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For when your thoughts are drifting to things not so movie, or if you're feeling trivially inclined.
591

Thanksgiving food info?
Topic by: kamapuaa
Posted: November 12, 2004 - 10:40 AM PST
Last Reply: November 28, 2008 - 3:54 PM PST

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author topic: Thanksgiving food info?
kamapuaa
post #1  on November 12, 2004 - 10:40 AM PST  
I know Greencine has a bunch of foodies. And, that is just why I turn to Greencine in my hour of need!

Inspired by the corny-but-cute Pieces of April, I decided to host a Thanksgiving feast at my apartment. Also to cook it for some low-income school my friend teaches at, she looks just like April. I want to have all the traditional type foods for both these events, and do a good job of it. The problem is, I've never really eaten or cooked any of the traditional foods before.

Of course I'm aware of what the basic foods are (turkey yams and pumpkin pie), but anybody care to recommend a recipe, or a website or book I should look at that has the good stuff, or any other info?

I would be forever in your debt!
jross3
post #2  on November 12, 2004 - 11:10 AM PST  
This turkey comes from a very reliable source. If I were making Thanksgiving dinner this year, I would definately use it. There's links to a couple other Thanksgiving recipes fron that show, but this is Food Network's main Thanksgiving page. It's quite a compendium of useful and traditional dishes and recipes for the season at hand.
hamano
post #3  on November 12, 2004 - 4:54 PM PST  
I'm in charge of the turkey and traditional side dishes every year. My mother-in-law bakes the apple pies, and Mao-mama bakes the cranberry bread.

I like to roast the turkey on relatively high heat breast-side-down for about an hour, then I flip it over the usual way breast-side up for the rest. I turn the heat down, then turn it up high just before the end to crisp up the skin a bit.

This is a sure-fire side dish that people will love:

Rum Glazed Sweet Potatoes
For 4 servings:

4 Medium sweet potatoes
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup rum

Boil or roast the sweet potatoes for about 15 - 20 minutes, until almost fully cooked. Cool, peel and slice about 3/4 inch thick.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a small saucepan or pot, heat the brown sugar, water, butter and raisins to boiling. Add rum. Put the potato slices in a pan or a casserole and pour the rum mixture on top.
Bake, uncovered, for about 30 minutes, basting several times with the syrup in the casserole.


In Maryland, for some reason, many families serve hot sauerkraut with their Thanksgiving dinner....

Here's our recipe for cranberry bread:

Cranberry Bread
for 1 large loaf
- this will cut easier and have fuller flavor if you bake it a day in advance and wrap it up tightly in foil to let stand.

2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1.5 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup vegetable shortening like Crisco (I think there's a new kind with no transfats)
1 teaspoon grated orange rind (I usually use a peeler to peel orange rind from an orange and chop it up with a knife)
3/4 cup orange juice
1 large egg, well beaten
2 cups fresh cranberries (8 ounces), each cut in half (this is your Martha Stewart moment....)
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x5x3 inch loaf pan.
Sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda. Cut in the veg. shortening with a fork or pastry cutter until it resembles coarse meal. Combine the orange rind, juice and egg, mix and stir into the dry ingredients just enough to moisten evenly... if you beat this batter too much, you will end up with a tough, dense bread, so be careful... the less mixing the better. Fold in the cranberries and nuts with a big flat spatula... again don't over-mix!

Scoop the batter into the pan and bake on the middle rack for 60 minutes, until a tester (or skewer... we use wood chopsticks) comes out clean (that means without clumps of batter stuck to it). Let the pan stand for at least 5 minutes to cool off... then turn the loaf out on a rack to cool. Wrap and store overnight. Keeps well up to 2 weeks in the fridge, but I promise it won't be around that long, unless you bake 3 or 4 loafs.

