Sunday, December 7, 2008

Post Thanksgiving Post

While most of the foodie blogging universe has posted their Thanksgiving creations, I dove right into Christmas preparations following the holiday of giving thanks and am just getting to the 'showing' off part. :) For our dinner, I made four dishes: my mother's sweet potato and walnut casserole, cranberry sauce. homemade apple pie, and white chocolate bread pudding. To be clear, my portion paled in comparison to Mr. T's spread of: turkey, homemade gravy, stuffing, garlic mashed potatoes, string beans and bacon, sauteed mushrooms, and cheddar biscuits plus appetizers of Italian meats and cheeses. Can you say, Mangia!?!?By the way, there was only 5 of us at dinner. Also, you will see the quality of the pictures jump up about 1000% from the sweet potato casserole on. That's because Peter my boyfriend picked up an early Christmas present of a Nikon D90 SLR camera so hooray!

Cranberry Sauce

What is Thanksgiving without cranberry sauce? I know with so much cooking a lot of us opt to buy the pre-made stuff. I had heard that making your own cranberry sauce was incredibly easy so this year I took the plunge and made the following recipe:
  • 12oz of fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup orange juice (no pulp)
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/8 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/8 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. allspice
  • dash of salt
  • Heat orange juice in medium saucepan over medium heat. Dissolve sugar in orange juice. Stir in spices and cranberries. Cook cranberries, they will begin to pop, so watch those eyeballs! Let simmer 10-12 minutes. Transfer to a container and let cool. The sauce will thicken as it cools. If the sauce isn't smooth enough for you and your guests, take a potato masher or even a fork to your sauce. That's it ! See? Easy...

Sweet Potato Walnut Casserole

Every year since I can remember my mom made a sweet potato walnut casserole. It has become the star of our Festa family Thanksgiving meal. This year, my Aunt Annette called me in a panic Thanksgiving morning because she couldn't find the recipe and didn't want to disappoint the rest of the family expecting this side dish/dessert delight. To be sure, this is a popular dish and I've read many, many variations including the marshmallow topping and pecan streusel topping. Here's how we do it (keeping a few things secret):

Sweet Potatoes
  • 2-3lbs. sweet potatoes - peeled, cut, boiled, and mashed
  • 3 beaten eggs
  • 1/2 pint regular whipping cream
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. allspice
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar

Molasses/Walnut Topping
  • 1 1/2 cups crushed walnuts
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 4 Tblsp. Molasses
  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar

  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and spray a 9"x 13" casserole dish or 2 smaller but total equal in size dishes with a cooking spray to grease. Peel, cut in quarters and boil the sweet potatoes until a fork easily goes through the largest pieces. Drain and put in medium mixing bowl. Add cream, beaten eggs, sugars, and spices and mix until smooth. Transfer contents to greased casserole dishes.
  • In a small saucepan on low heat, heat molasses. Put flour into a small mixing bowl, set aside. Add brown sugar and melt into the molasses. Add butter, cut into tabs and slightly soften. Don't melt the butter all the way down! Pour the molasses mixture into the bowl with flour and add 1 cup of the crushed walnuts. Combine together just enough, don't over mix! Spread the mixture over your sweet potato dish or dishes. Take the remaining 1/2 cup of crushed walnuts and sprinkle evenly on top. Bake for 35 minutes and I promise this will not disappoint!

White Chocolate Bread Pudding (pictured cold here)

For desserts I wanted a challenge so I made two dishes I've never made before: white chocolate bread pudding and homemade apple pie with a cream cheese crust. Both came out much better than I expected but due to the amount of cooking, I didn't get any snaps of the pie! When I read's recipe for white chocolate bread pudding, I just had to try it! The only difference is I did not make the ganache to go on top because I simply ran out of time. However, I am proud to say that not only were both desserts a big hit (Peter couldn't get enough of the bread pudding), but there were also tons of invaluable lessons learned. And that is something I am truly, utterly thankful for!


We Are Never Full said...

ohhhh... white chocolate bread pudding!? that sounds amazing.

Laurie said...

Hey Rachel!! How are you?
I love the chocolate bread pudding recipe.. I will definitely try that. We love bread pudding..
I never posted my Thanksgiving food items. I become so busy and fixated on preps that I really stress about adding write ups! Now Christmas.. thats another story. I can't wait to post our food. It is so Un-American! :) Maybe that's also why I don't spend much time posting about Thanksgiving.. I really don't enjoy turkey. I just make it for everyone else. :)

Rachel please forgive me, I never got around to posting the mems about myself. I don't really think I'll have time to get to it. I hope I didn't foul up the process.. :(

Ciao and hugs!

The Duo Dishes said...

Love love love bread pudding!

Foodie Writes... said...

Following suit-in-stride with the others...


White Chocolate Bread Pudding...oh my!

Thanks for posting that!

So stealing...

Sophie said...

Sweet potatoes are my favorite holiday food/side. I really like the idea of combining them with walnuts, that crunchy topping sounds delicious! I'd like to feature your recipe on our blog :). Please let me know if you're interested!

Happy Holidays!
Sophie, Key Ingredient Chief Blogger

Brandon Hudson said...

I like your style of writing. You break it down nicely. Very informative post. Keep up the good work.

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