For me, Thanksgiving is a time for transition. From fall to winter, from the regular year into the holiday season. And, of course, a ginormous cliff dive into holiday food. Thanksgiving is all about the people you spend it with (more on that later this week) but it's also all about the FOOD! Specifically, pie, if you ask me. I love pie. L-O-V-E it. It's a sickness. I try to avoid it all year because I am the type to cut a slab, top with ice cream or cool whip and go back and keep eating tiny pieces.
I am by no means a chef. I can barely cook. Ironically, I bake, but never pies. This year we're spending Thanksgiving in New Jersey with the young generation of M's family and his wonderful grandparents, and for the first time, I am not contributing to the bounty. I'm OK with it, and his grandma is quite the cook. But in lieu of making the foods, or eating the 'family' foods I have had in the past, I am going to share them with y'all. Virtual Thanksgiving, if you will.
M and I actually cooked a whole turkey last year after t-giving. We had a wonderful dinner with family in Florida halfway between Thanksgiving and Christmas. It was very fun. You know what we did? Rinsed the bird and stuck it into an oven bag. Seriously. And it was delicious. Reynolds is your friend when cooking a turkey
Some folks do not have corn at their holiday table. I suspect the reason we had corn is that it was one of two vegetables (the other being potatoes) that I would eat as a child. In order the guarantee that I did not starve, my mother always provided the following corn dish. It's by no means gourmet, but it's darn tasty..... sort of like if cornbread and corn pudding got together- In a good way. And it's easy!
temp: 350, time: 45 min.
9 x 13 greased pan
1 can cream style corn
1 can whole kernel corn, drained
8 oz. sour cream
1 pkg. Jiffy corn muffin mix
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1/3 cup shredded Swiss cheese (or just get alpine slices in the dairy case)
Combine all but cheese. Bake uncovered 35 minutes. Top with cheese. Bake 10 minutes longer.
So now that you have turkey and corn, you probably can supplement with your family's stuffing and green vegetable and yams (candied or otherwise). I personally enjoy a little fresh cranberry relish on my turkey, but I don't know how to make that either. So that only means one thing- time for dessert!
Four years ago Michael and I went apple picking in Virginia, and realized we had no pie recipes. Later that day we spotted a Woman's Day at the grocery checkout featuring a beautiful pie on the cover. It's become our favorite- never disappoints. And!!! It's store-bought crust. Don't tell my sister
Crust:1 prepared refrigerated piecrust (from 15 oz package)
¾ c packed light brown sugar
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
pinch ground cloves
¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces and chilled
6 Golden Delicious apples, (about 2 ¾ lb) peeled, cored and cut into ½ inch dice
¾ c packed light brown sugar
¼ cup all purpose flour
½ t ground cinnamon
pinch ground cloves
Arrange rack in lowest slot of oven. Heat to 375°. Fit piecrust into 9-inch pie plate and decoratively crimp edge. Refrigerate until ready to use
Crumb: Combine flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt and cloves in bowl. Rub in butter with fingertips until crumbly.
Filling: In large bowl, toss together apples, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and clove
Spoon filling into pie shell, mounding slightly in center. Top filling with crumb topping. Place onto small foil lined baking sheet
Bake at 375° for 30 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350°; bake 30 minutes more, until fruit is tender. Loosely tent pie with aluminum foil during last 20 minutes. Let cool for at least 1 ½ hours. (Can be made a day ahead. Cover pie and store at room temperature)
Speaking of Al, she makes the best pumpkin pie known to man. I do not exaggerate. I attempted it last week for an office Thanksgiving celebration. It is not for sissies, especially if you make your own damn crust. I don't do that. I was going to post it, but then I realized I don't even have her crust recipe. So that will come at another time. But, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, and lazy people who don't make pie, I leave you with Pumpkin Bread. It's a simple quick bread, and quite versatile. Works for breakfast, a snack, dessert, mindless munching. It's delicious whenever you eat it.
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
1 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup water
3 cups white sugar
3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
Preheat oven to 350°. Grease and flour three 7x3 inch loaf pans.
In a large bowl, mix together pumpkin puree, eggs, oil, water and sugar until well blended. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger. Stir the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture until just blended. Pour into the prepared pans.
Bake for about 50 minutes. Loaves are done when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Happy eating, everyone. And remember.....