Heather

Cooking For The Winter Holidays

127 posts in this topic

Let's start with Thanksgiving. :blink: Are you trying any new recipes? Or are you mostly relying on old favorites?

We're heading to my mother's in Charlotte, NC, for turkey, stuffing (giblet, apple, sage), mashed potatoes & turnips, creamed onions, green beans, and cranberry/sour cherry compote. Dessert is pecan, pumpkin, and apple pie. My mother's turkey roaster belonged to her great-grandmother and makes the best turkey gravy I have ever tasted - dark and rich.

I offered to bring a heritage turkey, but we had some miscommunication and she also bought a turkey, so mine will sit in the fridge until we get home on Sunday if I don't cook it tomorrow.

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I was put in charge of the bran muffins for this year's dinner. I think my mom has given up on my annual mis-adventures with brioche dinner rolls. :blink:

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I offered to bring a heritage turkey, but we had some miscommunication and she also bought a turkey, so mine will sit in the fridge until we get home on Sunday if I don't cook it tomorrow.
Off topic: Aren't you going to get busted by the turkey police for keeping your bird more than 3 days w/o either cooking it or freezing it? :blink:

On topic: I'm trying a different kind of brine (recipe in this month's Saveur Magazine) -- apple based, as is the gravy. I just went out and procured the required Calvados and got sticker shock -- $35 -- for a lower grade Calvados :P

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Oh, no! Butterball again?
Yes, I'm afraid so. :blink:

John, I'm doing that same recipe. I already had the calvados though, so didn't have to buy it again. My bird will probably have to be frozen, which is too bad.

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I'm doing a favorite, but it isn't old. We never have a very large crowd at our house, so I do a recipe from epicurious, which always tastes and looks wonderful: a roasted turkey breast roulade stuffed with crimini, porcini, and pancetta, and (my variation) wrapped in prosciutto. This will be the THIRD ANNUAL APPEARANCE of this venerable and ancient Thanksgiving tradition. I really don't care for turkey all that much, but when it's done with a rich sauce like this it can show off a fine Bordeaux to good effect. So I see Thanksgiving as an excuse to consume vast quantities of wine whose quality is beyond my everyday price point. And that is truly worthy of thanks.

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I'm a traditionalist when it comes to Thanksgiving dinner with my family, although I'll happily eat very differently if we travel for the holiday, which we often do. Probably it's because I grew up with Puerto Rican holiday food at Christmas, Easter, etc., but for Thanksgiving, it was an all-American meal - Norman Rockwell would have approved. This year is my first Thanksgiving in the kitchen. On the menu will be: deep-fried turkey; cornbread and chorizo stuffing (w/apples and caramelized onions); three-bird gravy (turkey neck & giblets, chicken stock, duck fat); bourbon-glazed sweet potatoes; mashed potatoes (probably w/garlic); green beans (no, not that damn casserole thing); cranberry sauce (haven't settled on a recipe yet); etc. I might start off with an acorn squash/chestnut soup. Dessert will be mom's pumpkin pie (she insisted on bringing something), a pecan tart, and probably something involving apples.

The good news is, there will only be 6 to 8 people; the bad news is that I've never actually made any of these things before. Or is the bad news the scattered rain showers expected for Thursday (turkey frying being an outdoor activity)?

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Or is the bad news the scattered rain showers expected for Thursday (turkey frying being an outdoor activity)?

Would you like to borrow my tarp? :blink:

post-1464-1195501701_thumb.jpg

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JP: SOmething really easy in the Cranberry Dept. is to put a bag of fresh cranberries, a large navel orange, quartered skin on and a cup of sugar into a cuisinart and make a relish. Should be tart, not too sticky and pretty darned good.

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Anyone have any interesting cranberry thoughts? Looking for as not-sticky and restrained as possible.
Sauce or dessert? I make a cranberry & sour cherry compote with cloves:

2 1/2 cups of cherry cider (I use unsweetened cherry juice from Whole Foods)

1 8-oz. package of dried tart cherries, unsweetened (Trader Joe's has these)

1 c. sugar

1 12oz. package of fresh cranberries

1/4 t. ground cloves

Bring cider to a simmer. Remove from heat and add cherries, let stand for 10 mins. Mix in sugar, cranberries and cloves. Cook, stirring occasionally, over medium-high heat until cranberries burst, about ten minutes. Refrigerate until cold.

It's also great on pork.

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Would you like to borrow my tarp? :blink:

Thanks, but I'll go with my tent. A big enough fireball could take it out, but if that happens, I'll have bigger things to worry about than the tent. Ah, that reminds me. I need to check on the fire extinguisher.

