher Kimball probably hates me. Anyway, it’s an interesting read. (@ Time Online)
Vidalia’s Mac and Cheese – Vidalia’s restaurant in DC is an institution of sorts. One of their more famous dishes is their mac and cheese. Somebody finally wrung the recipe out of one of the creators. (@ Washingtonian)
101 Ways to Start the Day – Man I love these roundup style articles that Bittman writes. The idea for this one is basically quick dishes you can make (quick equals under an hour) that will help out your Thanksgiving day planning. It should go without saying that most of them sound delicious and would, in fact, be delicious even on non-turkey day. (@ NY Times)
An artichoke dish was a heavy favorite in the poll last week, but I thought I would actually write two quick appetizers for this post since Thanksgiving is one week away! (I’m publishing nothing but Thanksgiving recipes until the big day from here on out so you can look forward to that!)
When I think of artichokes, especially for an appetizer, I got straight to a spinach artichoke dip. It’s really everything I want in a dip: creamy, cheesy, hot, and lots of flavor. You can even make it spicy if that’s your style.
As you might imagine, therearealotofspinachartichokedipsontheInternet. After checking out various recipes, I decided that it’s really hard to go wrong with this dip as long as you put some creamy stuff in it, use lots of artichokes and spinach, and bake it. (Okay. Some versions don’t even bake the stuff.)
Hot Spinach Artichoke Dip 2 14 ounce cans artichoke hearts in water (I like mine really artichokey.) 1 10 ounce bag frozen spinach (thawed and patted dry) 6-8 ounces cream cheese 1/2 Cup mayonnaise 6-8 ounces silken tofu 1 Cup Gruyere cheese, grated Salt and pepper Pinch of cayenne (optional) Parmesan cheese for topping Chips, crackers, or spoons for dipping Cranberry Relish 3-4 Cups of fresh cranberries 1/2 Cup sugar 1/4 Cup orange liqueur, also known as Triple Sec. If you don't have this, you can also use orange zest. 1/2 lemon, juice only Tiny pinch of cinnamon You'll also need... 1 wheel of brie Crackers
For artichoke dip:
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2) Drain artichokes and roughly chop them. Add artichokes to a bowl with all the creamy ingredients and tofu.
3) Thaw frozen spinach and press it between a few paper towels to press out as much liquid as possible. Chop up the spinach and add it to the dip.
4) Add in grated Gruyere cheese and salt and pepper the dip.
5) Add dip to a square 8x8 baking dish and top with Parmesan cheese.
6) Bake dip at 350 for about 45 minutes until it's golden brown. Serve with pita chips, tortilla chips or bread.
For Cranberry Relish Brie:
1) Rinse off cranberries. Add them to a pot with enough water to just just make the cranberries rise.
2) Add sugar and bring to a simmer. Let simmer for about 20 minutes and use a spoon to mash up cranberries as it cooks.
3) Taste the sauce (let it cool) and adjust the flavors. it might need more lemon or more sugar depending on how you want it.
4) Let this cool for at least 2 hours so it can thicken fully.
5) Slather a wheel of brie with the relish and bake at 300 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Serve it with crackers!
Spinach Artichoke Dip
First thing’s first, preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Then drain all your artichokes and roughly chop them. I like mine on the more rustic side so I don’t over chop them.