Friday, November 26, 2010

Turkey Day 2010

I love Thanksgiving.  For me, it marks the beginning of the holiday season and the time to officially stop hanging on to summer (I live in Texas – it’s usually sweltering when we go out for Halloween) and change the air fresheners in the house from Breezy-Hawaiian-Something-or-Other to Cinnamon-Clove-Cosiness.  There’s nothing I love more than those ridiculously strong-scented cinnamon brooms that start popping up around Halloween.

This is also the time of year when people apparently start stressing out over making the traditional holiday spread, centred on a giant dead bird.  I’ve heard all sorts of horror stories from friends who forgot to turn the oven on and ended up with a raw bird or got stuck in traffic making a last minute run to the grocery store and ended up with a tough, dry, slightly burned bird.  While I don’t know anyone personally who has deep fried a turkey and burned their house down…it happens.

Obviously, since we’re living in Texas and it’s my side of the family that is American, we celebrated Veggie style.  Now, before any Beasts out there start lamenting my poor, undernourished B, he doesn’t even like turkey.  However, I wanted him to have something that reminded him of home, so I decided to make him some elements of a traditional Sunday Roast.  The end result (without any of the tons of vegetarian sides) was this:

Unfortunately for my little baby, Thor, he did not manage to get a hold of that cowboy steak, like he did B’s roast beef sandwiches the year before.  Also, I feel that this photo needs and awesome LOLz caption, so I will change the picture to one with the best caption left in the comments section below.

Anyway, every year each person picks what they want to be responsible for, so this year, I let the perennial failures like green bean casserole and steamed asparagus with hollandaise (which never actually made it to the table, as I dropped the platter on the floor, much to the Bean’s delight) go, and focused on some staples and crowd pleasers.  My contribution was:

Tangy Tangerine Cranberry Sauce (recipe below)
Roasted Tatties (recipe below)
Decadent Chocolate Mousse (Made in a blender!)
Pumpkin Cheesecake (recipe below)
Fresh Whipped Cream (recipe below)

The first dish is a spin on a Thanksgiving classic inspired by the abundance of tangerines in our backyard.  It honestly could not be simpler, and while I didn’t take the best picture, there’s nothing that elevates your Thanksgiving dinner like the absence of those telltale rings on canned cranberry sauce.

Tangy Tangerine Cranberry Sauce

1c water
1c sugar
12 oz package fresh whole cranberries
1T tangerine juice
sliced tangerine or tangerine wedges to garnish

Mix sugar and water and bring to a boil.
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Add cranberries and bring back up to a boil.
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Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring to make sure the cranberries don’t stick and the sugar doesn’t burn.
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Add tangerine juice (or any other citrus juice you prefer).
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Simmer for 2 more minutes.
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At this point, you have two choices – if you like whole berry sauce, pour the sauce straight from the pot into a bowl and let cool to room temperature. 
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Top with a twisted slice of tangerine and refrigerate until ready to serve.
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If you prefer jellied cranberry sauce, place a sieve over a bowl, and pour the cranberry sauce (about half a sieve-full at a time) in.  Here’s where you’re going to work off some of that pumpkin pie:
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With the back of a spoon, push the cranberry sauce through the sieve, scraping out the skins and adding more sauce until you’ve separated the whole pot. 
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In the centre of your serving bowl, make a little star-shaped pattern with tangerine wedges.
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Pour the cranberry sauce into the bowl and let cool to room temperature. 
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If you have the time, make this version early in the day (or even the night before) so you can refrigerate for as long as possible.  I think this jellied sauce looks prettiest when it’s solid enough to turn out onto a plate so you get that pretty star pattern and glossy jelly sheen.
· · ·
The number one thing to remember is that homemade cranberry sauce is very different from the canned stuff…it’s actually sauce that you will spoon onto your plate rather than cutting like a loaf of bread.  This is a good thing.

Roasted Tatties

These are a staple of any Sunday roast, and – made properly – little fluffy, crunchy bits of heaven.

2 lbs baby red potatoes
½ cup canola oil

Bring a pot of water to a boil (no salt, please!).
· · ·
Pour oil into a baking sheet or any pan with a lip and heat in oven at 400° F.
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Peel the potatoes and add to boiling water.
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This next bit is rather inexact, and will take practice:
You want to cook the potatoes so that the outer layer is a bit translucent, but the inside is still solid.
Basically, when you remove the potatoes from the water, you’re going to drain them and then shake the colander about to fluff up the outer layer.  Boil them too long, and when you shake them, they’ll turn to mashed potatoes.  Capice?
· · ·
Gently spoon fluffed up potatoes into the hot oil (get those mushed bits too – they’ll be wonderfully crisp) and spoon the hot oil over the potatoes, coating evenly.

Keep “basting” the potatoes every few minutes, gently turning them so that all sides get evenly brown.
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When they are golden brown, remove from the oven and transfer to a paper towel-lined platter.
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Sprinkle with salt, and smother with gravy, if you are so inclined.

Okay, I know I promised all of the dessert recipes as well, but I went out Black Friday shopping this morning, and am utterly exhausted.  I promise I will post the recipes later, but for now, I need a nap!  

Here are some pictures of what's to come...

1 comment:

  1. I wish for the great of success in all of our destiny endeavors