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Thursday, November 27, 2008 

Dream Thanksgiving Meal

Zuni-esque Brined Turkey
1 (12- to 16-pound) turkey
Kosher salt

1. Wash the turkey inside and out, pat it dry and weigh it. Measure 1 tablespoon of salt into a bowl for every 5 pounds the turkey weighs (for a 15-pound turkey, you'd have 3 tablespoons).

2. Sprinkle the inside of the turkey lightly with salt. Place the turkey on its back and salt the breasts, concentrating the salt in the center, where the meat is thickest. You'll probably use a little more than a tablespoon. It should look liberally seasoned, but not oversalted.

3. Turn the turkey on one side and sprinkle the entire side with salt, concentrating on the thigh. You should use a little less than a tablespoon. Flip the turkey over and do the same with the opposite side.

4. Place the turkey in a 2 1/2 -gallon sealable plastic bag, press out the air and seal tightly. Place the turkey breast-side up in the refrigerator. Chill for 3 days, leaving it in the bag, but turning it and massaging the salt into the skin every day.

5. Remove the turkey from the bag. There should be no salt visible on the surface and the skin should be moist but not wet. Wipe the turkey dry with a paper towel, place it breast-side up on a plate and refrigerate uncovered for at least 8 hours.

6. On the day it is to be cooked, remove the turkey from the refrigerator and leave it at room temperature at least 1 hour. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

7. Place the turkey breast-side down on a roasting rack in a roasting pan; put it in the oven. After 30 minutes, remove the pan from the oven and carefully turn the turkey over so the breast is facing up. (It's easiest to do this by hand, using kitchen towels or oven mitts.).

8. Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees, return the turkey to the oven and roast until a thermometer inserted in the deepest part of the thigh, but not touching the bone, reads 165 degrees, about 2 3/4 hours total roasting.

9. Remove the turkey from the oven, transfer it to a warm platter or carving board; tent loosely with foil. Let stand at least 30 minutes to let the juices redistribute through the meat. Carve and serve.

Artichoke Parmesan Sourdough Stuffing
* 1 pound mushrooms, rinsed, ends trimmed, and sliced
* 1 tablespoon butter
* 2 onions (3/4 lb. total), chopped
* 1 cup chopped celery
* 2 tablespoons minced garlic
* About 2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
* 1 loaf (1 lb.) sourdough bread, cut into 1/2-in. cubes
* 2 jars (6 oz. each) marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
* 1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
* 1 1/2 teaspoons poultry seasoning
* 1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary leaves or 3/4 tsp. crumbled dried rosemary
* Salt and freshly ground black pepper
* 1 large egg

1. In a 12-in. frying pan over high heat, cook mushrooms, butter, onions, celery, and garlic, stirring often, until vegetables are lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Pour into a large bowl. Add a bit of broth to pan and stir to scrape up browned bits. Add to bowl.

2. Pour 2 cups broth into bowl and add bread, artichoke hearts, parmesan, poultry seasoning, and rosemary; mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste. Make a well in stuffing. Add egg and beat with a fork to blend; mix egg with stuffing.

3. Preheat oven to 325° to 350° (use temperature turkey requires). Spoon stuffing into a shallow 3-qt. (9- by 13-in.) casserole. For moist stuffing, cover with foil; for crusty stuffing, do not cover. Bake until hot (at least 150° in center) or lightly browned, about 50 minutes.

Make ahead: Up to 1 day ahead, make stuffing, put in casserole, cover, and chill. Allow about 1 hour to bake.

Note: For turkeys 10-13 lbs., oven/bbq temperature should be 350°; for turkeys 14 lbs. and over, oven/bbq temperature should be 325°.

Candied Sweet Potatoes
* 3 pound large sweet potatoes, peeled and halved crosswise
* 1 cup packed light brown sugar
* 1/2 stick unsalted butter
* 1/4 cup water
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1/4 to 1/3 cup bourbon

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Cut each potato half lengthwise into fourths. Steam potatoes on a steamer rack set over boiling water, covered, until just tender, 10 to 15 minutes, then cool, uncovered. Transfer to a buttered 3-quart shallow baking dish.

