Friday, December 11, 2009

Thanksgiving Part 2

Finally. I'm so slow at this. The two crazy kids I am with every moment of the day are really kicking my booty! Anyway, back to Thanksgiving, which seems like a million years ago since we only have 2 weeks till Christmas. We had a great time with my husbands side of the family playing games, laughing, being lazy and of course . . . EATING!
I made the stuffing this year which I have never made before, ever. So I was a little nervous but found a great recipe on-line which sounded awesome so I went for it.

Sourdough Bread Stuffing
Dave Lieberman
6 to 8 servings


* 1-pound loaf sourdough bread
* 8 tablespoons butter
* 10 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced 1/2-inch thick in both directions
* Salt and freshly ground pepper
* 2 to 4 stalks celery with leaves, halved lengthwise and sliced
* 1 medium onion, chopped
* About 10 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves stripped from the stems
* 10 to 12 fresh sage leaves, chopped
* 3 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
* 3 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley leaves


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 2-quart baking dish and set aside.

Cut or tear the bread into 1-inch cubes and spread it evenly on 2 baking sheets. Toast the bread in the oven until completely dry and beginning to crisp and brown, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.

Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and a few pinches of salt and saute, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 6 to 8 minutes. Add celery, onion, 2 tablespoons butter, and thyme. Once the butter has melted, cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables have softened, about 5 minutes. Add sage and remaining 4 tablespoons butter. Add chicken broth to skillet and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Transfer toasted bread cubes to a large bowl. Pour the chicken broth mixture over the bread cubes and toss to combine until the bread cubes absorb the liquid. Pour the mixture into the greased baking dish, and sprinkle with parsley. Bake in the center of the oven until heated through and the top is golden brown, about 40 minutes. Remove the stuffing from the oven and allow to cool about 15 minutes before serving.

I really liked the flavor of the stuffing (self-proclaimed sourdough bread fanatic) and everyone seemed to gobble it up (get it, gobble it up. like a turkey) but had a little issue with the texture. It was nice and crusty on the top but the bottom was a little too mushy for my taste. I think next time I will stir the stuffing half way through cooking which I think will solve the problem.

I also made Pioneer Woman's acorn squash recipe. I'd never had acorn squash (it was a night of first's for me) but I really liked how this turned out.

Delicious Baked Acorn Squash

Prep Time: 15 Minutes Cook Time: 1 Hour15 Minutes Difficulty: Easy Servings: 6

* 2 whole Acorn Squash
* Kosher Salt To Taste
* 2 Tablespoons Butter
* 2 Tablespoons (to 3 Tablespoons) Brown Sugar
* Pure Maple Syrup

Preparation Instructions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Halve each squash, then scrape out the seeds and stringy membranes. Place the halves, flesh side up, on a baking sheet and sprinkle each half with salt. Next add a generous tablespoon of butter to the center of each squash followed by 2 to 3 heaping tablespoons of brown sugar. Next drizzle squash with maple syrup. Pour 2 cups water in the bottom of the baking pan.

Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 30-45 minutes, or until squash is golden brown. In the last 5 minutes of baking, turn on the broiler and allow tops to get a little more brown and the butter/sugar mixture to bubble.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Thanksgiving Part 1 - Makin Whoopie

Wow, I haven't posted anything in a long time! Hopefully in the next few days I'll make up for it.

A few weeks ago our small group had a "pre-thanksgiving" get-together, and I was in charge of dessert. I knew I didn't want to go too traditional, so I looked through some of my recipes and cookbooks and settled on a delicious looking little cookie sandwich called a whoopie pie. I guess there's many different variations but this one was of course pumpkin. It was dense and perfectly pumpkiny with a rich, creamy center. Try it, even though thanksgiving has passed us by. They sell canned pumpkin all year round. It's a fact.

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies
From Rachel Ray Magazine
Makes 12 individual cookies, so 6 sandwiches

1 1/2 stickes unsalted butter, 1 stick melted, 1/2 stick softened
1 C packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs, at room temp, lightly beaten
1 C canned pure pumpkin puree
1 T pumpkin pie spice
1 1/2 t vanilla
1 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
3/4 teaspoon plus 2 pinches salt
1 2/3 C flour
4 oz cream cheese, chilled
1 C powdered sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 350. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the melted butter and brown sugar until smooth. Whisk in the eggs, pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, 1 t vanilla, the baking powder, the baking soda and 3/4 t salt. ( if using salted butter just omit the salt)Using a rubber spatula, fold in the flour.
3. Using an ice cream scoop drop 12 generous mounds of batter, spaced evenly, onto each baking sheet. Bake until springy to the touch, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool completely.
4. Meanwhile, using an electric mixer, cream the softened butter with the cream cheese. Add the powdered sugar and the remaining 2 pinches salt and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla; mix on low speed until blended, then beat on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes.
5. Spread the flat side of 12 cakes with the cream cheese frosting. Top each with another cake.