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Friday, November 21, 2014

OUR SOUTHERN THANKSGIVING


With Thanksgiving right around the corner, I decided to blog about what we're serving our large family gathering.  We'll be not only enjoying each other's company and the food, but you can bet there will be plenty of college football to go around as well! We serve up traditional fare alongside some new treats to keep it interesting.  At our house the oysters and Bloody Marys to start the festivities are ALMOST as important as that turkey! ;)

We've got a crowd arriving at our house Wednesday evening, so we'll begin the fun that evening with a non-turkey menu!

THANKSGIVING EVE:
Apps:
TUNA DIP w/ crackers
2 INGREDIENT QUESO w/ chips
MAIN:
FLANK STEAK WITH GORGONZOLA
KALE CRANBERRY SALAD
OVEN ROASTED POTATOES
ROASTED TOMATOES
WINE: Susana Balbo Malbec
DESSERTS:
PUPPY CHOW BARS
PRALINE BROWNIES

THE BIG DAY:
Pre-game
ISLAND CREEK OYSTERS with red wine mignonette
CRUDITES PLATTER
BLOODY MARYS

Prime Time
CRANBERRY ORANGE RELISH
MAPLE BOURBON SMOKED TURKEY and Sarah's gravy
HONEY BAKED HAM
SWEET POTATO CASSEROLE
BISCUIT-CORNBREAD DRESSING
MY GREEN BEANS
ESCAROLE AND BRUSSELS SPROUTS SALAD
ROLLS
WINE: Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc
DESSERTS:PUMPKIN PIE CUPCAKES
BOURBON PECAN PIE

THANKSGIVING EVE:
TUNA DIP
(Adapted from Biggirlssmallkitchen)
Photo Credit: Biggirlssmallkitchen
Serves 4---can easily be doubled for a large group.
2 TBSP lemon
1 cup sour cream
1 cup tuna
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp garlic powder
a pinch of garlic salt
a few turns of black pepper
1/2 tsp ginger powder
6 scallions chopped
1/4 cup minced onion
2 TBSP pickle relish (I'm leaving this one off since my Dad HATES pickles)
4 TBSP mayonnaise
4 hard boiled eggs chopped
1 lemon wedge for presentation
Crackers
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Mix the lemon, sour cream, tuna, paprika, garlic powder, garlic salt, pepper and ginger in a food processor.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Place in a bowl and stir in the scallions, onion, relish (if using) and mayo.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Peel the eggs, dice it up, and gently fold it into the dip.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
2 INGREDIENT QUESO
(Gimmesomeoven)
Photo Credit: Gimmesomeoven
It seriously gets no easier than this recipe.  I'm almost embarrassed to call it a "recipe!"  But it's delish, and it'll be nice to throw together quickly when I've got lots of other dishes to be preparing!

1 (8 ounce) pkg cream cheese, softened
2 cups (or 1 16-ounce jar) salsa verde
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Cut the brick of cream cheese into four pieces, and stir them together with salsa verde in a microwave-proof bowl.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Microwave for 3-4 minutes, stopping to whisk the mixture after each minute, until the cream cheese is melted and smooth. Serve warm with corn chips.

(If you don't want to use a microwave, you can also heat up this dip on the stove. Just place the cream cheese and salsa in a medium saucepan and heat over medium heat, whisking every minute or so, until the cream cheese is completely melted. Remove from heat and serve warm.)

FLANK STEAK WITH GORGONZOLA
(Adapted from Food Network)
Photo Credit: Food Network
1 1/2 pound flank steak
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Gorgonzola Cream Sauce (see below)
Gorgonzola Cream Sauce:
1 TBSP butter
1 shallot, minced
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 pound Gorgonzola
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat a grill pan to medium heat. Season the steak liberally with salt and pepper. Cook for 6 minutes on each side for medium rare.

*Cook's Note: If you prefer medium, cook for 8 to 10 minutes per side.

