thursday things – the 2014 thanksgiving special!

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Take a walk down memory lane with 20 years of Thanksgiving food trends.

Did you know that you could celebrate a fast food Thanksgiving (think “semi-homemade” – Sandra would be proud)… sadly that stuffing actually sounds really freaking good.

Meanwhile Food52 comes to the aid of your gluten-free guests.

King Arthur Flour answers the age-old question about what makes the best pie crust: Butter or Shortening? (Hint: IT’S BUTTER!)

New York Times has Thanksgiving across the states – what is your states dish? Arizona’s is apparently cranberry sauce with chiles.

And The Kitchn showed us how to make our entire Thanksgiving meal in the slow cooker. Of course, then you would need like six slow cookers, but who’s counting?

This Philly delicatessen has turkey-shaped mozzarella.

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And Salt & Straw has released a turkey flavored ice cream… that supposedly is actually pretty good.

Make your life easier on Turkey Day and cut down on those tears by nuking those onions before you chop them.

And DON’T BASTE THAT TURKEY because if Alton Brown doesn’t do it then neither should you.

If you still need to stock up on Thanksgiving gear, check out last year’s Thanksgiving Survival Kit with all the gear you need to get you through the holiday unscathed.

If you are heading out to the grocery store, Serious Eats will hook you up with a a printable list of your Thanksgiving pantry essentials.

Thanksgiving Recipe Roundup

The turkey is sacred territory to pretty much everyone out there, so I won’t touch that one with a ten foot pole. I will, however, give you some side dish ideas! This year hubby’s dad is making the turkey, so side dishes are all we need to worry about anyway!

Last year I made this sweet potato casserole recipe from Some Kitchen Stories and it was delicious.

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This classic sage and sausage stuffing from Serious Eats is sure to please your Turkey Day guests.

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Though Thanksgiving isn’t generally a time for experiments, I’d definitely give these slow cooker mashed potatoes from Gimme Some Oven a whirl

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Of course it’s always good to have a nice, light salad on hand, but you don’t want it to be boring. That’s where A Periodic Table’s Asian Pear & Fennel Salad comes into play.

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And let’s diverge from that murky green bean casserole and enjoy some of Pink Parsley’s crispy green bean fries instead.

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I’m obligated to make this praline pumpkin cake every year or else Mr. Eats will kill me… in fact it may have been in the fine print of our marriage contract. “Must make pumpkin cake at least once a year”..  If you want to go the more traditional route, try the creamiest pumpkin pie in the world.

praline pumpkin cake

 

And don’t forget to make miniature versions of everything to serve to your hamster.

thursday things

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I can’t believe that Thanksgiving is only a week away!  I’ve been preparing my body by starting my Thanksgiving eating early.  I have to make sure I don’t wuss out and get full halfway through my meal.  If you’re still lost, don’t worry!  Take a peek at my Thanksgiving Survival Kit (with additions from our lovely Shannon at A Periodic Table), last year’s Thanksgiving recipe roundup, oh, and even stuff to do with the leftovers.

Still not ready? Food52 has 5 links to read before cooking your turkey and Serious Eats has their very own comprehensive Thanksgiving Survival Guide.

By now, we’ve all seen Martha Stewart’s in the media again. After she shamelessly bashed bloggers just one short month ago, couldn’t help but enjoy this response from Adam Roberts on Twitter:

https://twitter.com/amateurgourmet/status/402482382151757824

You can see her own tweet here, if you so please.

On a semi-related note… I’ve had Twitter for a while, but have just recently started actually paying attention to it and the fact that it exists.  So, if you’re on twitter, feel free to say “hi” or whatever.  We could be real life Twitter friends!  Isn’t that exciting?

Almost as exciting as being a cupcake.  (Tips:  Click the top-left of the video for volume.  Click anywhere else on the video to give the poor girls legs a rest.)

In a related note, I’m feeling like I might be a cupcake for Halloween next year. I wasn’t quite sure how I would pull it off this year but if I start early enough I might be able to make it happen.

Our good friend tried to warn us the other day about looking for owl things on Etsy.  It was super hilarious because it came just mere moments after I stumbled onto this beautiful masterpiece.

Unfortunately, she was just moments too late, because I already saw this.

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And am already in love.  For the low price of $9.99 it could be yours! Just think of the possibilities!