You can line the pan with parchment after greasing it, to make removing the loaf a little easier...
hamano
post #4  on November 12, 2004 - 4:57 PM PST  
BTW, Thanksgiving is my favorite American holiday. It can be as religious or secular as you want, and food and family are central! Any holiday that requires me to hang out in the kitchen all day is fine by me...
^_^
kolohe61
post #5  on November 12, 2004 - 7:07 PM PST  
Make sure your oven works! :-)
hamano
post #6  on November 12, 2004 - 7:31 PM PST  
You still have time, so you might wanna practice roasting with a big chicken or something. I was only a fair roaster until a few years ago, when I finally hit my stride with a hot oven.

Wash the bird inside and out and pat dry with paper towels. Put it on a bit platter, salt and pepper season the cavities first. Then sprinkle all over the bird some pepper, salt (some people leave the salt off... you can sprinkle salt at the end, too, which might make the bird moister... I salt at the beginning) paprika, garlic powder liberally and rub it all over. Wash your hands and stick some fresh herbs in the body cavity along with 3 or 4 garlic cloves. I have rosemary, thyme and sage growing in the yard so I use those.

A lot of people have written about how a brined turkey comes out really moist and yummy. I like a kosher turkey... there's some brining involved in the koshering process... they're a bit more expensive but worth it because it spares you the labor of doing the brining yourself.

A lot of people roast birds "upside down" (breast side down) now to fully cook the thighs and to self-baste the breast to keep it moist. The problem with that method is that when you display the bird it looks pretty weird... it doesn't matter if you cut the whole bird up before the dinner. For a good presentation, though, it's good to start the roast "upside down" and flip it about half-way through. Then you get the even roasting AND you get a nice looking carcass.

With chickens I get a nice even roast by splitting the bird along the middle of the breastbone with kitchen shears. Then you can "open" the bird up by spreading the breast halves out. Turn it over and flatten the bird out, then season and roast. You could probably do this with a turkey, too, but you'll need huge scissors or a big sharp knife, and a really big roasting pan.

I usually start out with a HOT oven 400 to 425 degrees to brown the outside of the bird and seal it... then I turn it down to 350 or so for the rest of the time.
kamapuaa
post #7  on November 13, 2004 - 10:56 AM PST  
Thanks a lot for the information! I am taking notes. I'm sure my oven works and I won't have to beg my neigbors, or at least I hope I'm sure.
Bowwow
post #8  on November 14, 2004 - 8:03 AM PST  
I am a terrible cook. If I were to ever host Turkey Day at my house, I would sooooo have it catered. There are lots of places that do that and they'll even deliver the stuff.

I might even pretend that I made it myself...tee hee.
kamapuaa
post #9  on November 14, 2004 - 10:32 AM PST  
> I am a terrible cook. If I were to ever host Turkey Day at my house, I would sooooo have it catered. There are lots of places that do that and they'll even deliver the stuff.
>
> I might even pretend that I made it myself...tee hee.

I'd have to hide all the KFC boxes.

I also noticed that crab season starts in the next couple days. Markets near my apartment, you can choose a live crab, they kill it for you right there, you go home and steam it up 5 minutes later.

I'll probably do some of that and so should everybody. Man it is good stuff.
IronS
post #10  on November 14, 2004 - 12:08 PM PST  
A side dish that's not too horrible: brussel sprouts cooked in butter with lemon (practically everything tastes good cooked in butter).

A side dish that I never understood the appeal of: a whole cauliflower (cooked) with cheese (velveeta or some American stuff) melted over it.

Don't forget the ambrosia salad and Cool Whip.

I'm so glad my family never had traditional Thanksgiving foods (if the above dishes are any indication of what comprises a "traditional" Thanksgiving). My mom would cook a turkey but the rest are mostly Chinese food.

