Category Archives: TaMara

Totally Tripendicular, Ya Know?

Thanksgiving Files: Cranberry-Apple Sauce

cranberry-apple-sauce

I love whole berry cranberry sauce and adding apple takes it up a notch. Always best prepped the day before so the flavors can meld. Yummy.

It couldn’t be simpler and fun to make (mostly because the cranberries pop as they cook).  Here’s a basic recipe to get you started:

Cranberry Sauce

  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup water or apple-cranberry juice (100% juice)
  • 3/4 cup to 1 cup sugar
  • 12 oz (1 bag) whole, raw cranberries
  • 1-2 apples, finely chopped.

saucepan

Wash cranberries. Bring juice and water to a boil, add sugar and stir until sugar dissolves, then add cranberries, bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium and cook for 15 minutes, no more.  Remove to a tempered glass dish or mold, cover and refrigerate for 12 hours.  What you’ll have is a nice thick cranberry sauce with whole cranberries.  You can add different things for a variety of sauces:  pecans, orange rind,  walnuts,  cinnamon, nutmeg, currants.



 

The Big Day Is Here

Spatchcock Turkey finish

I get an extra day for prep, for which I am very Thankful. It’s been so busy I’d never have made it if I had to serve dinner today. We’ll be eating our Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow. So today, I have a full, relaxed day to cook, walk the dogs and put the finishing touches on the house.

I decided to use the spatchcock recipe this year. I’ll be cooking it on a bed of carrots, onions and celery.

BTW, my recommendation is to always get two smaller birds instead of one massive bird – you’ll have a much better outcome with shorter cooking times. Not to mention not having to worry about fitting a huge bird in the oven. You can do an oven bird, then grill, smoke or fry another.

For this recipe, a good set of poultry shears makes quick work of removing the backbone. I’ll prep the bird today, wrapped it up and refrigerated it.

Spatchcock Turkey Prep

Roasted Spatchcock Turkey

  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons Kosher salt
  • 4 tablespoons dried sage
  • 1 tablespoon dried rosemary
  • 1 whole turkey (10-12 pounds)
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil

Rimmed baking sheet, rack

In a spice grinder or with a mortar and pestle, crush together pepper, salt, sage and rosemary and add to brown sugar. Set aside.

With a sharp knife or scissors, remove the back bone of the turkey, flip over and press down on the breast bone to break and flatten. I wasn’t quite strong enough, so I turned the bird over, scored the bone, flipped it back and tried again, this time it broke easily. I then trimmed off the wing tips. See my notes below on what to do with the back and wing tips.

Place the bird flat, breast side up, on the rack in the baking sheet. Rub with spice mix and let rest at room temperature for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Before cooking drizzle olive oil over turkey and roast for 1 hour or until the temperature of the thickest part of the breast reaches 160 degrees. Remove from the oven, tent with foil and let rest for 30 minutes (during this time the bird temperature will reach 165 degrees and thighs should be 175 degrees).

Carve and serve.

NOTES: I took the back, wing tips, neck and giblets, covered them with water and simmered them for about an hour. I then used the broth for both the stuffing and gravy. I also cooked the stuffing in the oven, in a baking dish, uncovered, with the turkey. They finished up about the same time.

This year, I’ll skip the metal rack and instead will use a roasting pan and place the bird on a bed of carrots, celery and onion. With the shorter cooking time, the flavor could use the boost. I do feel this is a great technique for wood grilling or smoking.

Today I’ll also prep Cranberry/Apple Sauce (recipe to follow in a later post), make the Pumpkin Cream Pie (recipe here), prep the stuffing and put together two loaves of Slow-Rise Bread  (recipe here) to bake for sandwiches over the weekend. I’m also making Cucumber Salsa (recipe here) and Garden Salsa (recipe here) so I can use up the last of my tomato harvest and serve with chips as an appetizer. I’m also going to make the gravy ahead of time. So that leaves just roasting the turkey, making the potatoes, and green bean casserole for tomorrow. Makes for a very low stress holiday meal.

More Recipes: We have a bunch, a peck, a bushel, of Thanksgiving recipes, including my favorite Upside-Down Cranberry Cake (here), No Boil Mashed Potatoes (here), and Non-Traditional Sides (here), click on this link for all the other recipes or search by name or ingredient in the search box at the bottom of the blog.

