“For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.”
~Ralph Waldo Emerson
We have a small family, (4 members to be exact!) so at Thanksgiving, it fills my heart with joy to invite friends to my table to fill the room with laughter and love. According to what traditionally is known as “The First Thanksgiving,” the 1621 feast between the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag indians consisted of turkey, waterfowl, venison, fish, lobster, clams, berries, fruit, pumpkin and squash. Keeping with tradition, my menu this year includes roast turkey and stuffing (not to be confused with dressing),
whipped potatoes and gravy (not to be confused with mashed), cranberry sauce
(not to be confused with Cranberry jelly), scalloped oysters,
green bean casserole,
apple pie with rosemary and thyme
and to wash it all down with, an ice-cold Gewürztraminer to go with the turkey, champagne with the apple pie and some roasted chestnuts
with sparkling apple cider to nibble on while waiting to sit down. This may sound like a huge undertaking to some, however, with a few little tricks, this meal can be accomplished stress-free. I start two days in advance to get the grocery shopping done. Then I peel the chestnuts, and make the cranberries.
Chestnuts Sauteed in Butter with Rosemary
Chestnuts sauteed in butter are savory, salty caramelized treats. The rosemary makes it a perfect holiday snack.
Melt butter in a saute pan over medium-low heat. Add chestnuts and toss to coat well. Season with salt and saute until dark golden brown on both sides. Sprinkle in the rosemary, remove from heat, let cool. Chestnuts can be stored in an air tight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
Sift together flour and salt into a food processor. Add the lard and butter and pulse until the size of small peas. Gradually add ice water, until dough comes together in a ball. Shape into 2 balls, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for at least one hour. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Roll out 1 pastry ball and line the pie pan with it. Pour filling into pie dish and dot with butter. Roll out remaining pastry and fit to top of pie. Pinch the edges closed. Slice three holes down the center to allow steam to escape. .
Fit aluminum foil around the edges to prevent burning. Bake for 20 minutes, reduce heat to 375 and bake for 20 minutes, remove foil and bake another 20 minutes. Remove and let cool.
Place all the ingredients into a pot and heat just until boiling to dissolve the salt and sugar. Stir and let cool.
After this mixture cools, add flavors to this basic recipe to impart a taste that suits your individual palate. Anything goes. Some suggestions are: garlic cloves, peeled and crushed;a small onion, thinly sliced;1 lemon, thinly sliced;1 orange, thinly sliced;cloves
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Drain the oysters into a 2 cup measuring cup reserving the liquid. Set the oysters aside.
Add the cream to the liquid. Add all of the seasoning. Combine the crackers with the melted butter. Butter a 9 inch square pyrex baking dish and set aside. To assemble: Put 1/3 of the crackers into the baking dish. Then add half of the oysters spreading them out evenly over the crackers. Pour 1/3 of the liquid evenly over the oysters. Add another 1/3 of crackers, then remaining oysters, then 1/3 of the liquid and finish with remaining crackers and pouring the last of the liquid over the entire dish. Bake 30 minutes until the top is golden brown. Let rest for 10 minutes before serving.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Blanch the haricot vert until they are al dente, about 3 minutes. Melt 3 T butter in a dutch oven. Add flour. Stir and cook until the flour is a light brown color. Stir in the salt, onion, sour cream and green beans. Transfer the mixture to a casserole dish.
Spread cheese over top. Add 1 T melted butter to bread crumbs and parmesan cheese, mixing thoroughly. Sprinkle over casserole. Bake for 30 minutes until golden brown and bubbly.
Fill a large bowl with cold water. Peel the potatoes and plunge them into the water as you finish peeling them. Fill a large saucepan half way with water. Cut the potatoes into ½ inch pieces. Add them to the saucepan as you cut to keep them from oxidating and turning brown. Bring the potatoes to a boil over medium heat. Lower the heat and cook for 20 minutes or until they are fork-tender. Drain the potatoes in a colander. Use a Foley Food Mill for a light and silky consistency. Add the butter, cream and salt.
For the Gravy
Melt 3 tablespoons of butter in a saucepan. Add 3 tablespoons of flour to the melted butter and cook it for a couple of minutes until it’s a light golden brown. Add 2 cups of chicken or turkey stock to the pan. Continue to cook and stir until the gravy thickens. Salt and pepper to taste. (if you are cooking a turkey or chicken, use the drippings from the bottom of the pan in your gravy.