Sunday, November 28, 2010


What a FANTASTIC meal we had this year. Honestly the best I have ever had, hands down. Every single thing was made completely from scratch and the flavors went together so well. It was divine!

I was in charge of one of the turkeys, dressing, mashed potatoes, Brussels Sprouts, gravy and dessert. I got my inspiration this year from Bobby Flay and The Pioneer Woman's Thanksgiving Throwdown. Mike and I were drooling over the food so I chose the dishes that looked the best from the episode and replaced my normal recipes for these recipes. It was a GREAT decision!!
Mike did the turkey on the green egg, so I wont post that, its self explanatory!

The dressing I decided to make was SO FABULOUS! It was my favorite of the new recipes! It would go so well with a pork tenderloin for a nice meal. Sooooo delicious!!

Sourdough, Wild Mushroom and Bacon Dressing
by Bobby Flay

1 1/4 pounds sourdough bread, crusts trimmed, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 12 cups)
1/2 pound shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, coarsely chopped
1/2 pound oyster mushrooms, coarsely chopped
1/2 pound cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
4 tablespoons canola oil, divided
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3/4 pound slab bacon, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 large Spanish onion, finely diced
5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 to 5 cups homemade chicken stock or low sodium canned chicken broth
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh sage
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Spread the bread onto a large baking sheet (or 2 smaller baking sheets) in an even layer and bake, stirring a few times, until lightly golden brown, about 12 minutes. Remove and let cool. Once cooled, put the cubes into a very large bowl.

Increase the heat to 375 degrees F. Combine the mushrooms in a large baking dish or baking sheet, toss with 3 tablespoons of the oil, and season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven, stirring several times, until soft and golden brown, about 25 minutes.

While the mushrooms are roasting, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of the canola oil in a large high-sided saute pan over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and the fat has rendered, about 10 minutes. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon to a plate lined with paper towels. (At this point, I threw the bacon out. I didn't want the bacon in there, just the drippings for the flavor!)

Remove all but 2 tablespoons of the rendered fat in the saute pan and place back on the stove over high heat. Add the onion and cook until soft, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add 3 cups of the chicken stock and the herbs, season with salt and pepper, and bring to a simmer.

Add the mushrooms to the bread, and then add the onion/stock mixture, egg, salt and pepper, and gently stir until combined. The dressing should be very wet, add more stock as needed. Scrape the mixture into a buttered 13 by 9 by 2-inch glass baking dish. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil, and continue baking until the top is golden brown, about 30 to 40 minutes longer. Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

I chose Pioneer Woman's mashed potatoes. First of all, they can be made ahead because after you mash them, you bake them....which makes serving them very easy! Second, there were so many fattening ingredients in them that I knew a) they had to be good and b) I would never make these normally! :) It was also a great choice. So very good!

Mashed Potatoes
by Ree Drummond

5 pounds Yukon gold or russet potatoes
1 1/2 sticks softened butter, plus more for baking
1 1/2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup half-and-half
1/2 cup cream
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Milk, if needed, for thinning

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Peel the potatoes and rinse them in cold water. Chop the potatoes in fourths. Place the potatoes into a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook until fork tender, 20 to 25 minutes.

Drain the potatoes, and then return them to the pan. With the burner on low heat, mash the potatoes with a potato masher; the more steam that's released while you mash, the better. Mash for about 5 minutes. Turn off the burner.

Add the butter, cream cheese, half-and-half, and seasonings. Stir to combine, and if the mixture needs thinning, add milk. Check the seasonings, adding salt and pepper, to taste.

Pour the mashed potatoes into a large casserole pan. Dot the surface with butter. Cover with foil and bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking for 10 more minutes. Serve immediately.

The next recipe I decided on was Bobby Flay's Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pomegranates and Vanilla-Pecan Butter. It didn't seem like my type of dish to be honest, but all the guests on the show were raving about them so I thought I would give them a try. They made a nice addition to the plate because of their slightly sweet but tart flavor. It broke up all that rich food! They were good, but I still prefer just roasted, salted ones!

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pomegranates and Vanilla-Pecan Butter
by Bobby Flay

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, slightly softened
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
1/4 cup toasted pecans, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed
3 tablespoons canola oil
3 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
Seeds from 1 pomegranate
1 lime, finely zested
1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest

Combine the butter and vanilla bean seeds in a small bowl. Fold in the pecans and season with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Place the Brussels sprouts in a medium roasting pan and toss with the oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven until lightly golden brown, 20 minutes.

Remove the pan from the oven, add the pomegranate molasses and stir to combine. Return to the oven and cook until just tender, about 10 minutes longer.

Transfer the sprouts to a large bowl, add the pomegranate seeds and lime and orange zests. Transfer to a platter and top with some of the Vanilla-Pecan butter.