Nowadays, I prefer the cranberry sauce with whole cranberries over the gel-like stuff and I whip my own cream (sweetened with some honey: orange blossom, almond, star thistle or just varietal wildflowers).
Bowwow
post #11  on November 14, 2004 - 1:13 PM PST  
> On November 14, 2004 - 12:08 PM PST IronS wrote:

>
> A side dish that I never understood the appeal of: a whole cauliflower (cooked) with cheese (velveeta or some American stuff) melted over it.
>
>

Oh, I love cauliflower with melted cheese only Velveeta is icky. A nice sharp cheddar is much better.
AFleming
post #12  on November 14, 2004 - 2:27 PM PST  
Last year my husband made this cranberry, sausage and apple stuffing recipe and it was a big hit. He left the leeks out. I even liked this stuffing and I usually really dislike stuffing. He'll be making it again this year along with the cranberry sauce recipe below.

A great cranberry sauce recipe is:
2 cups cranberries
juice and chopped zest of one orange
1/4 cup Port
1/2 cup sugar, or more if needed
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon cornstarch

In a small saucepan combine cranberries, orange juice, port, sugar and cinnamon. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmering and cook until cranberries are tender, stirring occasionally. In a small cup make a slurry with cornstarch and 1 tablespoon water. Whisk cornstarch mixture into cranberry sauce and cook, whisking, until sauce thickens. Taste and add more sugar, if necessary.

AFleming
post #13  on November 14, 2004 - 3:13 PM PST  
A Southern tradition is cornbread dressing rather than stuffing. I learned how to make my grandmother's recipe last year which is SO good. I have found that people who don't generally like stuffing, tend to like dressing. This being my grandmother's recipe (she's 77, and has been cooking this stuff for 60+ years), there are no measurements, heehee.

Make Cronbread:
2 cups corn meal mix
1 egg
2 tablespoons sugar
milk

Mix all ingredients together. Add milk until soupy. Pour into a cake pan and bake at 350 until center is firm to the touch.

Cornbread Dressing:

Cornbread
2 boiled eggs
onion (one medium)
celery (about 2 stalks)
Chicken broth
Sage
Poultry seasoning
salt
pepper

Take cooled cornbread and crumble into large mixing bowl and set aside. Chop celery and onions and saute in skillet until tender. Dice boiled eggs and add to cornbread along with the sauted onions and celery. Add sage and poultry seasoning (usually one tsp each?) to taste. Pour in chicken broth until moist (usu. about one and a half 16 oz cans). Salt and pepper to taste. Put in shallow baking pan and brown in oven for 10- 20 minutes.

Best served with gibblet gravy. Mmmm...
woozy
post #14  on November 14, 2004 - 4:43 PM PST  
> Make Cronbread:

I'd make a joke about it then being made automatically daily, but I'm probably too nerdy as it is.


A tradition of my family is cranberry sherbet made by beating egg whites and folding in sweetened cranberry sauce and freezing. I'm going to try it this year with an ice cream maker. (My grandmother would freeze in in a shallow dish and break it and fluff it with a fork ever hour or so).

I'm always surprised by the articles about how to make variations on turkey and stuffing. You'd think people don't like turkey.

I've resisting commenting because Thanksgiving dinners can be as complex or as simple as individual taste. A mistake I frequently make throwing parties is to be too ambitious and complicated. Simple turkey with bread and onion stuffing (ooh, but throw in chestnuts[!!!]) and cook according to Joy of Cooking and avoid anything fancy. Cook the gravy with the drippings (this is the drawback of brine or barbecued turkey; no gravy) directly in the roasting pan over burners by adding flour and water and whisking (tip: toss in the giblets is yummy, and is using red wine rather than water). Then traditional side dishes. Peas, or other green. Mashed potatoes.