In cookie news, this amazing video goes in-depth into the magic behind making cookies.  It’s pretty freaking amazing.  WE ARE MAD SCIENTISTS!

We’re also saving lives by murdering tons of salmonella germs to save our loved ones… To review, we are amazing salmonella-murdering mad scientists.

In other news, San Francisco made a little boy’s dreams come true… I’m sure you’ve all heard of Batkid by now, but if you haven’t, you have to check out his amazing story.

On a semi-related note, if you’re at all interested in ruining your own childhood, check out the real stories behind some of the most popular Disney movies … Just remember, you’ve been warned.

If you’ve not seen the new Volvo ad featuring Jean-Claude Van Damme’s epic split, you’re not missing THAT much (aside from a pretty spectacular trick from someone who I wasn’t even sure was still around).  But it will help you to understand Channing Tatum’s spoof of it.

You can read the story and see them both here.

Lastly, otters.

Because… otters!

otter jump

 

 

natalie’s thanksgiving survival kit

You have just over a week to prep, and you may have your menu planned, you’ve probably counted your dishes and re-counted your silverware… but do you have all the tools you need?

Here’s my list of Thanksgiving necessities… and tips on how to use them all year round (AKA:  How to justify buying them for yourself right before the holidays). :)

1. A roasting pan.

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You don’t need an expensive roasting pan, but I’ve seen my fair share of heartache with people attempting to maneuver those flimsy aluminum pans around.  I love this All Clad roaster – it comes with a roasting rack and turkey lifters and is only about $150 on Amazon.  You can save money by skimping on the brand name, Cuisinart has one around $75, but I love my All Clad so much that I cried the first time I got it dirty.

  • Justification:  You can use this all year long for roasting, braising, casseroles, or lasagna.  You can even use it as a water bath the day before Thanksgiving and make a beautiful cheesecake

2. The right temperature.

 Of course, you’ll want to make sure that your oven is cooking at the proper temperature first.  Just throw an oven thermometer in and check it while you bake throughout the next couple weeks.

  • Justification: This will help you calibrate your oven (did you know you could do that) to improve ALL of your baking. ALL OF IT. ALL THE TIME. 

3.  A reliable thermometer.

I love my Thermapen, but we all know how you can lose valuable oven heat every time you open that darn door.  So, you could get a roasting thermometer instead. Cooking to the proper temperature is the difference between that tender turkey everyone loves or that dry stuff that gets covered in gravy.

  • Justification: Goodbye overdone steaks and dry birds – from now on everything is cooked to the perfect temperature all the time.  (Did you know that you can use it for bread and cakes too? Did you!?)

4.  Since we’re talking about gravy….

A fat separator always comes in handy.  I have a big one and I use it for stocks and sauces too – pretty much anything I make that might have a bit too much fat in it.  Just dump it in here and let it separate some of that gunk out!

  • Justification: No more oil slicks on your soups or fatty stocks.  Use this thing all year round.  Oh, you can also just use it to measure.  That works too… 

5.  Carving the bird (Different than ‘Flipping the Bird’)

You really don’t need an electric carver, I promise.  With this tutorial on how to carve a turkey and an affordable carving set, you’ll be good to go when your time comes.  Just watch a few YouTube videos to get the hang of it and impress your family with a perfectly-carved bird!  I’m almost convinced that I’m hallucinating the $20 price tag on this set, so hurry and pick one up before I wake up and find out it was actually a dream.

  • Justification: It’s a carving set.  And it’s $20.  And it’s full tang J.A. Henkel… CARVE ALL THE THINGS! 

6.  Side dishes 

These make and take casserole dishes from Pyrex are perfect for taking your signature side dish to the family gathering, or just to store your leftovers in. UPDATE:  Oh my gosh and looky this – Shannon‘s suggested Corningware comes with glass AND PLASTIC covers!  For transport!

  • Justification: Work potlucks, family dinners… How many times have you wished you had more between yourself and mess than a tiny sheet of tin foil? These lids SNAP. ON. Portable. Storable. Love. 

7.  Dessert

A fancy dish is a nice touch to class up any dessert, but I’ve personally never been the type to splurge on those fancy things.  I think that a clear Pyrex pie dish is the perfect balance of affordable and practical… that being said, not everyone agrees with me on stuff like this.  If you insist on a pretty pie plate, this one is just as good and way more affordable than some other options

  • Justification: I don’t justify fancy pie plates.  You don’t need one, but you probably do need a regular pie plate, because the disposable ones are too small for regular-yield pie recipes.