The last recipe I used was Bobby Flay's Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Spicy Caramel Apple Sauce and Vanilla Bean Creme Anglaise. It looked so good on the show, and I LOVE Bread Pudding, so I had my heart set on it. After reading the recipe though, I nearly changed my mind! Wow, there were so many steps! Not that I mind, but since I had a lot of other things to do, I almost saved this for another occasion, but as I said...I had my heart set on it so I couldn't wait to try it. It was very easy to make, just time consuming. I honestly can't even give it a good review because the caramel sauce got throw away during dinner clean up! The cleaner-upper thought it was gravy (It was similar in color) so it got dumped. Since that flavor was 1/3 of the recipe, I can't give this a fair review. The apple/caramel flavor would have changed the flavor completely! It was still good, but I think it would have been A LOT better with that tart apple flavor. Oh well, ill just have to make it again! ;)

Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Spicy Caramel Apple Sauce and Vanilla Bean Creme Anglaise
by Bobby Flay

2 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
6 large egg yolks
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 cup pure canned pumpkin puree
2 tablespoons bourbon
Pumpkin Bread, toasted and cubed, recipe follows
Vanilla Bean Creme Anglaise, recipe follows
Spicy Caramel Apple Sauce, recipe follows
Freshly whipped cream

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Combine the cream, milk, vanilla bean and seeds in a small saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer.

Whisk together the yolks, sugar, maple syrup, and pumpkin puree in a large bowl. Slowly whisk in the hot cream mixture until combined, remove the vanilla pod, and whisk in the bourbon. Strain the custard into a clean bowl.

Scatter the pumpkin bread cubes in a buttered 9 by 13-inch baking glass baking dish. Pour the custard over the bread, pressing down on the bread to totally submerge it in the custard. Let sit for 15 minutes to allow the bread to soak up some of the custard.

Place the pan in a larger roasting pan and pour hot tap water into the roasting pan until it comes half way up the sides of the glass dish. Bake until the sides are slightly puffed and the center jiggles slightly, about 1 hour.

Remove from the oven and water bath and cool on a baking rack for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Spoon some of the Vanilla Bean Creme Anglaise into a shallow bowl, top with some of the bread pudding and drizzle with the Spicy Caramel Apple Sauce. Top with freshly whipped cream. Bread pudding is best served warm.

Pumpkin Bread:
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, plus more for greasing
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
8 ounces (scant 1 cup) canned unsweetened pumpkin puree
2 large eggs
2/3 cup water

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter or lightly spray the bottom and sides of a 9-inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray.

Whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves in a small bowl.

In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the 4 tablespoons softened butter, sugar, and oil at high speed until light and fluffy, about 1 minute, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl a few times.

Add the pumpkin puree and mix until combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix until just incorporated. At low speed, slowly add the flour mixture and water and mix until just combined. Spread the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 60 to 75 minutes. Let cool in the pan on a baking rack for 10 minutes. Remove from the pan and let cool completely.

Once the bread is cool, slice in half lengthwise, and then slice each half into 1/2-inch cubes. Spread the cubes on a large baking sheet and bake in a 325 degree oven until lightly toasted, turning once, about 20 minutes. Let cool.

Vanilla Bean Creme Anglaise:
2 cups half-and-half
1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
5 large egg yolks
1/3 cup pure cane sugar

Bring the half-and-half and vanilla bean and seeds to a simmer in a medium saucepan.

Whisk together the yolks and sugar in a medium bowl until at the pale ribbon stage. Slowly whisk in the hot half-and-half, return the mixture to the pot, and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the mixture coats the back of the spoon. Strain into a bowl and set over an ice bath. Stir until chilled. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving.

Spicy Caramel Apple Sauce:
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup apple juice
1 star anise
1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
4 whole cloves
2 cinnamon sticks
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon apple schnapps

Combine the cream, apple juice, star anise, ginger, cloves, cinnamon sticks, and nutmeg in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat and let steep for at least 20 minutes. Strain the mixture into a clean, small saucepan and place back over low heat while you make the caramel.

Combine the sugar, water and, vinegar in a medium saucepan over high heat and cook without stirring, until it's a deep amber color, about 8 minutes. Slowly whisk in the warm cream mixture a little at a time, and continue whisking until smooth. Add the apple schnapps and cook for 30 seconds longer. Transfer to a bowl and keep warm. The sauce can be made 2 days in advance and refrigerated. Reheat over low heat before serving.

See? WOW....a LOT of steps. But good! the process of making a Turkey and Andouille Sausage Gumbo with our Thanksgiving leftovers. So far our house is smelling fabulous. Check for recipe tomorrow! ;)

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like the Ritz Carlton - fancy-dancy!! You did some kind of cooking, girlfiend. You are so special and love you so much. xoxox to the kiddos!