Monthly Archives: November 2015

11/19/15

Thanksgiving Tips & Recipes

Break away from the usual Thanksgiving recipes and try Chef Mary Sue’s alternative tips below. Thanksgiving is one of our favorite holidays because you can cook your heart out and don’t have to focus on giving gifts. What makes the holiday so special is the different textures, flavors, and layers to the Thanksgiving dinner. So many people think the turkey is going to be the highlight of the meal but we also love the assortment of great side dishes and alternative birds.

Three tips for a great side dish

  • Something that’s easy to prepare
  • Can be made in advance
  • A dish that’s big on flavor but not drowned in too much cream or butter

Three sides Mary Sue makes every Thanksgiving

Sweet Sour Red Cabbage  a German family tradition and my mom’s favorite.  It’s so easy to put together and it tastes great hot or cold. I just love the distinctive flavor of Caraway seed. Since it keeps for about a week in fridge, it’s perfect for leftovers too.

Baked Yams with Lime and Honey  simple, yet super flavorful twist on traditional yams. This dish is not too sweet and the lime gives it just the right amount of tanginess. Garnet or Jewel Yams are best because they are much sweeter and moister than sweet potatoes. This is an excellent make-ahead dish that can be reheated before serving.

Shredded Brussels Sprouts  thinly shredded and quickly sautéed, these Brussels Sprouts are a great dish to prepare just before dinner starts. You can dress up the recipe with chorizo, toasted nuts, or even different types of acid – sherry vinegar, white wine, etc.

Bird’s the word for a non-traditional Thanksgiving

Not a fan of the big bird? You’re in luck because Mary Sue shared recipes to four alternative main dishes with Rodale’s Organic Life Magazine. You can find the links to each recipe below from the November/December 2015 issue.

Mexican-Style Lime-Broth-Poached Capon

Fire-Grilled Squab

Fennel-Scented Chicken Mousse Roulades

Braised Pheasant With Bacon + Green Olives

11/15/15

Pumpkin Pie

We love a good pumpkin pie to end our Thanksgiving meal. The addition of crème fraîche adds a slight tang and extra creaminess to balance out the holiday spices in the pumpkin filling.

Makes 1 pie

Pie Dough

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cornstarch
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup cold butter, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon cold lard or vegetable shortening, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup ice cold water

Pumpkin Filling

15 ounce can pumpkin puree
3/4 cup milk
3/4 cup heavy cream, or crème fraiche
2 eggs
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 vanilla bean, scraped
3/4 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
Whipped cream for serving

For the dough, sift together the flour, cornstarch, sugar, and salt into a large bowl. Sprinkle in the pieces of cold butter and lard or shortening. Using your fingers, squeeze and rub the butter and lard or shortening into the flour mixture until the pieces are the size of small peas. Sprinkle in the water and gently mix. When the dough barely comes together, wrap with plastic and form a disc. Refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours or overnight.

On a floured counter top, roll chilled dough out to about 12 inches in diameter. Place dough into a 9-inch glass pie plate and gently push into the bottom of the dish letting the outside of the circle drape over the edges. Cut off excess dough and using a pinching motion, create a crimped edge. Refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F and bake pie crust “blind” for 8 to 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, for the filling, whisk together pumpkin puree, milk, heavy cream, eggs, brown sugar, cinnamon, vanilla bean scrapings, ginger, and nutmeg.

Remove the “blind” baked pie crust from the oven and turn temperature down to 325 degrees F. Pour pumpkin filling into crust, bake for 45 minutes or until center has set. Cool completely before cutting. Serve with whipped cream.

11/15/15

Pear Ginger Pie

Photo: Ariana Lindquist

We like to find the sweet, spicy kick of freshly grated ginger in unexpected places like this Pear Ginger Pie. When shopping, look for firm pieces with smooth, unwrinkled skins. Peel ginger with a knife and rub against a ceramic ginger grater. Since ginger loses its freshness fast, just chop what you need and store the leftover piece in the freezer.

To add a special holiday touch and a pop of color mix in 2/3 cup cranberries to the pear filling.

Makes 1 pie

Pie Dough

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cornstarch
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup cold butter, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon cold lard or vegetable shortening, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup ice cold water

Pear Ginger Filling

8 medium Bartlett pears, peeled
Juice of one small or 1/2 large lemon (about 3 tablespoons)
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons minute tapioca
2/3 cup cranberries (optional)

Topping

5 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons fresh grated ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground mace
A pinch of nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour

For the dough, sift together the flour, cornstarch, sugar, and salt into a large bowl. Sprinkle in the pieces of cold butter and lard or shortening. Using your fingers, squeeze and rub the butter and lard or shortening into the flour mixture until the pieces are the size of small peas. Sprinkle in the water and gently mix. When the dough barely comes together, wrap with plastic and form a disc. Refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours or overnight.

On a floured counter top, roll chilled dough out to about 12 inches in diameter. Place dough into a 9-inch glass pie plate and gently push into the bottom of the dish letting the outside of the circle drape over the edges. Cut off excess dough and using a pinching motion, create a crimped edge. Refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F and bake pie crust “blind” for 8 to 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, for the filling, slice the pears into a large mixing bowl and sprinkle with lemon juice. Combine sugar and tapioca and gently toss into the pears. Add in the cranberries if desired.

For the topping, cream together butter, sugar, ginger, mace, nutmeg, and salt. Using your fingers, work flour into butter mixture combining just until crumbly.

Remove the “blind” baked pie crust from the oven and turn temperature down to 375 degrees F. Pour pear filling into crust then sprinkle topping over the pears. Return pie to oven and bake for 45 minutes, or until bubbling and golden. Remove from oven and cool to room temperature before serving.

11/15/15

Pecan Pie

Photo: Ariana Lindquist

This pie dough makes a flaky crust suitable for all types of fruit and nut pies. When making pie dough, you should be able to see chunks of fat – whether lard, shortening, or butter – in the completed dough. In the oven, they will expand and release the steam that makes pie dough so flaky.

Makes 1 pie

Pie Dough

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cornstarch
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup cold butter, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon cold lard or vegetable shortening, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup ice cold water

For the dough, sift together the flour, cornstarch, sugar, and salt into a large bowl. Sprinkle in the pieces of cold butter and lard or shortening. Using your fingers, squeeze and rub the butter and lard or shortening into the flour mixture until the pieces are the size of small peas. Sprinkle in the water and gently mix. When the dough barely comes together, form two discs, one slightly larger than the other, and wrap with plastic. Refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours or overnight.

On a floured counter top, roll larger disc of chilled dough out into a circle about 12 inches in diameter. Place dough into a 9-inch glass pie pan and gently push into the bottom of the dish, letting the outside of the circle drape over the edges. Cut off excess dough and using a pinching motion, create a crimped edge.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F and bake bottom pie crust “blind” for 8 to 10 minutes.

Pecan Filling

3 eggs
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup dark corn syrup
2 Tablespoons molasses
6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoons salt
2 1/2 cup pecan halves

Whisk together eggs, brown sugar, dark corn syrup, molasses, melted butter, vanilla extract, salt and pecan halves.

Remove the “blind” baked pie crust from the oven and turn temperature down to 325 degrees F. Pour pecan filling into crust, bake for 45 minutes or until center has set. Cool completely before cutting.

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