In between Thanksgiving menu plans and the long holiday weekend Christmas is coming preparations, Thanksgiving tastes, tips, this, that, observations, recipes of need to know info have caught my eye and piqued my interest.
In this holiday season, it seems many long time home decor bloggers are currently embracing the less is more quality over quantity aspect of holiday decorating, present company included. The if one looks good then umpteen will look fantastic approach to decorating is one way to go, but without balance or cohesiveness present this is a difficult look to pull off. Failure teaches a valuable lesson- one I learned rather quickly in my early interior decorating days. Remember the 80s? I don’t miss the decade of excess in any shape, form or what where we thinking fashion. I much prefer understated with a twist- a visual curve ball of sorts. The interior design and home decor choices displayed throughout the 1854 cottage of Joe and Evelyn Adams strike a stunning pose of color balance, period contrast and charming personal style.
Have you planned what you’re cooking for Thanksgiving yet? Automagic Thanksgiving Menu Maker from Food52 can help you do just that. Answer a few questions, select recipes from the collection, and make your personalized menu. http://f52.co/2AuieQG
Cooked in a ranch butter sauce and topped with crispy onions and bacon,thisBacon Ranch Green Beans recipe from Dinner at the Zoo puts a spin on the green bean casserole of holiday table tradition. Full recipe details here: https://www.dinneratthezoo.com/bacon-ranch-green-beans/
There’s appetizers and then there’s Baked Brie with Maple Caramelized Apples and Spiced Praline Bacon. Full recipe from Allrecipes here: http://spr.ly/6004D6kT0
This week’s A Most Fetching Friday is dedicated to dessert, the art of baking (and no-baking), and the edible works created, admired and deliciously celebrated as the grand finale of the holiday dinner.
Tryptofantastic turkey times make the holiday celebration go round. With the holiday countdown on for Thanksgiving it’s all about how to cook a turkey. Being prepared for the gather round the table holiday celebration with a bird done to absolute golden perfection is the Thanksgiving holiday way to go.
Last minute does not work well in the grand scheme of turkey thawing. Since the majority of supermarket turkeys are sold frozen, prepare to thaw. Figure 1 to 1½ pounds of turkey per person when purchasing the bird. As tempting as it may be to leave the bird out on the counter to expedite the thawing process, don’t. Always defrost a turkey in the refrigerator. Why invite a problem to the party? You don’t need or want the hassle of food poisoning. Take into consideration the temperature setting of your refrigerator. This factors into the defrosting process. A frozen turkey needs 1 day in the refrigerator for every 4 pounds of turkey. No ice crystals=a defrosted turkey.
Now, let’s say Thanksgiving Day comes and you’ve followed the above rule but the turkey did not cooperate and the bird is still frozen. Then the bird needs a soak. Place the uncooperative turkey in a kitchen sink filled with cold water. Soak the bird 30 minutes per pound to thaw; changing water every 30 minutes. Remember to practice safe turkey prep & handling. Clean and sanitize all the surfaces and utensils that come into contact with the uncooked bird and its juices. Wash those turkey covered hands thoroughly with soap and warm water!
Prepping the Bird:
Remove any contents from the turkey cavity. Remove the clamp from around the legs. Remove the extra skin from the neck area. Tuck the wings up under the turkey bottom to prevent burning. Some people stuff the turkey and now is the time to do so. If you do stuff your turkey, the ingredients can be prepared ahead of time. It is advised by the USDA to keep the wet and dry ingredients separate. Keep wet ingredients refrigerated until time to use. Do not mix the wet and dry ingredients until time to fill the turkey cavities, filling loosely. Immediately cook the turkey. Use a food thermometer to make sure the center of the stuffing reaches a safe minimum internal temperature of 165 °F. Rub butter, margarine, or oil of your choice under the skin of the breast area, over the legs, and the turkey undercarriage to promote browning. Place turkey breast side up on rack in your roasting pan and secure legs with kitchen twine. No rack, no problem.
Rub turkey with seasonings of your choice such as salt, pepper, basil, garlic, thyme, Creole seasoning, etc…
I usually add a stalk of celery cut into three equal parts and ½ peeled and sliced onion or 2-3 cut green onions. Add 1 ½-2 cups of lightly salted water to roasting pan to keep the turkey moist during baking. Chicken broth or white wine may be substituted. Cover with roasting pan lid or a foil tent for first 1-1½ of roasting.
