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Saturday, November 24, 2007

Thanksgiving 2007

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Until a few years ago, I never cooked a Thanksgiving meal at home. We usually try to drop off packaged foods at Oregon Food Bank collection centers and just enjoy the 4 day break from work routine.

I am not fond of turkey. But, to me, Thanksgiving meal is all about the sides. Usually, we visit D's family on Thanksgiving Day and have quite a good meal that I never felt the need to cook at home.

But, a year or so before our wee one arrived, D wanted to start making a simple meal for Thanksgiving at home. My favorites are cranberry sauce (made from whole fresh cranberries, when possible), green bean casserole, candied yams, stuffing and steamed corn.

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D likes to cook turkey, but, a whole bird is a lot of effort and since I don't like it, we just resort to cooking a fairly medium-sized turkey breast. Turkey breast is brined overnight, then marinated for about 24-36 hours before cooking.

The marinade this time was: soy sauce, hot sauce, red wine vinegar, kecap manis and some herbs. Just before cooking, it is rubbed with a spice rub that D just makes up each year, and it is baked in a 345°F oven (with a foil tent) for about an hour, turning midway, till it is done. It was as moist as turkey can get, and had enough infused flavor to make it interesting - at least the piece D gave me to try :)

Now, stuffing is done separately, I am not fond of stuffing that has been inside the bird. And since we don't cook a whole bird, D put the turkey breast on the top rack of the broiling pan, and at the bottom the stuffing items are thrown together and baked in the oven while the turkey breast is getting done.

Stuffing: 2 cup cubed boxed stuffing mix, carrots, celery, potatoes, onions all chopped, 2 Tbsp butter, 1 cup stock and any favorite seasonings. Toss these together and spread it on the bottom of the broiling pan (top rack holds the turkey breast) and bake it along with turkey breast.

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Green bean casserole is one of my favorites. I only make it around Thanksgiving and Christmas for some reason. While I prefer fresh tender green beans, blanched to crisp-tender, I used french-cut frozen green beans this time and they turned out just fine. Mixed with home-made sauce and baked, topped with french-fried onions, green bean casserole is a wonderful meal by itself.

Greenbean casserole sauce: 3 Tbsp flour, 1 Tbsp butter, 1 cup warm milk, 1 cup freshly grated colby jack or any other cheese that melts well, some water as needed, ¼ cup jalapeño tomato sauce (optional), ½ cup finely diced celery, french-fried onions, green beans

Toast the flour, add the butter, sauté (no lumps), add milk slowly and stir constantly, add the celery and jalapeño-tomato sauce and any seasoning/flavor let it thicken a bit, stir in the cheese, allow it to melt; add the thawed frozen french-cut green beans; stir to coat; transfer to a greased casserole dish; bake in a 350°F oven for about 15-20 minutes, top with french-fried onions and bake about 5 minutes more; serve warm.

Cranberry sauce: 1 cup fresh whole cranberries, 1 cup unsweetened tart applesauce, 4 Tbsp brown sugar, water as needed

Combine the cranberry sauce ingredients and cook over medium low till cranberries are soft but still discernible, not too mushy.

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1 Comments:

  • At 3:41 PM, Blogger meeso said…

    This sounds good...homemade cranberry sauce is the only kind I like, the marinade sounded great!

     

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