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PRgal

Holiday Food Traditions!

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Thanksgiving is this weekend in Canada, and because most of my family is not in town, we're NOT doing a whole turkey with stuffing - just breast plus sides.  I'll be making my usual quinoa stuffing/dressing (well, dressing, since it's not going inside the bird), veggies and slow cooked apples (aka "apple pie filling").  Growing up, we used to have "fusion turkey" - soy sauce roasted turkey stuffed with sticky rice, Chinese mushrooms and (I think) taro.  Like the turkey part, but not the stuffing, which is why I don't make it! 

 

Basic recipe for the slow cooked apples (this would be for six servings or so):

 

3-4 medium to large apples, cut into pieces (unpeeled is fine)

About 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon

1/2 tablespoon of maple syrup or honey

 

Add a little water and turn on the slowcooker for 3 1/2 to 4 hours on low.

 

Feel free to add nuts, apple butter, berries, etc... Berries can be added half way through cooking.

 

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Happy Thanksgiving, PRgal (and all of you brothers and sisters to the north!)

 

I absolutely LOVE turkey. So much so that I usually do a full-blown "second Thanksgiving" sometime in late spring, complete with full bird and all the sides. And frozen leftovers tend to be available pretty much year-round in my house for a once-a-month indulgence. I'll usually roast the spring bird deep fry the fall bird. I've never been able to decide which method I like better, so I alternate. I also tend to alternate between my mom's cornbread dressing, and a recipe for "Texas cornbread pudding" that I found on the web years ago. Sadly, I forget the source. I memorized the recipe immediately after tasting it the first time.

 

Here's my guilty confession: I also absolutely LOVE old-school semi-ho green bean casserole. I'm talking canned beans, Campbell's cream of mushroom and canned fried onions. Sure, I've made it from scratch with fresh ingredients and herbage and all that fancy stuff. It's good. But if I'm not trying to impress anybody, give me the recipe right off the can of soup and quit judging me! (Heh.) Although I also like something my mom used to do... add some chopped artichoke hearts and lots of freshly-grated real parmigiano reggiano. Mmmmmm.

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Happy Thanksgiving, PRgal (and all of you brothers and sisters to the north!)

 

I absolutely LOVE turkey. So much so that I usually do a full-blown "second Thanksgiving" sometime in late spring, complete with full bird and all the sides. And frozen leftovers tend to be available pretty much year-round in my house for a once-a-month indulgence. I'll usually roast the spring bird deep fry the fall bird. I've never been able to decide which method I like better, so I alternate. I also tend to alternate between my mom's cornbread dressing, and a recipe for "Texas cornbread pudding" that I found on the web years ago. Sadly, I forget the source. I memorized the recipe immediately after tasting it the first time.

 

Here's my guilty confession: I also absolutely LOVE old-school semi-ho green bean casserole. I'm talking canned beans, Campbell's cream of mushroom and canned fried onions. Sure, I've made it from scratch with fresh ingredients and herbage and all that fancy stuff. It's good. But if I'm not trying to impress anybody, give me the recipe right off the can of soup and quit judging me! (Heh.) Although I also like something my mom used to do... add some chopped artichoke hearts and lots of freshly-grated real parmigiano reggiano. Mmmmmm.

 

Thanks! :)  And turkey in the spring isn't bad.  I know people who do turkey for Easter. :)

Edited by PRgal

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I saw a wild turkey on the side of the road this morning and I was tempted to roll down my window and warn him to run and hide!

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I'll be making this Deconstructed Turkey for my Thanksgiving for One.

 

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/deconstructed-holiday-turkey-with-sage-gravy-236317

 

It will give me enough of a carcass to make a small stock, plus leftovers for hot turkey sandwiches.  On white bread.  The only vegetable to be cooked will be potatoes, for big mounds of mashed potatoes smothered in gravy.

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Looking at the recipe for the Deconstructed Turkey gave me the idea to buy some extra thighs to cook with my Thanksgiving bird.  The people who prefer dark meat are always rather vocal about not getting their fair share of leftovers so this should make them happy.

 

I'll need to cook a whole turkey because ...tradition, but I'll get a few extra thighs to throw in too.

