Saturday, November 27, 2010

Thanksgiving Break

This usually means my kids getting outrageously excited about having four days in a row off from school.   In my case, it was me getting a much-needed four hours off of hospital duty for a Thanksgiving celebration with good friends.   Not to mention my good friends' great food...

The party kicks of with Mindy's kick-@#! hot artichoke dip.  Spicy, cheesy and TASTY!
A genuine Vermont ham has crossed the country to join us in Encino.  It brought some cheddar cheese and spicy mustard as company.   Good plan.  In the foreground is my roasted cranberry sauce.  By the way, this was like a snack.  The real dinner hadn't even started yet.

Gary carves his maple-glazed bird.  It should be noted that he special-ordered a Kosher turkey, and then covered it with bacon.

Oh. My. GOD!
Our hostess creates the Martha Stewart of kids' tables.

There were happy kids to go with it. 

I now understand where the phrase "the table was groaning with food" comes from.  Four kinds of stuffing.  Two turkeys.  Sweet potatoes two ways, including one with a brown-sugar pecan topping that was crazy good.  Carrot-ginger puree.  Creamed onions.  Mashed potatoes with sour cream and leeks.  I could go on, but I might pass out.

In a tight race, this wins for my favorite bite of the night.  Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Pancetta.  Out of this world!

They had a little bit of dessert, too.  My pecan pie, cheesecake, and apple cream crostata were only a few of the choices.  Fortunately, the plates were very sturdy.

I can share a few of the recipes, but I can never truly share how much this particular Thanksgiving break meant to me and my family.    The fact that there was all this incredible food was just a really nice bonus.

Mindy's Artichoke Dip
She doubled the recipe for our big group.

1 10 oz. pkg of chopped frozen spinach
2 14 oz. cans of artichoke hearts, drained and coarsely chopped
1/2 c. mayonnaise
1/2 c. sour cream
1 c. freshly shaved Parmesan cheese
1 c. grated pepper jack cheese (Trader Joe's has a nice blend in a bag, so it's easy)

Preheat the oven to 350, and grease a casserole dish with butter or cooking spray.  Microwave the spinach on high for 5 minutes to thaw, then squeeze dry.  Combine with the artichoke hearts, the mayo, the sour cream and the Parmesan in a bowl and mix well.   Place in the prepared casserole dish, then cover with the jack cheese.  Bake for 30-40 minutes, until bubbling and a little brown on the edges.  Serve with tortilla chips.

Laurie's Sweet Potato Casserole

1lb. 12 oz. canned sweet potatoes, drained (or about 3 cups of cooked fresh sweet potatoes)
1/2 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1/4 c. melted butter
1/2 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg

3/4 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. chopped, toasted pecans
1/4 c. melted butter
3 Tbs. flour

Preheat oven to 350, and butter a medium sized casserole dish.  Beat together the potatoes, salt, eggs and melted butter, then add the sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Pour into prepared dish.  Combine all topping ingredients and cover the top of the potatoes.  Bake for 20 minutes.

But wait...there's more:
Gary's Maple-Roasted Turkey
Mom's Easy Cranberry Sauce
Those Incredible Brussels Sprouts
Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust
Apple Cream Crostata

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