Monday, October 8, 2007

Happy Turkey Day, Canada!!!

A festive entry for us Canadians who are enjoying our day off for Thanksgiving, I present to you a feast fit for the most festive of families (and believe me, the feast Andrew and I went to at Martha's was one of the most festive I've ever been to!). Every Thanksgiving meal I've been a part of has had three things in common: turkey, stuffing and mashed potatoes. This year, as well as the last year, my dad deep-fried the bird, yielding the tastiest and most tender bird I've had, but nothing beats the aroma of a roasted turkey sitting in the oven. The recipe I'm giving is a variation of a brined, roasted bird made by FoodTV's Michael Smith, one of my favourite TV chefs. The mashed potatoes are a version of my grandma's, which in my opinion are the absolute best in the world. As for stuffing, my family never had a set recipe, so I think you're on your own for that one (especially since I despise the stuff... stale bread in bird carcass is not my idea of yumminess. Andrew on the other hand loves it.). For dessert, something of my own creation: Sweet Potato - Orange Raviolis with an Orange - Ginger Cranberry Sauce (an entry for Paulchen's Garden-Cook Event). Delish!

Thanksgiving is, of course, a time to reflect back on what you are thankful for, and for me there has been so many things this past year that it really sheds light on how remarkably lucky I am to be me! A few of the things on my list that I am thankful for:
  • My family and friends, first and foremost, for always being there in spirit even if not in person and for supporting me though good and bad times, giving my business a start (and free advertising!) and for encouraging me to make my dreams come true.
  • My pets, who always know how to lift my spirits even if it's just because they're goofy.
  • My life, which although not ideal in some instances, is still my own.
  • My ability to love and trust, which unfortunately is something that others have lost.
  • My creative streak, which has given me so much over the years, more than I could ever dream imaginable.
  • My gym and fitness classes, which corny as it sounds, help me unleash and unwind when I don't know what else to do.
  • The two amazing houses, kitchens and gardens that I share with my parents and where I can safely say I am home. When so many others have no place to feel safe, nobody they can call a family, I am amazingly graced by two entire families who are always there whenever I need them and will always welcome me in when I need a place to go.

What are you thankful for this year? This lifetime? Feel free to leave a comment below to share your Thanksgiving thoughts.

Now, onto the eating! Leftover recipes tomorrow (there was lots from Martha's, with two whole turkeys and a ham! I saved two full containers of stuff for my best friend Heather too), with an entry for Show Us Your Sarnie and World Bread Day!

Roasted Thanksgiving Turkey
An insulated picnic cooler large enough to submerge the turkey
1 fresh turkey, 12 to 15 lbs
2 pounds salt
1 cup honey
cold water
6 large carrots
4 stalks celery
4 large yellow onions

  1. Place the turkey in the cooler upside down.
  2. Dissolve the salt and honey in one gallon of cold water.
  3. Pour over the turkey and add three more gallons of cold water. Turn the turkey a few times to thoroughly mix the salt and honey.
  4. Place the cooler in a cold place for four hours for a smaller turkey and as much as six hours for a larger one, no more no less.
  5. Remove the turkey from the brine and rinse well under cold running water.
  6. Thoroughly dry it with paper towels or clean kitchen towels.
  7. Cut the onions in half and along with the carrots and celery fashion a bed in the roasting pan for the turkey to rest on.
  8. Place the turkey in a preheated 400 degree oven.
  9. Roast one hour then, without opening the oven, turn the heat down to 300 degrees and continue roasting for two to three hours longer, depending on the size of the turkey.
  10. After 2 ½ hours, open the oven and check the temperature every 15 minutes or so.
  11. Continue roasting until the breast and thigh meat both reach 165 degrees.
  12. Let the turkey rest, covered with foil, for 20 to 30 minutes before carving then serve immediately.

Gramma's Potatoes
6 large russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1/2 cup warm half-and-half
1/4 cup butter, softened
3 tbsp cream cheese, soft
1 teaspoon salt
Fresh ground pepper

  1. Place potatoes in a saucepan and cover with water.
  2. Cover and bring to a boil; cook for 25 minutes or until very tender.
  3. Drain well, add back to pot.
  4. Add half-and-half, butter, cream cheese, salt and pepper; mash until light and fluffy. For best results, use a potato ricer or a food mill.
  5. Can be made ahead of time; to reheat, place uncovered in a 350F oven until hot.
Vanilla-Orange Sweet Ravioli with Cranberry Syrup
1 ½ pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped roughly
½ cup evaporated milk
3 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp orange zest
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 ½ cups whole-wheat flour
1 cup white flour
2 eggs
½ cup water
1 tsp salt
½ cup sugar
2/3 cup water
1/3 cup orange juice
2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
2 tbsp grated orange zest
3 tbsp fresh grated ginger
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. Bake sweet potatoes about 1 hour or until tender.
  3. Put the potatoes in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade.
  4. Meanwhile, pour the milk and syrup into a pot, add the vanilla and orange zest and set it over medium heat.
  5. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Remove from heat.
  6. Pour the mixture over the potatoes in the processor and add the butter.
  7. Puree the potato mixture until smooth, set aside to cool completely.
  8. Mix together the flours and salt.
  9. Make a well. Whisk together the eggs and water, and pour into the well and begin to mix well until a ball is formed.
  10. Turn out onto a floured board and knead for 20 turns.
  11. Wrap in waxed paper and let rest for 30 minutes.
  12. Preheat broiler.
  13. Roll dough out as thin as possible; cut into squares roughly the size of won-ton wrappers.
  14. Place a dollop of the sweet potato mixture in the centres of half the squares.
  15. Top with other half of squares and seal edges of ravioli with a fork or crimper.
  16. Spray each side of the ravioli with non-stick spray and place on baking sheets.
  17. Broil 2-3 minutes per side, until golden. Keep warm.
  18. In a saucepan boil sugar, water and orange juice, stirring to dissolve.
  19. Add cranberries, orange zest and ginger, return to a boil.
  20. Reduce heat, simmer for 15 minutes.
  21. Cool slightly, and pour over hot ravioli.
  22. Serve immediately.

3 comments :

Valli said...

Thanksgiving is truly a time to give thanks. Not for the things that I miss like my family in Ontario, Sunday drives to view the autumn leaves, eating cinnamon doughnuts at Tyrone Mills or having tea at McLaughlin House....but for the love of my daughter, my good friends who see me through, laughter, health..a job. Thanks for sharing your own dreams and aspirations Sara. I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!!

darlene said...

thats how we had our turkey this year as well...

Astrid, Kashim & Othello said...

Thanks for joining the Garden Cook Event!
The round up (http://foodblog.paulchens.org/?p=1063) is online now and please don't forget to vote (http://foodblog.paulchens.org/?p=1062) for your favourite entry!

--Astrid