Thursday, December 2, 2010

Thankful Thursday

After a great weekend with parents and a delicious meal with great company, I'm finally here to thank you for reading by sharing some good eats ;) 

The spread

You may have heard that  Kerstin and I split up cooking-duty for the big meal.   It worked out so well, I felt like I didn't have enough to do (aka was relaxed the whole day)!  My cranberry sauce and apple pear crisp was cooked ahead of time.  I cubed the butternut squash the night before, and did the rest leisurely the day of!    I've had a couple of l-o-n-g days in lab and am way overtired, so I'll leave you to the pictures and recipes!

Maple Brown Sugar Cranberry Sauce
adapted from Baking Bites

I loved the way the dried cherries plumped up in this.  I made a double batch for Thanksgiving, and have even made it one more time as I wanted more :)

12oz fresh cranberries
1/2c maple syrup (I'd recommend Grade B)
3/4c brown sugar (mine was unpacked, but pack it if you'd like it a little sweeter)
1/2c water
1/2c dried tart cherries
zest of 1 orange
1/2t vanilla extract (I didn't measure and was a bit heavy-handed with this...  again, adjust to your tastes!)

Combine all ingredients except vanilla in medium saucepan.  Heat over medium-high heat until cranberries begin to pop, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until cranberries have broken down (feel free to use a shorter amount of time if you'd prefer more whole berries).

Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla.  Let cool, then store in an airtight container in the fridge until ready to serve.

Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes
recipe by Shannon

Some people prefer smooth, whipped potatoes, while others like it chunky, adjust the preparation as you see fit!

2 heads of garlic
3lb yukon gold potatoes, peeled if desired (I peeled about half)
4oz mascarpone
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1-2T fresh chopped rosemary

Preheat oven to 350deg.  Cut the top ends of the garlic off, so you're left with the tops of the garlic cloves exposed, but the head still intact.  Wrap garlic in aluminum foil and bake for ~1hr, until the garlic is browned and soft.  When cool enough to handle, squeeze out the roasted garlic cloves (removing any tough parts of the outer skin).  Set aside.  Can be done ahead, and refrigerated until use.

Cut potatoes into equal sized pieces (mine were ~3/4").  Place into a large pot and cover with cold water.  Place potatoes over high heat and bring to a boil.  Cook until potatoes are fork-tender.  Drain, then return potatoes to the pot and back on the burner (which is now turned off!).  Add roasted garlic and mascarpone and mash.  Season with salt and pepper, to taste.  Add in some liquid to get the texture you desire and then stir in chopped rosemary and serve!

Maple-Braised Butternut Squash w/Thyme
adapted slightly from Bon Appetit

I slightly adjusted the amounts so I'll list those here, and send you to Bon Appetit for the instructions as I followed them exactly!

4T butter (I used Earth Balance)
1 4lb butternut squash, peeled and cut into ~3/4" cubes
1 1/4c broth (veggie or chicken)
1/3c pure maple syrup (Grade B)
1T fresh thyme, minced
1t coarse kosher salt
1/4t freshly ground black pepper

There really was fruit under there :)

Apple Pear Crisp
Recipe by Shannon
Serves 10-12

Crisp Topping:
1/3c ground ginger snaps (I used ginger cats)
1c rolled oats
1/2c flour (AP or white whole wheat)
2/3c sucanat (or brown sugar)
1/2t ground cinnamon
1/3c chopped pecans
6-8T butter, softened (I used 6T Earth Balance)

1lb bosc pears, cored and sliced  (~1/2" thick)
2 lb apples, cored and sliced (~1/2" thick), I used a mix of Honeycrisp and Macouns
1/2c evaporated cane juice
vanilla (I used vanilla sugar, but you could use a little extract or some seeds from a vanilla bean)
1/2t ground cinnamon
1/2c dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 350deg.

Add the ingredients (except butter) for the crumb topping in a small bowl and mix well.  Cut butter into small cubes, and then add to bowl.  Mix together with a fork until it achieves a crumble-y consistency.

