Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Thanksgiving Dinner 2010 Menu

Appetizer    :    Caviar With Lemon Sour Cream Canapes
Soup            :    Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
Main Dish  :    Roasted Turkey With Cranberry Sauce and Turkey Gravy
Side Dishes:    Glazed Carrots, Fresh Green Beans, Corn, and Mashed Potatoes Parmesan
Dessert       :    Pumpkin Cream Cheese Pie
Beverage    :    Coppola Blanco Pinot Grigio, 
                          French Roasted Arabica Beans Coffee

It's been almost a week since Thanksgiving Day and I still haven't blogged about our Thanksgiving dinner and how and what procedures, observations, and end results I have concluded every time I prepare a holiday meal like this. I take note of everything hoping to unravel the secrets of cooking this challenging feast. 

This year was a buffet style dinner for fifteen guests of close family and friends. Like before, our Thanksgiving dinner is a joint effort of love from my family. My daughter was in charged of the table setting, cleaning, and decorating the house. My future daughter-in-law helped in cooking, my niece and her daughter helped in some way or another, but I took care most of the cooking, for my son went hunting with his friends. 

The night before, I did an all nighter making the cranberry sauce from scratch. I made them in batches in a small pan until I finished a whole bag of cranberries. First, I washed the cranberries and picked the fresh red berries and threw away the white pale ones. Then in a pan I put 1 1/2 cups of dark brown sugar with 1/8 cup of water, after which I added two cups of cranberries and brought it to a boil. I lowered the heat to medium and cooked it for 10 minutes. You will hear the berries popping and that's when the pectin is released which gives the cranberries the gel that makes the syrup thick and gelatinized.

At 9:00 AM I took my turkey out of the ref and washed it thoroughly inside and out with warm water. Pat it dry with paper towels and sprinkled it with salt and freshly grated black pepper generously inside and out. I planned not to put stuffing in my turkey, so I just chopped one whole big onion and snipped a few tops from my rosemary garden and put them all inside the cavity just to have an aroma while it is cooking. The oven was preheated at 450 Fahrenheit and I cooked the turkey for about 20 minutes to give a crispy golden brown skin outside. I covered the breast with a triangle foil so as not to overcook the meat on the breast part. After 20 minutes, I cooked the turkey at 12 minutes per pound at 350 degrees Fahrenheit until done. It took another 4 hours to cook the turkey. Checked with the thermometer for doneness. I then took it out of the oven and rested it for 20 minutes before getting the drippings to make a delicious turkey Gravy.

While the turkey was in the oven, I boiled the neck, liver, giblet, chopped onion, carrots, celery, seasoned with salt, freshly ground pepper, and bay leaf in water for 2 hours on medium-low heat. When cooled, I finely chopped them and added to the gravy.

With a big rubber spatula, I collected the drippings of the turkey and set it aside. In a pan, I made a roux out of butter and flour. When the roux was done, I slowly poured the stock where the neck, giblet, and liver were boiled. In another pan, I warmed the drippings and splashed some wine, strained, and added it to the stock and roux mixture. Seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper. The liver and giblet were added last. Simmered on low for a few minutes until consistency became creamy. Transferred to to gravy boats. 

The soup was the easiest. I roasted two butternut squash on a sheet for 45 minutes on 350 Degrees F. Cooled them, then skinned them just by pulling with a paring knife. They came off easily. Transferred them into a pot, added the stock,  and used my hand blender to puree. Added heavy cream, salt and freshly ground pepper, and served them with freshly grated nutmeg on top. 

All the veggies were boiled in water for about 3 to 4 minutes and then glazed with butter and brown sugar, then served in individual serving veggie bowls.  

The canapes were prepared by my daughter and some help from the rest of the family members. 

Sorry no pics. Didn't have time to take them. The picture you see above was from the previous year.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Boiled Lobsters

2 medium-sized lobsters
12 or more cups water
1 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons black peppercorns
3 to 4 dried bay leaves (break each leaf in half )


Bring the water to a boil in a big pot with salt, peppercorns, and herbs. Add the lobsters and lower heat to medium and cook for 15 minutes or until lobsters have turned red and cooked.   Serve with lemon-butter sauce.

*Serves 2 to 3

Basic Pancake

1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons refined sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter or canola oil
1 egg, lightly beaten

*Preheat a non-stick pan on medium heat. Do not grease pan when cooking pancakes.

Put flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar in a bowl and mix together.  In a separate bowl, combine  egg, milk, and melted butter or canola oil and mix together.

Add the egg mixture to the dry ingredients, a little at a time.  Starting at the center of the flour mixture, mix slowly with a rubber spatula or a hand whisk in a circular motion until you reach the side of the bowl. Do not overwork the flour.

Pour the batter to the heated non-stick pan using a 1/4 measuring cup (for dry ingredients). When bubbles appear on top (about 3 minutes), flip the pancake and cook the other side for another two minutes.

Makes about 6 to 7  four and a half  inch pancakes.

*Serves 3 to 4

*Serve with butter and maple syrup.

*Sprinkle some blueberries or sliced strawberries (optional).
*Kitchen retested 03/15/2010
*Approved by author for Publication 05/14/2011
*Tested and tried again by author 07/18/2011

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