***And if you prefer to grill the steaks, that's fabulous too! I'd marinate the steaks the night before so they're not tough. My favorite marinate is:
2 (1 lb) flank steaks
2/3 cup olive oil
2/3 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup commercial chutney
2 TBSP finely chopped onion
1 clove garlic, crushed

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Trim excess fat from steaks. Score steaks on both sides and place in large dish or zip lock baggie. Combine oil and remaining ingredients.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Remove steaks from marinade (discard marinade). Grill, uncovered, over hot coals 10-12 minutes on each side (or to desired doneness). 
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
After grilling or sautéing in the oven, remove from heat, cover with foil to make a tent. Rest for 5 minutes before slicing steak. Cut into 1/8-inch thick slices.

Transfer to a platter and spoon on Gorgonzola Cream Sauce. ***This dish would be great as sliders to serve at a tailgate party!

Gorgonzola Cream Sauce:
Heat a medium size saucepan over medium heat. Add butter to melt. Saute shallots until tender. Add the heavy cream and let reduce by half. Turn heat to low, add the Gorgonzola and stir until it melts. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
KALE SALAD WITH WARM CRANBERRY ALMOND VINAIGRETTE
(Adapted from gimme some oven)
Photo Credit: Gimme some oven)

3 TBSP olive oil, divided
1 shallot, peeled and thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1 cup dried cranberries
2 TBSP red wine vinegar
2 tsp honey
juice and zest of half a lemon
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
1 bunch kale, very thinly sliced
1/4 cup sliced almonds
(optional) 1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese or goat cheese
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Heat 2 TBSP oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add shallot and saute for at least 5 minutes or until tender.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Add garlic and saute for 1 minute. Then add cranberries, red wine vinegar, honey and lemon juice and zest, and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
In a large bowl, toss the kale with olive oil and an extra pinch of salt, and massage kale with your fingers for 1 minute until tender. Add in the cranberry/shallot mixture and almonds, and toss to combine. Serve topped with crumbled cheese if desired.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
OVEN ROASTED POTATOES
(Adapted from Plain chicken)
Photo Credit: Plain Chicken
My sister-in-law served this dish last year, and I loved it.  It's simple and not too rich and was gobbled (no pun intended) up by everyone.  I'll double or triple this recipe for my group.

2 large potatoes, scrubbed, NOT peeled though
3 TBSP olive oil
1 TBSP Italian Seasoning
1 tsp salt
4 TBSP Parmesan cheese
1 tsp paprika
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Slice potatoes into very thin slices (1/4 inch). Toss potatoes with olive oil, Italian seasoning and salt in a ziplock bag to coat.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Turn them out in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with foil. Bake at 450 for 15 -20 minutes, until lightly brown. Top with Parmesan cheese, and bake an additional 5 minutes.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
ROASTED CHERRY TOMATOES
(Courtesy Ina Garten)
Photo Credit: Bon Appetit
4 pints cherry or grape tomatoes
Good olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
20 fresh basil leaves, chopped or julienned
Sea salt

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Toss the tomatoes lightly with olive oil on a sheet pan. Spread them out into one layer and sprinkle generously with kosher salt and pepper.

Roast for 15 to 20 minutes, until the tomatoes are soft. Transfer the tomatoes to a serving platter and sprinkle with basil leaves and sea salt. Serve hot or at room temperature.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

PUPPY CHOW BARS
(Adapted from dinnersdishesanddesserts.com)
Photo Credit: Dinnersdishesanddesserts.com
This dish is a play on the Muddy Buddy chex mix that is so delish!  But...instead of it being a loose "mix" you press the ingredients into a pan and serve as a bar.
4 cups chex cereal
5 marshmallows (the regular bigger ones)
1½ cup chocolate chips
¾ cup peanut butter
powdered sugar
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
In a large glass or ceramic bowl melt together the marshmallows, chocolate chips, and peanut butter.
Microwave at 50% power for 45 seconds at a time, stirring in between. Stir in chex cereal once melted.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Press into a 8x8 inch baking dish sprayed with cooking spray. Press well, so they stick together as a bar. Sift powdered sugar over the top.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Let cool completely before serving. Store in the fridge for firm bars or room temperature for softer bars.


PRALINE BROWNIES
(Bon Appetit)


PRALINE
1 1/2 cups pecans (5 ounces)
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
6 TBSP unsalted butter
3/4 cup heavy cream
3/4 tsp kosher salt
3/4 tsp pure vanilla extract

BROWNIES
Baking spray
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch-process)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
2 cups finely chopped dark chocolate (70%), preferably Valrhona (7 ounces)
6 large eggs
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
1 tsp kosher salt

MAKE THE PRALINE

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spread the pecans on a baking sheet and toast for about 10 minutes, until golden. Leave the oven on.

