I couldn’t let my memories of Thanksgiving go undocumented! One of my favorite things about the holidays is cooking and eating and Lord knows we did our share this past week. Grant and I have had so many family and friend visits these past few months, we decided to spend this Thanksgiving with each other and spent the entire day cooking and eating in our pjs. Isn’t that what you’re supposed to do on Thanksgiving anyway?
We enjoyed a classic NW breakfast consisting of bagels (from our awesome new neighborhood bagel shop, Bagel Face Bakery), cream cheese, and lox while thinking of Grant’s family in the great Pacific Northwest. (Notice Lighthouse Roasters’ coffee mug for added, purely coincidental, effect!)
For a lunch snack, we had the perfect appetizer which has been a tradition in Grant’s family for quite awhile- Texas Tandies! Grant’s Mom got the recipe for these from a family friend in Texas and they quickly became a family favorite. My family likes them now, too!
2 cups grated sharp cheddar
1 stick chilled butter
1 cup of flour
pinch of sea salt to taste
pinch of cayenne to taste
½ tsp Tabasco
1 tsp of Worchester
2 Tbsp Water
Cut chilled butter into small pieces and mix with flour until grainy. Add cheese, salt, and cayenne. Mix liquids and sprinkle into mixture until dough just holds together. Form into two balls and wrap with plastic. Refrigerate for 1-2 hours. Pre-heat oven to 350 and roll out dough onto a floured surface. Cut out with a small round cookie cutter and gently press a pecan onto each cookie… Bake at 350 for 12 minutes or so. Let them cool for about ½ an hour (if possible!).
Good with Ice Cold Beer or Bollinger!
Since it was just the two of us, Grant decided to get a turkey breast rather than an entire turkey. He de-boned it and flattened it and then stuffed it with the most amazing dressing ever. Recipe soon to follow…
He first seared the turkey in an iron skillet on the stove and then cooked it in the oven until done. It was super delicious!!!
As is customary in my family, we had way too many side dishes but I just couldn’t narrow it down. I made roasted carrots and parsnips and glazed them with a mixture of butter, honey, balsamic vinegar, and a little sea salt and black pepper. They were super simple, very pretty and quite delicious.
We also made Brussels Sprouts seasoned with a tiny bit of Spanish chorizo! Grant is a genius for coming up with this!
We tried a completely new idea of a dish for us, too, Braised Leeks. They were interesting and went well with the mashed potatoes and gravy but weren’t the most amazing thing we had ever tasted by any stretch of the imagination. As for those mashed potatoes, I tried to channel my step dad, Larry, who makes the best mashed potatoes, and therefore, did not skimp on the butter! They were delightfully fluffy and a perfect vehicle for the gravy.
Now about that dressing… Grant got this recipe spot on this year. It was the perfect blend of sweet and savory, moist and crispy, nutty and fruity. He used some to stuff the turkey breast and the rest, he cooked in a baking dish and we ate on the side.
Apricot Pecan Dressing
2 tsp butter (or bacon fat)
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
2 cups hearty Artisanal bread (we used a crusty rosemary bread), cut into cubes
1-2 cups chicken stock
2 Tbsp fresh sage, chopped
½ cup pecans, coarsely chopped
¼ cup dried apricots, chopped
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Saute onion, garlic, and celery in butter until soft. Mix bread cubes, sage, pecans, and apricots together in a large bowl. Add the onions, garlic, celery and mix thoroughly. Add stock until mixture is well moistened but not too wet. Adjust seasoning to taste with salt and pepper. Place mixture in a baking dish and bake for 30 minutes covered and then 30 more minutes uncovered to crisp the top.
Oh, and there was wine. We enjoyed a lovely Oregon Pinot Noir from A to Z and a pumpkin pie with pecan crumble for dessert.
I know there are many pecan pie fans out there and I have a great recipe for it which I adapted from an Edna Lewis and Scott Peacock recipe but I much prefer pumpkin pie. Since there are only two of us, I decided to try to combine the two holiday favorites and created a pumpkin pie with a pecan crumble top. It worked quite well. So well, that I ended up taking one down to Robert’s Western World Thanksgiving night and two more to our last Red Barn Round-Up of the year this past Sunday. What a great Round-Up it was as we were fortunate enough to have the very musically talented and artistically savvy Julie Lee perform as well as Mister Paul Burch. If you haven’t heard their latest albums, the holidays are the perfect time because both would make excellent gifts! And while you are at it, you can also buy some of Julie’s art work! What better time to support local art?
So here is the pumpkin pie recipe. Please remember to make your own crust. You can find my recipe here.
Pumpkin Pie with Pecan Crumble Top
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
1 tsp freshly ground ginger
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp arrowroot (or cornstarch)
1 1/2 cups of roasted pumpkin, pureed
2 Tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 extra large eggs
1 cup coconut milk
for crumble top:
1 cup pecans, toasted & ground
½ cup flour
½ cup sugar (I use organic cane sugar)
½ cup unsalted butter
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut the pumpkin open and into four wedges, clean the seeds out (I roasted them up with a little salt for a yummy snack!), cut the strings out and rub the inside with a little olive oil and place face down in a baking dish. Bake for about an hour, until the pumpkin is tender when forked. Once cooled, scoop out the flesh and mix well in a blender or food processor. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Stir together brown sugar, salt, arrowroot. Add the pumpkin, vanilla, maple syrup, eggs and mix well. Then, add the coconut milk and gently stir. Pour into the unbaked pie shell. Bake for 15 minutes and then turn oven down to 350 degrees for another 40 minutes (set timer for 20 minutes, though, as you will need to add the crumble top!).
Make the crumble top. Grind roasted pecans in a food processor or chop very finely. You can then add the other ingredients to the food processor or mix by hand. Be very careful and open oven door and quickly but gently crumble the topping over the pumpkin pie. Bake for the remainder 20 minutes or until pie is set.
Lots of good music coming up this month so I should have lots to report… I am also super excited about a new cookbook we picked up at McCay’s used books this past weekend. It has recipes of Barcelona! If we can’t visit Spain, at least we can eat like we did.
Enjoy all your holiday baking!