G and D’s Mini Thanksgiving
D and I have a tradition of having a mini Thanksgiving ahead of the actual holiday. Because there are so many people at the actual celebration, it can be hard to get a chance to spend any time together. We didn’t do one last year because J was less than a month old and took all of our energy. So we brought back the tradition this year. Plus, it gave me a chance to knock out some recipes for the blog. Plus plus, stuffing > not stuffing.
One mistake: not breaking this meal up with something like a salad or cranberries or green beans. Look at that picture! It’s sepia-toned it’s so stinkin’ brown. Brown onions, brown stuffing, brown gravy, brown turkey skin. Yikes.
I’m going to start with the low-light and work my way up. The turkey. We always get the Jennie O perfect turkey breast in a bag. You don’t thaw it, don’t season it, don’t baste it. Just stick it in the oven and wait until the timer pops. Except ours didn’t have a timer, and I didn’t notice that until it was already overcooked and crazy dry. Oops. At least I found the thing on sale.
I was maybe going to make these for the big Thanksgiving, but D talked me into trying it first. That was a good call. This took forever, and it wasn’t all that tasty. The first step, where it says to cook on medium low until the liquid has evaporated? Yeah, 30 minutes later and it was still super soupy. That’s when G got impatient, cranked up the heat and pretty much boiled off the liquid. The next step where you get them golden went pretty well. The actual vinegar and thyme was tasty, but really it was just onions. Nearly an hour for a bunch of onions? You’d better be caramelizing onions for some french onion soup or something. Mmmmm….french onion soup….
Simple stuffing (Sausage variation)
The sausage variation is only in the magazine. You add 1/2 lb sweet Italian sausage, out of the casing, to the veggies in the pan after they are softened and cook until browned. Then, move on to the add wine step and follow as always. I used sourdough bread instead of Italian bread, and I’m quite happy that I did. Sourdough gives you just a little more flavor and cuts against the richness ever so slightly. Also, this recipe doesn’t give directions for you to cook this on its own. The turkey breast had you cooking it at 375 so I cooked this in a 8 x 8 pan at 375 for 25 minutes then browned it uncovered for about 15 minutes. That’s another thing. I halved this recipe to just make one pan. I regretted that. Who has ever wanted less stuffing? Rookie mistake. It was delicious. It’s tough to say if that’s just because stuffing is delicious as a general proposition.
Cranberry-pear cake bars
Yet again, MSLO is kiiiiilling me by not putting one of the recipes online. The November 2007 issue seems to be especially bad for this. Sigh. My version of the recipe after the jump.
Anyway, the cranberry bars were amazing. They were very moist and blondie-like in flavor although cake-like in texture. The batter definitely seemed like a muffin batter. I am fully planning to try making this as muffins someday. Maybe with a struesel topping.
Oh, and I had a small piece with two different Ben and Jerry’s coffee ice creams as a semi-frozen Kaffee und Kuchen. Coffee heath bar crunch was the best with the cake. Coffee coffee buzz buzz buzz (coffee ice cream with espresso-flavored chocolate chunks) was the better of the two on its own.
It was an awesome Thanksgiving dessert, day after Thanksgiving breakfast, dessert to send to work with your husband, all around sweet treat. Thank you, Beck family of New Canaan, Connecticut. You’re all geniuses.