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pre-lunch

This year my sister and brother-in-law hosted Thanksgiving at their house and I helped make a few things! My parents, grandma, and three year-old niece were also in attendance, so it was a pretty small gathering.

The Thanksgiving Day (food) parade:

taters!

As a recent recipient of the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, Jill (of the sister variety) was stoked about making Deb’s Brown Butter Mashed Potatoes. They were really creamy and also tangy, thanks to the buttermilk! Aren’t you jealous of her bowl?

homemade green bean casserole

I had never actually had homemade green bean casserole, so I tried this recipe from Food52. It involved frying shallots which seemed (and was) pleasantly hardcore. Verdict: waaay more work than the traditional can-fest, but so much better (duh).

freshly baked

Since we had a small crowd this year, I halved the recipe for No-Knead, Overnight Dinner Rolls. Just as easy as I remember, and now I have a better photo. Score!

plate shot

I didn’t end up getting photos of every single dish, but here is the requisite plate shot.

My also vegetarian sister cooked a field roast for us, which was my first time having that. She said she overcooked it, but I thought it was pretty good! She also made her annual tasty Blue Cranberry Sauce, which, you guessed it, has blueberries in it. Probably my favorite things were her Twice-Baked Butternut Squash and our mom’s zucchini stuffing. Both had tons of flavor!

And if you saw the photo from yesterday, my bro-in-law cooked the turkey for everyone else!

pah!

Pie time! So you may have gathered that I was a bit stressed about these babies this week. Feel free to skip over the following essay. (CliffsNotes version: they were basically fine, I just need to bake a lot more pies.)

Crust: Since I had great success with Smitten Kitchen’s recipe the last pie-making experience, I used it again increasing by half for the two pies. People always say the secret to a perfect, flaky crust is to not overwork the dough. Well, I think there may be such a thing as underworking it and that that is what I did. There were pretty sizable chunks of butter that probably should have been pea-sized as per the recipe. It came out better than I was fearing, but not as good as the last time.

Fillings: Since my last apple pie involved a filling fail (not Deb’s recipe), I went with a typically solid-sounding Joy of Baking recipe. It involved macerating the apples, then draining and reducing the juice to a syrup. Since the fail resulted in a soupy pie, this was a huge selling point. As you can see below, it totally worked! Those are granny smith and braeburn apples in there, by the way.

not soupy!

As for the second one, I’m not usually a pumpkin pie fan, but found a promising recipe from Food52. This involved cooking the pumpkin puree down on the stove, then adding the rest of the ingredients (including milk and cream instead of evaporated milk), and pouring the hot filling into a cold, unbaked pie crust. You’ve probably made pumpkin pie before, so this should sound like a fancy, newfangled method. Having the filling hot is supposed to prevent cracking and also lead to a crisp crust.

Well, it didn’t quite go as planned; the filling never set as well as it should have and ended up getting some dark spots from being in the oven for so long. I didn’t realize this until the pie was baking, but the recipe calls for 1 3/4 cups of pumpkin puree while I dumped in the whole can. That was probably only 1/4 cup too much, but may have been enough to mess up the balance. (I mean, it is a “Genius Recipe” after all…) In the end, it wound up tasting a lot better than other pumpkin pies I’ve had, but the crust was soggy. Oh well!

Despite not burning, both pies managed to set off the overly-sensitive fire alarms while baking. Fun times!

whipped cream win!

My niece opted for a grilled cheese instead of the holiday fare, but while I was getting the dessert ready, she became very interested in the whipped cream. (I just added about a teaspoon of vanilla and maybe a tablespoon of maple syrup to a cup of heavy cream and softly whipped it.)

She ended up asking for a slice of apple pie and then proceeded to just eat the cream off of it. :) And then she was super hyper and wanted to swing!

swinging, part 2

Overall, this Thanksgiving was a good ‘un! It was the first time that my sister and I made most of the dishes, and everything turned out well. Phew!

Hope that everyone’s travels go/went safely and that you’re enjoying tasty leftovers. My only recipe for those? Heat and eat!

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