In a medium saucepan, combine both sugars with the butter and cream and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture registers 230 degrees on a candy thermometer, about 8 minutes.

Stir in the toasted pecans and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture reaches 240°, about 2 minutes longer. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla.

Let the mixture cool down to 210°. Stir the mixture with a wooden spoon until it stiffens and looks cloudy.

Scrape the praline onto a parchment paper–lined baking sheet. Spread in an even layer and let cool.

Transfer the praline to a work surface and coarsely chop.
catebogue
MAKE THE BROWNIES

Meanwhile, coat a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with baking spray. In a medium bowl, sift the flour with the cocoa powder and granulated sugar.

In a medium saucepan set over another saucepan of gently simmering water, melt the butter with the chocolate, stirring until smooth, about 5 minutes. Let cool slightly.

In a large bowl, using a hand mixer, beat the eggs with the light brown sugar and salt at medium speed for 2 minutes.


Beat in the dry ingredients in 4 additions, scraping down the side and bottom of the bowl. With the mixer on, drizzle in the chocolate mixture and beat at low speed until well combined. Fold in the chopped praline.





Scrape the brownie batter into the prepared pan.

Bake for about 40-50 minutes, until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean with just a few moist crumbs attached. Transfer to a rack to cool completely, then refrigerate before carefully cutting into bars. Great served warmed with ice cream!



A few pics of Thanksgiving Eve:
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
THANKSGIVING DAY!
RED WINE MIGNONETTE
(Adapted from Bon Appetit)
Photo Credit: Bon Appetit
We have a family tradition of having oysters on the half shell midday on Thanksgiving.  The duty of the men in the family is to shuck 50 oysters.  Sometimes we serve them raw, and sometimes we'll throw some of them on the grill.  Our favorite "go-to" oysters are from Island Creek in MA.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
So so so GOOD! We serve them with this mignonette sauce and traditional cocktail sauce along with lots of lemon and saltines.  I'll probably double this recipe, since we usually inhale it!

3/4 cup Red Wine Vinegar
2 TBSP minced Shallot
1 tsp freshly cracked Pepper
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Stir red wine vinegar, shallot and pepper in a small bowl. Allow a bit of time for the flavors to blend and shallots to macerate---20 minutes will do.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
When oysters are all shucked and ready, spoon the mignonette over your individual oyster and devour!

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue


Photo Credit: Cate Bogue


























My sister-in-law will do a crudite platter that will surely stun.  Here's what she did last year:
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

CRANBERRY SAUCE
I'm doing 2 different cranberry options this year - one cooked and one fresh.  

Here's my personal favorite:

Zest and juice of 1 orange
1/2 cup sugar, plus more if desired
Pinch salt
1 12 ounce bag fresh cranberries, rinsed

In a medium saucepan, heat 1/2 cup water with the orange zest, orange juice, sugar and salt over medium-high heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves, 2 to 3 minutes. 


Stir in the cranberries and bring to a boil.

Reduce the heat and simmer until the cranberries pop, and the sauce has thickened slightly, about 7 minutes.

Sweeten with more sugar, if desired. Let the sauce cool to room temperature before serving. Chill for up to a week before serving.

FRESH CRANBERRY-ORANGE RELISH
(Adapted from real mom kitchen)

Photo Credit: Real Mom kitchen
I'm not a fan of the canned congealed stuff.  This simple, easy relish fits the bill - fresh, sweet with a little tang and great alongside the turkey Thursday (and on a turkey sandwich on Friday)!

2 (12 oz) bags fresh cranberries
2 oranges
1 cup sugar
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
In a sauce pan, combine 1 bag of the cranberries along with zest and juice of one of the oranges.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Mix in the sugar.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Bring the mixture to a simmer and simmer for 3 minutes until the berries start to pop. Allow to Cool.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
In a food processor, add the remaining bag of cranberries. Cut the remaining orange into 8 pieces and add to the food processor (I included SOME of the peel but not all just to give it a bit of zestiness).
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Pulse the cranberries and and orange together until finely chopped.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Combine this mixture with the cooked mixture and serve, or refrigerate for up to 5 days.

