Friday, November 26, 2010


There is much to be thankful for this year.  Thirty thanksgivings ago, I welcomed my firstborn, Sara, into the world.  Although she doesn't often celebrate her birthday on Turkey Day, I am reminded of one of the most special days of my life every year on Thanksgiving.  Happy Birthday, tomorrow, Turkey Girl! 

Yesterday, we shared Thanksgiving with very good friends and family.  Around here, it's like Thanksgiving Day cook-off!  We shared some good wine, some great food, and good laughs! 

A few of the recipes:

Cranberry Chutney

I really, really, despise the stuff that comes out of the can, so a few years ago, I found a recipe that I tweaked a bit and here is the result.  It's great with dinner, but especially good on those next day turkey and cream cheese sandwiches! This is so easy and so good that you will never tolerate that canned stuff again!

1/4 c dried apricots, finely chopped
1/2 c brown sugar
1/2 c golden raisins
1 c water
3 cups fresh cranberries
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and chopped
1 t grated lemon zest
1/4 c lemon juice
1/4 c chopped crystallized ginger (don't leave this out!  Find it in with the spices or cheaper in the bulk food bins)
1/2 t red pepper flakes (doesn't make it spicy, just brings out the flavors of the fruits)

Combine apricots, brown sugar, raisins and water in a small pan; bring to a boil.  Reduce to low and simmer for 5 minutes.  Stir in cranberries, apple and lemon zest; simmer for 10 minutes more. 
Stir lemon juice, ginger and pepper flakes into the mixture, then remove from heat.
Cool on the stovetop, then refrigerate or serve at room temperature.

Oven Roasted Bacon-Balsamic Brussels Sprouts
Serves 8-10

This recipe has earned the approval of several friends and family members who normally turn their noses up at the little cabbages. 

2 lbs brussells sprouts
1/2 lb bacon, sliced thinly crosswise
1/2 sweet onion, chopped
3 T. good balsamic vinegar
6-10 cloves roasted garlic
2-3 t sugar
Salt and coarsely ground pepper

Line a baking dish with foil, add the garlic cloves and a bit of olive oil.  Roast in a 350 degree oven about an hour, or until very soft.  Set aside.
Put the bacon in a large frying pan and fry until crispy, adding the onions when the bacon is about halfway done.  Set aside. 
Remove the stem ends from the sprouts and cut in half, then place them in a large baking dish.  Add the garlic and the bacon/onion mix. Drain off a bit of the bacon grease first if you like. Add the vinegar, sugar, salt & pepper and roast for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees--the sauce should be dark and carmelized. 

Northwest Waldorf Salad
6-8 servings

I got the original recipe from Cooking Light magazine, and of course, tweaked it a bit.  This is a nice way to add local produce to the holiday spread and it's healthy, too!

3/4 c finely sliced celery
1/2 c chopped dried cherries
1/2 c chopped hazelnuts, toasted
1/3 c  plain, low-fat Greek yogurt (or just use plain yogurt)
1/3 c low-fat sour cream
2-3 T agave sweetener (honey would also work)
1 T. lemon juice
1/4 t salt
2 firm Bartlett pears, peeled, cored and chopped
1 large Granny Smith apple, peeled cored and chopped

Combine first three ingredients in a large bowl.  Combine yogurt, sour cream, lemon juice, salt, and sweetener and whisk until smooth.  Pour over celery mixture.  Add pears and apple and toss gently to mix.  Chill at least 1 hour. 

Gingerbread Pudding

Hands down our favorite dessert--the one my husband asks for on his birthday--even though that is just two days before Christmas!  We first had a similar dish at the 42nd Street Cafe at the beach and liked it so much I just had to try my hand at making it!  Make the gingerbread a day early and leave it on the counter to dry out a bit before cubing it up for the pudding!  In a pinch, I suppose you could use a gingerbread mix to make the pudding, but I admit I haven't tried that. 

2 c flour
1/4 c sugar
3/4 c milk
2 t ginger
1 c molasses
2 t baking soda
1/2 c butter
2 eggs
1/2 c brown sugar

Mix the flour, sugar, baking soda and ginger in a large mixing bowl.  Heat the butter, molasses and brown sugar on low heat until the butter is melted and mixed with the other ingredients.  Stir the milk, eggs and melted mixture into the flour mixture and mix well.  Pour into a greased 9" x 13" cake pan and bake at 325 for about 50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool at room temperature for at least 30 minutes, but preferably overnight.

To make into pudding.

Cut the gingerbread into 1" cubes and place in a large mixing bowl.  Whisk together 3 eggs, 1 c milk and 1/2 c sugar and add to the gingerbread pieces until coated thoroughly, then return to the cake pan.  Bake at 300 degrees for 30 minutes.  Serve with  caramel sauce, whipping cream, or both!

Caramel sauce:
1/2 c butter
1 c heavy whipping cream
1 c brown sugar

Melt the butter in a saucepan, then add the brown sugar and mix well. While still heating, slowly add the whipping cream and continue to mix until the sauce has absorbed all the cream.  Remove from heat and serve over the gingerbread pudding.  Cover and refrigerate any leftovers to use over ice cream or in your coffee drinks!

So those are just a few of our Thanksgiving Day staples.  I got hungry while typing this, so I am heading for the kitchen to pull some leftovers out of the 'fridge for breakfast! 

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