Oh boy, oh boy! Did I mention in yesterday’s blog that I was excited? While my heart gets little pangs almost hourly at Thanksgivings past in Costa Rica with some of my most favorite people and ones whom I love most in this world, I am grateful to be where I am at this moment and am at times breathless with the beauty that is fall in the Bay Area.
So with one Barbarosa Ranchers turkey thawing in my fridge (it’s for a friend’s family) and the other turkey awaiting its brining party tonight, I am all aflutter with preparations for the big Thanksgiving feast, which mostly includes me getting my recipes in order and passing them on to you!
Laurie’s Stuffing (with real homemade breadcrumbs, of course!)
12oz stale bread crumbs (the bread should be made at least two days prior)
1 C melted organic butter
1 1/2 C chopped celery
1 C chopped onion
1 3/4 C homemade organic chicken stock
1 pound organic, free range sausages of your choice (chicken, lamb, pork
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 teaspoons ground sage
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Cook sausage in a separate pan, set aside to cool. Set aside 1/4 cup of broth. Combine bread crumbs with butter and spices. Stir stock in gradually. Crumble sausage and add to mixture. Spoon into 2 1/2 or 3-quart greased casserole dish. Use reserved broth to pour over stuffing to avoid drying while baking. Bake covered 30 minutes at 350 degrees F. Remove cover and bake 5 to 10 minutes longer for a crisper top. Makes 12 (1/2 cup) servings.
Miss Carrie’s Seven Layer Salad
(This is the dish at Thanksgiving that makes you feel like at least your sort of eating something healthy and not totally laden with calories. It lies.)
1 head organic butter lettuce (or other type)
1 large organic red onion, finely chopped
2 C organic canned, frozen but thawed or fresh green peas (fresh is my first choice, but hard to find locally produced this time of year)
1/2 C organic or homemade mayonnaise
1/2 C organic sour cream (can substitute plain organic yogurt)
1 C shredded organic cheddar cheese
12oz. organic, free range, grass fed, loved it’s whole life bacon, cooked and crumbled
Choose a pretty, clear glass salad bowl or cake pan – you’ll want to see the layers. Mix the mayo and the sour cream together. Set aside. Layer in the different ingredients in the order listed, with the lettuce on the bottom. You may not need the whole 12oz of bacon, it depends on the size of your serving dish. Serves 8-10.
Organic Pumpkin Pie (from a pumpkin no less!)
2 cups of pumpkin pulp purée from a sugar or other pumpkin*
1 1/2 cup organic heavy cream or same amount of hemp milk (my choice by far and I drink milk)
1/2 cup packed organic dark brown or raw cane sugar
1/3 cup organic white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 organic, free range, cageless eggs plus the yolk of a third egg
2 teaspoons of cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamon
1 good crust (see recipe below)
* To make pumpkin purée from a sugar pumpkin: start with a small-medium (about 2 pounds) sugar or other pumpkin, cut out the stem and scrape out the insides, discard (save the seed and see our roasted pumpkin seed recipe). Cut into sections and steam in a saucepan, with a couple inches of water at the bottom, until soft. Scoop out the pulp from the skin. Or you can bake whole or halved in a 350°F oven until fork-tender. Optional – put pulp through a food mill or chinois to make extra smooth. NOTE: I am a lazy cook and I don’t bother with making extra smooth pulp. But, I do bother with real pumpkin. Start it first and it will be done by the time you assemble the rest of the ingredients and it is worth it!
Preheat oven to 425°F. Mix sugars, salt, and spices in a large bowl. Beat the eggs and add to the bowl. Stir in the pumpkin purée. Stir in cream/hemp milk. Whisk all together until well incorporated. Pour into pie shell and bake at 425°F for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes reduce the temperature to 350°F. Bake 40-50 minutes, or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for 2 hours.
Isophene’s Short Pie Crust
This recipe is from my grandmother who’s middle name was Isophene. I am NOT a pastry baker and I was scared of pie crusts until I was 34 and my mother assured me I could make this crust. I was also living in Costa Rica, pre-made crusts were nowhere to be found and I had 30 coming for Thanksgiving dinner. It turned out to be really easy, fun and is the only pie crust recipe I use!
2 C Flour
½ tsp. Salt
¼ tsp. Baking Powder
½ C Salad Oil (this is how my grandma wrote it – I use soy, corn or safflower oil, but not olive – it’s flavor is too strong)
¼ C Water
You’ll need a 9” pie tin and you’ll use this as your mixing bowl. Put your dry ingredients in the pie tin and mix well with your hands. Add wet ingredients and mix with your hands – remember back to your mud-pie days. This crust will not look super even, white-ish spots are fine. You want it blended, that’s all. As my mother wrote in giving me the recipe, “This falls apart easily. Don’t worry. It also smuches back together easily.” Once it’s mixed, start smuching it out towards the edges of the pie tin. Leave a little extra at the lip of the tin and using a pinching method make the little scalloped edges. Wa-la!