Apple Cider Brined Turkey-Having heard so much buzz about turkey brining, I decided to give it a try this year. I initially planned to make my own brine, but ended up purchasing one at Williams Sonoma instead. Luckily, I have a 20 quart stock pot and an extra refrigerator which makes this process much easier. I can honestly say my turkey turned out really moist and tender. Probably the best turkey I have ever made. I'm completely sold on the brining process. I don't think the brine imparted that much flavor, but it did enhance the meat tremendously. I used a 14 lb fresh free range turkey. After rinsing the brine off the turkey, I seasoned the turkey with an herb butter consisting of herbs de provence, paprika and freshly ground pepper. Taking the advice of Bon Appetit, I roasted the turkey at 450 degrees for the first 30 minutes then, 350 degrees for the remaining 3 hours. I also was careful to tent the turkey about an hour or so in when it started to brown to avoid an burning.
Corn Bread Sausage Stuffing with Apples-This was the first recipe I tried from my Silver Palate Cookbook and if it is any indication of the quality of their recipes, I can't wait to try more. I decided to forgo my favorite family stuffing recipe to try something new. This one got rave reviews and had similarities to my favorite recipe. I liked the mix of corn bread, white bread and wheat bread. I used a chicken and sage sausage instead of pork. We were really happy with this stuffing. It definitely runs a close second to our family recipe. I omitted the nuts because they seemed out of place in a stuffing. I also used organic chicken broth in mine instead of using the turkey juices.
Vanilla Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Coconut Marshmallow Brulee-This recipe was a combination of a recipe from 101 Cookbooks and one from the Whole Foods website. These were definitely a hit and probably the best sweet potatoes I have ever had. This dish makes you stop and say wow! I hadn't originally planned to brulee the marshmallow topping but I put it on a bit too early and they melted completely. It ended up creating a really great dish.
Vanilla Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Coconut Marshmallow Brulee
Source: As adapted from 101 Cookbooks and Whole Foods
1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, cleaned and left a bit damp
1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons heavy cream ( I didn't have quite enough heavy cream, so I added milk to equal the total amount needed)
1/3 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and seeds scraped (I used Vanilla Bean Paste)
1 teaspoon grated orange zest (optional)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
white pepper in a mill
natural marshmallows purchased at Whole Foods
finely shredded coconut
Preheat the oven to 350F. Put the potatoes on a baking sheet and bake in the oven until tender to a fork tip, about 1 hour. Remove from oven and let cook until warm enough to handle, 10 to 15 minutes. Peel and discard the skin. Put the potatoes in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade.
Meanwhile, pour the cream into a 2-quart pot, add the vanilla bean and orange zest, if using, and set it over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Use tongs to fish out and discard the vanilla bean. Pour the mixture over the potatoes in the processor and add the butter.
Puree the potato mixture until smooth. Season with salt and 4 grinds of pepper, or to taste. Prior to serving add marshmallows and coconut. Cover with lid. Marshmallows will dissolve. Finish off under the broiler until nicely browned. Keep covered and warm until ready to serve.
Serves four.Sauteed Green Beans and Mushrooms-I made this recipe awhile back and it has since become my favorite green bean recipe. Definitely beats a green bean casserole any day!
Pumpkin Roulade Trifles with Ginger Butter Cream-I started out making this Ina recipe as a Roulade. However, when I took my cake out of the oven and rolled it, it cracked badly. It was clear I wasn't going to be able to unroll it in one piece. As a result, I decided on trifles as plan b. I have the most adorable mini trifle dishes so I knew I could make an elegant presentation out of this dish. I sliced up the cake and layered it with the butter cream in the dishes. I topped it with a little more candied ginger and a sprinkle of fresh nutmeg. Definitely a winner, there was none left! The candied ginger adds a wonderful spicy crunch this dish. I will definitely make this again.