Simmer brown sugar, butter, water, and salt, stirring occasionally, until sugar is dissolved and syrup is thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in bourbon to taste. Drizzle syrup over potatoes and bake in middle of oven, basting occasionally, until syrup is thickened, about 1 1/4 hours.

Mashed Potatoes with Celery Root and Mascarpone

* 3 1/4 pounds Yukon Gold or russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 2-inch pieces
* 1 1/2 pounds celery root (celeriac), peeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
* 3 whole peeled garlic cloves plus 1 tablespoon minced garlic
* 8 ounces mascarpone cheese, room temperature
* 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter

Place potatoes, celery root and whole garlic cloves in large pot. Add enough cold water to cover vegetables. Salt the water and bring to boil. Cover partially and boil until vegetables are very tender, about 40 minutes. Drain.

Transfer vegetables to large bowl. Using electric mixer, beat mixture until almost smooth. Add minced garlic, mascarpone and butter; beat until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be prepared 3 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature. Rewarm over medium-low heat, stirring frequently.)

Farmer John's Pumpkin Soup
6-8 Cups cooked Pumpkin* from:
2 Sugar Pie Pumpkins or 1 Sugar Pie and 1 Green/Jade, or
1 Cinderella and 1 Red Kobacha
4 Tbsp. Butter
2 Leek, cleaned and chopped
5 lg. Onion, chopped
4 Carrots, peeled and sliced coarsely
2 Stalks Celery, cleaned & coarsely cut
1 clove Garlic, smashed1
6 Cups Chicken Stock
1" fresh ginger (put in tea strainer)
2 Green Apples, peeled and cored
1 Tbsp. Sage
1 Cup Apple Cider
1 tsp. Cinnamon
1 pinch Allspice

Salt and Pepper to taste
Garnish with:
2 Tbsp. Fresh Chopped Parsley
Lemon Crème Frache or Sour Cream with Lemon zest

*Pumpkin Prep: Cut pumpkins in half, clean out, and bake with 1" water in covered pan at 350¾ for approx. 1 hour (until tender to fork), or wash, peel and seed the pumpkins and roast in the oven for about an hour at 350¾. Each method will impart a different flavor and slightly different texture.

Slightly saute chopped leek, onion, garlic, carrots, and celery in butter, about 5 to 10 minutes. Add chicken broth and bring to boil. Turn to simmer, then add pumpkin, ginger, apples and sage. Simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring when needed.

Then add the cider, cinnamon and allspice along with the salt and pepper. Taste before adding the salt, as some chicken stocks are saltier than others. Let all the ingredients meld. Adjust seasonings to your taste.

Purée all except the ginger. Serve in heated soup bowls. Once served, put a dollop of either lemon crème frache or sour cream mixed with some fresh lemon zest

Frontera's Chocolate Pecan Pie

For the crust:

1 1/2 cups (6 3/4 ounces) all-purpose flour (measured by scooping and leveling)
6 tablespoons (3 ounces) chilled, unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch bits

3 tablespoons vegetable shortening or rich-tasting lard, chilled, and cut into 1/2-inch bits

3/4 teaspoon sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 egg yolk, beaten slightly

2 cups (about 6 ounces) pecan halves (make sure they're fresh and richly flavorful)

6 ounces semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

3/4 cup (6 ounces) room temperature, unsalted butter
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar

5 large eggs, room temperature

3/4 cup light corn syrup

1/4 cup molasses

1 1/2 tablespoons Kahlúa or brandy

2 1/4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon salt

About 2 cups Sweetened Whipped Cream flavored with Kahluá, for serving

1. The dough. Measure the flour, butter and shortening (or lard) into a bowl or a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Quickly work the fats into the flour with a pastry blender or by pulsing the food processor until the flour looks a little damp (rather than powdery) but tiny bits of fat are still visible. If using the food processor transfer the mixture to a bowl.

