Sunday, December 14, 2014

Thanksgiving Menu-2014

I am very tardy getting this post out since it's all about Thanksgiving! However, we were away for the holiday visiting family and I was too busy having fun to work on my blog. I think that's a reasonable excuse. I cooked this meal in the beach house we rented out in San Diego and I have to say it was somewhat heavenly taking occasional breaks from the meal preparation to gaze out over the Pacific. I wanted to try a lot of make ahead dishes this year since I was cooking in an unfamiliar kitchen and also because I wanted to enjoy Thanksgiving day! I neglected to take a picture of the Kale Salad but it was a winner. The majority of the recipes have been adapted from the New York Times Essential Thanksgiving site. I also loved Mark Bittman's Make Ahead Gravy and will never go nuts making gravy at the last minute again. So, here's our Thanksgiving menu just in time for Hanukkah or Christmas :-)

Herb Roasted Turkey
Make Ahead Gravy
Mashed Potato Casserole with Sour Cream and Chives
Two-Way Stuffing with Mushrooms and Bacon
Sweet Potato Casserole
Green Bean Casserole
Lemon-Garlic Kale Salad

Brownies with Vanilla Ice Cream

Prosecco and Pinot Noir

Ready for the oven

Carved by my son ;-)

Two Way Stuffing

Potatoes with Sour Cream and chives

Sweet Potato Casserole

Green Bean Casserole

  1. Simple Roast Turkey
  2. TIME
    3 1/2 hours, plus 1 to 3 days’ standing
    10 to 12 servings
    1 turkey
    (10 to 12 pounds) 

    Coarse kosher salt
    1 tablespoon black pepper
    1 lemon, zested and quartered
    1 bunch fresh thyme or rosemary
    1 bunch fresh sage
    12 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled  apple cider (12 ounces) Dry white wine, as needed
    2 onions, peeled and quartered
    3 bay leaves
    Olive oil or melted butter, as needed

    Remove any giblets from the cavity and reserve for stock or gravy. Pat turkey and turkey neck dry with paper towel; rub turkey all over with 1/2 teaspoon salt per pound of turkey, the pepper and the lemon zest, including the neck. Transfer to a 2-­gallon (or larger) resealable plastic bag. Tuck herbs and 6 garlic cloves inside bag. Seal and refrigerate on a small rimmed baking sheet (or wrapped in another bag) for at least 1 day and up to 3 days, turning the bird over every day (or after 12 hours if brining for only 1 day).
    Remove turkey from bag and pat dry with paper towels. Place turkey, uncovered, back on the baking sheet. Return to the refrigerator for at least 4 hours and up to 12 hours to dry out the skin (this helps crisp it).
    When you are ready to cook the turkey, remove it from the refrigerator and allow it to come to room temperature for one hour.
    Heat oven to 450 degrees. In the bottom of a large roasting pan, add the cider and enough wine to fill the pan to a 1/4-­inch depth. Add half the onions, the remaining 6 garlic cloves and the bay leaves. Stuff remaining onions and the lemon quarters into the turkey cavity. Brush turkey skin generously with oil or melted butter.
    Place turkey, breast side up, on a roasting rack set inside the roasting pan. Transfer pan to oven and roast 30 minutes. Cover breast with aluminum foil. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and continue roasting until an instant-­read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of a thigh reaches 165 degrees, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours more.  I kept adding apple cider to the the roasting pan so it didn't get all dark and burned like. Transfer turkey to a cutting board to rest for 30 minutes before carving. 
  3. Mashed Potato
    Casserole With Sour
    Cream and Chives
    This makes a A LOT so if you want lots of  leftovers or are serving a crowd it's great. Otherwise, cut the recipe in half.
    12 to 14 servings
    14 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, and more for the pan
    6 pounds russet or Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
    2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt 1 1/2 cups sour cream
    1 teaspoon black pepper
    6 tablespoons finely chopped chives

    2/3 cup bread crumbs
    2/3 cup grated Parmigiano-­Reggiano cheese

    Lightly grease a 9-­inch-­by-­13-­inch baking pan.
    In a large pot, bring the potatoes, 4 quarts water and 2 tablespoons salt to a boil. Boil potatoes until fork tender, about 20 minutes. Drain.
    Mash potatoes with 10 tablespoons butter, sour cream, 1 teaspoon salt and the pepper. (If you have a food mill or ricer, now is the time to use it; push the potatoes through and then gently combine them with the butter, sour cream, salt and pepper.) Mash in the chives. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary. Spread potatoes into the prepared pan. At this point you can cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
    In a small bowl, combine the remaining 4 tablespoons butter, bread crumbs and cheese. Mix together until it forms coarse crumbs. Crumbs can be refrigerated for three days.
    Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Sprinkle crumbs over the top of the potato casserole and bake until golden and crisp, 30 to 40 minutes.
  4. Two-­Way Stuffing With Mushrooms and Bacon
    2 to 2 1/2 hours
    8 to 10 servings
    3 tablespoons melted butter, more as needed for greasing pan
    1 1/2 pounds sliced white bread
    1/2 pound thick-­cut bacon
    2 large leeks, trimmed and sliced (3 cups)
    1 1/2 pounds mixed mushrooms, cut into bite-­size pieces 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