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I enjoy making lots of special treats for New Year's Eve/Day but I've accumulated so many favorites that I've decided to just start enjoying them now.  It's always a good time for my nachos with homemade chili... or spiced pear chutney... or eggs benedict...

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I enjoy making lots of special treats for New Year's Eve/Day but I've accumulated so many favorites that I've decided to just start enjoying them now.  It's always a good time for my nachos with homemade chili... or spiced pear chutney... or eggs benedict...

 

Speaking of New Year's, PRguy and I always stay in on NYE and order in Indian.  We then ring in the new year with some bubbly at midnight.  :)  Nice and relaxing!  As for Christmas, I'm hosting this year and need side ideas.  Any suggestions?  We're probably having between 10-12 people.

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Hmmm...sides are not a big deal to me other than good bread and a nice salad to offset my mental guilt of having another servicing of ___________.

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I like broccoli salad because it is something green so it looks nice among all the brown dishes and provides some kind of green vegetable. It may not be super good for you with the dressing and bacon, but it's something. Also it has some crunch. I also like sweet potatoes made with savory spices rather than marshmallows.

Edited by auntlada
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I like sweet potato casserole, the kind where you boil the sweet potatoes and peel them. Then add butter, vanilla & brown sugar and whip them, and then swirl some mini-marshmallows through, put some walnuts or pecans on top and bake.  It's like one big ol' candy casserole :>)

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Sides are the entire reason I love Thanksgiving, and I prefer canned everything: canned jellied cranberry sauce, canned green beans that my granny made in onion/roux sauce or the traditional casserole with canned mushroom soup, candied canned yams, and my Aunt's classic stuffing made from those bags of dried up bread cubes, definitely real mashed potatoes though, with lots of butter and milk.

 

Every time I experiment with a fancy stuffing (cornbread, chestnuts, chorizo, ), or "fresh" green bean casserole it's a disappointment. 

 

I think I like to save the "new" dishes for appetizers, this year I'm gonna try Saganaki bites with a sun dried tomato-kalamata olive tapenade, and bacon/prosciutto  wrapped figs, or blue cheese savories with fig spread.

Edited by blixie
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In really picky at the holidays (not at all the rest of the year). I must have the food of my childhood. Regardless that the rest of the year my grandma cooked from scratch, at Thanksgiving it was turkey, Ocean Spray jellied cranberry sauce e, Stouffers turkey stuffing, my great grandmother's sweet potato casserole, and pumpkin pie. The green vegetable varied.

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think I like to save the "new" dishes for appetizers, this year I'm gonna try Saganaki bites with a sun dried tomato-kalamata olive tapenade, and bacon/prosciutto  wrapped figs, or blue cheese savories with fig spread.

 

I would love recipes or links to recipes for any/all of these!  

Christmas Eve, my extended family does an appetizer/dessert potluck.   Everybody is invited, you can come late if you want, but each person or  family unit has to bring an appetizer and a dessert to share.  We don't make a main course.   just snack stuff, cookies, a cake or two.   And wine, beer, hot apple cider. 

Christmas Day, a lot of people are with other family - in-laws, just home with kids, or with the other grandparents.   so christmas eve is kept casual and everyone is welcome.   And we do a version of a white elephant grab-bag gift for all the adults.  if you bring a gift, you get to play, and you go home with a gift.   If someone doesn't bring a gift, there's usually an extra we can throw into to the mix so they can be included.  

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Blue cheese savories from Food52, I used Delmatia Fig Spread instead of preserves or jelly, but this is a super easy dough that comes together in a minute, and I have the perfect sized tiny port/juice glass that make perfect little rounds. And here's the Saganaki Bites from Saveur. I haven't settled on recipe for the figs, because I can't decide between that and bacon wrapped almond stuffed dates (my favorite tapas place does it that way). 

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Hello, everyone. I recently found out about this wonderful forum and have enjoyed reading all of your posts.

Does anyone here have experience with steamed puddings? For years, my dad has talked about a wonderful steamed pudding that his mother used to make at Christmas. I was finally able to get the recipe, and I would like to make it for my dad. However, I have a couple of questions that I would love some input on.

First, the pudding needs to be steamed for three hours. However, I was thinking of cutting the recipe in half, so how would that affect the steaming time?