Roast/bake the turkey at 325 °F using the chart as a guide for approximate roasting times. The turkey is done when the internal temperature reaches a minimum internal temperature of 165 °F. Use a food thermometer to check the turkey in the innermost part of the thigh and wing and the thickest part of the breast. The minimum internal temperature should reach 165 °F for safety.
Resource: USDA Food Preparation and Inspection Service
I do not baste our turkey. I find opening the oven door frequently allows the oven temp to swing and adds more time to the roasting. Sufficient prep and seasoning will keep the turkey moist. When the turkey is done, remove it from the oven and cover with foil. Allow to rest for 15 to 20 minutes before carving for easier carving.
Turkey breast dries out easy due to the fact lean breast meat cooks to done quicker than the legs and thighs. Options abound. You can separate the breast from the whole turkey and cook the bone-in breast separately or opt for my personal favorite way to combat dry turkey- simply roast a turkey breast. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. “Dry” the skin of the turkey breast by patting with a paper towel. Give the outer skin of the turkey a generous rub down with butter. Season the turkey breast with salt and pepper or Tony Chachere’s Famous Original Creole Seasoning. Rub the seasonings into the skin of the turkey breast. Place the turkey breast, breast-side up, into the roasting pan. Roast the turkey breast at 325 degrees for 2 to 2 ½ hours or until thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the roast reads 160 degrees F.
In a spray bottle combine 1 quart (4 cups) warm water, 1 teaspoon liquid soap, 1 teaspoon borax and ¼ cup undiluted white vinegar. You can also add 1 tsp. of essential oil such as rose, lemon, orange, or lavender. Vinegar is a natural disinfectant and cleaner however, I don’t suggest using this on granite or marble countertops.
Carving the Bird:
Place the bird on a carving board or reliable surface for carving, breast side up with the legs facing away from you. Position the carving fork in the lower part of the breast to hold the turkey steady as you carve.
Let’s move on to the drumstick/ turkey leg. Pull each leg to extend them away from the body and slice between the breast and the drumstick. Move the leg backward to loosen it away from the socket, cut away from skin and remove. Repeat on the opposite side.
Arrange and plate as you like. Here is a Louisiana Lagniappe recipe for your holiday turkey consideration. C’est si bon!
2 tbsp. smoked paprika
1 tbsp. celery salt
1 tbsp. garlic powder
1 tbsp. black pepper
2 tsp. onion powder
2 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 c. (1 stick) butter, melted
1 medium turkey (about 12 to 14 lb.), giblets and neck removed from cavity
1 medium green pepper, seeded and chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, smashed
1 stalk celery, thinly sliced
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Arrange oven rack on lowest position. In medium bowl, combine paprika, celery salt, garlic powder, black pepper, onion powder and thyme. Set aside 2 teaspoon spice mixture for remoulade. To mixture in medium bowl, add butter and 1 tablespoon salt; stir to combine.
Pat turkey dry; arrange breast side up on rack in roasting pan. Tuck wings behind turkey. Gently separate skin from breast and around sides of turkey. Brush spiced-butter mixture inside turkey, underneath skin and all over outside. Stuff cavity with green pepper, onion, garlic and celery; tie legs together with twine. Sprinkle all over with 1 teaspoon salt. Pour 2 cups water into bottom of pan. Roast 2 hours. Loosely tent turkey with foil. Roast 30 to 45 minutes longer or until thermometer inserted into thigh reads 165 degrees F. Remove foil; let stand 20 minutes before carving.
Home is where the heart and a mighty holiday hunger is. People get ready, there’s a holiday coming, and holiday side dish recipes are on the menu. The Places In The Home gang holiday side dish requests are noted and the recipes selected. I like to bring at least one new or improved upon recipe with the accent mark on easy to the holiday table. This Thanksgiving I am paying homage to my great-grandmother by serving two of her favorite dishes.
Country Living Magazine provides the recipe for English Pea Salad and Martha Stewart comes through with the recipe for Glazed Pearl Onions. Southern Sweet Potato Casserole is a must have, must serve at our holiday dinner table, and if it’s Thanksgiving, it is definitely cornbread dressing time at our house. I am most intrigued with a new recipe from the Kitchn, Make-Ahead Mashed Potato Casserole. I considered eliminating one of the starches but reasoned it out with simple math. Starches + tryptophan= full, satisfied and sleepy husbands, fathers, sons, brothers and nephews, and that means guilt free Black Friday shopping, keyboard style.
