Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy, Happy Turkey Day!!!

Happy, happy Turkey Day,
Hunger pains will go away,
When you hear the Pilgrims say, it's Happy Turkey Day.
Happy, happy Turkey Day,
Let's all eat the Indian way,
As Bastille and Cape Cod Bay, it's Happy Turkey Day!

As much as I love cooking for the holiday, the point at which I am done is kinda like the "it's time to open presents!" moment from when I was a kid. Weeeeee!!!

Last night, they were all over the TV talking about SNOW! that was supposed to hit us overnight. Chicago sees a lot of snow, but it seems like everyone has amnesia and forgets every year before the first snow that it's now big deal, it'll melt quickly, and there will not be a rash of weather releated deaths and disasters from it. Yeah. This is what was on the deck when I woke up this morning....

Terrifying, huh?

Woke up, had some coffee, and tackled pecan pie numero uno, my usual pie. This is the world's easiest pie crust, seriously. I usually make it a day ahead and let it chill in the fridge overnight, then let it rest for a few minutes on the counter before I start working with it. Of course, it's easier with a food processor, but it's also not hard to do with just a pastry blender, one year I even used two forks, and got it done.

My preference for a pecan pie is more pecans and less of the goo that holds it together. I know a lot of people like the goo, but I like the nuts. In fact, the first four letters of my maiden name are "Nutt" so I'm pretty used to being a nut by now (rimshot!). I never bother to toast my pecans beforehand, and when filling the pie I do my best to make sure all the nuts get in there, which sometimes leaves some goo in the bowl. Which is fine. I also mixed up the fillings for both my pies last night and just let them chill in the fridge overnight, so this morning in a sleep-haze, it's just getting the dough in to the plate and pouring everything in.

Tart Pastry

1/2 flour -- 140g
1/4 teaspoon salt
9 tablespoons cold butter -- in small pieces
2 egg yolk
4 tablespoons water

Mix the flour and salt in a bowl. Cut in the butter with your fingers or a pastry blender until the mixture resembles course meal or tiny peas. Whisk the egg yolk and 2 tablespoons water together in another bowl, add to the flour mixture, and blend until the pastry is smooth and holds together in a ball. It can be mixed in a food processor; process first the flour, salt and butter quickly together, then add the egg yolk and water through the funnel and process until the dough balls up around the blade. Wrap in foil or plastic and refrigerate it for at least 20 minutes. You can roll this dough out with a rolling pin, but you would have to chill it, wrapped in plastic, for at least 20 minutes. We find it easier to pat it into a pie pan or springform with our hands. Pull pieces of dough from the ball and press them over the bottom and sides of the pan, using the heel of your hand. The dough should be thick enough to hold the filling, but be careful that it is not too thick around the bottom edge or the finished tart will seem coarse. If there's time, cover the lined pan snuggly with foil and refrigerate it before filling and baking it. Bake as directed in the filling recipe. Or prick the bottom with a fork and bake it unfilled for 12 minutes in a preheated 425 degree oven. If you use a springform pan, do not remove the sides until you are ready to serve the tart.
Pecan Pie

3 large eggs -- slightly beaten
3/4 cup sugar -- 150g
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup dark corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons melted butter
1 1/2 cups pecan halves -- coarsely chopped
1 Tart Pastry Dough

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a 9 inche pie pan with the pastry dough. Combine the eggs, sugar, salt, corn syrup, vanilla and butter in a bowl and blend well. Stir in the pecans. Pour into the lined pan. Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 and bake for another 35 minutes. Serve with whipped cream.

And the food porn shot.... woooo.....

Then it was time to tackle pie crust number two.... actual rolled pie dough. It was my first attempt ever at a rolled pie dough, since I never had a rolling pin or enough available counter space to do a rolled pie dough. It started out slow since my dough was pretty firm, but once the dough temp got more to room temp, all was right with the world. I rolled it between sheets of parchment paper, and it was a breeze.

Look! Rolled pie crust! I'm filled with a sense of accomplishment!!

And in the pie plate. Wooo! A half-assed decorative edge!! Don't I rock?

Melted the chocolate and added it to the bottom, and let the shell chill in the fridge while the oven came up to temp. An hour later (used the convection setting of my oven, which usually means I need a few more minutes cooking time) I took this outta the oven.....

Pretty. Mmmm. Pie.

Time to throw the sweet potato casserole in the oven. It's actually kinda a hybrid between the Mashed Maple Bourbon Sweet Potatoes (and I leave out the bourbon) and the Candied Sweet Potato Casserole. I do the potatoes on the stove top, using OJ instead of water, and adding the butter, sugar and maple syrup of the the Mashed Maple potatoes, then pack that in to a dish, and use the pecan topping from the Mashed Maple potatoes. And when all is said and done.....

Yum. Good stuff.

The green bean casserole..... before onions, and after baking/onions.

That's just Trader Joe's haricot verts, nuked, covered with a mushroom bechamel sauce, then the fried onions from the can. Plop the cold bechamel on the top, and pretty much follow the rest of the directions on the can for heating it thru and topping with onions.

Salmon mousse was a disappointment. It could have used a LOT more flavor (beyond just "salmon"). I was trying for a horseradish flavor to it, and it was not there. Oh well. And no picture, since I unmolded it at the in-laws.

I might just be stupid enough to hit some holiday sales tomorrow. Mernards has a neat "adjustable" ladder for super cheap, and an under-cabinet CD player. If I hit the store at 9am and they have them, great, if not, oh well. Also want to hit Michaels to get some more garland for my Christmas tree. Bought some I really liked last year, but I didn't get my huge-ass tree until the next day, and didn't realize how much garland it would need. Hopefully they have the same stuff in stock.

1 comment:

Marilyn said...

Hope your Turkey Day was great! I look forward to reading your blog updates. Best wishes to you and yours.