And voila! All ready to refrigerate until the big day!
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
MAPLE-BOURBON BRINED TURKEY
(Adapted from Traeger Grills)
Photo Credit: Traeger
This year the turkey duty is falling on my husband.  He loves to use his Traeger smoker, and it's usually a fight to get everything in my oven at the same time, so this frees up the oven for ME. Adjust cooking time if you are going with a larger turkey (we'll have an 18-20 pounder).

1 10- to 12-pound turkey, thawed if frozen (I use a fresh 18-20 lb free range one)
5 quarts hot water
1-1/2 cups kosher salt (if using table salt, cut the amount down to 3/4 cup)
3/4 cup bourbon
1 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 onion, peeled and quartered through the root end
3 to 4 strips of orange peel
3 bay leaves, broken into pieces
2 TBSP black peppercorns
1 TBSP whole cloves
3 quarts ice
1 cup butter, melted
Traeger Pork/Poultry Shake, or salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Sprigs of fresh sage and thyme for garnish
Orange wedges, lady apples, or kumquats for garnish
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
You’ll also need: Butcher’s twine (sometimes called kitchen twine)
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
In a large stockpot or container combine the hot water, kosher salt, bourbon, 3/4 cup of the maple syrup, brown sugar, onion, bay leaves, peppercorns, and cloves and stir until well mixed. Add the ice.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Rinse the turkey, inside and out, under cold running water. Remove giblets and discard or save for another use. (Some turkeys come with a gravy packet as well; remove it before roasting the bird.) Add the turkey to the brine and refrigerate 8 to 12 hours, or overnight.  ***With the size turkey we're using we'll be using a cooler placed in our bathtub for the brining.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Weight with a a bag of ice to keep the bird submerged.


Once you are ready to cook the bird, drain and pat dry with paper towels; discard the brine. Fold the wingtips behind the back and tie the legs together with butcher’s twine. Combine the melted butter and the remaining 1/4 cup of maple syrup. Brush on the bird and sprinkle lightly with Pork/Poultry Shake or salt and black pepper.

There are 2 possibilities for cooking this bird.  We can roast it on the traeger OR smoke it.  Roasting will take about 3 hours or so of total cook time, and smoking will take around 5 hours total.  Here are the 2 variations:

1. When ready to cook, start the Traeger grill on Smoke with the lid open until the fire is established (4 to 5 minutes). Set the temperature to 350 degrees F and preheat, lid closed, for 10 to 15 minutes.

Roast the turkey for 2-1/2 to 3 hours, or until the internal temperature in the thickest part of the thigh is 165 degrees F. (Use an instant-read meat thermometer.) Brush with the remaining butter/maple syrup mixture the last 30 minutes of cooking. Let the turkey rest for 15 to 20 minutes before carving. Garnish, if desired, with fresh herbs and/or kumquats.

OR

2. Start the Traeger on Smoke with the lid open until the fire is established (4 to 5 minutes). Set the temperature to the smoke setting and smoke the turkey for 2 hours.
Then crank up your grill to 350 degrees F and roast the turkey until it is deeply browned, the skin is crisp, and the internal temperature of the thickest part of a thigh is 165 degrees when read on an instant-read meat thermometer, 2 to 3 hours, depending on the size of the turkey.

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Carefully transfer the turkey to a cutting board or platter. Let rest for 20 to 30 minutes before carving and serving.

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Note: Do not use a kosher turkey or a self-basting turkey for this recipe as they have already been enhanced with a salt-solution.

CLASSIC SWEET POTATO CASSEROLE
(Adapted from an old Junior League cookbook)
Photo Credit: Food.com
I think this dish is my family's all time favorite, and if it is not on the table there will be some unhappy people!  It's a ubiquitous staple in our house on this day.  My mother got it from an old Junior League cookbook (Cotton Country Collection out of Louisiana. It's been listed as one of the top 5 regional cookbooks in the US.), and she began serving this one about 40 years ago.

