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Thanksgiving 2010 - The Highlights

Pardon the lateness of this - just getting caught up on my blog posts.

It was our usual stay-at-home holiday weekend, but we prepared a lovely meal. No one goes hungry at our house, that's for sure!

I thought I'd tell the basics of what we ate and highlight the new recipes that we tried.

Turkey breast with cranberry stuffing and gravy.

Fresh & Easy had jars of Cranberry/Orange relish, which was just delicious. I will try that again.

I don't know if I have mentioned, but I am really loving having a Fresh & Easy store close-by. It's been open almost a year, and I now go there more often than to Trader Joe's. They don't have as big a selection as TJ's but still lots of tasty stuff.

Back to the menu . . .

Butternut Squash Gratin with Goat Cheese and Nuts - This recipe came from Amy on Slow Travel (adapted from a Bon Appetit recipe) and is mouth-watering good.

Fresh Spinach and Ricotta Gratin - Courtesy of Katie at Thyme for Cooking - another winner.

Roasted Pears with Blue Cheese - This and the spinach dish were Bill's contribution to dinner. We found the pear recipe on the Food Network website, from Barefoot Contessa. Another great recipe.

Dessert was Nantucket Cranberry Pie with Lavender-Honey Ice Cream. The "pie" recipe made the rounds of Slow Travel tables this holiday season but was originally posted by Pioneer Woman. It was so easy and delicious that I made it a second time for a potluck. No leftovers there!

Butternut Squash Gratin with Goat Cheese and Nuts adapted from Bon Appetit

Makes 4-6 servings. Multiply ingredients as needed.

4 cups cubed butternut squash (about 1 medium)
Pam or spray oil; or a bit of olive oil
Coarse kosher salt
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup sliced leeks (white and pale green parts only)
1 Tablespoon or more chopped fresh sage
2-3 ounces soft fresh goat cheese (about ½ cup)
1/2 cup or more lowfat Half and Half or whole milk
1/4 cup hazelnuts or pecans, toasted, coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 400°F. Spread out squash cubes on oil-sprayed or oil-rubbed large rimmed baking sheet. Spray or rub all squash surfaces with oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast until just tender and beginning to brown, stirring occasionally, about 35 minutes.
Meanwhile, melt butter in heavy medium skillet over medium-low heat. Add sliced leeks and chopped sage; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sauté until tender but not brown, about 15 minutes. Spray 8x8-inch baking dish with oil. Combine leeks, squash, and cheese in the dish. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Pour half and half or milk evenly over gratin. Add more if desired—it should be halfway up the sides of the dish. Sprinkle with toasted chopped hazelnuts or pecans. Bake uncovered until gratin is heated through and cream is bubbling, about 30 minutes (40 minutes if previously chilled).


Fresh Spinach and Ricotta Gratin - Thyme for Cooking

16oz (450gr) fresh spinach
1/4 cup flour
4 tbs butter
1/2 cup (4oz 125gr) ricotta cheese
1/3 cup (3oz, 90gr) cream or milk
2 eggs
pinch of nutmeg

Wash spinach, if needed, remove thick stems, and roughly chop. In large bowl mix remaining ingredients. It's a messy job but fingers work the best. When you have a sticky paste add the spinach and mix well. Put into a buttered gratin dish - a glass baking dish with low sides and bake at 375F (190 C) for about 30 minutes. Serve.

Mound it high in the pan before baking as it will compact a lot as it cooks.

The recipe can easily be doubled or tripled.... just pile it in and bake.


Roasted Pears with Blue Cheese - Barefoot Contessa

* 3 ripe but firm Anjou pears
* Freshly squeezed lemon juice (3 lemons)
* 3 ounces coarsely crumbled sharp blue cheese such as Stilton
* 1/4 cup dried cranberries
* 1/4 cup walnut halves, toasted and chopped
* 1/2 cup apple cider
* 3 tablespoons port
* 1/3 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
* 1/4 cup good olive oil
* 6 ounces baby arugula
* Kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Peel the pears and slice them lengthwise into halves. With a small sharp paring knife and a melon baller, remove the core and seeds from each pear, leaving a round well for the filling. Trim a small slice away from the rounded sides of each pear half so that they will sit in the baking dish without wobbling. Toss the pears with some lemon juice to prevent them from turning brown. Arrange them, core side up, in a baking dish large enough to hold the pears snugly.

Gently toss the crumbled blue cheese, dried cranberries, and walnuts together in a small bowl. Divide the mixture among the pears, mounding it on top of the indentation.

In the same small bowl, combine the apple cider, port, and brown sugar, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Pour the mixture over and around the pears. Bake the pears, basting occasionally with the cider mixture, for 30 minutes, or until tender. Set aside until warm or at room temperature.

Just before serving, whisk together the olive oil, 1/4 cup of lemon juice, and 1/4 cup of the basting liquid in a large bowl. Divide the arugula among 6 plates and top each with a pear half. Drizzle each pear with some of the basting liquid, sprinkle with salt, and serve warm.


Nantucket Cranberry Pie - The Pioneer Woman

* Butter, For Greasing
* 2 cups (heaping) Cranberries
* ¾ cups Pecans, Chopped (measure, Then Chop)
* ⅔ cups Sugar
* 1 cup Flour
* 1 cup Sugar
* 1 stick Unsalted Butter, melted
* 2 whole Eggs, Lightly Beaten
* 1 teaspoon Pure Almond Extract
* ¼ teaspoons Salt
* 1 Tablespoon Sugar For Sprinkling

Preparation Instructions

*Adapted from a recipe by Laurie Colwin*

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Generously butter a cake pan or pie pan. Add cranberries to the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle on chopped pecans, then sprinkle on 2/3 cup sugar.

In a mixing bowl, combine flour, 1 cup sugar, melted butter, eggs, almond extract, and salt. Stir gently to combine.

Pour batter slowly over the top in large “ribbons” in order to evenly cover the surface. Spread gently if necessary.

Bake for 45 to 50 minutes. 5 minutes before removing from oven, sprinkle surface with 1 tablespoon sugar for a little extra crunch.

Cut into wedges and serve with ice cream or freshly whipped cream.

Comments (1)

Barb Cabot:

Nancy I am really enjoying reviewing belatedly all your holiday fun, the meals at Thanksgiving and over the Xmas holidays, the trips to the Mission etc. The food looks wonderful. I'm going to try some of the dishes sometime. Thanks for posting.

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