Also, does anyone know how I should go about using a slow cooker to steam the pudding? I've googled a bit, and people do use slow cookers, but the directions are for their specific recipe. I was hoping to find some general directions/guidelines. I am not sure if I should replicate the stovetop method and get the water to a simmer in the Crock Pot and then place the pudding in. Or should I place the water and pudding into a cold slow cooker at the same time and let it go?

I would love any input!

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I absolutely LOVE turkey. So much so that I usually do a full-blown "second Thanksgiving" sometime in late spring, complete with full bird and all the sides.

 

I feel that way about ham.  Since the family is more scattered around the country than we used to be, we only get together for Christmas and sometime around the 4th of July.  We have turkey and ham at Christmas, but since we don't get together around Easter like we used to when my mom was with us, I've started buying the smallest ham that I can find around that holiday when they are on sale and freezing it.  Then, I bake it for myself sometime in late spring.  I eat ham until I can't eat anymore (since even the smallest ham isn't that small) and use the rest in soup or freeze the cooked ham in pieces for later recipes.  

 

We're having an easy Thanksgiving this year, since it's just my dad and my sister and I.  I'm cooking a turkey breast and we'll have baked sweet potatoes, turkey gravy, cranberry sauce (from the can), 'something green' (usually frozen peas with some butter), good rolls and pumpkin pie for dessert.  There should be enough turkey for sandwiches later and maybe a little pie.  We'll have more of a 'holiday selection' at Christmas when my brother and my sister-in-law come visit.

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I just saw this on Create TV (PBS shows distilled down to their cooking, travel, arts & crafts, ...): Roasted Turkey in Parchment with Gravy

 

The reviews on the linked page are very positive.  Do any of you have experience with this method?

I didn't read the reviews, but overall has only 3 stars. I would think it's a little risky for a holiday dinner without trying it first. That said, I usually do like food in parchment, so who knows? If you try it let us know.

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I didn't read the reviews, but overall has only 3 stars. I would think it's a little risky for a holiday dinner without trying it first. That said, I usually do like food in parchment, so who knows? If you try it let us know.

Totally agree on this point, but quoting myself from the Baking Topic:

 

Chicken!  For some extremely perverse reason, I am compelled to try new recipes in a crowd.  I classify it as Experimental Cooking.

 

But....since I love turkey and turkey bone soup, I may just buy a small one to test out this weekend and decide on what to do on Thanksgiving.  I'm actually braising a couple of turkey thighs now to test out for Turkey Day too.

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I want to buy a turkey while they're on sale to cook later too but alas I have no room in my freezer right now so I hope they're on sale again around Christmas.  I also buy a ham even though I don't celebrate Easter because ham is such a great treat to pick at.  I also adore making 12-bean soup with the bone.  Finally, I always buy an extra corned beef brisket around St. Patrick's Day (nope, not Irish either) because I love corned beef chunks in my split pea soup.

 

I am continuing to enjoy my holiday favorites now.  This weekend I made a tart with apples, caramelized onions and gorgonzola cheese.  The recipe comes from a holiday baking book and it's under Boxing Day but I don't think it has any particular association other than it would be nice at a brunch.  I actually took the time to lay the apple slices in a spiral design on top instead of just dumping them in like I usually do and the result was so pretty that I wished I could draw a picture of it like you see on the Great British Baking Show.  The next day, I made our family recipe for ice cream pie.  I thought it would be brilliant to use ice cream straight out of the maker because it would be softer to handle.  Well, it was:  so soft that the chocolate sauce sank into it and the whole mess overflowed the crust.  I stuck the pan on a baking sheet and put it in the freezer to get a grip on itself and then scraped the drippings back onto the top.  I hid that mess under a sprinkling of Oreo cookie crumbs and mini chocolate chips and it actually looks quite presentable.  Something tells me the slices will not show nice neat layers however.  But I bet it will still taste yummy.

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This year my SIL is hosting Thanksgiving for 15 of us. We try and pass the torch around every year so all of us gets a chance to host. I'm bringing Brussel Sprouts pan seared with bacon, shallots and red wine vinegar, a cauliflower casserole dish and a spinach salad. 

 

On Friday, I will cook a Turkey, gravy, dressing, mashed potatoes, scratch made green bean casserole and a chocolate pecan pie for my immediate family. That's one thing I miss about hosting- the leftovers! 

