Turkey Day and Despite a Tough Year, Still Grateful

Thursday is the American holiday of Thanksgiving.  For those that follow me you know this is my favourite holiday.  With all the materialism built in with a lot of holidays I like we have one where is’t just family and good food.

It’s been a tough year for my family.  We have 12 round the table and we weren’t guaranteed we’d have 12 this time round.  Fortunately my sister’s neck is just about good as new and my dad’s life saving surgery went as well as it should have.  And we are fortunate my cousin in Kenya has made a near complete recovery from his car accident.  Thank goodness the two taxi drivers rushed him to hospital barely alive.  This was while others looted his car.  So you can imagine the amount of gray hair that made light of day in our family this year!

We’re very much looking forward to 2016, as you can imagine!

For this post I wanted to reshare a few of my recipes I’ve made over the years for Thanksgiving.  I figured I’d get them in before the holiday rather than after for once.  🙂

Sage pear turkey 5 2014

The Sage Pear Turkey fast became a favourite of mine.  Pear works so well with the sage and stuffing the skin with butter just makes it divine.

Cranberry Raisin Sauce 6 2014

Hopefully this year I won’t forget to serve the cranberry sauce!  I made this last year with port and it was really delicious.  I like to do variations each year for something new.  I’ve done it with orange, ginger, thyme.  Surprisingly cranberry is a good match for many different ingredients.

Stuffing balls 6 2013

Stuffing balls are a fun variation.  These are made with pork.  This year I’ll be separating these out to have sourdough stuffing then pork balls as some can’t have gluten.

I was going to share a blog post of pumpkin pie.  Looks like I haven’t done a post on that!  Guess what will be coming soon?

For those that celebrate this holiday I hope it is a safe and fun one.  And may you not have to travel too far!

Advertisements

Snow Delay and Cranberry Raisin Sauce with Port Wine

Ah the best laid plans.  My favourite holiday, Thanksgiving, is tomorrow but Mother Nature has different plans for us.  Because we have family coming from different states we decided, to be safe, to have Thanksgiving on Friday after the storm has passed through and the roads are clear.

It’s our first proper snow storm of the season, I think the most we’ve had is a dusting, and we are looking at 8-12 inches when it’s all finished.  Problem is, despite most of us living here for years, a lot of people suddenly act like they have never seen a snow flake and don’t know how to drive in it!  So I am glad to be tucked away at home for the rest of the day.

Cranberry Raisin Sauce 7 2014

It is a very pretty storm with all the trees and shrubs outlined in snow.  Hopefully I’ll have a chance tomorrow to take some pictures.

Just because there is a snow delay doesn’t mean I don’t have a load of food prep ahead of me so I decided to make the cranberry sauce today.  I got my inspiration from Chef Mimi and her Cran-Cherry Chutsauce.  A fun name, isn’t it?  What I loved about it was that it had port wine in it.  Ooh, I thought, that’s a lovely idea.

My version is with raisins and a Late Bottled Vintage port.  This took less than 15 minutes to make and homemade is so much better than the canned sauce.

Cranberry Raisin Sauce 1 2014

In a small saucepan I added about 1 1/2 cup of whole cranberries and 1/3 of a cup of the port to start and brought that to a simmer.  Chop a quarter of a red onion.  Make sure the onion is finely chopped for this.

Cranberry Raisin Sauce 2 2014

Add 1/4 – 1/3 of a cup of seedless raisins.  I added more than that forgetting the raisins will swell up so I removed a bunch.  Then add the onion.

Cranberry Raisin Sauce 4 2014

Keep simmering until the cranberries start to burst.  You’ll hear a popping sound.  Once they have started to burst add brown sugar a tablespoon at a time.  All told I probably used 2 tablespoons added a bit at a time.

Cranberry Raisin Sauce 5 2014

If it starts to get too stiff add more port a bit at a time.  While this starts to thicken add a teaspoon of fresh thyme and stir well.  Once you get the consistency and flavour you desire remove from the heat.

Cranberry Raisin Sauce 6 2014

I love the silverware from the Victorian era.  This spoon was specifically made for jellies and cranberry sauce and has been in my family for several generations.  They certainly knew how to lay a table.

Cranberry Apple Sauce

A week has passed since our large Thanksgiving dinner and we’re slowly finding space again in our fridge.  I think our puzzle skills have greatly improved this week fitting everything in.  There has been a large dent made in the turkey with dishes created to used up the leftovers.  There was the basic repeat Thanksgiving dinner but you can’t do that all week long so there has to be some creativity.  I made my chili and just added turkey.  I did add the roast potatoes and parsnips to that but that inched the dish closer to the weird side.  But hey it cleared some valuable real estate.  Last night I did a dish with leeks and tonight I think I’ll do up a curry dish.  And don’t forget the sandwiches!  It’s tradition to make turkey sandwiches.  I made mine with homemade rosemary bread, melted cheese and the leftover cranberry apple sauce.  So good I was a bit sorry the sauce ran out.

I found a tip about cranberries from Jovina Cooks Italian which was to use some baking soda to dial down the tartness of cranberries so you use less sugar.  Which in my family is perfect.

I made this cranberry sauce last year and wouldn’t you know it I forgot the orange juice again!  On to plan B.  Apples were one of the ingredients tying the whole meal together to I decided to use a bit of apple cider for this sauce.

Again about 1 1/2 – 2 cups of cranberrys whole into a small sauce pan.

Cranberry apple sauce 1 2013

Add about 1/2 cup of apple cider and bring to a boil then let it simmer for about 10 minutes.   Jovina recommended 1/4tsp of baking soda but I tried 1/8 tsp first as I wasn’t making much and that worked well for this recipe.  It will get all fizzy and bubbly.

Cranberry apple sauce 2 2013

I added about 1/4 cup of sugar, which is such a small amount for cranberries, and stirred well.  Cook until it thickens a bit and then let cool.

Cranberry apple sauce 3 2013

It still had the cranberry flavour but the tartness wasn’t the strong note of this dish.  It was much more mellow without being overly sweet.

Cranberry Sauce

I remember always thinking as a child how strange the cranberry sauce out of a can looked.  It never looked appetizing!  So recently I started making my own for Thanksgiving.  It is very simple, isn’t odd shaped and is tasty.  My mum loves it so I really make it for her.  🙂

I use a small saucepan and add about 1 1/2 – 2 cups of cranberries whole.

Add a bit more than 1/2 cup of water and get it simmering.

Once the cranberries start splitting and softening start with about 1/2 cup of sugar.  What I do is add a bit at a time starting with the 1/2 cup.  I know some of my family love the tartness of the cranberries so I don’t want to oversweeten it.  If it were for me I would had a ton of sugar to this!

Once the sugar is dissolved I add a handful more cranberries so the texture of the sauce is more rustic.

Next I add some ground ginger.  Normally I add about 1/2 cup of orange juice but I didn’t have any so I added a bit of lemon juice.  It wasn’t bad but orange juice is a better choice.

Simmer until everything is dissolved and the cranberries are softened.

Remove from heat and let cool.  It will thicken as it cools.  I made this the day before and it took less than 1/2 an hour to do. It really is easy.

And not only does it taste good, it isn’t a weird shape!