|11/19/2021 1:41:00 PM|
Let's give thanks for everything we have
by JEFF NORTONI won’t wax poetic on all the problems in the world right now. There’s plenty of other places for that, so we don’t need to do that in my plain ol’ food column.
But, I do want to take this Thanksgiving column to be thankful for what I have in my life.
There is currently all too much focus on the negative aspects of life and the things we want that it’s easy to forget the positive parts of our life and the people and things we love the most.
First and foremost, I’m thankful for my wife, Aly. She’s been a rock for me since we first met in 2013 and the last eight years have been a lovely, exciting adventurous ride through life. There’s been a lot of smooth sailing and some bumps in the road, but we’ve always come out stronger and I know that she’s my forever person.
I’m thankful for my family and their health. Earlier this year, my brother, sister-in-law, mom and dad all got COVID at the same time. Nobody’s sickness was terrible, but they all had raspy throats, coughs and slight fevers. I felt helpless for two weeks while they recovered. I’m just thankful they made it through to the other side and are healthy this Thanksgiving and I’ll get to spend time with all of them.
I’m thankful for my dogs Benny and Jett. They are some of the best friends you could ask for and are always happy to see me when I get home and are excited to curl up on the couch for the night or take 5 a.m. walks with Aly and me. Even if Jett much prefers Aly’s snuggles over mine, I love him just as much.
I’m thankful for a roof over my head, a job I very much enjoy going to and great people to work with, not only in the office, but at the schools.
I’m thankful for my buddies that I golf, gamble, play volleyball and watch sports with. They provide countless laughs almost nightly, even if it’s just in group texts.
It’s been another weird year, and as cliche as it sounds, I’m so thankful for all of the people in my life and everything I do have and I hope you all can recognize what’s important and be thankful as well. Happy Thanksgiving! Here’s some of my favorite turkey day recipes.
SWEET POTATO CASSEROLE
1/2 stick (4 tbsp.) unsalted butter, melted, plus more for buttering the baking dish
3 to 4 large sweet potatoes (about 1 3/4 pounds), peeled and cubed
1/2 c. milk
1/4 c. brown sugar, packed
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
2 large eggs
1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. brown sugar, packed
1/2 stick (4 tbsp.) unsalted butter, melted
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
3/4 c. chopped pecans
For the sweet potatoes: Add 1 3/4 pounds peeled and cubed sweet potatoes to a large pot of salted water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then lower the heat to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are very tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain and cool. Mash the sweet potatoes.
For the filling: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 2-quart baking dish.
Whisk together the butter, mashed sweet potatoes, milk, brown sugar, vanilla, salt and eggs in a large bowl. Transfer to the prepared baking dish.
For the topping: Combine the flour, brown sugar, butter and salt in a medium bowl until moist and the mixture clumps together. Stir in the pecans. Spread the mixture over the top of the sweet potatoes in an even layer. Bake until mostly set in the center and golden on top, 25 to 30 minutes. Serve hot.
So this recipe comes from Ina Garten, who is a Food Network star. The recipe comes from one of her books that was gifted to me a few years ago because the title was “Cooking with Jeffrey”, because, well, her husband’s name is Jeffrey!
This stuff is sooo good if you’re looking for a new or bit unique stuffing recipe.
16 c. 1-inch bread cubes, white or sourdough (1 1/2 pound loaf)
8 tbsp. (1 stick) unsalted butter
2 c. medium-diced yellow onion (2 onions)
1 c. medium-diced celery (2 stalks)
2 Granny Smith apples, unpeeled, cored and large-diced
2 tbsp. chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 tbsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
3/4 lb. sweet or spicy Italian sausage, casings removed
1 c. chicken stock
1 c. dried cranberries
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
Place the bread cubes in a single layer on a sheet pan and bake for 7 minutes. Raise the oven temperature to 350 degrees. Remove the bread cubes to a very large bowl.
Meanwhile, in a large saute pan, melt the butter and add the onions, celery, apples, parsley, salt and pepper. Saute over medium heat for 10 minutes, until the vegetables are softened. Add to the bread cubes.
In the same saute pan, cook the sausage over medium heat for about 10 minutes, until browned and cooked through, breaking up the sausage with a fork while cooking. Add to the bread cubes and vegetables.
Add the chicken stock and cranberries to the mixture, mix well, and pour into a 9 by 12-inch baking dish. Bake for 30 minutes, until browned on top and hot in the middle. Serve warm.
3 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
3/4 c. vegetable shortening or lard
3/4 c. salted butter, cut into pieces
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tbsp. distilled white vinegar
1 c. granulated sugar
3 tbsp. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. corn syrup (light or dark)
1/3 c. melted salted butter
1 tsp. vanilla
3 whole eggs beaten
1 c. (heaping) chopped pecans
First, whip up the pie crust: Mix the flour and salt in a bowl. Add the vegetable shortening and salted butter. Work the butter into the flour using a dough cutter until the mixture resembles tiny pebbles.
Add the egg, five tablespoons cold water and the white vinegar. Stir until just combined. Divide the dough in half and chill until needed. (You will only need one half for this recipe, reserve the other half for another use.)
Next make the filling: Mix the granulated sugar, brown sugar, salt, corn syrup, butter, vanilla and eggs together in a bowl.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Roll out one dough half on a lightly floured surface to fit your pie pan. Pour the pecans in the bottom of the unbaked pie shell. Pour the syrup mixture over the top. Cover the top and crust lightly/gently with foil.
Bake the pie for 30 minutes. Remove the foil, and then continue baking for 20 minutes, being careful not to burn the crust or pecans. The pie should not be overly jiggly when you remove it from the oven (though it will jiggle a bit). If it shakes a lot, cover with foil and bake for an additional 20 minute or until set. Required baking time seems to vary widely with this recipe. Sometimes it takes 50 minutes, sometimes it takes 75!
Allow to cool for several hours or overnight. Serve in thin slivers.
TFD: Give thanks for a little, and you will find a lot.