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What is the general consensus on making Thanksgiving sides ahead of time and reheating?  I saw a rather spirited debate on this on a Washington Post message board.  Apparently, there are some very strong feelings on both sides.  I am cooking Thanksgiving dinner this year and really want to make the dressing and corn casserole on Wednesday and reheat on Thursday.  I don't see a problem with this, especially if I add a little chicken broth to the dressing before heating. I'm also ordering the mashed potatoes from the grocery store.  I totally suck at making mashed potatoes.

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I'm okay with it - some things actually taste better as the flavors are allowed to mingle a bit.  I would identify the most critical sides to you and make them the day of if necessary.  The second string sides?  Make ahead.

 

In most holiday meals there is so much food - finger food to pick at before the main event, the main event, dessert*, ...I sincerely doubt if anyone is going to sniff and go "Ewwww...day old dressing!".

 

* Not to mention the additional snackage if there is football watching going on.

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When my mom gave me her "recipe" for butternut squash, the last line was to pile it into a Corningware dish and freeze it then nuke it day of.

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I remember my mom doubling the recipe for her cornbread dressing and freezing a second pan of it at Thanksgiving to thaw and cook for Christmas.  (She would assemble it and freeze without baking it.)  It was such a pain to make cornbread, buy and cook turkey legs--to get the meat off of to add to the mixture, etc. that she only wanted to do it once during the holiday season.  I never noticed that it tasted any different than 'fresh made'.  

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I think dressing tastes better the second day. (Cornbread dressing. I don't know about any other kind.)

Edited by auntlada

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I don't eat the dressing, because I don't like it, but my mom has always made the cornbread the night before and the dressing the day of Thanksgiving.

 

I don't think there's anything wrong with making sides in advance, so long as it's something that doesn't suffer upon being reheated.  I make the gravy in advance, because I have to -- we just do a turkey breast, and on a charcoal grill, so there are no drippings.  And I am not down with any of the "you can make gravy without drippings" recipes.  So I roast some wings and backs to get drippings, then use them to make stock, and put them together to make gravy.

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I like my dressing straight outta the turkey the first day, then from all of the other places until I am sick of it...

 

I save the leftover cornbread all year to make it from scratch.

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OK - it is 8 AM on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.  I have already gone to the market to get fresh fruit & veggies for tomorrow (got to go early to get the better looking selection), the replacement kitchen staples I did not know I was out of until last night, a couple of spare turkey legs and thighs since I still don't know the final count of how many people might be there tomorrow, purged my fridge of the flotsam and jetsam that mysteriously appears, some hotdogs for a quick and easy dinner tonight, ...and now I am exhausted.

 

Some of this was supposed to happen Monday and Tuesday, but things that could not be ignored kept popping up both days. 

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OK - it is 8 AM on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.  ...and now I am exhausted.

 

Yep. Now that's what I call a holiday food tradition. Please feel free to collapse on the couch right next to me, because I feel your pain.

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Yep. Now that's what I call a holiday food tradition. Please feel free to collapse on the couch right next to me, because I feel your pain.

Ditto. So far today I've spatchcocked and dry-brined a turkey, made dip, made spiced nuts, made glazed shallots, put together a green bean casserole (all from scratch) and made stuffing (both casseroles to be baked tomorrow). I'm now eating pizza rolls on the couch and I'm not ashamed.

Edited by MargeGunderson
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You know where this is headed, don't you? I showed up at 11:10 this morning, only to be told by the same deli guy that "they made me put them all out and they sold." I went to another location and talked to their deli guy, who said theirs were in the oven and would be ready in 20 minutes and he would definitely save one for me. Well, I did get it, but it took close to 2 hours and 3 total trips to the store, because they had to reach 170° inside and it took forever (I'm sure they were frozen).

 

That reminds me of the time I went to the grocery store to get a rotisserie chicken for dinner.  They had run out, but had others almost ready.  I was waiting, then a couple of other people showed up.  Then a few others, until there were about 12 of us standing around watching those dratted chickens go round and round in that large glass-fronted rotisserie. After a few minutes, some of us started to laugh at how dumb we probably looked.

 

My only chore for today is to get to my dad's in time to put the turkey breast in the oven so that we can have dinner at a reasonable time.  

