Bring on the ooh la la factor by placing cake stands and serving pieces inside fresh or faux greenery wreaths both Thanksgiving and Christmas pretty and set about the table or countertop at various height levels.
Take advantage of this time to style the dining table to your liking. Place, stack, and set out the items you can now.
Cover serving bowls, utensils, and cake stands with a clean dish towel, label with a sticky note what dish goes in what bowl, and. mark this part of the process off the list.
Let those kitchen countertops pull serving table duty. I work with a salads and sides to the left, desserts and drinks to the right, keep it moving on down the line plan.
Space is one hot commodity in the Thanksgiving kitchen and dining room. Going with a dessert table frees up space.
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 chicken broth or white wine to roasting pan to keep the turkey moist during baking.
No turkey roasting-baking is complete without butter (Julia Child would be so proud).
Rub 4 Tablespoons (½ stick) butter over turkey breast meat under skin. Next, add 4 tablespoons butter to the turkey cavity. Finish up by rubbing a generous amount of butter over the outside of the turkey.
Sprinkle turkey with seasonings of your choice of seasonings such as salt, pepper, poultry seasoning, thyme, garlic, rosemary, or Creole seasoning.
You can substitute homemade pumpkin puree for any recipe that calls for canned pumpkin.
With that fall baking fact in mind, let’s check out how to make homemade pumpkin puree.
Here we will be using a sugar pumpkin (also called a pie pumpkin), the best for cooking and baking.
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
Carefully cut off the top of the pumpkin. Using a large metal spoon, scoop out the seeds and the “strings”.
Cut the pumpkin in half.
Line a baking sheet with foil and place the pumpkin halves cut side down onto the baking sheet.
Generously rub the outer skin of each pumpkin half with olive oil.
Place in a 375°F preheated oven and roast for 45-60 minutes or until a fork easily inserts into each pumpkin half.
Allow to cool for twenty minutes or until cool enough to handle without risk of burning your hands.
Using a large metal spoon, scoop out the softened pulp. Place the pulp into in a food processor and pulse until smooth.
Pumpkin Soup with Grilled Cheese Croutons
2 Sugar Pie pumpkins (each about 2 lb.)
Substitution: 4 cups of canned pumpkin puree
Extra-virgin olive oil for brushing and drizzling
6 Tbs. unsalted butter
2 shallots, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbs. minced fresh thyme, plus whole sprigs for garnish
¼ cup Marsala
5 cups vegetable broth, plus more as needed
3 Tbs. maple syrup
1 cup half-and-half
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
For the grilled cheese croutons:
2 Tbs. unsalted butter, at room temperature
6 slices artisan white bread or sourdough bread
1 ½ cups grated Gruyére cheese
To make the soup, using a sharp knife, carefully cut off the top of each pumpkin to remove the stem, then halve each pumpkin vertically.
Using a spoon, scoop out the seeds and any stringy fibers and discard.
Brush the flesh of the pumpkins generously with olive oil, then place them, cut sides down, on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until the pumpkins are very tender when pricked with a fork, about 50 minutes. Let cool for 15 minutes, then scoop the flesh from the peel into a bowl; discard the peels.
You should have about 4 cups of pumpkin. Set aside.
In a Dutch oven or large, heavy saucepan over medium heat, melt 3 Tbs. of the butter.
Add the shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and thyme and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 1 minute.
Add the Marsala and deglaze the pan, stirring to scrape up any bits on the bottom of the pot. Add the pumpkin and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Add the broth and maple syrup.
Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low and simmer gently for 20 minutes. Stir in the half-and-half.
Using an immersion blender, blend the soup until smooth. (Alternatively, working in batches, transfer the soup to a blender and puree until smooth. Pour back into the pot.)
Stir in more vegetable broth, if desired, to achieve the desired consistency. Keep warm over low heat while you make the grilled cheese croutons.
To make grilled cheese croutons, spread the butter on one side of each slice of bread, dividing it evenly.
Heat a large fry pan over medium heat.
Place 3 slices of the bread, butter side down, in the fry pan. Divide the cheese evenly between the 3 slices in the pan, then top with remaining bread slices, butter side up.
Cook until the bottom of bread is golden brown, then carefully flip each sandwich and continue to cook until the cheese is melted, about 5 minutes, turning down the heat if the bread is browning too quickly.
Transfer the grilled cheese sandwiches to a cutting board and let cool slightly while you ladle the warm soup into 6 individual bowls.
Drizzle each serving of soup lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with a few grinds of pepper. Cut the grilled cheese sandwiches into 1-inch (2.5-cm) cubes and divide them evenly among the bowls of soup.
Garnish with thyme sprigs and serve immediately. Serves 6.
“I try to greet my friends with a drink in my hand, a warm smile on my face, and great music in the background, because that’s what gets a dinner party off to a fun start.”
Charcuterie | shahr-ku-tuh-ree refers to the art of preparing and assembling cured meats.
Charcuterie boards feature an array of dried meats, cheeses, fruits and nuts, crackers, breads, jams, preserves, marmalades, olives, pickles, and the like.
A recent conversation on the topic included a rundown of charcuterie board essentials.
