So many things to be thankful for! My health could be better in some ways, but it could be a whole lot worse in so many others. My husband and I are both employed at things we enjoy. Our daughter continues to delight us. We are blessed with friends who love life, whose company makes us smile. Life is good.
Today, we're going over to a friend's house, so I'm not as buried in food preparation as I normally am this time in the morning on Thanksgiving day.
Here's a couple of my turkey tricks, that I won't be using today. (We'll do a turkey in a week or two because I gotta have my leftover bird!)
(my bird from a few years ago)
1) If you brine the turkey, use equal parts salt and brown sugar. I don't know why, but it seems to make for a better bird
2) Rub a herbed butter mixture on the turkey all over before putting it in the oven, and preheat the oven to 450. As soon as you put the bird in the oven turn the temp back down to 325. This sears the skin and helps keep moisture in.
3) Cook the bird breast-down until the last hour and then turn it over. The juices from the dark meat will seep downwards into the breast and help keep it more moist. Turning it back up for the last hour will brown the skin nicely. (Turkey lifters are a must for this!)
4) Pureed roasted garlic and vermouth in the gravy! NOM!
Today, I'll be contributing appetizers to our shared feast, some of my merlot and my pomegranate pepper jelly along with some goat cheese and fancy crackers, and for the feast I'm making my candied yams. This recipe got me in a bit of hot water the first Thanksgiving I cooked for my not-yet-husband. His mother called, and the conversation went something like this:
M-in-L: "What are you having for dinner?"
Me: "Well, the turkey, of course, with my rice stuffing, and mashed potatoes and corn and candied yams."
M-in-L: "But my son doesn't like candied yams."
Me: "He seems to like this version. It's kind of like a sweet potato pie without the crust. I got the recipe from your ex-husband's wife."
Me: *awkward throat clearing* "Anyways...."
I haven't actually made them for several years now, in deference to both our expanding waistlines. Nowadays we usually have mashed yams in place of mashed potatoes and candied yams.
But if you want to go completely over the top, and maybe convince someone (like me) whose idea of candied yams is tarnished by years of having been served yams that were plopped out of the can into a casserole dish and garnished with little marshmallows that this traditional holiday dish can be a sinful indulgence instead of something to try to hide in your napkin, here's the recipe:
Sweet potatoes with pecans
3 cups cooked sweet potatoes (or two large cans, drained)
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1 stick melted butter
1 tsp vanilla
1 packed cup brown sugar
1 stick softened butter
1/2 cup flour
1 cup chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 350.
Mix the yams, sugar, eggs, butter, and vanilla, and press into a 9x13" glass casserole dish. Cream the butter and brown sugar, then mix in the flour and pecans. Sprinkle on top. Bake for 30 minutes at 350F.