English Pea Salad
2 large hard-boiled eggs, whites chopped and yolks crumbled
1 (½ cup) yellow bell pepper, finely chopped
2 ounce(s) (½ cup) Cheddar cheese, shredded
½ cup(s) mayonnaise
½ cup(s) sour cream
3 tablespoon(s) dried basil
2 tablespoon(s) finely chopped red onion
2 teaspoon(s) chopped pimiento
1 teaspoon(s) apple-cider vinegar
1 teaspoon(s) sugar
1 teaspoon(s) soul-food seasoning or seasoned salt
1 teaspoon(s) granulated garlic
1/2 teaspoon(s) freshly ground pepper
2 dash(es) hot sauce
60 ounce(s) (four 15-ounce cans) early peas (such as Le Sueur), drained
In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients except the peas, mixing well. Then stir in the peas. Refrigerate the salad for at least 10 hours or up to overnight. Serve at room temperature.
1 pound frozen pearl onions, thawed and patted dry
2 teaspoons sugar
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 ½ teaspoons fresh thyme (or ¼ teaspoon dried)
Heat oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Add onions. Cook, tossing occasionally, until beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with sugar; season with salt and pepper. Add 2/3 cup water and thyme; cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are tender and liquid has evaporated, about 20 minutes.
3 pounds small russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 3-inch chunks
1 tablespoon kosher salt
6 whole garlic cloves, peeled
1 whole bay leaf
4 (3-inch) thyme sprigs
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, at room temperature
6 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
1 cup sour cream (full-fat)
¾ to 1 cup whole milk, warmed
1 teaspoon seasoned salt, or to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons butter, cut into bits and chilled
Generously butter a shallow 2 ½-quart gratin dish or baking dish.
Place the potatoes in a large pot and cover with cold water to a depth of 2 inches. Add the kosher salt, garlic, bay leaf, and thyme. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat, partially cover, and simmer until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a knife, about 20 minutes. Do not let the potatoes break apart or become waterlogged. Drain well and let stand until the potatoes steam dry and their edges look chalky, about 3 minutes. Discard the bay leaf and thyme stems.
Press the hot potatoes and garlic through a food mill or ricer into a large bowl. Alternatively, mash them as smooth as possible with a hand-held potato masher.
Add the cream cheese, butter, sour cream, and ¾ cup of the milk to the warm potatoes; stir until smooth. The mixture will firm up as it chills overnight, so at this point it should be slightly softer than you want to serve it. Season with seasoned salt and pepper.
Scrape the potatoes into the prepared dish and smooth the top. Dot the top with the bits of chilled butter. Cover the dish tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or up to 2 days ahead.
When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350°F. Remove the plastic wrap and bake until the top is golden brown and the potatoes are heated through, about 1 hour. Serve warm. Serves 6 to 8
Combine first 6 ingredients. Pour into a buttered 1 1/2 to 2-quart casserole dish. Mix remaining ingredients together and sprinkle over top. Bake at 350° for 25 to 30 minutes or until top is browned. Serves 6 to 8.
Home for the Holidays comes with its joyful share of pulling out all the decorating, baking, entertaining, and celebrating the season stops. Here’s a few holiday household hints and tips that may prove to come in holiday handy, and here is a few more holiday hints and tips from holiday posts past. I’m all about kicking off the holiday season in a no problem November zone.
Remove wax drips from candlesticks by placing them in the freezer for thirty minutes. The “drips” will come right off.
Garlic belongs in the gumbo, not on your hands. Handling garlic and onion goes with the culinary territory and with that comes the smell that is left on your hands. Rub your hands on a stainless steel surface such as the kitchen faucet to cut the smell.
Remove coffee stains from a glass coffee carafe with a simple recipe of 1 tablespoon salt, a handful of ice cubes and 1 tablespoon of water. Add salt, ice and water to the cool carafe and swirl until clean. Rinse well with water and dry.
Cloudy vase? Fill vase with luke warm water and drop in a denture cleaner tablet. Let the tablet do its thing overnight. Pour out solution, wash vase with luke warm water and dry. Do not use hot water- it can cause the vase to crack.
Gunk, funk and baked on junk left behind on roasters and baking pans is not my idea of a welcomed holiday leftover. Baked on will be gone in two simple steps. Grab a couple of dryer sheets from the laundry room. Fill the pan half full of warm water and place the dryer sheets in the warm water. Soak the pan overnight.
Pack guests a parting piece of pie in these deluxe Wedge-Shaped Pie Box Kits from A la Modo on Etsy. The kits include: