Thanksgiving/Birthday 2010 is over

Our Thanksgiving holiday was really big because of my daughter having her birthday on the day this year. It’s always a tough week, but with it all “occurring” on the same one day every so often,  it’s a much harder job to pull off.

I made two turkeys (pastured, fresh from a farm) ahead of time, roasted & sliced & packaged. I made stock from one carcass beforehand, and had the other carcass in the pot through to the afternoon on Thursday. I made most of the sides on Thursday.

The day before I made pies, and also setup pastry, onions, bacon & Emmentaler (actually from Switzerland) cheese to make quiche. I covered that with ‘press & seal’ and put it into the refrigerator. In the morning, on Thanksgiving Day, I took that out and mixed 4 eggs with 2 cups of cream and cayenne pepper, poured that into the pastry shell, then put that into the oven to bake. Then I made mini muffins that had cheddar cheese, dried cranberries, sage & green onions in them. (recipe I found on Whole Foods website, but I’m not linking, I changed it, don’t like there entire recipe.)

That was a very nice Thanksgiving morning breakfast. I normally don’t go to so much effort, but the way I did things, making the pies at the same time,  it was easy enough to make pastry for quiche and get the other ingredients into it and refrigerate for later use. (that’s a method I’ve used before, making the day before, for quick put together for baking in the morning.) I used to make quiche fairly often, but the last few+ years I haven’t made it even once, until this week.

The quiche was a big hit with my eldest, 14 year old boy. He loves it, used to love it, he said too. My two youngest (10 years, 3 years — both boys) didn’t like it … wouldn’t eat it. My birthday daughter liked it, I think.

The mini-muffins were great. My daughter and my eldest son and I raved about them. It was a recipe needs tweaked a bit more, if I can get that done I’ll post it. Not sure when I’ll try that, they are special, not something to make “just any time”.

After breakfast I went about making a chocolate cake and cream cheese frosting for my daughters (12th) birthday celebration. I have a new Shannon Crystal cake platter which was a delight to use. I used a certain recipe for the cake, and upped the butter content as well as the chocolate content. Most recipes use 4 oz. of melted chocolate or 1/2 cup of cocoa. I used both amounts. 🙂 Very chocolately, semi-dry, lovely flavor, crumb. Not gooey, not soft, more dry and firm but still “cake”. We liked it, the “we” being me, my 14-yo & my 12-yo. Interesting, I’ll have to compare what I did with more chocolate cake recipes and figure out an even better cake.

Decoration for the cake was white “pearl” nonpareils that I found in Target’s Christmas baking section. 5.1 oz container $2.99 I used 1/8 of the bottle to sprinkle the top of the cake with a seeming “ton” of white pearls. It was very pretty.

When the cake was done I started other things for Thanksgiving Dinner, like I made gravy, got the sweet potatoes mashed (baked the night before, in their skins) which entailed peeling their skins off, then mashing … then making them into sweet potato casserole by adding brown sugar, pineapple chunks & juice, and cinnamon & melted butter. I don’t use a recipe, just throw it in on the fly.

I made green bean casserole using organic frozen green beans (french cut), crispy onions (another brand), and my recipe for the base (basically a white sauce with some added thing for flavor.) I mixed that up and bake it, then add more crispy onions on the top for the last 5 minutes of oven time.

I also made a cheddar cheese sauce to put over a cooked whole cauliflower head. (Something I make for most holiday meals.) It is one of my favorite things to eat.

We also had mashed potatoes (with sour cream instead of milk, for special) and two kinds of turkey gravy, dark and light (has to do with the roux, cooked longer it browns, gravy takes on the color of your roux.) I made dough for rolls and tried something new (my mini-muffins above were made with my brand-new mini-muffin pan, never had one before) — a small ball of dough in each mini-muffin hole. Then with the rest of the dough I thought of Parker House shape, but then went nuts and made something new.

The mini-muffin rolls turned out when baked as something that reminded me of something else. The other rolls reminded my daughter of something as I shaped them. So they are named:

1-up Mushroom Rolls (after Super Mario 1-up Mushroom) There are no real mushrooms in this roll (no mushrooms allowed in my house, I’m allergic to them.)

Tom-Kitten Rolls (after Beatrix Potter story, when rats roll Tom Kitten in dough with a pat of butter.)  For these I shaped them like this: Take a small piece of dough, flatten it into an oblong strip. Put a small pat of butter on one end and fold that end towards the middle and the other end towards the middle on top (thirds). Then take one opposite side and fold to the middle, then other other opposite side towards the middle and place on sheet pan covered with parchment paper.  I made different sizes of this and they were wonderful. Small and larger and even larger.

The stuffing I made was wonderful (the batch I had in the bird), but I forgot to reheat it for our big dinner! I couldn’t believe it when I realized that. It’s the thing I love about Thanksgiving the most. My husband put it the right way. “Your stuffing is my green bean casserole.” Well said.

So I threw it in the oven, then had a little bit so much later, couldn’t eat much since I ate my dinner as slowly as I could, waiting for the stuffing, but stuffed myself too easily anyhow. Sigh.

We had leftovers of all that for supper last night. It was really good then too. My favorite thing to do is what I call “Thanksgiving Stuffing Scramble” (I’ll make some for lunch today. It’s main part is, of course, stuffing. I use a skillet, melt lots of butter, add the stuffing, stir around as it heats up and sizzles and browns a bit. Then I add turkey bits and gravy, no over-mixing, letting it all heat up. Add some cranberry sauce on the side (yes, the jelly stuff in a can. I like it for the flavor and the cold smoothness of texture it adds.) Yum!

I also baked some stuffing in casserole dishes and saved that in the freezer for later. Then I made some with sausage. That’s in the fridge for sooner. I put red pepper flakes in it too. Whoo! It’s tasty, a bit heat oriented, but not tooooo much.

We ate no pie on Thanksgiving Day. (with dinner at about 4:30pm and a birthday party later, we didn’t want anything else.)

We had pumpkin pie for breakfast the day after though. I make my pies with organic canned pumpkin, and follow the Nourish Tradition’s method of putting it all together. Lemon peel, lots of eggs, grated ginger (though I didn’t do that part this year) & I add bourbon where the recipe says “brandy” I have bourbon always on hand. 🙂

My choice was using Wild Turkey Rare Breed Vanilla’d, which is something I made a couple of years ago. I bought the bottle, added two large vanilla beans and put it in a closet where it would never get any light and left it there for several months. It’s very nice. Very nice indeed.

So anyhow, the pumpkin pie is spicy, spicy, spicy, kicked up! Served with sweet raw whipped cream, yummy!

I also made an apple pie, still uneaten, not for long though. Then there is one more pumpkin pie waiting too.

Now it’s Christmas Season. So much to do again. 🙂

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