Friday, November 23, 2012

More pie?

Last year I found out (finally) that my DH's favorite pie is PECAN!  He's not much on sweets anyway, so this was a suprise.  He pointed out today that his favorite pie is made of mostly sugar..funny how that works!  This year for dinner at the in-laws house I decided to make a different pecan pie than I did last year..

Of course with my mom not here to help me...I cheated again and used a pre-made pie crust!

First whisk the eggs, and not quite as vigorously as I was whisking the gravy last night...

Then add the light brown sugar

and the dark brown sugar

whisk again

Add the next 5 ingredients

finally stir in the chopped pecans and bake at 350 for 55 minutes (and don't forget to set the timer like I did!!!


Thursday, November 22, 2012

The big day is upon us!

Happy Turkey day!!  It's almost 9 am...and the coffee is brewing!  Time to make a quick breakfast for my DH then I'm going to start on the prep work for the Stuffing. If I had more room in my refrigerator I would have done some last night...cause this is gonna take a lot of work!!!

Ok, in re-reading the recipe for the I should have gotten up at 7...oh well no turning back time...let's dive in...

Cube the sourdough,

Chop 6 cups of onion

Chop 2 cups of celery

3 pounds of granny smith apples (peeled cored and cubed of course)

2 pounds of parsnips peeled and cubed

Now to start cooking everything!

Toast the bread in the oven, cook the sausage, saute the veggies, then saute the apples, and then more butter and the parsnips...more butter and the fresh sage!  Then mix it all together!

Stuff the turkey (after patting it dry, and finding the giblet bag...SO THAT's where it is! hee hee)

Put the rest in a buttered dish (glad I have another dinner to go to...cause this made a LOT!)

Then we started the gravy,

and the turkey glaze!

While that was cooking I finished up the cranberry relish!  My dad says it's just like what his mom used to make!  Best compliment ever!!!

Then before we knew it an hour had passed and it was time to glaze the turkey!

And then it's time for a short break....when we return it will be time for prepping the cauliflower, carrots and potatoes!

Of course during that little break my mom took Fergus on a walk...and while she was gone the turkey was done...heee I got to chopping again and got the cauliflower

Salt, pepper and the garlic with rosemary all mixed together!

And the carrots going

And of course I forgot to start the potatoes...

Luckily I always cube my potatoes instead of just they were ready a lot faster than we thought!  And then there was the "we forgot the rolls" moment...but mom got those rolled out and rising!

Once everything was in the oven I started the gravy with the all important Applejack Brandy...and had a bit of an accident...lets just say that roux burns really badly when you splash it (think hot marshmallows that doesn't come off) on your face, chest and hand...a quick douse in the sink, and a bit of first aid from my DH and I was back to cooking.   

All in all it was a long, wonderful day in the kitchen!
I did THIS!!!

Happy Thanksgiving, from my family, to yours!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

If you're gonna go, go all out!

Today of all days I am thinking about how thankful I am that I have a house, a beautiful kitchen thanks to my wonderful DH, and money to spend on food so that I can create an over-the-top meal for my family.  The prompt for this was my adventure over the last few days looking for Apple Brandy.  It seems simple, but no, for some reason no store around me carries it...which is why I decided to call around to various liquor stores to find this one elusive ingredient that I need for the gravy...and I did find it finally...which is why after work today I drove downtown to Berbiglia's to get their one and only bottle of Applejack Brandy that they were sooo nice to put on hold for me!

I know it seems semi-insane to go to such lengths to find one ingredient when I'm sure a simple Brandy would have been just as good...but I wanted everything to be perfect, and seems how I did find it, I'm gonna use it more than once!

Now that everything is as it should be, it's time to make some apple pie.  And not just any apple pie.  I'm making a salted caramel apple pie...everything except the crust is from scratch...cause doing a crust on my own would be cause for a super stressful evening with my DH.

This is definitely a gather-then-go situation...

Combine the sugar and water and cook over low heat till dissolved

Add the butter and bring to a slow boil, continue cooking until a golden brown or copper color. This takes FOREVER, and I mean I stood at the stove for an hour and a half waiting on this stuff...