3 cups mashed sweet potatoes (about 4 large ones)
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup melted butter
1/3 cup milk
Topping
1 cup light brown sugar
1/3 cup flour
1 cup chopped pecans
1/3 cup butter, melted
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Cook and then mash sweet potatoes (I boil them for ~40 minutes - depending on the size of your sweet potatoes). Cool a bit.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Add remaining ingredients (excluding the topping ingredients) to the mashed sweet potatoes and mix.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Put into greased 2 qt casserole dish.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Mix topping ingredients in a small bowl. Crumble topping evenly over top.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Bake in preheated 350 degree F oven for 25 to 35 minutes. This dish can be made the day before and then cooked on Thanksgiving.  Allow extra time if taking directly from the refrigerator to the oven.

CORNBREAD BISCUIT DRESSING
(Adapted from an old Southern Living recipe)

I've been making this dressing for YEARS!  Love the combination of biscuits and cornbread and the simplicity of the recipe---no oysters, no chestnuts, just lots of sage, sautéed veggies and chicken broth!
2 (6 oz) pkgs cornbread mix
1 (5.5 oz) can biscuits
***You can always make homemade cornbread and biscuits - much better if you have the time! But these biscuits from Whole Foods are (almost) as good as homemade:
And Whole Foods also has fantastic cornbread that they make (saves me a step!):

2 1/4 cups chopped onion
1 1/2 cups chopped celery
1/4 cup butter, melted
5 1/2 cups chicken broth
5 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 tsp sage
1 1/2 tsp pepper
3/4 tsp salt
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Prepare cornbread mix and biscuits according to the package directions.  Let cool.  Crumble both in a very large bowl.  Set aside.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Cook onion and celery in butter in a skillet over medium heat until soft, 5-7 minutes.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Add vegetables, broth and remaining ingredients to cornbread mix.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Stir.  Spoon into a greased 13x9" baking dish.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Bake at 350 degrees F for 55 minutes or until golden. ***Can easily be put together the day before, and then cooked on Thanksgiving when you're ready.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
MY GREEN BEANS

1 lg bunch of green beans ~ 2 lbs. (washed, trimmed and halved)
3 TBSP butter
3 Scallions, chopped
1 Shallot, minced
2 TBSP sweet onion chopped
2 Garlic cloves, minced
1 TBSP dried Dill
1 TBSP cajun spice
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Parboil the green beans in water for about 10 minutes and drain; then chill in ice water to stop the cooking.  ***This part can even be done the day before: parboil, cool, then put in a large ziploc baggie and refrigerate.
Dump the remaining ingredients and the beans in a large sauté pan.

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Partially cover and cook until beans are to your liking - I like them well-cooked and not crunchy in this dish.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
ESCAROLE AND BRUSSELS SPROUT SALAD 
(Food and Wine)
Photo Credit: Food and Wine
I've never fixed this salad before but saw it in the most recent issue of Food and Wine, and it appealed to me.  I love the idea of serving something "healthy" and crunchy amidst all the casseroles with butter!
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons Champagne vinegar
1 TBSP sugar
Kosher salt
1 medium red onion, halved lengthwise and very thinly sliced crosswise
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
1/2 small garlic clove, minced
Two 3/4-pound heads of escarole, white and light green leaves only, torn into bite-size pieces
1 pound brussels sprouts, shredded
1/4 cup slivered almonds

In a medium bowl, whisk 1/2 cup of the vinegar with the sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of salt until the sugar dissolves. Add the onion and toss. Let stand at room temperature, tossing occasionally, until the onion is bright pink and crisp-tender, about 30 minutes. Drain well.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
In a serving bowl, whisk the buttermilk with the olive oil, pepper, garlic and the remaining 2 tablespoons of vinegar. Season the dressing with salt.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Add the escarole, brussels sprouts, almonds and pickled onion and toss. Season with salt and toss again; serve.

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
MAKE AHEAD The undressed salad can be refrigerated for up to 6 hours. The dressing can be refrigerated overnight.

