Thanksgiving: An Endurance Test of Cooking & Eating

November 29, 2014 § 3 Comments

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I might have gotten a little carried away with food preparations for this year’s Thanksgiving- I made brunch, pumpkin pie, and a full, traditional Thanksgiving dinner for the day after because I am slightly insane but mostly because I love Thanksgiving food, especially the leftovers. I got less than an ideal amount of sleep and spent an enormous amount of time cooking and cleaning over the past several days but it was all worth it. I couldn’t help being excited for the annual feast of delicious home-cooked comfort food!

To start the day off right, I made brunch. I tried to come up with a menu that combined savory, sweet, and different flavors and textures that I thought would satisfy my family (with the exception of my picky little brother).

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Thanksgiving Brunch

Butternut Squash, Kale & Mushroom Frittata

Baltimore-Style Crab Cakes

Cayenne-Brown Sugar Bacon

Pumpkin Cream-Filled Doughnuts

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The frittata was fluffy and a nice, light brunch dish. The butternut squash is a nod to fall and adds creaminess while the gruyere provides a sharp, salty bite. A frittata is much easier and less time consuming than making eggs for individual people, which is extremely helpful when you’re serving a large group and doing some major multitasking!

In a large stainless steel pan, I cooked the diced butternut squash first and set it aside in a bowl. Next I cooked the kale and mushrooms in the same pan. I combined eight eggs, 1/2 cup of milk, and freshly shredded gruyere and then poured the egg mixture over the squash and vegetables in the pan. I cooked the eggs on the stove until they were almost set and finished cooking it in a preheated 400°F oven for 7-10 minutes, or until the eggs were just fully cooked.

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These Baltimore-Style Crab Cakes were delicious and simple to make! The crab really shined in this dish since there was a minimal number of other ingredients.

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I used about two pounds in total of lump crab and king crab meat and gently combined it with an egg, mayonnaise, German mustard, Old Bay seasoning (a necessity), and 35-40 crushed saltine crackers to just barely bind them all together. I formed nine crab cakes and pan-fried them in batches until they were heated through. It is especially important to wait until the oil is hot so that the crab cakes form a nice crust!

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Bacon sprinkled with brown sugar and cayenne pepper and cooked in the oven until crispy is my favorite way to enjoy it. Each crunchy bite is sweet, salty, spicy, and incredibly addicting (more so than regular bacon, as hard as that may be to believe).

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I’ve been wanting to make these doughnuts so badly ever since I saw the recipe in the Flour cookbook by Joanne Chang several years ago.

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For a fall-inspired treat, I made a pumpkin pastry cream filling and rolled the doughnuts in pumpkin spice-sugar. I followed Joanne’s pastry cream recipe except I added 1/4 cup pure pumpkin puree and 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (recipe below) to the egg yolk-flour mixture. I also added 1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice to the 1 cup of sugar for the outside of the doughnuts.

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Pumpkin Pie Spice

Yield: 4 tablespoons

Recipe from AllRecipes 

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground allspice

Directions:

Combine all ingredients together and store in an airtight container.

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For the evening’s dessert, I made Four & Twenty Blackbirds’ Brown Butter Pumpkin Pie and it is by far the best pumpkin pie recipe I have used. The filling is luscious and creamy because it is prepared in a food processor and the spices are well-balanced. Few things beat the aroma of a freshly made pumpkin pie. Just talking about this pie is making me wish there was some left over so I can eat it!

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Traditional Thanksgiving Dinner (Round Two)

Garlic-Herb Oven Roasted Turkey Breast

Homemade Gravy

Fresh Cranberry Sauce

Garlic-Parmesan Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes

Sautéed Green Beans and Mushrooms

Double-Corn Cornbread

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Thanksgiving is a marathon that really tests your endurance. The massive amounts of cooking and cleaning that is done in a confined space in a limited amount of time can be stressful. Although the subsequent feast is a reward, it is also an endurance test in and of itself. Nevertheless, I love Thanksgiving not only for the food but also for the time spent with family and the reminder to thank God for all of the blessings He has given me.

I hope you had a Happy Thanksgiving surrounded by loved ones while enjoying delicious food!

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