Monday, November 30, 2009

Going All Out for Thanksgiving

There is only one phrase which fits my attitude pre-game for this year's Thanksgiving holiday; "all out." What does all out mean exactly? All out means 8-yes 8-different dishes for Thanksgiving dinner and dessert. All out means cooking from scratch as much as humanly possible. All out means cooking traditionally as well as using modern flavor profiles and pairing them together in a grammy award-winning, sing-song harmony. All out means cooking even after the holiday is over and all your folks have picked up their leftovers and left town. All out is sometimes the only way I know how.

Well, put up or shut up right? For the Joyce Family Thanksgiving holiday sporting approximately twenty guests I prepared the following: 1. Three Cheese Macaroni and Cheese (2 pans), 2. Green Onion and Garlic Scallop Potatoes (2 pans), 3. Sausage and Sage Apple Stuffing (2 pans), 4. Mama Festa's Sweet Potatoes, 5. Apple Cider Cranberry Sauce, 6. Lemon Pepper Spinach with Portobellos, 7. Sweet Potato and Prosciutto Upside Down Lollipops, and 8. Sugar Free Chocolate Walnut Oatmeal Cookies.

Of course I couldn't do this in a day and half all by my lonesome. My Dad, aka Big Poppa, and Shelly my Step-Mom were mega helpers in the kitchen the day before. Naturally we had to have a serious and proper sit-down making sure everyone is on-board with me as Captain of the Thanksgiving Ship. Thankfully they happily complied as a hearty crew would, and handed over the tongs to me. On the day of Thanksgiving, my Uncle Jimmy was equally as helpful and flexible to my culinary demands at the helm of his kitchen. To cook for a feast such as ours, you know it takes a village.

What could be better than immersing yourself in heaps of cooking for the love and joy of your family? Literally nothing except a photographer who would work for free snapping and capturing the cookery moments of magic as they happened that day so I would be able to share all my glory with all of you. But alas, no such free photographer attended dinner. I have just a few iPhone photos that don't do the food any justice. I suppose you will have to take my word for it every dish turned out wonderfully and tasted even better. Now I must warn you I do not have any pictures of the stuffing or the cranberry sauce. You'll just have to imagine those!

Sweet Potato and Prosciutto Upside Down Lollipops with sage, dates, and manchego cheese. (Inspired by Mark Bittman's Sweet Potato with Prosciutto).

Sugar Free Chocolate Walnut Oatmeal Cookies

3 Cheese Mac-n-Cheese. Gruyere, Swiss, and Sharp Cheddar peppered with pieces of black pepper ham.

Green Onion and Garlic Scallop Potatoes

Mama's Brown Sugar & Molasses Sweet Potatoes

Lemon Pepper Baby Spinach with Baby Portobellos

One would think after all that cooking and a bit of baking, I would be done going 'all out' for Thanksgiving. Yet, if you thought that you would be wrong. Friday morning I packed up my car and left Naples for the lovely community of West Palm Beach to visit my dear friend Becky Osborne-Phillips. Not only is she a killer in the kitchen, she is a cake artist rivaling Cake Boss and Ace of Cakes. For real. If you live in South Florida and want some cake art, call Becky!

Upon my arrival to her abode we immediately starting planning dinner. Using her leftovers, we whipped up a stuffed and breaded chicken breast with her homemade tangerine-cranberry sauce, feta cheese, and grated fresh nutmeg on the inside with a flour, egg, and panko breading on the outside. We fried and baked the breasts while we slowly roasted asparagus with fresh rosemary from Becky's garden and topped the asparagus with a devilish lemon butter. Sure we could have stopped there, but we didn't. Remember that whole 'all out' thing?

I still had the baking bug and have had an itch to make's Pumpkin Chocolate Chip 'coffins' or cookie-muffins. Well, (pause for dramatic deep breath) while Becky and I were at Publix shopping for dinner necessities and beer, we searched for pumpkin and were greeted with empty shelves and black-and-white flyers describing what we already know as the Great Pumpkin Shortage Fallout of 2009. Cursed rains! Blasted drowned fields! Foiled yet again. However could I make this situation right? I needed to make a sweet something and with my cookie plans spoiled, my good friend Becky-after splitting a 6-pack of Peroni and a bottle of Mad Housewife Merlot together-tisply asked me at 3am, "How about ice cream? I got an ice cream maker." Boom.

How about yes. I tried homemade ice cream without any kind of tool that eases the process and it was an epic fail. So when a chance to use an ice cream maker presented itself I jumped, and first thing the next morning (ok early afternoon) we started making Homemade Milk Chocolate Ice Cream with a Peanut Butter Ripple. Here is the only recipe I was able to write-down during my all out Thanksgiving weekend, and it is a collaboration with Becky Osborne-Phillips. Enjoy!

Makes 4-6 servings

Milk Chocolate Ice Cream
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk
dash of salt apprx. 1/8 tsp.
1 1/2 egg yolk (just do it)
2 oz. Ghiradelli milk chocolate chips
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 tsp. vanilla

PNB Ripple
1/3 cup chilled smooth peanut butter
2 oz. Reese's Peanut Butter Chips, melted.

Combine milk, salt, cocoa powder, and sugar over medium heat in a saucepan continually stirring. Bring mixture to a simmer.

Combine cream and vanilla in a bowl and chill.

Lightly beat egg yolks in a bowl. Stir 1/2 cup of the heat mixture gradually into the egg yolks, and then return it to the saucepan.

Heat until thickened, but do not boil! Be patient! This could take up to 10 minutes.

Remove from the heat and stir in the milk chocolate chips until they melt completely.

Freeze in a shallow, chilled dish (casserole is perfect) for 20-30 minutes stirring occasionally.

When milk chocolate mixture has completely cooled stir in the vanilla and cream pre-chilled.

Pour into an ice cream maker and freeze for 15-20 minutes (or follow your ice cream maker's directions).

Mix 1/3 cup of chilled smooth peanut butter and the melted peanut butter chips in a bowl and stir until combined. Keep heated so the mixture is pourable.

When the milk chocolate ice cream is frozen, add the peanut butter through the top feeder so it creates the ribbon throughout the ice cream. Turn-off the machine and remove the metal bowl. Put it in the freezer about 7 minutes longer and voila! The greatest homemade milk chocolate ice cream with peanut butter ripple is ready for spooning. The all out dessert to end the all out holiday.


doggybloggy said...

wow you fested the feast - and I dont even know if these are words that work...

NOELLE said...

Ya'll sure went all out. It was just my hubby and I so we had Sloppy Joes! HA HA!

Anonymous said...

A wonderful feast, everything looks and sounds super delicious!

Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite said...

Next time, invite me, will ya? I think I would have fit in really well. To both events! :-) You rock Rachel!

Proud Italian Cook said...

Wow Rachel, you went all out! Everything looks delicious!

My Little Space said... eerything look so yummilicious! Wish I was there.

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