Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thanksgiving Post 4: Pies!!!!

I made two pies we traditionally make for Thanksgiving: Cape Cod Cranberry Pie and Pumpkin Cheese Pie. The cranberry pie is pretty much my favorite pie in the world but it is definitely an acquired taste. You have to really like cranberries to enjoy this. If you don't, there are other recipes out there more like a tart or cake with just a few cranberries in it. As for the pumpkin cheese pie, it is basically like a pumpkin cheesecake. Because my mom always made this when I was growing up and never made a regular pumpkin pie, I always thought that this was pumpkin pie until I ventured out into the world on my own. Now, I am pretty much ruined for regular pumpkin pie. My mom usually uses a regular pie crust but I used a store-bought graham cracker crust because I think it goes well with cheesecake and it adds some variety to the table with the cranberry pie having a regular crust.

Cape Cod Cranberry Pie
This recipe is originally from the New England Yankee Cookbook, a nice reference if you're interested in New England cooking. This pie is very easy to make and delicious!
  • 9" pie crust top and bottom, uncooked
  • 3 1/2 cups fresh, washed cranberries (this comes down to about one bag from the grocery)
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 Tablespoons water
  • 2 Tablespoons melted butter
  • egg for brushing the crust
  1. Preheat oven to 450.
  2. Mix the cranberries with the remaining ingredients except the egg.
  3. Fill the bottom pie crust with the berry mixture.
  4. Arrange a lattice for the top crust. I have some tips for this in my apple pie post. Or, do something else with your crust. I used a small cookie cutter to cut out stars and then place them on the crust for a decoration.
  5. Brush the top of the crust with egg using a pastry brush.
  6. Place on a cookie sheet to catch the drippings and make the pie easier to handle.
  7. Bake 10 minutes, then turn the temperature down to 350 and bake for 30 minutes more. Use foil or a pie crust protector to protect the crust's edges.
  8. Tastes good hot, room temp, or cold. Don't have with milk.. something about the cranberries makes it taste bitter.

Pumpkin Cheese Pie

  • 12 oz cream cheese, softened (this is 1 1/2 packages of Philly)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 cup 100% pure pumpkin
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 graham cracker pie crust (just the bottom)
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Using an electric blender, mix cream cheese, sugar, and pumpkin pie spice in medium speed. Mix in the pumpkin.
  3. Add eggs and mix until blended. Pour into crust.
  4. Bake for 40 minutes. After cooling to room temp, cool for 3 hours in the fridge or overnight.

Thanksgiving Post 3: Turkey Dinner Photos

This post only has photos because I didn't use any special recipes for turkey, stuffing, or mashed potatoes. I did want to show you how the meal came out. I did make a killer gravy, I think. I also wanted to tell you that we got our All Natural, Hormone-Free, Antibiotic-Free, Vegetarian-Fed, and Humanely Treated turkey at Trader Joe's. It was probably twice the price of a regular supermarket turkey but worth every penny.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving Post 2: Grandma Lydia's Candied Yams

This Thanksgiving I made my late grandmother's candied yams recipe for the first time on my own. My mother makes this every year and I think it's the best yam recipe around. My boyfriend tried them this year and he agrees.

Candied Yams
  • 6 yams/sweet potatoes
  • 1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  1. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add the unpeeled yams and simmer for 30 minutes covered. Drain and let cool until they are easily peeled.
  2. Peel the yams and slice them lengthwise. Lay the slices in a baking dish.
  3. In a large skillet, combine the remaining ingredients and stir until the butter melts.
  4. Boil for 3 minutes uncovered.
  5. Pour the mixture over the yams in the dish.
  6. I suppose this dish could be served as-is if everythying is hot but we always made this ahead of time and then heated it up in the oven at the last minute after the turkey came out.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!!! Post 1: Mom's Cheese Ball

Hey folks! I am cooking today so I am going to bring you as-it-happens cooking right from the kitchen. The first thing I made (apart from the pies I made last night which I'll post about later) is my mom's cheese ball. I love love love this thing and it came out perfectly! It tastes so great right now. Here it is:

Cookie's (my mom) Holiday Cheese Ball

I made a relatively small-sized ball, but you could easily double the recipe

  • 12 oz cream cheese (1 pack and a half)
  • 1/2 oz an 8 oz can of pineapple chunks
  • 1 really big scallion, greens and whites, or use 2-3 small ones
  • chopped walnuts to cover the whole thing
  1. Make this and any other spreads or dips you are making a day ahead of time (I realize the date/time of this posting prevents that now, but for next year). This allows the flavors to really seep into the cheese.
  2. Let the cream cheese get to room temp out on the counter.
  3. Finely chop the pineapple and scallion(s) and cream them into the cheese.
  4. After it's all creamed in, drizzle in some of the pineapple juice, like a tablespoon or two, just until it is slightly wet so that forming into a ball is a little difficult, but you can do it anyway.
  5. Wrap plastic wrap around everything. Form into a ball using the plastic wrap to help.
  6. Store in the fridge over night.
  7. The next day, finely chop the walnuts and roll the cold ball in the walnuts pressing them into the ball covering the whole thing.
  8. Serve it up with Stoned Wheat Thin Mini's.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

I'm never hiring this guy again.