Friday, November 25, 2016

Thanksgiving Day 2016: smooth as a baby's butt. Recipes, for keeps!

This was a success that we were eating them by one o'clock (lunch)! Proud to prepare for 4-6 people of food with only me preparing and cooking. 

So I shared to you some ideas for TDay 2016 last week and I did followed SOME of that plan because at the end of the day-you want it easy and practical so I left out not making the other "some" in that post. Raise your hands if you really stick to your first TDay plan? I don't!

I still did rebel from the normal, traditional TDay spread: I spatchcocked the bird, used alcohol (tequila) in the pie, candied potatoes and gravy (wine); I did not cook the cranberry sauce, used onion rings to top the green bean casserole, made a savory bread pudding (as dressing), used grapefruit slices in the ambrosia salad.

The day before thanksgiving day-I made the dressing, green bean casserole, pumpkin pie, candied sweet potato, and cranberry sauce

On TDay, I opened up the bird and smoked it for four hours; made the gravy utilizing the neck and backbone from the turkey, made the mashed potatoes.

Liberally brush or drizzle with olive oil, salt, black pepper. Preheat grill to 500° F. Turn grill control to the lowest setting and throw in the bird to smoke for 4 hours. Your grill will stay 300° F without burning the bottom side of the bird. Don't forget to place bird on a baking sheet. This turned out to be crispy outside and moist inside.

Thanksgiving day 2016

Not so Ina Garten's Bread Pudding Dressing. I used bulk breakfast sausage (instead of pancetta) red apple (instead of granny green), white & yellow marble cheese (instead of Gruyere), dried herbs (instead of fresh), wheat baguette (instead of boule). Cut ratio of dried herbs in half.

For the Green Bean Casserole, I followed the recipe to the T but used store-bought, Red Robin™ onion rings instead of making from scratch as called for in the recipe.

Anthony Bourdain's fresh, uncooked Cranberry Relish: 12 oz cranberries, 1 large orange and all (remove seeds), 1 cup granulated sugar. I added 2 tablespoons of sugar. Blitz in a food processor until sauce consistency. Refrigerate overnight-6-12 hours. Another for keeps recipe for cranberry sauce!

Ambrosia Salad with cream cheese and mayonnaise (kosher). I used grapefruit slices instead. Trust me: this is one bad ass fruit salad recipe you should make!

Not so Anthony Bourdain's Turkey Gravy. I made my own stock from the backbone/neck of the bird.  This turned out pale (but very flavorful) as compared to his brown gravy. Maybe because I did not cook the flour enough "until deep golden". I used Vermouth (had it for years, lol) instead of "dry, red wine". Best ever gravy you should make-and for keeps!

This is supposed to be called as "Bruleed Bourbon-Maple Pumpkin Pie" (by Bon Appetit magazine). It's supposed to have a chocolate-flavored pastry crust but I need to use the frozen, store-bought pie crust I have-so I only used the filling recipe (sort of) and the brulee-style to finish this off. This ended up being called "Bruleed Tequila-Agave Pumpkin Pie". Hey, only in the Southwest!

Serves 8.


1 store bought 9" pie crust


4 large eggs
1 15 oz can pumpkin puree
4 T cream cheese (optional)
1 14 oz condensed milk
2 T granulated sugar (optional)
2 T tequila
1 t ground cinnamon
1/2 t salt
1/4 t ground ginger
1/4 t ground nutmeg
1/8 t ground allspice
1/3 c agave syrup
1 t vanilla extract
pinch of xanthan gum (optional)
2 T cornstarch (optional)

To brulee:

2 T Turbinado sugar

Preheat oven to 350° F. Lightly brush/apply with butter or cooking oil on 9" pie pan or use cooking spray. Spread pie crust on pie pan, set aside

Place all filling ingredients in a large bowl and beat on low until well-combined.

Pour in the pie crust and bake for 55 minutes or until set around edges and center barely jiggles. Transfer onto a wire rack to cool.

Before serving, sprinkle turbinado sugar on the pie and using a kitchen torch-brulee until sugar has melted and glassy brown. That serves your crunchy component.

Without a close up photo: Not so Anthony Bourdain's Candied Sweet Potatoes. I used apple butter and tequila instead of "apple cider and bourbon". I added fresh orange juice from half of an orange and pinch of ground allspice.

Serves 8.


3 lbs sweet potatoes
1 T butter
5 T butter
1 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 c apple butter
1/4 c gold tequila
pinch of salt
juice of half of an orange
pinch of allspice

1. Cut sweet potatoes into quarters and place in a large saucepan or pot; cover with cold water and boil. Reduce heat and simmer 10-15 minutes. It should offer a bit of resistance when poked with a fork. Drain well. When cool enough to handle, peel and cut into 1" chunks.
2. Preheat oven to 375° F. Grease with 1 T butter an oven safe pan large enough to fit the sweet potatoes. Arrange sweet potatoes in a single layer. 

3. Melt the 5 T of butter and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the apple butter, tequila, salt, allspice and whisk. Continue cooking for 1 minute. Remove from heat and squeeze the orange.

4. Drizzle the apple-tequila mixture over sweet potatoes. Roast 40 minutes or until sweet potatoes are tender and liquid is syrupy.

No close up photo: Mashed Potatoes.

I hope your Tday turned out great! 
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