Wednesday, December 3, 2014


Thanksgiving has come and gone. I hope you had a beautiful day filled with food and good cheer. I have so much to be grateful for and am blessed with lots of love, good health, a beautiful family and many wonderful friends. Thank you all for helping to make my life tremendous!

These floats appeared at this year's Thanksgiving Day Parade in Plymouth, MA
America's Hometown!
Last time we talked about Jerry's birthday--the unofficial kick-off of the holiday season. From that event we roll into Thanksgiving and then our wedding anniversary (21 years and counting!) and now we're steaming ahead toward Christmas!

I made too much food (again) for our Thanksgiving gathering, which may not surprise you, but it all came out beautifully and was loads of fun. I prepped for about one week prior to the big day so things came together easily on Thanksgiving day. I included 3 new items this year that I want to share with you: Mile-High Apple Pie (a Martha Stewart recipe); the most delicious and moist Cranberry Nut bread, and Cranberry Nut Biscotti's. My brother, Skip and wife Esther also brought a Vanilla Cake with Chocolate Bourbon frosting and a very special Ginger-infused Pumpkin Pie with Toasted Hazelnuts; both very yummy. Let's start with the apple pie.
This is one of the best apple pie recipes I have ever used. It calls for 14 apples! The Pate Brisee crust is loaded with 2 sticks of butter! Best of all Martha suggests making it the day before.
1/2 cup flour; more for rolling the Pate Brisee
5 1/2 lbs. firm tart apples (about 14). I used Granny Smith, Cortland, Gala and a couple Macs.
Juice from 2 lemons
1 cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
3 Tbsp. chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 large egg yolk (...For brushing on crust. I used the whole egg, slightly beaten.)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the smaller piece of Pate Brisee (recipe follows) into a 15 inch round about 1/8 inch thick, dusting surface with flour to prevent sticking, as needed. Brush off excess flour. Line pie plate with dough, pressing it into the corners. Trim the dough to within 1 inch of the pie plate. Cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate.
Roll out remaining piece of dough into an 18 inch round. Transfer to a baking sheet; cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use.
Peel and core apples, and cut into 1/4 inch thick slices. Place slices in a large bowl, sprinkle with lemon juice to prevent discoloration. In a small bowl, combine flour, sugar, and cinnamon. Toss with apple slices.
Remove remaining dough from fridge. Place apple mixture into prepared pie plate, mounding it in a tall pie. It will be very high! Dot filling with butter. Place the larger piece of dough over the apples. Tuck edge of top dough between edge of bottom dough and rim of pan. Using your fingers, gently press both layers of dough along the edge to seal, and crimp. You can also use a fork to make an interesting pattern on the edge. I just used my fingers.
Pie, glazed with egg wash and ready to go into the hot oven.
Using a paring knife, cut several vents in top of dough to allow steam to escape. In a small bowl, whisk together egg yolk with 2 Tbsp. water to make a glaze. Brush surface with egg glaze; sprinkle with sugar. Place on a foil lined baking sheet to catch any juices that may overflow during baking. Bake until crust begins to turn golden, about 15 minutes. Reduce oven temp to 350 and continue baking until crust is a rich, golden brown and juices are bubbling; 45-50 minutes.
Remove from oven, and let cool completely (or overnight) before serving.
I love this rich French pie crust and it is perfect for either sweet or savory pies, such as quiche. By nature this is a crumbly dough, but is quite forgiving because it has so much butter in it.
2 1/2 cups flour, more for dusting
1 tsp. salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water
Thanksgiving centerpiece.
Pulse flour and salt in a food processor to combine. Add butter, pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs with some larger pieces remaining. Unfortunately my food processer is in Arizona and I am still in Massachusetts so had to use the old-fashioned method of cutting the butter and flour together using two table knives--much more work and not as even texture, but can be done.
Evenly drizzle 1/4 cup ice water over mixture. Pulse until dough is crumbly but holds together when squeezed. If dough is too dry, add up to 1/4 cup more ice water, 1 Tbsp. at a time, and pulse to combine.
Turn out dough onto a floured surface and divide dough in two with one piece slightly larger than the other. Wrap each piece in plastic and refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour or up to 1 day.
Roll out the smaller piece first to a 15 inch round. Line the pie plate; cover and put back in fridge until ready to use. Roll the second piece out to about an 18 inch (1/8 inch thick) round and do the same. I have to admit making pie crust is not my strong suit, but this time it actually worked pretty well.

For this years meal I made my traditional Cranberry-Ginger Sauce, but added more fresh ginger root than usual and a couple Granny Smith apples. I also used Clementines (both juice and zest) instead of orange. The cranberries came from Teri's Farmstand ( She is selling them for The Edible Yard right here in Plymouth. They were perfectly ripe with no rotten berries among them. I used these cranberries for the Cranberry Nut Bread as well.

