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Thursday, November 24, 2011

I am thankful...

that I survived Thanksgiving. Why wouldn't I survive my favorite holiday you ask? A few reasons. One, the sheer amount of time I spend slaving over a hot stove is enough to kill a regular human being. Two, the ridiculous quantity of food I consume in one day is just not a healthy amount, today is a day where I literally eat enough to feed a small army. But, this Thanksgiving was beyond a success! Family, amazing aromas, and delicious delicacies filled every room, just the way Thanksgiving should be. So what that I spent the past 48 hours not leaving my kitchen except for a mandatory family hike? It was more then worth it because everything turned out INCREDIBLE and I love spending time in my kitchen. I was talking to my friend who's birthday it is today and even though it's technically his birthday, I feel like today's mine too. Sorry for stealing the day but it's my favorite day of the year so I've decided to call it my own, birthday round 2.

Let's start where all meals should start, the end, with dessert.

Banana Cream Pie. I love banana cream pie, who doesn't? I've made it before but used a box pudding recipe but today I felt ambitious and wanted to be a professional homemaker so I made the pudding base myself and it was ten times more delicious and also really easy. It really makes a difference. The pie was silky smooth and topped with a heaping pile of airy whipped cream and fresh bananas it was just perfect. The ideal dessert for any time of year and so easy to make. It also looks and tastes totally impressive.
*this recipe is adapted from one from Judy Rosenberg's recipe from her book Rosie's Bakery All-butter, fresh cream, sugar-packed, no-holds-barred baking book.

Graham cracker crust
9 whole graham crackers
1 stick of butter
1/2 cup sugar

2 1/4 cups milk
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
3 egg yolks
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
3 tbs butter

Homemade whipped cream.

Recipe: Preheat the oven to 350. First make the crust. Ground the crackers into crumbs then put in bowl with sugar. Melt the stick of butter and pour over crumb sugar mixture. Grease a 9 inch pie pan and then pat the mixture over the whole pan, covering the bottom and sides. Bake in oven for about 10 minutes or until it turns a little darker brown. Remove from oven, let cool, then refrigerate until ready.
Pie: Pour 2 cups of the milk, all the sugar and the salt onto pot on the stove. Scald the mixture, stir occasionally as not to burn. While that cooks, combine the extra 1/4 cup of milk with the cornstarch. Whisk until smooth, ensuring that the cornstarch is not lumpy, (IT REALLY MAKES A DIFFERENCE!!) Whisk in the egg yolks. Add the cornstarch egg mixture to the milk pot on the stove and whisk continually for 3 minutes on lowest heat. The mixture should thicken pretty quickly but keep stirring until smooth and it has a good thick consistency, like pudding. After 3 minutes, remove from heat and add in butter and vanilla. Mix. Transfer to a smaller bowl and let sit for 15 minutes, stirring every few minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and poke some holes in the wrap to let the steam escape, then place in fridge for at least 2 hours.
Assembly: Assemble RIGHT before serving for best results. Pour half the pudding mixture into the pie crust. Slice one fresh banana and scatter onto pudding. Pour remaining half of pudding mixture. Slice another banana and sprinkle on top as well. Spoon a more then healthy helping of whipped cream on top of the second pudding layer and decorate with more banana slice. SERVE AND INDULGE !!!

Apple Crisp. Crunchy crispy top, gushy melted baked apple bottom. Its very season and screams fall with every bite. Served with a good vanilla ice cream and homemade whipped cream and you are more then good to go. This is also amazing the next day cold with some yogurt like a parfait.

12 macintosh apples, peeled
1 lemon
1/4 cup apple juice
3 tbs butter
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon cinnamon sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
2 teaspoons corn starch

Crispy Topping
2 sticks butter
1/4 cup flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
2 cup oats (at least two cups, but its an eyeballing thing)

Recipe: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Filling first. Quarter the peeled apples and then cut the quarters in thirds. In a saucepan melt the butter. Add the apple juice and lemon. Let the mixture heat up a little and then add all the apples, cinnamon, cinnamon sugar, brown sugar, and honey. Cook until the apples start to tenderize and the liquid in the pan begins to thicken, about 8 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat. Drain the liquid into a separate bowl and add the cornstarch. Whisk the liquid then put it back on the stove and let it heat up for 3 minutes and thicken. Once thick, pour back over the apples. Refrigerate until the crust is ready. For the topping beat the softened butter, sugars and flour together.  Add in the oats. Butter a casserole dish and pour the apple mixture in. Crumble the oat mixture on top and pat into a crust. Bake in oven until the liquid is bubbling and the crust is a nice toasted brown. Serve with ice cream and whipped cream!

Pecan Squares. The holiday season isn't complete without something ooey and gooey and caramelly and drippingly finger licking good. That's where the pecan squares come in. Like a pecan pie but more portable and easier to serve. The crust is butter and crispy and the topping is golden and chewy and caramelized pecan deliciousness. This is the dessert thats not possible to have just one of. So, good luck resisting !

2 1/2 cups flour
1 cup powdered sugar
2 1/2 sticks of butter, room temperature

1 cup light brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup dark corn syrup
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tbs butter melted
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup honey
3 cups pecans

Recipe: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a large casserole dish. In a mixer beat the sugar, flour, and butter until the dough comes together. Pat the dough gently at the bottom of the pan. Bake the base for about 30 minutes until lightly golden brown. Cool completely. For the topping, in an electric mixer combine both sugars, the syrup, eggs, vanilla, and salt. Add the melted butter. Once fully mixed add in the heavy cream and the honey. Beat on high for 2 minutes until fluffy. Mix in the pecans by hand. Pour over the base evenly and bake for about 50 minutes or until the topping is set.
*extremely adapted version of a Judy Rosenberg recipe

NOW. For the meal.
Our table was graced with a beautiful massive turkey, my mom's famous mashed sweet potatoes with bananas and toasted marshmallows, roasted brussel sprouts, greek salads, sausage herb stuffing, brisket, broccoli soufflé, and the classic cranberry sauce. Everything was insane. The mashed sweet potatoes are a family secret recipe so I will share the stuffing because it was SO good. My first attempt and it was more then a valiant effort. A crunchy browned crust with that herb buttery apple taste...seriously heaven.

Sausage herb stuffing

1 large loaf of french bread, or sourdough
6 granny smith apples
3 parsnips
1 large vidalia onion
4 large celery stalks
3 tbs butter
2 cups chicken broth
garlic powder
1 bunch flat leaf parsley
2 sweet italian sausage
2 spicy italian sausage

Recipe: Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut the bread into 1 inch cubes. Lay it out on a cookie sheet and put in the oven and toast for 10 minutes until crisp. In a large saucepan melt the butter. Dice the apples, onions, and celery into 1 inch pieces. Add them to the pan. Finely chop the parsley and add it as well. Season with a lot of salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Don't be shy on the seasoning because the bread absorbs everything! Cover with a lid and cook until the apples and vegetables are extremely tender, about 12 minutes. Take the vegetables off the heat and put into a large bowl. Add the bread chunks and stir. In the same pan add the sausage and 2 tbs butter. Cook through and chop into finer ground pieces. Add to the large mix with the bread and vegetables. Add chicken broth and mix. Put into casserole pan and bake for 30 minutes and until the top is crunchy and toasted.


This was a great day. The best day even, like I said, my birthday round 2. Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! I'm thankful for my family, friends, all the amazing food i have to eat, and for anyone who reads my blog.

stay happy, healthy, and obviously hungree.
hungree girl

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