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Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Preparing

The baking season is upon us! Arise, food lovers and connoisseurs.
We've got this down to a science.
I will make a pecan pie. Not to be outdone, my wife will make a sweet potato pecan pie.
Then I will put together my loaded apple pie.
We will get a turkey in the 17 to 20 pound range. This year we may have more guests, so I might go with a larger bird.
We found this fabulous way to prepare the turkey.
The recipe says you can do this early in the day, but trust me, the night before is when you want to start the brine. Don't be scared by that  'b' word, it's easier than you think.
Good Eats Roast Turkey 
Alton Brown is my hero.
Now you can't have Turkey without stuffing. After you try this, you'll never go back to Stove Top again.
Raffy's Turkey Sausage and Chestnut Stuffing.
This one has a lot of ingredients, and a lot of steps, but it is so worth it.
When it comes time to actually cook the turkey, we don't use the oven. While the wife is making the stuffing, I'll be putting the bird on the grill. After having done it that way for three years, my wife has vowed never to cook a Thanksgiving turkey again.
That vow isn't set in stone, by the way. A long time ago my wife made home made baked mac and cheese. After taking one bite, I said to her; 'this is how you will make mac and cheese from now on.'
When I served up the grilled turkey with the smoke marbled in and the skin a golden brown perfection, my wife said; 'This is how the turkey will be done from now on.' Who am I to argue?
Let's see... There's a recipe for stuffed mushrooms around here.
There are potatoes and vegetables. We try different stuff each year. One year it'll be Smoked Chile Scalloped Sweet potatoes. The next year it will be sour cream mashed potatoes.  Incidentally, my kids call these Nana's mashed potatoes. After looking carefully at the recipe, I've decided they're one and the same.
Depending on the people coming over, or time constraints... or yes, the budget, our Thanksgiving is this loose collection of dishes.
But that's not the last word in the baking season. Large quantities of Snickerdoodle cookies will spring forth on any given weekend between Thanksgiving a Christmas. followed up by Triple Ginger Cookies
When the weather turns cold, I make soup.
Potato soup, broccoli cheese soup, and my favorite, Chicken and dumplings.
There is one more holiday treat/tradition around here and it's called chocolate covered peanut butter bon-bons. My wife insists it's a secret family recipe. What I can tell you is there is no baking involved however, melting chocolate in a double boiler is part of the process. Making these is a big production in our house. The whole family gets involved. We make these for Christmas parties and give boxes of them out for white elephant gifts. Oh, they do taste great and they're addictive as all get out, but let's call them what they really are: Monthy comfort food for the female contingent of the family.
So please feel free to try some of these for the holidays.

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