Thursday, November 25, 2010


Wouldn't it be great if there were six to eight weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas?  I think so.  To have a few more days to savor Thanksgiving seems a bit more civilized to me instead of rushing straight into "Black Friday".

This cute turkey was made by my darling niece when she was in 2nd grade. She is now in 7th grade (it kills me). The neck of the turkey is attached to a little bucket into which we place notes describing what each of us are thankful for. This little guy is always the centerpiece and brings a little tear to my eye when he takes the stage. Life is passing way too quickly!

Our Thanksgiving dinner was just right this year.  Every year I complain about cooking the bird.  I've roasted, deep-fried, barbecued, smoked, and had it cooked in a pit.  But at the end of the day I still have to deal with the whole blasted carcass of the bird.  So this year I wised up and bought two turkey breasts and treated it to the most delicious process--brining.  Hallelujah.  It was perfect and no leftover bones and such to deal with.  Here are a few new recipes I tried for today's dinner--all were a success.

Hope your Thanksgiving was lovely!

Brining Recipe (courtesy of Good Housekeeping)
  • 1/4 cup(s) sugar
  • 1/4 cup(s) kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoon(s) coriander seeds
  • 2 tablespoon(s) cracked black pepper
  • 2 tablespoon(s) ground ginger
  • 4 clove(s) garlic, crushed with side of chef's knife
  • 1  (about 4 1/2 pounds) whole boneless turkey breast, skin removed and breast cut lengthwise in half
  • 2 tablespoon(s) brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoon(s) Dijon mustard
  1. Prepare brine: In 2-quart saucepan, heat 1 cup water with sugar, salt, coriander seeds, pepper, and ginger to boiling over high heat. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 2 minutes. Remove saucepan from heat and add 3 cups ice water.
  2. Place turkey breast in large self-sealing plastic bag with brine and garlic. Seal bag, pressing out excess air. Place bag in bowl or in small roasting pan and refrigerate breast 24 to 48 hours.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Remove breast from bag; discard brine and garlic. Rinse bird and pat dry. Place breast on rack in small roasting pan (14 by 10 1/2 inches). Insert meat thermometer into thickest part of breast. Roast 1 hour and 10 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, in cup, mix brown sugar and mustard. Brush mustard glaze over turkey breast. Roast 20 minutes longer or until temperature on meat thermometer reaches 165 degrees F (temperature will rise 5 degrees upon standing). Transfer breast to cutting board and let stand 10 minutes to set juices for easier slicing. Serve hot, or cover and refrigerate to serve cold. 
Note: You may have to buy a bone-in breast weighing about 6 to 7 pounds. Ask the butcher to bone it for you (or do it yourself).

Sweet Potatoes/Yams (this one I made up)

6-8 sweet potatoes or yams (I used Red Garnets, could be Yams, could be Sweet Potatoes, there is a whole debate about the difference)
1 cup brown sugar
3 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 stick unsalted butter cut into chunks

Peel and slice the yams and place in a buttered dish.  Combine the sugar, cinnamon, and pecans and sprinkle on top.  Add the butter chunks.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for 90 minutes.  If after one hour it is getting too dark, cover with foil or you could add a few marshmallows on top for the last 30 minutes.

This recipe comes from my friend, Debbie, who served this at her election night party--divine!


8 sausage links (I bought the chicken apple sausage from Costco)
6 cups red grapes
balsamic vinegar to taste (I used about 1/4 cup)

Grill the sausages until dark.  Place the grapes in a heavy pot and place the grilled sausages on top.  Cook at 350 degrees for one hour.  Remove the sausages from the pot and set aside.  Pour balsamic vinegar over the grapes and heat on the stove mashing the grapes as you stir.  After about 15 minutes add the sausages back to the pot and serve.

Phyllis' Pecan Pie with my homemade crust!  Yea, I made pie crust again and it turned out even better than last time.  Click here for Phyllis' recipe.

Pie Crust

1 cup ice cold water
2 1/2 cups flour
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 Teaspoon salt
2 sticks of chilled unsalted butter, diced

Mix flour, sugar, and salt in a chilled bowl (unless your kitchen is already cool, which means you must not live in Arizona)

Add the diced butter to the flour mix and cut in with a pastry blender until the butter is the size of peas

Drizzle about a 1/2 cup of the ice cold water to the mixture and quickly gather it together using a spatula. If you need more water (glue) add a tablespoon at a time. Once it is coming together, divide the dough and wrap it in plastic and place in the fridge for two hours. (If you are not making a double-crust pie you can freeze it for future use.)

Remove the dough and roll (roll, don't stretch) it out onto a floured board. When you have the size you want, fold it in half and place in pie dish. Unfold and gently press into place. If you can, put it back in the fridge for two hours, the gluten will relax and the crust will be more flavorful and flakey.


  1. This was the best Thanksgiving dinner. Everything and I mean everything was delicious. Yum Yum!

  2. Yum, indeed -- and PERFECT timing on this post! I have a defrosting turkey breast in my fridge and was just about to begin my search for a recipe. Should have known I need look no further than your blog... :-)

  3. And the reviews are in... we'd give the turkey recipe 5 stars if possible! Juicy, flavorful and perfectly tender -- one of the best we've had. This one's a keeper.

  4. Jennifer: I'm so glad you liked it! I've been talking about it for days (just ask Tammy).