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I am looking forward to a nice calm Thanksgiving by reclining in a business class seat of an ANA flight to Narita. As long as the champagne is cold I could care less what they serve me. It will sure beat the knife nicks, burns, stress, and frustration that always comes along with cooking a Thanksgiving meal.

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We're not cooking this year but I suspect that I will pull out all of this year's cooking magazines this weekend and make some sort of modified thanksigiving the following weekend with a roasted chicken.

Christmas has been bone in beef shanks for the last few years. Not sure if I want to try something different this year.

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I make a cranberry & sour cherry compote with cloves

I think I'm looking for something less sweet/jammy. The relish is an idea (I didn't like it as a kid so my mom starting making the thick sweet raisiny stuff, which I adored. Of course now, I go the other way on this issue. But the rest of the fam is stuck on sweet now.)

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Thanks for starting this thread - I need ideas for a New Year's Eve meal! As for Thanksgiving, my sister is hosting and asked me to bring an appetizer and a dessert. I'm going with a simple hummus and pita chips/veggies for the appetizer. For dessert I am making pumpkin ice cream with graham cracker crust and caramel mixed in (other family members were assigned pies).

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Thanks for starting this thread - I need ideas for a New Year's Eve meal!
My wife and I have made it a tradition of doing fondue Bourguignonne on New Years Eve. It is a very social meal. Depending on the number of guests we sometimes start with a classic cheese fondue.

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Let's see- T'giving is Thurs., my stove crapped out on me last Wed.-the front burner won't turn off, so the stove is pulled out & unplugged, I have a service appt. tomorrow, although we don't know if the part is in yet-I am totally screwed! I am expecting 14 adults & 7 kids, fortunately, we do the turkey (14 lbs.) & turkey breast in the smoker, but it's still going to be interesting, no way to heat anything up, other than a microwave & toaster oven. Next year, I'm going out for T'giving, preferably chinese food, no family invited...

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I think I'm looking for something less sweet/jammy. The relish is an idea (I didn't like it as a kid so my mom starting making the thick sweet raisiny stuff, which I adored. Of course now, I go the other way on this issue. But the rest of the fam is stuck on sweet now.)
It's jammy, but not terribly sweet. Unsweetened cherries, unsweetened tart cherry juice, and cranberry, with only 1 C. sugar, is might tart.

My mother used to make the relish when I was a kid. Hated it then and hate it now.

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Gobble, Gobble.

I'm looking for a fun/unique creme brulee recipe. Google-ing around is no fun. Anyone have thoughts? No Jamie Oliver Rhubarb crap and nothing pumpkin-flavored. I'm doing this for the children, by the way.

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Creme brulee? Man, you can do anything with creme brulee, once you've decided you're going to bake off the custards in time, etc etc.

Are you using deep or shallow cups? If deep, you can put a little "surprise" in the bottom, like stewed fruit or (not for the children) bananas Foster.

If not, chai is a crowd pleaser, ginger (steep some crystallized ginger in the milk), coffee (instant espresso powder), lavender (probably not for children), cardamom (I think you steep whole pods, but maybe it's seeds--I learned about this one from an amazing Tunisian cook).

Just remember that you're not going to get crazy-intense flavor (except maybe for coffee).

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For Thanksgiving, I bring the breads. Very rarely do we spend a Thanksgiving at home, so I haven't made a Thanksgiving meal in years. (I used to do a pretty complete one the weekend before and have some friends over, but that got to be too much in addition to baking for Thanksgiving Day.)

I've got a batch of (part whole wheat) no-knead bread still proofing/rising and am soaking the saffron in milk for saffron bread (which will have golden raisins and dried cranberries). In addition to those two, I'm making a pan of cornbread. I had also thought about making biscuits, but I'm not sure if I'll get to those. I would like to try Heather's recipe, though.

I had a certain lineup of breads I used to take pretty much every year. I changed that up last year and am changing again this year. I made the no-knead bread last year, but the other selections are different. I took a vanilla cornbread one year that proved to be pretty popular, but I'm using a different recipe this time.

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Thanks for starting this thread - I need ideas for a New Year's Eve meal!

I like to do a variety of cheeses, cured meats and duck pate for New Year's Eve along with a good champagne. Sometimes I'll add a little tray of shrimp or something fun and appertizery that I saw at Balducci's or Whole Foods. No cooking, minimal clean up and very indulgent. (This also works for Christmas eve, especially if we are making Christmas cookies that night.)

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I just wanted to add one thing. My stuffing tomorrow (well, dressing, as it will not be "stuffed") includes bread from Mother's on Poydras St. and andouille from Dorignac's in Metairie. We're all thankful for things. For me, one of them is that New Orleans lives.

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