8.  Serving dessert

Every year I forget about the pie/cake server.  Don’t be me.  DON’T FORGET ABOUT THE PIE/CAKE SERVER!

  • Justification: Mangled pies and cakes make my heart hurt.  Don’t hurt hearts.  Plus birthdays and stuff… you can use a server, I promise.

Now it’s your turn!  What are your Thanksgiving tips and/or your favorite Thanksgiving tools?

triple chocolate pumpkin pie

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It’s Sunday.  2013.  New year, new day, new week.  New pie?

Yeah, that sounds right.

I made this particular pie as an accompaniment to our regular pumpkin pie that I made for Thanksgiving.  I wanted to try something new, but didn’t want to start some sort of Thanksgiving mutiny all over a pie, so I figured if I made TWO pies, then I could also make this one.

I know what you’re thinking, because I was thinking the same thing, “chocolate pumpkin pie??? weeeeird.”  I know.

But at the same time, it seems like it should work, my logic was basically something along the lines of, “Chocolate?  Good.  Pumpkin?  Good.  Chocolate + Pumpkin?  Double good?”

My first bite was like “woah, definitely tastes like chocolate”… like super chocolatey.

Then the second bite, “definitely tastes like pumpkin”… as the subtle pumpkin flavor came in for back-up.

“… but it tastes good” … Bite three, “It tastes really good”

Particularly with a touch of cinnamon whipped cream.

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Now I realize fall is long gone, but that doesn’t mean my extreme love of pumpkin just packs its bags and goes to Florida for the winter.

Nope.  My love of pumpkin persists all year long.  So why couldn’t you make a pumpkin pie in January, or February, or even August?

I hope you can tell from the picture that this pie is amazingly creamy.  The chocolate layer on the bottom protects the crust from getting soggy, providing a nice crunch to contrast with the smooth, creamy filling.

This pie has not one but three kinds of chocolate.  Semi-sweet chocolate, milk chocolate, and bittersweet chocolate.  I had to lighten it a little bit for the BF since he’s not a fan of dark chocolate.  I basically just replaced a portion of the chocolate at each step with milk chocolate.

I know a lot of you have some New Years resolutions to follow, but pumpkin is practically a health food, dark chocolate is full of antioxidants, and I’m sure your New Years diet doesn’t start until tomorrow, anyway…. Right?

Triple Chocolate Pumpkin Pie

[ Printable Recipe ]

  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 16 crackers)
  • 6 Tablespoons (3 oz) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 6 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 4 Tablespoons (2 oz) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 (15-oz) can solid-pack pumpkin
  • 1 (12-oz) can evaporated milk
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Ground cloves
  • 1 ounce milk chocolate, melted

Make the crust

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine graham cracker crumbs, butter, sugars, salt, and cinnamon in bowl.
Firmly press mixture into bottom and up sides of a deep, 9 1/2-inch pie dish. Bake until firm, 8 to 10 minutes.

2. Remove from oven, and sprinkle bittersweet chocolate over bottom of crust. Return to oven to melt chocolate, about 1 minute.
Spread chocolate in a thin layer on bottom and up sides. Let cool on a wire rack.
Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees.

Make the filling

3. In a large heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water, melt semisweet chocolate and butter, stirring until smooth.
Remove from heat.

4. Mix pumpkin, milk, brown sugar, eggs, cornstarch, vanilla, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and a pinch of cloves in a medium bowl.
Whisk 1/3 pumpkin mixture into chocolate mixture. Whisk in remaining pumpkin mixture until completely incorporated.

5. Transfer pie dish to a rimmed baking sheet, and pour pumpkin mixture into crust.
Bake until center is set but still a bit wobbly, 55 to 60 minutes. Let cool in pie dish on a wire rack.
Refrigerate until well chilled, at least 8 hours (preferably overnight). Before serving, drizzle melted milk chocolate on top.

Thursday Things – HAPPY THANKSGIVING! – and what to do with your leftovers

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Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Today’s Thursday Things will be exactly what you’re looking for – How to use up those Thanksgiving leftovers.  After you emerge from your food coma, rub your eyes and say hello to Friday (or late Thursday night)… … Continue reading