We had a double celebration this weekend: a belated birthday for my Mom, and the traditional Thanksgiving meal. First up, Jamie's Party Cake, which my son has been bugging me to make again for over a year! It really is a simple cake to bake and assemble at the last minute. For the filling, this time we used fresh raspberries along with the whipped cream.
I actually started cooking for the weekend on Wednesday. I decided it was high time to use real roasted pumpkin for the pumpkin pies. I mean, why pay $4 a can when you can get a piepumpkin for $1? So I roasted it, and on Thursday, I pureed the pumpkin and proceeded to make the pie filling. I followed the directions I found on the website of a local strawberry farm because the recipe used maple syrup and regularmilk instead of the condensed stuff, but I was too lazy to make the ginger crust or the meringue topping. I just used a frozen pie shell that I found in the freezer, a store-bought graham crust I found in the cupboard, and figured we'd top with whipped cream as usual. What the heck, I have my limits. It was late and I was tired! But I do admit I'd like to try their version one day because it looks divine!
Friday we had Korean Beef with rice, peas and corn, followed by the cake. Saturday morning, I prepared the traditional bread, onion, & celery stuffing, followed by a family favourite broccoli & cauliflower casserole, all before 9 a.m.. The stuffing got a good helping of fresh chopped sage, and the casserole was topped with fresh chopped parsley. Mom brought along a ham & cheese quiche and a breakfast bake she'd made, so everyone was well fed. I decided to make a quick herbed butter with rosemary & thyme to spread under the skin of the turkey. At this point I realized I had used all of the herbs in the song! My son felt the need to listen to some Simon & Garfunkel while I cooked. LOL.
For veggies, I chopped up Ontario fresh sweet potatoes, regular potatoes, carrots and a turnip for mom. I opted to roast the sweet potatoes as wedges rather than fries, and coated them with Asian chile & garlic sauce mixed with soy sauce & olive oil. The carrots were candied on the stove, as usual, and the potatoes & turnip were just boiled & mashed. I felt as though we needed something really fresh, so I made up a quick salad of lettuce, tomatoes & radishes. And then I thought about all that sorrel growing in my garden still. What does one do with sorrel? It's very strong and citrusy, so I finely chopped one leaf and scattered it over the salad for flavour. It also gave it some nice, dark green colour. My mom scoffed at the idea of salad for Thanksgiving, but I noticed everyone had some on their plate.
298. French Jam Jar Dressing (Jamie's Food Revolution, page 107)
Funny, my inspiration for making the salad dressing myself came from watching Michael Smith's new show Chef Michael's Kitchen recently. He did a Salad 101 and talked about how easy it is to make your own signature "house" dressing. So I grabbed a small mason jar and my copy of Food Revolution. French seemed like a good idea for the ingredients in the salad, so I combined red wine vinegar, a bit of grated garlic, EVOO, a teaspoon or so of dijon mustard, and just because Michael said so, a tiny bit of honey for sweetness. So I guess you could say this was the best of both worlds! I got compliments on it, too. :)
299. Zesty Cranberry Sauce (Jamie's Recipes iPhone App, Jamie's Holiday Feasts pack)
I love cranberry & orange together, and Michael Smith has taught me to do an awesome raw cranberry sauce in the past. But this looked perfect and easy. So I combined my bag of fresh cranberries with the zest & juice of an orange, and some white sugar to sweeten. I simmered this for maybe 5 minutes, along with a cinnamon stick, and then let it cool, before putting it in the fridge to chill for dinner.
Unfortunately, no pictures were taken at the feast. I didn't even think about it, I was too busy cooking and having fun. My son carved the turkey and we all picked our favourite bits of meat off the tray before dinner. My friend Cindy helped me with the last minute stuff, and brought us some awesome spiced cupcakes for dessert, to go along with the fresh pumpkin pies I'd baked. I think the vote for fresh pumpkin over canned pumpkin was unanimous! The pies were light and delicious, which is generally a good thing when everyone has already stuffed themselves with dinner.
I snapped this picture the morning after. The cupcakes were so cute, and the platter is probably 75 years old. It belonged to my great grandmother. I've been thinking a lot about traditions this year. I believe they are important. I hope the things that have become tradition with me in the last few years will eventually carry on with my kids.