So I dislike pumpkin pie as much as I dislike turkey. Luckily I normally don't have to make them ever. I saw a recipe in the NYTimes about a pumpkin pie that used butternut squash, cream and brandy to make a mousse-like filling and figured I'd give it a try. They recommend roasting the butternut squash in butter to give it a nice caramelized flavor. This is where I got the idea of blending my sweet potato pie as well since they suggested pureeing the squash in a food processor I don't have. I put a lot more spices in this one (too much, in my opinion), but the whipped cream kind of tempers the flavor of the pumpkin pie seasoning. I also used rum since that was all I had. I'd probably always use something other than pumpkin if I had to make pie with it, but I still prefer sweet potato. The frozen pie crust is also different on this one.
So it's surprisingly hard to get a piece of ham to look ok next to pie no matter how delicious it is, but maybe that's just my problem. This is the ham I mentioned in my risotto post. It came from Mosefund Mangalista and we almost didn't get to have it for dinner. It got delivered to the wrong building so I ran around like a crazy person in PJs, flip flops, coat and a winter hat with a pom pom on top to get my package from the doorman in the building 4 doors down from me. I warmed it in the oven in a pan with a bit of water in the bottom. Then I added whole cloves and a satsuma mandarin to the water as aromatics. I was going to glaze it, but no one else seemed to mind if I didn't so, yay, one less thing to do!
The sweet potato pie was made the semi-lazy way with a frozen crust, pumpkin pie spice, powdered ginger, and a dash of cayenne. I also blended (yes, I still don't have a food processor) the sweet potatoes with cream and butter this year before adding other ingredients instead of just dumping everything into the mixer. It yielded a smoother texture. I would've added the cream and butter anyway, but I think I like this whole puree thing. Also, I probably would have eaten the puree straight from the blender if I didn't have a pie to make.
I miss Penzey's cause they had the best poultry seasoning for stuffing, ever. It was moist and chock full of sage. The poultry seasoning I used from Spices and Tease on the fried chicken wasn't going to cut my stuffing requirements. So at around 9 in the morning I schlumped to Food Emporium and picked up some Bell's. Yes, Bell's, the seasoning ground so fine the minute you open the box it crawls up into your nose and goes angry wolverine on your nostrils.
So I was going to be lazy and use someone's cornbread mix but no store had any besides jiffy and some random whole wheat version. They also were out of yellow cornmeal so I used what I had left and supplemented with some corn flour (gluten free, woo). it came out pretty cake like and I added extra sugar just in case I didn't get a chance to make the cranberry sauce on my microstove. All the other stuffing bits are pretty standard and the cranberry sauce was ocean spray cranberries, sugar and water:
- 2 packs frozen sage sausage like Park's (not Jimmy Dean, plz), or one box of fresh
- bell pepper
- poultry seasoning
- extra sage (if needed)
- homemade or low sodium chicken stock
- dash of cayenne
- dried cranberries
- salt & pepper to taste
- more butter
Cook the cornbread or take it out of the package you bought to save an hour. In a large saucepan or dutch oven cook the sage sausage in slices/ pieces till brown and crisp. Set aside.
Put chopped onion in the pan with the sausage oil, or pour the oil out and put a pat of butter into the pan. Let the onions deglaze the pan and cook until translucent. Add the celery and bell pepper and cook till tender-crisp. Set aside till cooled enough to handle.
In a large bowl break apart the cornbread and the sausage. Add the sauteed veggies and seasonings. If you're not like me, you'll remember to add the cranberries now. Mix everything together. I like to use my hands to make sure the pieces are small enough. Pour enough chicken broth onto the mixture to make it slightly moist. Pack into a rectangular baking pan. If you are like me, you'll remember to put the dried cranberries in right now and have to mix the thing all over again. Pour more broth on top of the mix until you can kinda see it on the sides of the pan. Dot the top of the stuffing with pats of butter and bake until the broth is all absorbed and the top is browned and bubbly.