Great entertaining minds think alike, and we all agreed a gathering of friends or/and family on a crisp fall late afternoon into evening is an excellent entertaining opportunity to bring on a fall cheese or charcuterie board.
There’s no wrong way to do a cheese or charcuterie board. I put together a small with fall in mind cheese board this afternoon.
It’s meatless, so it doesn’t officially qualify to be referred to as a charcuterie board.
Crisp apples, fresh dates, red grapes, assorted nuts, blue cheese, white cheddar, cream cheese with fig preserves, and dried cranberries fill the board.
A quick walk around the yard later I had fresh rosemary sprigs and mint leaves to use as garnish and filler.
The aroma is spectacular.
What’s in the little vintage creamer?
Honey drizzled over a slice of cheese topped with an apple is the taste of fall.
I love these carved wooden spoons for spooning up preserves and marmalades.
The stove to table taste of home ritual most of us engage in on a daily basis far better serves the sizzle, sauté, sauce, and simmer when the cookware used results in superior performance and quality taste.
Temperature uniformity is essential in the cooking process.
Too much heat scorches and burns while too little heat deters the notes of taste and flavor.
Copper is an excellent heat conductor- the maestro of materials.
Copper cookware distributes a precise and even heat which is the essential element for proper temperature control.
Gorgeous is as gorgeous works, and copper cookware plates a gorgeous taste.
In the presence of dark cabinetry, high-tech appliances and farm to modern rustic, yet refined kitchen design and accessories stands this most impressive copper accent piece.
The look created when mixing and mingling traditional and modern design and decorating styles with an antique or vintage piece is thinking outside of the box of standard décor rules focal point perfection.
Dave and I stood on the front porch for a few minutes Friday night listening to the high school bands playing during the local football Jamboree.
Humidity and mosquitoes crashed our party, making me wish for fall even more.
Hope springs or falls eternal, and I can testify to sure signs of wishfall thinking- shorter days, a changing sun that casts a bright white light through the windows, and wind chimes that play a North wind lullaby.
The first gumbo feast of fall is soon to be cooking in the big blue pot.
I couldn’t wait until the official arrival of fall for a gumbo feast.
No respectable Louisiana cook can talk about gumbo and not break out the big blue pot, make some roux, chop up the Cajun trinity, and whip up a pot of chicken and sausage gumbo.
C’est si bon!
The hunt is on for Sportsman’s Paradise activities to do.
Fall festivals of pecan, tamale, meat pie, and funktoberfest are on our fall calendar of events.
A new to me vintage mixing bowl is ready for fall recipe duty.
The day should overflow with an abundance of love, food, family, friends and gratefulness.
It’s Places In The Home for the holidays Thanksgiving style season once again.
I’ll be posting new and updated all things Thanksgiving and Holidays posts over these home for the holidays weeks featuring home decor, side dishes, desserts, gift ideas, advice and fun facts for the it’s the most wonderful time of the year decoristas!
Gathered in regional reverence, devout worshipers of the dining divine keep time to culinary tradition-nourishing the soul as well as the body.
Taking a meal at the Southern dinner table is a multi-layered celebration weaving through generations, tradition and culture.
A sudden wave of news copy on the popularity, rediscovery, and dare I say it, appreciation of Southern foods, has not only resonated with my taste buds, but my memories of times spent gathered around the Southern dinner table.
I surely don’t believe nor make the claim that the South holds the patent on dinner table philosophies, but sitting down to the Southern dinner table is an intended event.
It doesn’t matter if the table is set for cornbread, red beans and rice, or chicken fried anything with all the fixings, eating is far from simply a practice in sustenance.
Culinary tastes, rituals and traditions of cooking and dining vary from state to state, dining table to dining table across the South, but the core principles of preparing and sharing good food is uncomplicated, simple and basic.
If you cook, bake, fry, roast, barbecue, boil, grill, can, preserve or pickle it, they will come.
The differences between the ways of my Texas, Tennessee and Louisiana relatives always seemed to warrant a they don’t do it like this in whichever two states you were not breaking bread in.
The shared commonality between the Texas, Tennessee, and Louisiana masses boil down to simple dining vocabulary.
Dinner is the meal eaten in the middle of the day.
Supper is the meal eaten in the evening.
Breaking bread with the Texas family came with rituals and a throwback vibe all its own.
The dining room table was for the adults, and the kitchen table was for the kids.
Soft white bread on a porcelain bread and butter plate was as close to a bread basket as you were gonna get.
My Aunt Sis was as full of sass as she was wit, and lightening quick with an answer and a serving spoon.
This firecracker’s table came equipped with its own GPS system.
Grease was the answer for everything, a pressed glass compote dish filled with homemade pear preserves never left the center of the table, and salt was not an acquired taste.
It was a required taste.
The ladies of both my Texas and Louisiana family subscribed to the take down the china, fill the crystal to the rim, and put a hint of silver on the situation school of thought.
When questioned why a middle of the week dinner called for a fine lace tablecloth and a china pattern worthy of royalty, Aunt Sis would shoot back with a, “Well, hon, what’s the use of having the stuff if you don’t use it?”
I knew there was wisdom in her words, and they resonate with me to this day each time I open the doors to the china cabinet.
Life is too short not to use the good china, crystal and table linens every day.