Remove from heat and add heavy cream (watch the steam)

Whisk the mixture over low heat and sprinkle in the sea salt (I used my pink Spice Agent salt because I could).  After this actually turned out, because at one point my caramel looked like this...

And I could have easily panicked! Instead I just added the cream and said to heck with the color...then put on nice clothes and my DH took me out to dinner, and to the store so I could pick up a few things I missed on my original shopping trip...

One hour + later...

Now on to the filling, again gather then go!

Having a mandolin makes the slicing really easy, and is something my DH is great at doing!!!

Dredge all of the apple slices in the lemon juice to prevent browning and set aside.
Rolling the lemon before slicing helps get all the juice out!

In another bowl combine the sugar, flour, spices and bitters.

Sprinkle this over the apple slices and gently toss with your hands to coat. Make sure you take any jewelry off...cause this stuff sticks to everything! But on the plus side your hands smell great afterword!

Time to assemble the pie. Like an apple pie lasagna!

1/3 apples, and take the time to arrange them to reduce gaps. 1/3 caramel sauce...

repeat two more times reserving a bit of the caramel for the top of the pie.

Put the top crust on the pie...oh sooo much easier said than done!!!  I guess my crust was too thawed...and came apart and looks horrible...whatever, I'm sure it will taste awesome and that's what counts right?  I will get it right one of these days!!!

Brush the crust with the beaten egg, then lightly sprinkle with raw sugar and sea salt (again I used the pink salt)

Bake for 20 minutes at 375-400 then reduce temperature to 325-350 and continue baking for 25-35 minutes.

Let it cool then refrigerate till ready to serve!
Turned out kinda pretty!

We also pulled the turkey out of the brine and put it in the roaster to let it drain.
That will get cooked tomorrow, after I get the stuffing made (with help from my Mama!) and stuffed in the turkey!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

How to Brine a Turkey and other fun!

My kitchen is ready for "destruction." Today is the day I start to brine the turkey.  I have never done this before...should be fun! Of course when I got the turkey out of the fridge (after 2 days) it was still frozen...SOLID! Oh well into the sink it went with cold water...that aught to thaw it! Right?

Step 1: Simmer 1 quart of the apple cider with the salt, allspice and bay for 5 minutes stirring regularly...and of course get distracted during this step and forget to stir...but it's all good (and Mom if you are reading this as I'm sure you are, I am having FUN, and I'm not super stressed....a bit stressed, but it's ALL GOOD!)

Step 2: Add the remaining 3 quarts of apple cider and 4 quarts of water. Well my stock pot is apparently NOT big enough (as evidenced by the picture below) so I only got 3-1/2 quarts of juice and 1 quart of water into the pot with the turkey, that is almost too big for the pot...glad I only went with a 15 lb turkey instead of the 20 lb bird the recipe called for...

Step 3: Place turkey in the brine, cover and refrigerate overnight...I'll wait to pull this beauty until I have to....should have started this last night...oh's ALL good! If it's good then I know what to do, or not to do for next year...

Now that the turkey is in the fridge, time to start the cranberry sauce cause I'm crazy like that making everything from scratch!

The cranberry sauce is pretty straight forward and simple...messy,  but simple

Only three ingredients (at least for part 1)

In a large sauce pan (and seriously, as I learned later you need a LARGE sauce pan) combine the cranberries, orange Juice

and sugar

Bring to a boil while mixing, then turn to medium heat
Keep stirring, and don't look away, cause when I did, cause I was getting my immersion blender it almost boiled over...don't make that mistake...and do be careful, as when those cranberries start to boil they like to "pop" and splatter everywhere.  This is why you need a LARGE sauce pan.

I did blend everything to get a mostly smooth texture (also messy, but fun, cause I LOVE my kitchen toys!)

After the 10 min on medium you can carefully transfer the thick mixture to a bowl and stick it in the refrigerator till cool, then cover. It's oh so pretty! I think next year if I have an extra pair of hands I may strain  this step...we'll get the verdict in a few days.

After I was done with these two Thanksgiving dishes, and mostly done with a batch of key lime cupcakes I decided to make a drink.  Hello Bloody Mary (not spicy)!

I am really looking forward to a wonderful Thanksgiving with my family! And I'm not being sarcastic.  Happy Cooking and Enjoy!