My girl Aimee is sharing her sweet potato puff recipe here. Inspired by her, I am sharing some of my favorite fixin's for T-Day.
Firs, the turkey. This bird is the star of the show. A week or two before the first Thanksgiving dinner I had ever hosted (as a hugely pregnant newlywed!), I was occupying my usual spot on the couch and I happened on my favorite food show ever, "Good Eats." My boy Alton Brown was showing us how to do Thanksgiving. Since I had never cooked a turkey before and had gotten sick from stuffing cooked inside the bird the previous year (food poisoning the day before my surprise bridal shower. This bride to be was NOT blushing. I was green.), I was looking to do it a little differently. So I prepared the turkey this way. Everyone raved about how it was the best turkey they had ever eaten. I have been making it the same way going on 6 years now (my wonderful mother-in-law did Thanksgiving last year). It's ridiculously easy and is done in 4 hours. Yes girls, 4 hours. And no basting required. I am not kidding. You are absolutely forbidden to open the oven door at all during the cooking of the bird.
Next, I usually do Ina "The Barefoot Contessa" Garten's smashed sweet potatoes. With all that heavy cream and melted butter, forget about your diet. for one day anyway! Top them with apple slices cooked in butter, cinnamon and brown sugar then pop it in the oven. The best sweet potatoes I've ever had! If your oven has been taken over by your bird, make these a few days ahead and refrigerate. Then put them in your crock pot to heat it through. Saw that tip in Real Simple magazine and did the "DUH!" head smack!
Finally, the sacred cranberry relish. This is a recipe that we have used in our family for 3 generations and I have seen other variations of this online. People who don't like cranberry sauce (like my brother-in-law) love this. You need to do this a day or two ahead:
1 pound of fresh cranberries
1 small can of crushed pineapple, drained
1 cup of sugar
1 small box of Raspberry Jello
Dump cranberries in a mixing bowl to rinse them, pick off the stems and get rid of the squishy ones. Then, chop in a blender or food processor. Put in a medium sized bowl and set aside.
Next, take your orange (I prefer navels since there are no seeds, but use the one you like best. Seeds won't matter-you'll see why), quarter it and chop that in the food processor skin and all. DO NOT PEEL YOUR ORANGE!!!! Empty that into the bowl with the cranberries.
Dump your drained crushed pineapple on top of the orange and berries (drink the juice. It's great!).
Stir the sugar into the berry-orange-pineapple mix. Cover and let sit over night or at least 4 hours. All that sugar takes the bitter and sour out of everything, even the orange seeds, and the seeds will be so small, no one will notice them.
Next day, prepare your Jello as directed STOPPING WITH THE HOT WATER STEP. DO NOT ADD THE COLD WATER! Pour the half-prepared Jello into the cold berry mix, cover, and refrigerate to set it. This takes at least 2 hours. You can pour the whole thing in to a decorative mold if you have one. I don't, so I just leave it in the bowl.
There it is. Happy Thanksgiving!