Shaker Gourmet: Thanksgiving!

The annual Thanksgiving menu post! This year we are hosting friends (who also do not have family here) again, which is awesomesauce. I love to have people over for dinner and Thanksgiving is, like, the mother of all dinner-hostings, LOL. Anyhow, this is most of the menu this year. I warn you, this is a long post.

One of the appetizers, and always a hit:

* 8 to 10 Plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped
* 1 bunch fresh basil chopped
* 6 garlic cloves minced
* 1/3 cup olive oil
* 2 tbls balsamic vinegar
* Salt and pepper to taste
* 2 baguettes French bread, cut into 1 & 1/2" slices
* 10 oz. pkg Goat Cheese

Mix the tomatoes basil garlic olive oil and vinegar in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Place the bread on a baking sheet and broil until golden brown on both sides. Let cool. Spread the goat cheese on each slice. Top each slice with a dollop of the tomato mixture. For added flavor, try stirring some pesto into the goat cheese. Makes 16 –20 servings.
I usually make the tomato mix the day before and let meld.
Main course & Sides:
Herb-Scented Roast Turkey

* 1 T chopped fresh or 2 tsp dried rosemary leaves, crumbled
* 1 T chopped fresh or 2 tsp dried sage leaves, crumbled
* 1 tsp salt
* 1/4 tsp black pepper
* 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
* 1/4 cup butter, melted
* 1 whole turkey (thawed, innards removed)

—Heat oven to 325. In small bowl, mix rosemary, sage, salt, pepper, and garlic; rub into turkey skin.

—Stuff turkey, if desired.

—On rack in shallow roasting pan, place turkey breast side up. Brush with melted butter.

—Roast turkey as directed by weight.

—Place turkey on platter, cover w/foil. Let stand appx 20 minutes
before carving.
For more information on buying, thawing,cooking, and stuffing a turkey, see here.

* 1/2 cup turkey drippings
* 3 cups liquid, either more juices w/o fat and/or chicken broth
* 1/2 tsp salt
* 1/4 tsp pepper
* browning sauce, if desired

--Pour drippings from roasting pan into bowl, leaving particles in pan. Return 1/2 cup drippings to roasting pan (remember that too little fat makes gravy lumpy).

--Whisk in flour (measure accurately so gravy isn't greasy). Cook over med heat, stirring constantly until smooth & bubbly. Remove from heat.

--Stir in liquid. Return to heat and bring to boiling, stirring constantly for one minute. Stir in few drops of browning sauce, if desired. Stir in salt & pepper.

Appx 12 servings (of 1/4 cup each).
Gravy tips:
* Be sure that the mix remains at a full boil for the full one minute to cook the flour so that the gravy doesn't have a starchy flavor
* If you do not have enough drippings, you can use wine, broth, water from cooking potatoes, or tomato juice
* For thinner gravy, decrease meat drippings and flour to 1 tablespoon each
Brie Mashed Potatoes

* 5 - 6 med/large baking potatoes (about 5 lbs worth), peeled & cut into large chunks
* 1 cup milk
* 1/4 cup butter
* 1 tsp salt
* 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
* 1 pkg (8 oz) Brie cheese, rind removed and cubed
* 2 tsp chopped fresh thyme

--In large saucepan, place potatoes and enough water to cover. Heat to boiling. reduce heat and simmer 20 - 30 minutes or until potatoes are fork-tender. Drain.

--Heat oven to 350. Spray 2 - 3 quart casserole with cooking spray. In small sauce pan, heat milk, butter, salt, and pepper over med heat. Stir occasionally until butter is melted. Measure out 1/4 cup of mix and set aside.

--To potatoes, gradually add the remaining milk mix, cubed cheese, and thyme, mashing with masher or electric mixer (on med speed) until light and fluffy. Spoon potatoes into casserole. **Dish can be covered and refrigerated up to 24 hours at this point**

--Pour reserved1/4 cup milk mixture over potatoes. Bake uncovered 40 - 45 minutes or until hot. Stir before serving. (12 servings)
If you want regular mashed potatoes but with a garlic flavor, boil (peeled) garlic cloves in with the potatoes, then mash all together after draining liquid.
Sweet Potato Casserole

* 1 (40 ounce) can sweet potatoes, drained
* 1 cup sugar
* 2 eggs
* 1/3 cup milk
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 1 cup packed brown sugar
* 1 cup chopped pecans
* 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
* 2/3 cup melted butter, divided

—Heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 2 quart baking dish.

—Heat, drain and mash sweet potatoes. Combine with them with the sugar, eggs, 1/3 cup butter, milk and vanilla. Place in the prepared baking dish.

—In a separate bowl combine the brown sugar, chopped pecans, flour and 1/3 cup butter. Sprinkle over the top of the sweet potato mixture. Bake for 35 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.
I've made this with crushed almonds before and it turns out well that way too.
Ginger Apricot Cranberry Sauce

* 1 tbsp. unsalted butter
* 2 tbsp. finely grated ginger
* 16 oz. fresh cranberries
* 2/3 cup sugar
* 1 cup orange juice
* 1/2 cup apricot preserves

In a saucepan, over medium heat, melt butter. Add ginger and cook, stirring for 2 minutes. Add crans, sugar, oj and preserves. Cook, stirring occasionally, until crans burst and sauce thickens, about 20 mins. Transfer to bowl and serve warm.
This is new one for me this year, that I got from my friend Jess. She said that it's one that can be made ahead of time and rewarmed on T-day.
Old Fashioned Dinner Rolls

* 1/2 cup milk
* 2 T white sugar
* 2 T butter
* 2 T shortening
* 1/2 cup cold water
* 1 egg, at room temperature
* 1 tsp active dry yeast
* 2-3/4 cups bread flour divided
* 1/2 tsp baking powder
* 1/4 tsp baking soda
* 3/4 tsp salt

* 1T butter, melted

—Warm the milk in a small saucepan until it bubbles, then remove from heat. Mix in the butter, shortening, and sugar; stir until melted. Add cold water and let cool until lukewarm.

—Pour milk into a large bowl. Add egg and yeast; mix well. Beat in 1 cup of flour and let stand for 20 minutes.

—Sift in baking powder, baking soda, salt and 1 cup flour. Stir in the remaining flour, 1/4 cup at a time, beating well after each addition. When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a warm damp cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.

—Divide the dough into six equal pieces. Divide each piece in half and form into 12 rolls. Place the rounds in a lightly greased 11×7 inch baking dish. Cover the rolls with a warm damp cloth and let rise until doubled in volume, about 40 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

—Bake in preheated oven for 20 - 25 minutes, or until golden. When they come out of the oven, brush with melted butter. Let stand one minute before taking out of pan. (serves 12)
We're also having: cheese & crackers, cocktail weenies, dressing (being brought by friends),steamed & buttered green beans, corn, herb bread & dipping oil, pumpkin pie (brought by friends), and Bavarian apple torte. And wine. Lots of wine.

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