Mix together the sugar, salt and 3 tablespoons of ice water. Using a fork, little by little work the ice-water mixture into the flour mixture. The dough will be in rough, rather stiff clumps; if there is unincorporated flour in the bottom of the bowl, sprinkle in a little more ice water and use the fork to work it together. Press the dough together into a flat disk, wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least 1 hour.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a 12-inch circle. Transfer to a deep 10-inch glass pie pan (I find it easiest to roll the dough onto the rolling pin, then unroll it onto the pie pan). Decoratively crimp the edge and trim off the excess dough. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

2. Prebaking the crust. Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Lightly oil a 15-inch piece of foil and lay it, oiled-side down, into the crust (heavy duty foil is too stiff to work here); press down to line the crust snugly. Fill with beans or pie weights and bake about 15 minutes, until beginning to brown around the edges. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees. Carefully remove the beans (or weights) and foil, return the crust to the oven and bake 8 to 10 minutes, until it no longer looks moist. (If it bubbles at this point, gently press it down with the back of a spoon.) Brush the beaten egg yolk over the crust, then let cool completely.

3. The nuts and chocolate. While the crust is cooling, spread the pecans in a single layer on a baking sheet and lightly toast in the oven until fragrant, about 10 minutes. Cool, then break into small pieces and transfer to a large bowl. Chop the chocolate into rough, 1/2-inch pieces and add to the bowl, along with the flour. Stir until everything is well coated.

4. The filling. In a food processor (or in the large bowl of an electric mixer), cream the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes in the food processor, 5 minutes in the mixer. With the machine still running, add the eggs one at a time, letting each be completely incorporated before adding the next. Beat in the corn syrup, molasses, Kahlúa or brandy, vanilla and salt.

5. Baking. Pour the filling over the chocolate and pecans and stir well to combine. Pour the mixture into the prebaked pie shell, set onto the lower shelf of the oven and bake until a knife inserted into the center is withdrawn clean, about 1 hour.

Cool completely on a wire rack. Serve slices of the pie at room temperature or slightly warm, topped with a dollop of Kahlúa-spiked, sweetened whipped cream.

The Bakeshop's Sugar Pumpkin Pie

* 1 Sugar Pie pumpkin (about 3 lb.)
* 4 large eggs
* 2/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
* 1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
* 3/4 teaspoon salt
* 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
* 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
* 1 1/4 cups dark corn syrup
* 1 3/4 cups half-and-half (light cream) or whipping cream
* 2 baked 9-inch pie crusts

1. Cut pumpkin in half crosswise and set cut side down in a 10- by 15-inch pan. Bake in a 350° oven until very soft when pressed, about 1 hour.

2. When cool enough to touch, scoop out and discard pumpkin seeds. Scoop pumpkin flesh from rind and discard rind. Smoothly purée flesh in a blender; you need 2 cups. Seal any extra purée in plastic freezer bags and freeze up to 6 months.

3. In a bowl, beat to blend the 2 cups pumpkin purée, eggs, sugar, cinnamon, salt, ginger, and cloves. Stir in corn syrup and cream.

4. Set pie crusts in pans on a foil-lined baking sheet. Set baking sheet on the bottom rack of a 350° oven. Pour half the pumpkin mixture into each crust.

5. Bake until pie centers barely jiggle when gently shaken, 50 to 55 minutes. If crust rims start to get too dark, drape affected areas with foil.

6. Cool pies on racks. Serve warm or cool. If making ahead, cover and chill up to 1 day.

Galatoire's Sweet Potato Cheesecake
Preparation Time: 1 1/2 hours, plus chilling
For the crust:
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted
For the cheesecake filling:
3 packages (3 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 3/4 cups mashed sweet potatoes
2 large eggs, slightly beaten
2/3 cup evaporated milk
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
For the topping:
2 cups sour cream, room temperature
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, mix graham cracker crumbs, sugar and butter until combined. Press onto bottom and 1 inch up side of a 9-inch springform pan. Bake until set but not brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from oven, and cool.
Beat cream cheese with electric mixer until smooth. Add sugar and brown sugar, beating until smooth. Add sweet potatoes, eggs, evaporated milk, cornstarch, cinnamon and nutmeg, beating until well combined. Pour into crust. Bake until edge is set, 55 to 60 minutes.

Whisk sour cream, sugar and vanilla to combine. Spread over warm cheesecake. Return to oven, and bake until just set, 5 minutes. Cool on wire rack. Remove side of pan, and chill for a few hours or overnight. Makes about 12 servings.

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Wow, this menu all looks great, but especially that Artichoke Parmesan stuffing!!

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