I’ll update you on the cooking progress as I go today.

Have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving!  – TaMara

Spatchcock Turkey finish

 

Friday Night Dinner Music: Rise Up, Andra Day

Friday Recipe Exchange: Thanksgiving Files

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Is this thing on? I know it’s been forever – the house, work and puppies have taken most of my time. Cooking lately is mostly just for sustanance, nothing terribly creative. But Thanksgiving is almost here! Time to get cookin’.

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, next to 4th of July. Food, family, friends…and leftovers. I’m going to have a house full this year and I’m excited to host. Although I wasn’t expecting to have a puppy thrown in the mix, but that just makes it more interesting. I have compiled some of my most requested holiday recipes for tonight’s exchange.

JefferyW makes Cornbread Stuffing, (pictured above) part 1 here and part 2 here.

Roasted Butternut Apple Soup makes a great starter, recipe here.

Hearty Garlic Mashed Potatoes, click here – my family loves these, though the first time I made them they mocked me until they were served because the cooking method is so unusual. I cook them early and keep them warm in a slow-cooker while everything else cooks and stove top space is at a premium.

Two Brussels Sprout dishes: Pan Roasted with Pancetta and Onions (recipe here) and JeffreyW’s Brussels Sprout and Potato Au Gratin (click here)

Yum. What do you mean I have to take a bunch of pictures before I can even try it?

There will be a variety of pies this year, but instead of the traditional Pumpkin Pie, I’m making Pumpkin Cream Pie (above), the recipe is here, plus there are additional pumpkin dessert ideas at the link.

For the main course, we’ve made turkeys a bunch of ways here, including a Spatchcock Turkey, recipe here. For something more traditional, here are some ideas from people smarter than I am: turkey four different ways, good stuff here.

What’s on the menu for your Thanksgiving this year? Do you have a must-have recipe for your holiday dinner?

I’m not a fan of traditional candied sweet potatoes, so tonight’s featured recipes are some non-traditional styles for sweet potatoes.

Cajun Sweet Potatoes

  • 4 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup butter,  melted
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tsp Cajun seasoning
  • ¼ tsp cumin (opt)

Covered casserole dish, well-greased

Steamer and saucepan

In saucepan, add water, steamer and sweet potatoes. Steam until you can easily stick a fork in them. They don’t need to be completely soft. About 10-15 minutes. Add sweet potatoes to casserole dish. Combine oil, butter and spices. Pour evenly over potatoes. Cover and bake at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes until potatoes are soft. You can adjust cooking time if you prefer your firmer or softer potatoes.

Sweet Potatoes w/Apples

  • 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled & cubed
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 apples, cored & sliced
  • 8 oz can sliced pineapple (including liquid)
  • 2 tsp butter
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp salt

2 qt casserole dish, greased

Add ingredients to casserole dish. Stir gently and bake at 375 degrees for 40-50 minutes, uncovered, until apples and potatoes are very soft. Cover if it begins to brown too much

That’s it for this week. I hope you have a safe and happy Thanksgiving.   – TaMara



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Get Down, Get Down

Well I needed this:

Bixby and Bailey: It Seems To Be Going Well

bb-snoozing



 

RIP Leonard Cohen

Okay 2016 you’ve had more than your fair share. You can stop now.



 

This Might Just Be A Warning

and-your-little-dog-too

Jake is my “sock-killer”. I often wake up in the morning or come home and find socks strewn all about. And he does the “I killed something, come see” call when he catches his prey.

Though, lately, his target has been my basket of small stuffed animals – gifts and collected over the years- and his choice seems to be one of my Scooby-Dos (people gift me quite a few). He’s not picky which one…

I’m sure it’s just a coincidence, right? If I wake up with one on the pillow next to my head, I think we should all be worried.



 

Bixby and Bailey: Epic Games!

bixby-and-bailey-epic-play1

Finally got the video software installed (again, after Windows 10 update obliterated the original) and was able to upload and edit their play session. This video goes on FOREVER and I’d apologize, but it relaxes me to watch them – so when it came time to edit I just got lost in the joy of it.

They play like this for hours…usually outside because I THROW them out…otherwise the living room and everything in it is in danger. Wise decision to wait on the new sectional until we’ve moved out of the puppy stage.

All I wanted was for Bixby to have a tug buddy and he sure got that. I love these guys: