wow! that sure was a mouthful!
well, seeing as how we missed Canadian Thanksgiving Day (October 10) - how did we do that? by never really knowing what day it is around here! we often start our mornings at the kitchen table asking each other - "is it Thursday?" - "no, it's Wednesday" - "are you sure?" - "ya, remember, we had darts last night" - "oh, right, okay, then it must be Wednesday".
so ya - we completely missed Canadian Thanksgiving Day and didn't figure it out until a few days later. and Thanksgiving is one of our favourite holidays. and we have sooooo much to be thankful for this year. so we are glad that the country to the south of us has a different date for their Thanksgiving Day Holiday. Thank You United States of America!
so we will be celebrating Thanksgiving with our American friends. for the past 10 years we have put on ginormic spreads of food - all of our favourite things! even though there has only ever been the 2 of us. except for one year when we had my friend over. we love to celebrate Thanksgiving with just the 2 of us - it is almost like our anniversary or something. and we always overdo it on the food. a big giant turkey, 80lbs of mashed potatoes, enough stuffing to feed 96 or 97 people.....for three weeks! you get the idea! but we love the left-overs and will happily eat them for the next month!
we have been trying to learn to claw back a little - but it isn't easy. we spend the whole morning cooking everything up, then we set an elaborate table (we don't use candles on the table anymore since i set our hanging lamp on fire last year - oops - my bad!), and then we stuff ourselves until we can't eat anymore. we're usually done in 20 minutes. the kitchen will look like a disaster pit and we go and climb on the couch. and the only thing that can get us off the couch is to go and have a "tax" - a tax being a piece of turkey or a spoonful of stuffing.
anyway - we are pretty traditional with our Thanksgiving Day meal. we don't like to change it up at all. we have the same thing every year. we love it!
so without further ado - i present the Framboise Manor American Thanksgiving Day Menu:
1. a big honking turkey. after thoroughly rinsing the turkey, i rub a fresh lemon all over the outside and inside, squeezing the lemon as i rub. then i rub the outside with a mixture of olive oil and butter. then i generously sprinkle with sea salt. fresh sage leafs under the skin of the breast. for the first half of the cooking time, i cook the turkey breast-side down. halfway through cooking, i flip it to breast side up. this keeps the breast so moist. basically, during the first half of the cooking gravity is pulling all of the juices down to the breast. then when you flip it, most of the juices stay in the breast (i have cooked turkeys and chickens breast side up before. they are never as moist and full of juice as when you start them breast-side down).
2. giblet/fresh cranberry/apple/celery/walnut/wild-rice stuffing. made from home-made croutons. i let my home-made bread sit out for 2-3 days, cut into 1-inch pieces. then i brush all of the pieces with some olive oil and sprinkle fresh chopped sage all over them. bake them in the oven for about 12-15 mins until golden and crunchy. these make a great snack if you like savoury and crispy snacks. set these aside in a large bowl.
cook your diced up giblets (neck, heart, kidney, liver) in a pan with butter. get the pan all nice and browned on the bottom. when giblets are cooked, add 2 cups of last Easter's turkey broth. scrape up all the nice browned bits. remove the neck from the pan and give it to jambaloney to snack on - then add the giblets to your to your croutons and one cup of giblet broth. add your cooked wild rice. add a nice handful of fresh cranberries, a chopped up apple, chopped up celery and your chopped walnuts. mix it all together and add more broth if need be. spoon stuffing into the chest cavity and body all the way to the neck and legs. tuck your legs.
3. smashed potatoes - i always make too much of this but we eat tons. scrub your potatoes but don't peel them. pierce them all over with a fork. rub olive oil all over the skins and then liberally salt with sea salt. bake them in the oven for about an hour. remove. split each potatoe down the middle. scoop out that delicious baked potatoe goodness. add a ton of butter and cream - heat until the butter melts and the cream heats. this is the only way we make mashed potatoes - no boiling! baking them first makes them absolutely mouth watering!
4. minted-honeyed carrots. peel and clean your carrots. cut them into 1-inch sections and then cut each section in half. cook them in hot butter on each side for almost 10 minutes each. once cooked, pour a large dollop of honey over them and mix it in well until the honey is heated. add fresh chopped mint.
5. maple-syrup turnip mash. chop up your turnip into 1-inch pieces and steam them until soft and mash-able. add butter. add cream. don't skip the cream! then add a big dollop of maple syrup. these are delicious!
6. brussel sprouts with bacon. steam your brussel sprouts for only about 6 minutes - you want them to still be crisp. cook as much bacon as you like -we make alot! remove the bacon and some of the bacon grease. add the brussel sprouts to the pan, coat them with the bacon grease. cook for about 3 minutes or until nicely-browned.
7. fresh cranberry/pear/ginger/cinnamon/clove sauce. sort through your fresh cranberries (see my beautiful cranberries below!), about 2 cups. chop up pears to equal a little over 1 cup. make sure to use a nonreactive saucepan! heat 3/4 cup of water, 1 cup of sugar and 1/4 teaspoon of salt until sugar is dissolved, stirring often. once at a boil, add 1 and 1/2 cups of the cranberries - save half a cup of them for later. once the cranberries have returned to a boil, reduce heat to a nice simmer. keep stirring. after two-thirds of the cranberries have popped (about 5 mins), remove from heat. add the chopped pears. add a 1-inch piece of fresh crushed ginger. add 1/4 teaspoon of fresh ground cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon of fresh ground cloves. add the 1/2 cup of uncooked cranberries. stir it all together. if planning to serve hot, put a lid on and quickly re-heat before serving. if planning to serve cold, let the sauce come to room temperature and then put in the fridge. this keeps well in the fridge for over a week. and is great canned. and is delicious as a traditional cranberry sauce, or can be used as a jam on bread or toast and tastes amazing on vanilla ice-cream.
8. and i saved the best for last - GRAAAAAAVEY!!! i love turkey-dripping gravey and sometimes gross jambaloney out with how my dinner is floating on my plate and looks like gravey soup! everyone already has their own favourite way of preparing gravey - i use all of the drippings without skimming them. before i put the turkey in the roaster, i pour some olive oil in the bottom of the roaster and add chopped onion, celery, carrot, cabbage, parsley and sage. once the turkey is cooked and removed from the roaster, i add a spoonful stuffing and then some dark meat. i heat all of that, strain it and then make a slurry with half a cup of the drippings and 6-7 tablespoons of flour. stir the slurry back in to the drippings until your desired thickness is reached. for the next few days as you are re-heating the gravey - add some of your reserved giblet broth.
anyway - everyone here knows that we love cranberries. and people have been picking tons for us. i made the cranberry-pear sauce for a function recently and everyone loved it and wanted the recipe. and that's when we started getting bags and buckets of cranberries from various folks. one of my friends is having out-of-town family over this weekend and asked if i would make the cranberry sauce for her. her husband's sisters picked these cranberries for the sauce. aren't they beautiful cranberries?
so i have this tub of cranberries and two 2lb bags of fresh cranberries. time to make some home-made cranberry juice. yummy!
we are planning on having our Thanksgiving Day Dinner on friday. ya - we're sneaky like that!