    3/4 teaspoon black pepper
    2 tablespoons chopped sage
    1/2 cup dry white wine
    1 1/4 cups chicken stock, more as needed 1/4 cup apple cider, if using white bread
    3 tablespoons chopped parsley

    Heat oven to 250 degrees. Butter a 9-­by-­13-­inch baking pan. Trim the crusts from the white bread and cut into 1-­inch cubes. Spread the bread pieces out on one or two large baking sheets. Toast in the oven, tossing occasionally, until very dry, about 30 minutes for white bread. Transfer to a large bowl to cool. Increase oven temperature to 375 degrees.
    In a large skillet over medium-­high heat, cook the bacon strips until crisp. Transfer to a paper-­towel-­lined plate to drain, leaving the fat in the pan. Add the leeks to the bacon fat and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, 5 to 10 minutes. Add the mushrooms, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Cook, tossing frequently, until mushrooms are tender and most of their juices have evaporated, 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in the sage and cook 1 minute. Add the wine and cook until it evaporates, about 2 minutes.
    Spoon the mushroom mixture over the dried bread. Stir in stock. Stir in the cider. Add parsley, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. The mixture should be moist and very soft. If you like your stuffing extremely moist, add enough stock to make it seem slightly soggy but not wet. (Think pudding.) Crumble bacon and stir it in.
    Transfer the bread mixture to the prepared baking pan. You can refrigerate at this point and finish and bake later. Drizzle 3 tablespoons melted butter over the stuffing. Bake until golden, 35 to 45 minutes. 

Mark Bittman's Make Ahead Gravy
This is a keeper!

1 stick butter
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup flour
Salt and pepper
4 to 5 cups rich stock, warmed Turkey drippings and giblets, optional
Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat, then add onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle the flour on the onions, stirring constantly, and cook until flour is golden to brown. Adjust heat so mixture does not burn.
Gradually whisk in 4 cups stock until mixture thickens and is smooth. If it is too thick, add liquid. Cool, cover and chill.
When ready to serve, reheat mixture over low heat, stirring. Scrape bottom of turkey pan and add drippings or giblets to gravy. Taste and adjust seasoning, then serve.

Lemon Garlic Kale Salad

2 cups sliced almonds
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (from 2 to 4 lemons)
Kosher salt
1 1/2 cups extra-­virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, crushed with the flat side of a knife, peeled and left whole
10 to 12 ounces washed and dried kale leaves, thick stems removed (if using prewashed trimmed kale, buy 3 clamshell containers)
1 1/2 cups freshly grated Parmesan (optional)
In a toaster oven or skillet, toast almonds until golden brown and fragrant. Set aside to cool.
In a bowl, combine lemon juice and 1 heaping teaspoon salt. Slowly whisk in olive oil. Add garlic cloves and set aside to steep.
Working in batches, cut the kale into thin ribbons: gather a large handful of leaves, bunch together tightly, and use the other hand to slice into 1/4-­inch-­ thick pieces. This need not be done very precisely or neatly; the idea is to end up with a kind of slaw. (Recipe can be made up to this point 1 day ahead. Keep kale and dressing refrigerated separately.)
Place chopped kale in a very large bowl. Sprinkle surface with almonds and then with cheese, if using. Remove and discard garlic cloves from dressing. Pour half the dressing over the salad and toss. Taste for dressing and salt and add more as needed, tossing to coat thoroughly. Serve within 1 hour. 

Sweet Potato Casserole
  • 4 large sweet potatoes
  • 1/2 cup canned coconut milk
  • 1 Tbsp. coconut oil
  • 1-2 Tbsp. maple syrup
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • juice of half an orange
Pecan topping
  • 3/4 cup chopped raw pecans
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp melted coconut oil
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. While water comes to a boil, peel and dice sweet potatoes into large chunks.
2. Add sweet potato chunks to water. Boil until fork tender--about 10 minutes.
3. Drain potatoes, then dump them back in the large pot with all the other ingredients. Using a hand mixer, blend until potatoes reach desired consistency and flavor. (You may like to add a little more coconut milk, spices, or syrup based on your taste.)
4. In a small bowl, combine all topping ingredients until pecans are well coated.
5. Dump sweet potatoes into an oven safe dish and top with pecans.
6. Bake in preheated oven until topping is browned--about 15 minutes. Serve warm.

Green Bean Casserole


    • 1 (10 3/4 ounce) cans cream of mushroom soup
    • 3/4 cup milk
    • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
    • 2 (9 ounce) packages French style green beans, thawed
    • 1 1/3 cups French-fried onions, divided


  1. Combine soup, milk and pepper in a 1 1/2 -quart baking dish; stir until blended.
  2. Stir in beans and 2/3 cup French Fried Onions.
  3. Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes or until hot. Stir.
  4. Sprinkle with remaining 2/3 cup onions.
  5. Bake 5 minutes or until onions are golden.