Author Topic: Thanksgiving and other feast days  (Read 2888 times)

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Offline 6pairsofshoes

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Thanksgiving and other feast days
« on: November 23, 2021, 07:08:49 AM »
Thursday we celebrate Thanksgiving in the U.S.  My husband is going to cook a duck breast.  He's been watching Jamie Oliver in the evenings and is going to do some kind of port wine/bing cherry sauce.  I am happy to let him at it.  We will have mashed potatoes with parsnips and some greens on the side and I'll probably bake an apple galette for dessert.  That will consume hours in the kitchen, but it will make for a simple nice dinner.  What, if anything, are you planning to cook for the holidays?

Ham, turkey, duck, roast beef?  What sides and desserts do you prepare?

Offline 6pairsofshoes

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Re: Thanksgiving and other feast days
« Reply #1 on: November 23, 2021, 01:17:52 PM »
What? No green bean casserole?

(We will have a full American thanksgiving dinner, likely with pumpkin pie)

Ha!  We will most likely steam some green beans.  I'm not a big casserole fan.  I love pumpkin pie, but haven't made one for years.  Maybe for Christmas.

Offline 8ullfrog

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Re: Thanksgiving and other feast days
« Reply #2 on: November 23, 2021, 09:55:45 PM »
Green Bean Casserole was all marketing. Campbells shoehorned it in to "Thanksgiving" to sell cream of mushroom soup.
I like green beans; I like crispy onion things. I don't like cream of mushroom soup.

Holy poo, my browser just had me drop a semicolon.

Offline 6pairsofshoes

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Re: Thanksgiving and other feast days
« Reply #3 on: December 21, 2021, 09:50:27 AM »
I know that there are mince pies and plum puddings over there in the UK that are consumed around the Christmas holidays, but do you guys eat fruitcake?  Or is that a new world thing?

My grandmother used to bake fruitcake and keep it in a tea towel lined tin; the whole business was soaked in brandy.  I can barely remember how it tasted.  I think she used odd store bought candied fruit in it.  Probably nuts, too. 

I would like to identify and consume a good fruitcake.  I am not averse to making one.  If anyone has a trusted recipe that they'd be willing to share or point me to, I'd appreciate it.  I'm eating a store bought panetone for breakfast.  It's not bad, but it's very light compared to a fruitcake, at least the kind of fruitcake I associate with the holidays.  Clearly, I'm not Italian.

Offline smokester

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Re: Thanksgiving and other feast days
« Reply #4 on: December 21, 2021, 11:25:33 AM »
My grandmother used to bake fruitcake and keep it in a tea towel lined tin; the whole business was soaked in brandy.  I can barely remember how it tasted.  I think she used odd store bought candied fruit in it.  Probably nuts, too. 

This is pretty much a carbon copy of what my nan used to do with the only difference that we called it "Christmas Cake" as it was much, much heavier than a fruit cake.

We still buy a very small version of this as no one can really stomach it outside the festive season. However, my neice is currently doing a bakery course (she a physiotherapist by trade) at Harrods I think and she is unbelievably good at it - judging by her photos - so I'm hoping that she may consider planning one sometime this year ready for next Christmas. I just have to lay down some hints.
Don't put off until tomorrow, what you can put off until the day after.

There is an exception to every rule, apart from this one.

Offline 6pairsofshoes

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Re: Thanksgiving and other feast days
« Reply #5 on: December 21, 2021, 06:14:37 PM »
I just finished baking a batch of what are called around here "Pecan dainties" basically shortbread with pecans rolled in powdered sugar.  They're addictive.  Someone gave me an old workhorse of a Sunbeam Mixmaster from the 1950's and it is pretty heavy duty.  It's a good deal easier than mixing by hand.  They're rolled into small marble sized balls, cooked at low heat for about a half hour and rolled in the confectioner's sugar right as they are cooling.  They keep well.  I'm shipping these off in the next day or so as they are dangerous to keep in the house.

The next thing is the rolled cutout sugar cookies.  It's backbreaking work and takes forever.  But nobody else in the family has the time or patience to produce them, so I am elected by default.

Offline 6pairsofshoes

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Re: Thanksgiving and other feast days
« Reply #6 on: December 14, 2023, 06:11:54 PM »
Ha!  It's 2 years later and I'm just about to bake more of the pecan dainties.  The cutout sugar cookies are just too much, so I'm casting about for a different cookie recipe (biscuits you call them, I think) to flesh out the boxes and tins of cookies I'll send to relatives.  I'm thinking of maybe some orange shortbread with bittersweet chocolate threads drizzled over them, or some snickerdoodles.  Honestly, I usually just make chocolate chip cookies at home.  Oatmeal raisin don't keep as long so I'm kind of thinking of a cookie with a decent shelf life.

Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Offline smokester

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Re: Thanksgiving and other feast days
« Reply #7 on: December 17, 2023, 06:37:49 AM »
It's odd that I actually trained as a pastry chef after leaving school, but I am not particularly good at cooking pastry dishes. I think it's because the process is too finite and precise, and leaves little room for creative licence which is now I usually cook.

I eat biscuits like a pro, though.
Don't put off until tomorrow, what you can put off until the day after.

There is an exception to every rule, apart from this one.

Offline 6pairsofshoes

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Re: Thanksgiving and other feast days
« Reply #8 on: December 17, 2023, 09:38:38 PM »
It's odd that I actually trained as a pastry chef after leaving school, but I am not particularly good at cooking pastry dishes. I think it's because the process is too finite and precise, and leaves little room for creative licence which is now I usually cook.

I eat biscuits like a pro, though.

Ha!  I can put them away on occasion, too.  A neighbor gave me a carton of egg whites and other than whipping up a remorse omelette with them (like the one Danny DeVito orders in "Get Shorty"), I thought I'd prefer trying to make some cookies, maybe some coconut macaroons, with it.  There's a recipe with the coconut part sitting on a little pad of bittersweet chocolate.  That sounds worth an experiment, so that's next on the list.

Offline 6pairsofshoes

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Re: Thanksgiving and other feast days
« Reply #9 on: December 19, 2023, 05:53:15 PM »
I baked 2 batches today and it gave me new admiration for my grandmother's stamina.  She'd bake tons of them and I was wiped out after only 2 batches.  They're really fussy little cookies that have to be rolled into the shape of a marble, baked at a low heat and then rolled in confectioner's sugar.  My back isn't what it used to be.  I might try the coconut macaroons tomorrow.


Offline 6pairsofshoes

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Re: Thanksgiving and other feast days
« Reply #10 on: December 24, 2023, 11:37:55 AM »
The neighbors have an orange tree that has been shedding fruit.  I collected the falls and washed them, removed thin strips of zest and made candied orange peel.  It turned out really well.  It's very intense but not bitter since I boiled it twice before immersing it in a sugar syrup bath and boiling it for another 15 minutes.  I expect this, when minced and added to baked goods, would present quite the flavor bomb.

Here's Jacques Pepin in his kitchen.  Note:  I had trouble melting the chocolate and got more on me than on the peels.