PUMPKIN PIE CUPCAKES
(Adapted from Cakes Cottage)
Photo Credit: Cakes Cottage
I cannot wait to make these!  Just love the idea of individual "cupcake" servings of pumpkin pie.  Too adorable!
⅔ cup all purpose flour
15 oz pumpkin puree
¾ cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
¾ cup evaporated milk
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
Whipped cream
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper or silicone liners.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and pumpkin pie spice.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
In a large bowl, whisk together pumpkin puree, sugar, eggs, vanilla and evaporated milk until well combined.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Add in dry ingredients and whisk until no streaks of flour remain and batter is smooth.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Fill each muffin cup with approximately ⅓ cup of batter.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Bake for 20 minutes and let cool for 20 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pan and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes or up to 2 days.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Top with whipped cream and sprinkle with more pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon before serving.

BOURBON PECAN PIE
(Food and wine)

Photo Credit: Food and Wine
Another gem from Food and Wine! It's a classic pecan pie with an added dimension - bourbon. I'll make 2 pies for this group.
PIECRUST
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
3/4 tsp fine sea salt
1 stick plus 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
***Note: OR if pressed for time, use refrigerated pie crust.  No, it's not AS good, but in a pinch, it'll work fine! Here's what I'm using from Whole Foods:

FILLING
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups cane or dark corn syrup, or honey
2 TBSP bourbon
1 1/2 TBSP unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups unsalted pecan halves (1/2 pounds)
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
MAKE THE PIECRUST In a bowl, whisk the flour with the brown sugar and salt. Stir in the butter until the dough comes together into a ball. Transfer the dough to a deep 9-inch glass or ceramic pie plate. Using your fingers, press the dough over the bottom and up the side of the plate to the rim. Crimp the edge with your fingers or a fork. Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes or up to 3 days.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
MAKE THE FILLING Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a bowl, whisk both sugars with the flour, salt and eggs until smooth, then mix in the syrup or honey.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Add the bourbon, butter and vanilla and fold in the pecans.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Pour the filling into the chilled crust and transfer the pie to a foil-lined baking sheet.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Cover loosely with foil and bake for 1 hour, until the filling is nearly set.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Transfer the pie to a rack and let cool completely, about 4 hours, before serving. Can make ahead and be refrigerated until ready to serve.  ***Testing note: I made TWO pies and cooked them in the oven at the same time.  IF you do this you will need to increase the cooking time significantly.  I just kept adding 10 minutes and ended up probably going 1 1/2 hours cook time until they were finally set.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING FROM OUR HOME TO YOURS!!!

Photo Credit: Google Images
PS - one more recipe:
I'm serving this jam on turkey sandwiches with turkey, cranberry relish and avocado on sourdough!

Bourbon Maple Bacon Jam
(Adapted from Closet Cooking)
Photo Credit: Closet Cooking
Love this guy's blog!  Everything I've ever made of his turns out amazing.  Can't wait to try this one!
1 pound thick smoked bacon, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 large onion, sliced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 cup cider vinegar
3/4 cup coffee (brewed)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup bourbon
1-2 chipotle chilis in adobo, chopped
1/2 teaspoon cumin
pepper to taste
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Cook the bacon in a large sauce pan an over medium heat until the fat has rendered and the bacon starts to get crispy and set aside, reserving 1 tablespoon of the grease in the pan for sautéing.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Add the onions and sauté until tender, about 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about a minute.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Add the vinegar and deglaze the pan. Add the coffee, brown sugar, maple syrup, bourbon, bacon, chipotle chilies, cumin and pepper.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Reduce the heat and simmer until reduced to a syrupy consistency, about 1-2 hours. Make sure it's a LOW simmer otherwise all the liquid will evaporate --- like mine did :(. No matter - it still tastes great!
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Process the jam in a food processor to smooth it out a bit (but not too much as you want to have the chunky texture of the bacon).
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Store it in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 4 weeks.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
ALSO, these little tidbits will be around to nosh on, lest anyone goes hungry...

SPICED NUTS
(Courtesy of Marcus Samuelsson)

2 TBSP olive oil
1/2 cup unsalted raw cashews
1/2 cup peeled and blanched whole almonds
1/2 cup walnut halves
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cayenne
1 TBSP light brown sugar
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over low heat. Add cashews, almonds, walnuts, cinnamon, salt, paprika and cayenne and cook, stirring often, until nuts are fragrant and golden, 8 to 10 minutes.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Crumble sugar over nuts and cook, stirring constantly, until sugar is melted and coats nuts, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and serve warm, or cool and store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.

Makes 1 1/2 cups.








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