Thanksgiving Menu

I love to cook the Thanksgiving meal! I have many fond memories of going to both of my grandparents and my aunts house for the holiday. We rarely have any family here but always feel so fortunate when we do!
David and Jer
Scalloped Oysters (my grandmothers recipe on this blog)
Roast Turkey
Wild Rice Pilaf with Pecans and Cranberries
Hashed Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic
Sausage Stuffing with Caramelized Onions
Mashed Potatoes and Gravy
Raw Cranberry Orange Relish (my absolute favorite!)
Pumpkin Custard
Cherry Pie
Thanksgiving 2015
Cranberry Relish
1 navel orange, quartered (remove any seeds)
12 oz. cranberries, rinsed and picked over
3/4 c. sugar, or to taste
In a food processor chop the orange and add cranberries-pulse until fine. Add sugar.
Chill at least one hour. Keeps covered and chilled for 2 weeks!

Cocktail Party menu

This was our menu for the night before Thanksgiving which is always festive night!
Crudités with Ranch Dip
Spiced Pecans
Chicken Liver Pate with crostini
Smoked Salmon on Pumpernickel with Herbed cream cheese
Cheese and Charcuterie Board with Olives and Crackers
Caviar from Costco and Blinis from Whole Foods
Shrimp Bisque in demitasse cups
Lemon Shortbread
Cocktail party
I think this was a perfect menu. I usually would make blinis but a friend had told me how good the ones at Whole Foods are and they were, albeit a little pricey. The Costco caviar (this was malossol from Plaza Royale and was delicious and the Bulgarian that is on sale now is outrageous!) The spiced pecans, shrimp bisque and lemon shortbread are all on this blog. It is fun to go to the market and choose a few cheeses and meats and have them cubed or cut up-olives, nuts and dried fruits are a great addition to a meat and cheese board.


A wonderful Greek dish from Pastitio This would be great for a party as it makes a large amount that would serve at least eight. I love the addition of the Greek yogurt to the béchamel sauce as it gives it a wonderful flavor. **I do not add the cinnamon as I have an aversion to it. I make it ahead and reheat when I am ready to serve.
pastitio part 3
For the Tomato Meat Sauce:
3 tablespoons good olive oil
1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onion (1 large)
1 pound lean ground beef
1 pound lean ground lamb
1/2 cup dry red wine
1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 large cloves)
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon ** see note above
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes in puree
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the Bechamel:
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups freshly grated Parmesan or Kasseri cheese
2 extra-large eggs, beaten
2/3 cup Greek-style yogurt, such as Fage Total
3/4 pound small shells
pastitio part 1
For the sauce, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a large pot. Add the onion and saute for 5 minutes. Add the beef and lamb, and saute over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes, until it’s no longer pink, crumbling it with the back of wooden spoon. Drain off any excess liquid, add the wine, and cook for 2 more minutes. Add the garlic, cinnamon, oregano, thyme, and cayenne, and continue cooking over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 40 to 45 minutes. Set aside.
pastitio part2
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

For the bechamel, heat the milk and cream together in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until simmering. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter. Add the flour and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly for 2 minutes. Pour the warm milk and cream mixture into the butter and flour mixture, whisking constantly. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, over medium heat for 5 to 7 minutes, until smooth and thick. Add the nutmeg, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon of pepper. Stir in 3/4 cup of Parmesan cheese, 1/2 cup of the tomato and meat sauce, and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Stir in the eggs and yogurt and set aside.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling water until al dente. Don’t over-cook because the pasta will later be baked. Drain and set aside.

Add the pasta to the meat and tomato sauce, and pour the mixture into a baking dish. Spread the bechamel evenly to cover the pasta and sprinkle with the remaining 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Bake for 1 hour, until golden brown and bubbly. Set aside for 10 minutes and serve hot.

Spicy Toasted Pecans

A simple nut recipe that is perfect for cocktails or anytime. I will be serving these on Thanksgiving for sure! It is not very spicy as the recipe is written so feel free to up the spices as you wish.
Spicy toasted pecans
3 T. unsalted butter
1/2 t. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 t. favorite hot sauce, Cholula, Marie Sharp’s
1/4 t. black pepper
1/4 t. salt, or to taste
2 1/2 c. pecan halves (10 oz.)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Melt butter in a 2 quart saucepan over moderate heat, then stir in the seasonings. Remove from heat and add pecans, tossing to coat well. Spread in 1 layer in a shallow baking pan and bake until fragrant, 8-10 minutes.

Applesauce Cake with Caramel Glaze

This is the cake to make for the season!! I made homemade applesauce from Judy Rodgers that was so easy and fantastic and this cake is amazing. It swims in the caramel glaze but I love it! From Food 52, one of my go to blogs for great recipes.I madApplesauce cake w:caramel glazee this in my bundt pan which I double spray or grease and flour to make sure the cake will release and it did! I prefer the caramel glaze from the caramel cake on this blog as it is not quite as sugary.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
2 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 1/2 cups unsweetened (preferably homemade) applesauce
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
For the caramel glaze

4 tablespoons butter, cut into chunks
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 to 1 cup sifted confectioners’ sugar
Heat the oven to 350 degrees and butter and flour a 12-cup Bundt pan. Sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, pepper and spices and set aside. In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a standing mixer, beat the eggs with both sugars until light. Mix in the applesauce, oil and vanilla until smooth. Using a spatula, fold in the dry ingredients, being careful not to over-mix. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 45 minutes, until a cake tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool the cake for 10 minutes in the pan on a rack before turning it out and cooling completely on the rack — make sure the cake is not at all warm before you make the glaze. TheRunawaySpoon wisely advises that you put a piece of foil or paper under the cooling rack to catch any drips before you start the glaze. Put the butter in a medium saucepan with the brown sugar, cream and salt and set over medium heat. Bring to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly. Boil for one minute exactly, and then pull it off the heat. Leave the pan to cool for a couple of minutes, and then gradually whisk in the powdered sugar until you have a thick, but pourable consistency (you may not need all the sugar). If the mixture seems too thick, just add a splash of cream to thin it out a little. Immediately pour the glaze over the cake, moving slowly and evenly to cover as much surface area as possible. Let the glaze set before serving the cake.