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First T-day fail of the day - pie crust slumped! I froze it for 20 minutes before blind baking, filled the crust with pie weights, and still slumped badly on one side. That's never happened before. Good thing I have a backup crust and no guests!

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Mom said next year, we're having chicken.

It's early and I haven't finished my first cup of coffee, so I misread this as "children".

 

Which both horrified me and made me laugh (which is horrifying too).

 

I didn't read the reviews, but overall has only 3 stars. I would think it's a little risky for a holiday dinner without trying it first. That said, I usually do like food in parchment, so who knows? If you try it let us know.

I went ahead and tried the parchment paper method because I cannot resist* experimental cooking for a crowd.  It turned out about on par with most of my prior turkey endeavors, the white meat possibly a tad more moist.  A big plus is there is no basting involved.  I did an unstuffed bird so put some onions/carrots/celery plus fresh herbs inside. 

 

A downside would be the turkey juice does not get the nice richer color I normally get for gravy (although using a porcelain enameled roasting pan is also to blame) although I had some other turkey pan leavings from a couple of thighs and legs I roasted separately so that helped. And it definitely helps to have a second set of hands to help remove the paper.

 

*I really was undecided about trying something new for a holiday meal, but in the end I couldn't do it and had to try something new when cooking for a crowd.  Why yes, I do see a therapist!

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I saw a wild turkey on the side of the road this morning and I was tempted to roll down my window and warn him to run and hide!

I have a rafter of turkeys on my property that come by my house all the time because I feed them. They all run up to me when they see me outside. I felt strangely guilty when they came by on Thanksgiving and the aroma of a baking turkey was in the air.

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I have a rafter of turkeys on my property that come by my house all the time because I feed them. They all run up to me when they see me outside. I felt strangely guilty when they came by on Thanksgiving and the aroma of a baking turkey was in the air.

That is so funny. Thanks for laughs this morning.

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I have never had a big meal on Christmas day.  Everyone got new PJs or sweat suit and we wore those all day.  I made a fancy and special brunch and we snacked the rest of the day and played games.  

 

I hosted a huge party xmas eve with a lavish buffet of delicious and special dishes.  Not a meal, just really good food and I made it all myself.  I don't trust pot luck gatherings for special occasions.  Too may dips in hollowed bread show up!   We ate those leftovers on xmas day.   Lazy, delightful and yum!   

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That sounds great. I tried to convince my in-laws to do that one year so everyone could enjoy presents without having to jump up to cook. No one else wanted to do it.

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We have a breakfast of sorts after opening presents Christmas morning -- Bloody Marys and German sausage (not bratwurst, a very old Germans from Russia recipe).  Then we pretty much lounge about all day, reading our new books by the fire and such, with some light snacking (more if someone will be stopping by during the day to visit).  Christmas dinner varies from year to year, but prime rib and ham are probably the two most common main courses.

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That sounds great. I tried to convince my in-laws to do that one year so everyone could enjoy presents without having to jump up to cook. No one else wanted to do it.

 

I think it is the best way to spend the day.  No one has to cook or clean up; we just lounge around.  I highly recommend it.   This was the tradition in my childhood home, too. 

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That sounds great. I tried to convince my in-laws to do that one year so everyone could enjoy presents without having to jump up to cook. No one else wanted to do it.

 

 

Do you own a fire arm?  You may have to get pushy. 

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I have never had a big meal on Christmas day. Everyone got new PJs or sweat suit and we wore those all day. I made a fancy and special brunch and we snacked the rest of the day and played games.

I hosted a huge party xmas eve with a lavish buffet of delicious and special dishes. Not a meal, just really good food and I made it all myself. I don't trust pot luck gatherings for special occasions. Too may dips in hollowed bread show up! We ate those leftovers on xmas day. Lazy, delightful and yum!

I don't trust pot luck meals because you never know what somebody's kitchen looks like. Have you ever seen Hoarders?!

We just do a ham on Christmas. We cook here just the 2 of us while my kids do their thing with their families. The afternoon is usually a sweat pants by the TV day for most of the day then we go to my daughter's in the evening to do presents and have dessert.

At Thanksgiving we buy a big turkey and a smaller one. I freeze the smaller one and we have a turkey dinner around April or May, right before it gets hot.

Edited by Maharincess
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