Mmm, thanksgiving dinner....
Bowwow
post #15  on November 14, 2004 - 4:50 PM PST  
My favorite part of thanksgiving dinner is the part where all the people have eaten until they are stuffed and there are just a few pieces of the carved turkey on the platter (But there is still lots of uncarved turkey in the kitchen) and someone gets the idea that they wont have to put the carved turkey away if they feed it to the dog. That's where I step in. YUM!
woozy
post #16  on November 14, 2004 - 5:26 PM PST  
> On November 14, 2004 - 4:50 PM PST Bowwow wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> My favorite part of thanksgiving dinner is the part where all the people have eaten until they are stuffed and there are just a few pieces of the carved turkey on the platter (But there is still lots of uncarved turkey in the kitchen) and someone gets the idea that they wont have to put the carved turkey away if they feed it to the dog. That's where I step in. YUM!
> ---------------------------------

My favorite part is the turkey sandwiches later. We used to have lunch and early afternoon dinners and nothing was nicer than a turkey sandwich on sourdough before bed.

Oh. Martinelli sparkling cider and cranberry apple cider or yummy refreshing drinks.

Anyway, now that I *have* given my advice, (People love giving advice and recipes because they like their memories, more than because the reciever will like the advice), I'll give my practical advice if this is a first time hosting dinner: Keep it simple, stupid. Do NOT get thanksgiving ideas from magazines or the internet; these recipes are for making you feel creative when all you need is to feel competent. Roast turkey, stuffing, gravy (simple any recipe you want-- when in doubt, joy of cooking). A surprisingly common mistake is not having room in the oven for squash or potatoes when the turkey is in. It's embarrassing because it is so obvious afterward but somehow it is *very* easy to make.

Other than that, my only advice is don't worry. Everything *does* go right usually. Canned cranberry sauce is gross. Get a bag of cranberries (ocean spray, they freeze well if you buy them early), the world's easiest recipe is just cranberries and sugar cooked over the stove. There are a lot of better recipes usually involving orange peel. AFlemings sounds excellent. Frozen peas are totally acceptable. You can garnish with mint or pearl onions (but not both!!!). Pearl onions can be fresh steamed or canned or frozen. Side dishes don't need to be any more than your family expects. Squash, yams, or mashed potatoes. If there is one side dish you'd like to try concentrate your attention on that and let all they rest go with the flow. Guests tend to be emphatic and tradition about their traditional side dishes, assign dishes to guests that you don't want to deal with. Oh, and have appetizers before the meal but simple and not filling ones.

Bowwow
post #17  on November 14, 2004 - 5:48 PM PST  
My dirty little culinary secret is that I LOVE canned cranberry sauce. I am the only one too so I usually show up with my own can. ;)
woozy
post #18  on November 14, 2004 - 6:17 PM PST  
> On November 14, 2004 - 5:48 PM PST Bowwow wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> My dirty little culinary secret is that I LOVE canned cranberry sauce. I am the only one too so I usually show up with my own can. ;)
> ---------------------------------

I suppose it's not *that* gross. But please. Mash it with a fork so it doesn't wobble.

IronS
post #19  on November 14, 2004 - 6:22 PM PST  
I usually go to my boyfriend's family's Thanksgiving dinner. That's where they have all the dishes that make me wonder (like the cauliflower with Velveeta). Okay, why would anyone put miniature marshmallows on mashed sweet potatoes?

My contribution is usually pie and some veggie side that I can eat (steamed veggies with olive oil, salt and pepper or sometimes a Chinese Chicken Salad from Comforts in San Anselmo). I would also bring the cranberry sauce with whole cranberries (although the kids still like the gel stuff) and heavy cream and honey so that they can give Cool Whip a rest.
Bowwow
post #20  on November 14, 2004 - 6:23 PM PST  
> On November 14, 2004 - 6:17 PM PST woozy wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> > On November 14, 2004 - 5:48 PM PST Bowwow wrote:
> > ---------------------------------
> > My dirty little culinary secret is that I LOVE canned cranberry sauce. I am the only one too so I usually show up with my own can. ;)
> > ---------------------------------
>
> I suppose it's not *that* gross. But please. Mash it with a fork so it doesn't wobble.
>
>
> ---------------------------------


Haha. Every year I try to serve it so that it still has the imprint of the can which horrifies my mother. She puts it in a fancy silver bowl and mashes it so it at least *looks* acceptable.
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