Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thanksgiving Hangover

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Well, it's finally over...the first of the holiday feasts. Now we recover and prepare for the onset of holiday parties. But let's first recap turkey day.
We noshed before the feast on home made pimento cheese and a pumpkin dip. My personal pimento cheese recipe follows as does the pumpkin. At Williams Sonoma every fall, we sell pecan pumpkin butter. It is delicious spread on a piece of toast or bagel. We also offer recipes for pumpkin bars and cake. But this crazy dip is the most popular. It's Nic's favorite, so I obliged.
The turkey was fresh and organic. I opted to not brine it as I have done for years, but instead I slathered it with the brining mixture like a dry rub, sealed it and let it sit for 2 days in the fridge. I rinsed it well and stuffed it with fresh herbs and apples. My 17 pound bird cooked in about 3 and a half hours. It could have used another 30 minutes. It was cooked, but the dark meat wasn't falling off the bones. I made NO stock from the carcass this year. Not a drop. My freezer doesn't have a single freezer container of leftovers.
Of course we had stuffing, a sweet potato casserole with sugared pecans, creamed pearl onions and popovers.
Dessert was pie, of course. We did a pumpkin made with Williams Sonoma pumpkin butter in a graham crust, and pecan in my own crust. I used Lyle's golden syrup instead of Karo for pecan pie. My theory was that not so many years ago Karo was nothing but pure cane syrup. Now, it's light corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, salt and vanilla. Lyle's is pure cane syrup. Why are the Europeans the only ones keeping food pure? Google high fructose corn syrup and you'll avoid it too. But it is everywhere. Soda, ketchup, syrup, pretty much anything liquid and sweet. The pecan pie was fabulous, although the crust wasn't great. For some reason I bought self-rising flour. I used that and it made an ultra-flaky but not great crust. But if you add enough whipped cream, a store bought tastes okay too.

Pumpkin Butter Spread
1 block cream cheese
1/2 jar pumpkin butter
8 pieces bacon cooked crisp
4 green scallions chopped
Soften cream cheese and spread in dish. Top with pumpkin butter and crumbled bacon and scallions. Pretty easy.

Susie's Pimento Cheese
2 lbs sharp cheddar
1 lb extra sharp white cheddar
1 block cream cheese
2 T grated onion
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 cup mayonnaise
Grate cheese, I use my Cuisinart, then toss in stand mixer bowl. Add all ingredients and mix well. Pack in jars and chill. It's best after a day or so, and needs to come to room temp to serve. This isn't creamy cheese, it can be made more creamy with the addition of mayo.
So on to baking cookies, making hors'd oeuvres and decking the halls. 'Tis the season...

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