Wednesday, October 3, 2012

How to Impress your Family at Thanksgiving!

So I have a whole backlist of things to post about. The 200 mini-pies that I made for our wedding three weeks ago, all of the amazing food we ate on our honeymoon in Maui plus some actual other cooking that I did while I was too busy planning a wedding to write about. But first...Thanksgiving is this weekend. Now, we had our turkey dinner LAST weekend as my aunt and uncle from Korea were still around from the wedding festivities and it happened to be Chuseok, the Korean autumn harvest festival or "Korean Thanksgiving". My aunt made the traditional songpyeon (a steamed sweet rice cake) that are traditionally eaten during the harvest festival, but beyond that we had our usual Canadian Thanksgiving meal. Which means that I can post some recipes before you make YOUR turkey dinner this weekend!

Now I've been "in charge" of the turkey dinners in our family for a pretty long time and I have a little theory about what makes a Thanksgiving meal (or Christmas, or any holiday involving a large roasted hunk of meat) truly impressive.

And here it is: It's all about the sides!

Honestly, ANYONE can roast a turkey. It's really not that hard. Yea, you can brine it, use a rub, inject a marinade, deep fry it, barbeque, or whatever other cooking method is trending this year OR you can just buy a turkey, season it with some salt and pepper and throw it in the oven until a meat thermometer in the thigh reads 165°C. Seriously. Try it sometime! And if the breast meat is a little dry? That's what gravy is for! I really REALLY love turkey, but I've never had one that was SO exceptional. Where you can really impress is the "other stuff". So here's my menu!

Kim family Turkey Dinner

Turkey (just Google it)

Gravy (I can't really help you here. I've still figuring out gravy. I use Bistry gravy granules to supplement my drippings!)

Pioneer Woman's Thanksgiving Stuffing with some extras...usually with some chopped dried or fresh cranberries to add a bit of colour, sometimes giblets, I used chestnuts this year too! Go nuts.

Mashed Potatoes (my only tip here is to use either a potato ricer or a masher that has little holes on the ends instead of a wavy pattern becuase it'll mash the potatoes finer, and use plenty of butter and milk and salt. don't use a hand blender, it makes them gluey!)

Kraft Dinner (ORIGINAL - it tastes good with turkey, I swear)

Harvest Buns (brush them with melted butter once they come out of the oven, they'll look so good and shiny that everyone will be SO impressed)

Cranberry Sauce (see recipe below)

Pumpkin Pie (see recipe below - I made mini pies this year but I'll post about that later)

Cranberry Sauce

12oz fresh or frozen cranberries, washed
One orange
3/4 cup white sugar

1. Zest the orange and set zest aside; juice the orange and add enough water to make one cup
2. Combine orange water, sugar and cranberries in a medium saucepan over high heat and stir to dissolve sugar
3. Cook until the water mixture boils, then reduce to medium and keep cooking until the cranberries pop and turn into a sauce (it will be lumpy but start to resemble jam - if you don't like whole berries you can also strain it at this point)
4. Remove from heat, stir in the orange zest and let cool. Refrigerate until ready to eat.

Pumpkin Pie with Spiced Whipping Cream

adapted from Anna Olson

1/2 recipe Pie Dough, chilled (or you can just use a frozen crust. The Tenderflake ones are decent)

2 cups canned PURE pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling! I HAVE made my own pumpkin puree in the past - get a sugar pumpkin or butternut squash, roast in the oven until soft and then scoop out the insides and puree in a food processor or hand blender. It's better, but I can't say it's REALLY worth the effort)
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 tbsp fancy molasses
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp salt
3 large eggs
1 can evaporated milk

Spiced Whipped Cream1 cup whipping cream
1 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
pinch nutmeg

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Farenheit, or 204 degrees Celsius

2. On a floured surface, roll out dough to just under ¼-inch thick, it should be about an inch wider than your [9-inch, preferably glass] pie plate. Try to shift the dough a bit while you're rolling so that it doesn't stick too much to the surface. Loosly roll the dough onto your rolling pin and unroll over the pie plate. Trim the edges and put into the freezer while you're preparing the filling.

3. Whisk pumpkin with brown sugar, molasses spices and salt with a stand mixer or hand blender if you have one. Whisk in eggs, then evaporated milk. You can also do this by hand, but I find that the filling is a bit "fluffier" if you use a mixer. Pour into the chilled pie shell (I always ALWAYS find that there is too much filling here, unless you're making mini pies. Then it's perfect for 2 dozen)

4. Bake for 10 minutes, then lower temperature to 350 degrees Farenheit, 175 degrees Celsius and bake for 20 to 30 minutes, until filling puffs just a little around edges but still has a bit of jiggle in center when moved. Allow to cool to room temperature before eating.

Spiced Whipped Cream - Whip cream with sugar and spices until medium peaks form. Sometimes I use the magic bullet and it's SO FAST.

No comments:

Post a Comment