Friday, 9 December 2011


We had a great first Thanksgiving in Vancouver.  We were lucky to have our very good friend Jerrell come and celebrate with us, along with a two of our friends that live here.  It was a huge adjustment not having our double ovens this year...but we survived and made one of our best meals yet.  We clearly have so much to be thankful for this year!  Below are some photos of the dishes we made...I will include most of the recipes as well.  Enjoy!
We always brine our turkey a day before we put it in the oven.  This was the first year we made the brine from scratch.  I'll never buy a store made brine is so easy to make your own, and our Turkey was more flavorful this year.

  • 3 cups apple juice
  • 2 gallons cold water
  • 4 Tbl. fresh rosemary
  • 7 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups kosher salt
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 4 Tbl. peppercorns
  • 6 whole bay leaves
  • Peel of 3 large oranges
  • 2 Tbl. allspice
  • 4 star anise

-Add all ingredients to a very large pot.  Cook on high until the salt and sugars have blended together.  Let cool before adding to your Turkey. Wash Turkey and  put Turkey breast side down in brine bag and pour brine over the Turkey.  Put your bag in the refrigerator for 1 day, turning the Turkey once halfway through.  When Turkey is finished brining,  remove from bag, rinse thoroughly and pat dry.  Heavily pepper & salt the inside and outside before stuffing it.  (We stuff our bird with oranges, lemons, celery, carrots, onions, sage, thyme, rosemary).  We use a sage butter under the skin (recipe below) and also layer the top with bacon strips to trap moisture and protect from too much browning.  Cook as directed per pounds.  Delicious!

Sage Butter
  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup chopped sage
  • salt & pepper
-Mix all ingredients into a bowl with a fork.  Once it is combined, add with your fingers to the Turkey under the skin.

This year we made a very festive punch and served it with our appetizers.  It was so good and really beautiful with a very easy ice mold that we made.  

 The Long Hello Punch
  • 1 3/4 cups Calvados or other apple brandy
  • 1 cup St. Germain
  • 10 dashes bitters, Angostura
  • 1 bottle Champagne
  • Grated nutmeg
-Mix all ingredients above in large punch bowl.  Sprinkle fresh nutmeg on each glass to serve.
-The ice mold is made with green pears and red apples.  All you need is a tube pan, line the bottom of the pan with the cut pears (green part down) and line the sides with slivers of apples.  Fill the pan halfway with water and let freeze until set (2 hours) then fill the rest of the pan up all the way and freeze another 2 hours.  So easy!

We had many side dishes!  Below are a few more pictures and some more recipes.

7 Layer Salad

Orange Cranberry Jelly

Truffle Mashed Potatoes

Brussels Sprouts Lardons
(recipe in previous posting)

These carrots are delicious.  We make them every year because they are one of my husbands favorites.  Very easy to make and they are even better for leftovers.

Maple Glazed Carrots with Garlic Cloves
  • 5lb orange & yellow carrots, peeled, halved lengthwise and cut into 4 inch pieces
  • 20 garlic cloves, halved lengthwise
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 Tbl. fresh flat parsley
-Position one rack in the upper third of the oven and another rack in the lower third.  Preheat to 400 degrees.  In a large bowl, combine the carrots, garlic, olive oil, salt & pepper and stir to coat evenly.  Divide the carrot mixture between 2 baking sheets.  Roast without stirring, until the carrots and garlic are tender and golden brown, 28-30 minutes.  Halfway through roasting time, switch positions of the pans in the oven.  Transfer the carrot mixture to a large bowl and drizzle the maple syrup and stir.  Top with the parsley. Serves 6-8.

Every year I usually try a new stuffing recipe, but I think I found one that I'll stick to.  We like stuffing with sausage in it and this year we used a mild spicy pork sausage and it turned out to be delicious.

Sausage-Leek Stuffing
  • 3 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 3 celery sticks, diced
  • 2 cups thinly sliced leeks, white and light green portions
  • 1 Tbs. chopped fresh sage
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 1/2 lbs hot Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 1 lb. cubed bread stuffing
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 3-4 cups low sodium chicken broth
-Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Butter a 3 qt. baking dish.  In a large fry pan over medium heat, melt the butter.  Add the onion, celery, leeks, sage, garlic, salt and pepper and saute stirring occasionally until soft 10-12 minutes.  Transfer onion mixture to a bowl.  In the same pan over medium high heat, cook the sausage breaking it into small pieces.  Brown for 8-10 minutes.  Transfer to the onion mixture bowl.  Put bread into large bowl and 1/2 cup at a time stir and add the broth.  Add vegetable and sausage mixture and stir to combine.  Transfer stuffing to the baking dish.  Cover the dish with foil and bake for 20 minutes.  Remove the foil and continue baking until the top is golden brown, 25-30 minutes more.  Let rest for 10 minutes before serving.  Serves 10-12.  **I usually make my stuffing a night before... I do all the above but add the broth before I bake it.

I'm always nervous to make homemade rolls.  In the past, I haven't had much luck with baking them...probably because I would always go into a recipe thinking it would be so complicated to make.  The rolls we made this year were somewhat involved, but easier than other recipes I had made in the past.  I'll be making these every year from now on.  They tasted perfect, and were great for turkey sandwiches the next day.

Parker House Rolls
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 package dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 1/2 tspn. salt
  • 6 cups flour
-Place milk in saucepan and bring to a simmer.  Remove from heat, stir in butter and sugar.  Let cool.  Dissolve yeast in warm water and allow to sit until foamy.  Combine milk mixture, eggs, yeast, salt and 1/2 of the flour in a mixer with the dough attachment.  Mix until smooth, add remaining flour 1/2 cup at a time.  Stir until ball forms.  Remove dough from the bowl and knead by hand on floured surface for 5 minutes.  Place in greased bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 70 minutes.  On floured surface punch down dough and form into pieces ( I used a medium size biscuit cutter).  Place on parchment paper lined baking sheet and cover again.  Let rise for an additional 30-40 minutes.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes until top of rolls are golden brown.

The whole meal was delicious. Most importantly, Jack tried everything and seemed to enjoy his feast.  Thanksgiving is our favorite, until next year!

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