Mike's family has a recipe book and I normally alter something from it for the holidays. This time I added mushrooms and white truffle oil to an already tasty recipe and used a compound stock with ham and chicken to compliment the ham we got from Møsefund Mangalista (which I totally forgot to put in the picture, but I already ate the risotto so I'll put it in with something else later).
No recipe for this one, but make your basic risotto recipe and top it with a mixture of mushrooms sauteed in butter: reduce the pan sauce and add a touch of cream. I love using the microplane grater I got last year because it makes hard cheese into edible snow. Before you add the cheese drizzle a little white truffle oil on top of the whole thing then make it snow on the 'sotto.
So Thanksgiving came and went. Since I was too tired to take any pictures (or eat much of the food I cooked) yesterday I will be posting small plates of all the food I made as I get to trying them today.
First up is fried chicken and collared greens. My mom's from South Carolina, originally, and so I already had collared greens on the menu. (Fresh Direct likes to put them on sale during the holidays so I buy 8 bunches of the organic kind and call it a day).
I hate cleaning collared greens, by the way. Really puts a damper on my day having to painstakingly examine every leaf after salting then soaking since I'm a bug-o-phobe. Anyway... Wednesday evening I started the ham hocks in a big pot of water and boiled them till they fell off the bone. Then I added the greens in a lazy chiffonade (because everything I do is lazy :P) and let them cook till they were done.
Last year I did the greens Ethiopian style with this awesome butter that I didn't have time to make. I like both ways, actually.
The fried chicken was a last minute request by my mom last weekend so I added it to the menu (we had ham as the main protein). I also tried a new seasoning from Spices and Tease (special poultry) that I'm very on the fence about. I'd brought it for my stuffing, but then realized it wasn't going to work even if I added the metric ton of sage I got from them so I used it on the fried chicken.
The thighs were fried in lard (from the same place I got the ham) mixed with peanut oil. This yielded super crispy skin that lasted overnight.
collared greens and ham hocks
- 7-8 small bunches of collared greens (less if your bunches are larger, mine were about the size of a bunch of spinach)
- 2-3 ham hocks (really depends if you're just using them for the flavor or you actually want to eat some. You can also use salt pork, bacon, ham, smoked turkey necks, seasoned butter with garlic and onion, or whatever you want to give them flavor.)
- red pepper flakes
- sugar (optional) [my mom says you're supposed to add sugar in the winter since winter greens are bitter. I don't like sugar in my greens, ever)
- apple cider vinegar (to taste, or not at all)
- black pepper & salt to taste ( be careful with the salt if using any of the smoked meats)
Fill a large pot with water and add the ham hocks to it. If using other types of meats you want to brown/cook them first to intensify the flavor before adding water. Cook until water is reduced to 1/4th of its volume.
While the water is boiling, clean and chop your collared greens. You should aim to start this about an hour or so before the stock is done.
Add greens to the stock and cover with a lid. If all the greens can't fit in the pot at once just add them and wait a few minutes till they wilt then continue.
Cook until they're done. Basically, I like my greens to be soft so I cook them longer. If you like them crisper then cook them until they're deep green, but before they turn the darker, less saturated green in my picture.
Serve with hot sauce and vinegar or lemon slices.
last minute fried chicken
- 12 pieces of chicken
- Seasoning like adobo, berbere, lemon pepper, smoked paprika, garlic powder, etc
- black pepper
- lard, peanut oil, or any type of oil except coconut (it foams when you place floured items in it and will bubble all over you stove. >.<)
ash chicken in a bowl in cold water and a little vinegar. After rinsing for the last time dump all your seasonings into the bowl and work into the chicken meat. Place the chicken and any liquid left in the bottom of the bowl in a ziplock bag and place in the fridge till ready to cook.
Heat the oil of your choice in a heavy, deep pan. I use a Staub cocotte to fry my chicken in because it's got the great heat qualities of cast iron and it's tall enough that the oil won't splash all over the place.
Place about 4-6 pieces of chicken in at a time depending on their size. Cook until very crispy and golden brown.
Sometimes I brine my chicken, sometimes I use buttermilk, most times I just season and fry cause it's quicker and takes less forethought.