This recipe came from a food blogger called Once Upon a Chef. Similar to Jennifer Segal I thought I would use the recipe from Oceanspray, but did a little more digging and hers sounded MUCH better.
1/3 cup orange juice (I used freshly squeezed Clementine juice.)
2 tsp. granted orange zest from 1 orange or in my case 2 Clementines.
2/3 cup Buttermilk (I did not have Buttermilk so placed 2/3 cup whole milk in a jar with 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice. Shake vigorously and it makes a good Buttermilk substitute.)
6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
1 large egg
2 cups flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled off
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. sugar
3/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 cup fresh (or frozen) cranberries, coarsely chopped (I used my mini-max to chop.)
1/2 cups walnuts or pecans (I used walnuts, roughly chopped.)
Preheat oven to 375. Spray bottom of 9x5 inch loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray. I was out so used a generous amount of butter. In a small bowl, stir together orange juice, orange zest, buttermilk, butter and egg. Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon, baking powder, and baking soda. Stir liquid ingredients into dry with rubber spatula until just moistened. Gently stir in cranberries and nuts. Do not overmix.
Scrape batter into prepared loaf pan and spread evenly with a rubber spatula. Bake for 20 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 degrees. Continue to bake until golden brown and toothpick inserted into center of loaf comes out clean; about 45 minutes longer. Cool loaf in pan for about 10 minutes, then turn out onto wire rack and cool at least one hour before serving. I made this bread the day before the big meal, too. Flavorful, moist and delicious. Definitely will become an annual tradition!

Biscotti is not difficult to make, but does require several steps to prepare.
2 cups flour
3/4 cup plus 1 Tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest-from 1 1/2 lemons
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 cup whole, skin-on almonds, lightly toasted
2/3 cup sweetened dried cranberries
3 large eggs
1 tsp.vanilla
1/2 tsp. almond extract

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil a large rimmed baking sheet. Put the flour, 3/4 cup of the sugar, lemon zest, baking powder and salt in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until combined, about 30 seconds. Add the almonds and cranberries and mix to combine and break the nuts into pieces about 1/3 to 1/4 their original size--1 to 2 minutes.
Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface and pat it into a 5 inch disk. Halve the disc.

The dough will be sticky. Lightly moisten your hands with oil or water, then squeeze and pat one piece of dough into a log. Lay the log lengthwise on one side of the prepared baking sheet. Stretch and pat the dough into a flat loaf that's about 12 inches long and 2-2 1/2 inches wide. Repeat with the remaining dough. Leave at least 2 inches of space between the loaves.

Mix the reserved beaten egg with 2 tsp. water. Lightly brush the loaves with the egg wash and sprinkle with the remaining 1 Tbsp. sugar. You will not use all of the egg.
Bake until pale golden around the edges and just set, 20 to 25 minutes. There may be cracks on the surface. This is not a problem. Reduce the oven temp to 300 degrees. Set the baking sheet on a cooling rack. Gently slide an offset spatula under each loaf to loosen it. The egg wash may make the loaves stick a bit. Let cool on the sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to the rack and let cool for 15 to 20 minutes longer. They will cut easier when they are still a little warm.
Transfer the loaves to a cutting board. Using a sharp knife, cut the loaves on the diagonal into 1/2 inch thick slices. Arrange the slices, cut side up, on the baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, then flip and bake until golden, about 10 more minutes. Transfer the biscotti to the rack and cool completely. They will become firm and crunchy as they cool. The biscotti can be stored in an airtight container at room temp for up to 2 weeks. Mine made it until the weekend after Thanksgiving! If they lose some of their crispness you can reheat in a low oven (200 degrees) for a few minutes and they become crunchy again.

We had a crowd spending the night and the next morning I made a modified Monte Cristo for breakfast. Beat 1 egg per person in a large bowl with a little salt. Dredge sliced bread through the egg--I used a nice multi grain with seeds--and fry in butter as you would French Toast. Layer slices of turkey, ham, and lots of Swiss (or other) cheese onto the eggy bread. Top with another piece of egged fried bread. Cover the frying pan and reheat to melt the cheese. Serve.
From l to r: My brother Skip, his wife Esther, Justin's girlfriend Alison, my husband Jerry and son Justin
Because I also made a ham for Thanksgiving, throwing together this breakfast sandwich was very easy.

Thank you for sharing another meal with me. If you'd like to see my whole Thanksgiving menu, shoot me an email.

I am also very grateful to all of you
who continue to follow my blog.
Until next time...HAPPY COOKING!

Here's Santa at the annual Thanksgiving Day Parade in Plymouth!


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