In a large bowl, toss together filling ingredients and pour into a 9x13 pan.  Cover with topping and bake for ~30min, until apples are fork tender and the juices are bubbling.  Let cool for at least 10-15min before serving.  Can be done ahead of time and warmed up in the oven before serving.  We had ours with pumpkin pie (hehe), but feel free to serve it with a scoop of butternut ice cream!

If you celebrated Thanksgiving, what was your favorite part of the meal this year?? 


Lauren said...

This post makes me want Thanksgiving dinner all over again ;).

Typically, turkey is my least favorite item on the plate... but my brother smoked a turkey this year and it was the absolute best I've ever had! No basting, butter-coated cheesecloth, or brining required.

Pies, of course, are an all-time favorite of mine... so a taste of pumpkin, blueberry, and apple crumble pie were also highlights of the meal.

Faith @ lovelyascharged said...

Nicely done! I love that I see a pizza in the background...priceless ;)

Unknown said...

Faith- hehe, that's actually some bruschetta in the background, not pizza!

Fun and Fearless in Beantown said...

I love that you and Kerstin split the cooking duties. Both of you sound like it was a relaxing time, which is important!

Anonymous said...

These are terrific dishes for Thanksgiving! I love this recipe for cranberry sauce with the addition of cherries, maple syrup, and brown sugar, yum!

Bridget said...

Looks beautiful!! Glad you had a fun dinner with your family and Kerstin!
Love the squash recipe, I'll have to remember that one, and the mashed potatoes look soooo good!

Elina (Healthy and Sane) said...

So much yummy food. You are the best Thanksgiving guest!!
I'm definitely making that cranberry sauce this weekend. You had me at dried cherries ;)

Delicious Dishings said...

Ha ha. I love how there's so much crisp topping you can barely find the fruit... that's my kind of dessert!

Mary Ellen said...

I am so incredibly jealous of your amazing Thanksgiving meal. That shot of all the food on the table is making me so hungry! I'm definitely saving these recipes for next year, when my mother promised me I can cook the holiday dinner :)

Meghan@travelwinedine said...

I loved the homemade cranberry sauce and stuffing. Yum!

Kelly said...

I saw that on her blog! I love that you split the duties. Not only does it sound relaxing, but then you each get to do what you are passionate about. Too fun.

Kerstin said...

I shouldn't have read this before lunch - everything was SO good and now my mouth is watering :) I'm definitely making the cranberry sauce at some point, not the crisp though because then I'd eat the whole thing - haha. :)

Joanne said...

I LOVED reading about your awesome feast with kerstin! Sounds crazy fun. I would love to hang out with the two of you.

All of these sound amazing and I will definitely be trying both that sauce and that squash!

Rosiecat24 said...

Hey, I've got an extra bag of cranberries that need a home! Your sauce looks perfect here, especially because I love (LOVE!) dried cherries. I eat them on oatmeal now almost every morning.

Happy holidays, my dear. For Christmas, I hope you get some rest! :-P

Lisa (bakebikeblog) said...

My oh my - I am so very impressed with all those creative (and no doubt delicious) dishes!!!

Anonymous said...

Great recipes...I love anything with cherries, they as so much to any recipe. I have been adding a dash of cherry juice concentrate to my recipes to experiment, it really adds flavor. Great way especially for desserts. The glass bottle cherry juice from Traverse Bay Farms really adds to the flavor with no sediment.

Unknown said...

What a display of flavor. I loved every dish you had. We had lamb this year and it was divine. My favorite was probably the sweet potato curry mash. I love anything curry.

Reeni said...

Everything looks delicious Shannon! You have a little bit of a maple theme going on here that I love!

We Are Not Martha said...

I could probably eat that entire dish of butternut squash :) Everything looks absolutely awesome! Glad you had a happy Thanksgiving :)


Beth said...

I think this is the most beautiful Thanksgiving post I've seen! The cranberries, the squash and the crisp all look amazing. What a meal!

sophia said...

My favorite meal of TG was the corn pudding. I love that your cranberry sauce had both fresh and dried in it!

You're really making me wish it was TG again, Shannon!

Danielle said...

Everything looks really good & healthy, thanks for the recipes(: My favorite part of thanksgiving this year was probably the dessert.. but thats always my favorite part!

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