Blog of an aspiring foodie

Thoughts on Thanksgiving – and Top Chef

Posted by beer_chris on 29-November-2008

Just a couple of quick notes.

Did a smoked turkey this year. Although I have been singing the smoked turkey praises for weeks now I think my previous experience in doing it for a dinner party – and not a holiday – may have jaded me. Since the BBQ places are closed on Thanksgiving day the turkey must be stored in the refrigerator for a full day and then completely reheated. This dries it out and completely occupies the oven for a long time (our instructions said 2 hours reheat time) at a pretty useless temperature (200 degrees) for other things.

Did gingerbread stuffing again. Has onions, apples and bacon in it. Nigella’s guidance is to puree the ingredients in a food processor. Next time I do this I’ll spend the time and chop the pieces myself. The ‘mush’ melts away, and it’s hard to recognize what’s left as stuffing at all.

Did the mac and cheese recipe from the Kraft website. Easy bechamel, adding velveeta to make the cheese sauce. Ritz crackers on top – processed food goodness. Yum.

Did usual ATK green bean casserole recipe with the homemade mushroom soup. Simply stunning. I love this recipe so much.

Finished off my meal with my ‘improved’ grocery store egg nog, although this time I used rye whiskey instead of makers. It was tasty, but I got myself a little tipsy. I was so exhausted, drunk and stuffed by the end of the day I ended up ill. Perhaps not the best way to finish off Thanksgiving. I’ll probably dial back the liquor when I make this again.

Made apple pie using 100% Granny Smith (this gave it a nice apple bite) and a recipe with a limited amount of sugar. Crust was a cornmeal crust in a Southern Living magazine I picked up on a whim at the store a few months ago. I started at 425 as directed – but never lowered to 350. I opened oven 2 hours (!) later to find top of pies burning. However, crust held nicely, and pies were not overcooked – aside from a little blackening on the top of one of them.

Cornmeal crust is a winner – here’s the recipe for it and the pie:

Cornmeal Crust (makes a double crust)

2 ⅓ cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup plain yellow cornmeal
2 tbsp sugar
¾ tsp salt
¾ cup cold butter
¼ cup shortening
8-10 tbsp apple cider (I used more, and it was still dry)

This is made using what they call a ‘mound, moisten, move and gather’ method, which avoids stirring and results in really large chunks of butter and shortening in the final product. However, 10 tbsp was not close to enough cider. I used more likely a bit more than 1/4 cup and still had issues rolling it out. Rolling out is done using the two sheets of wax paper method.

Recipe from Southern Living Volume 43, Number 9 (September 2008), p.120, Shirley Harrington

Busted Tees guy is out on Top Chef, although I can’t feel like perhaps he shouldn’t have been the on eliminated this week. I’m liking the bossy blond guy, seems skilled if not a little ambitious.

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