Thanksgiving 2005 Menu

Recipes are rated with one to four asterisks–the more asterisks we gave something, the better it came out. If you want to see how we pull off our big menus, check out our Thanksgiving Escapades.

Cookie Baskets

This year we decided to make cookie baskets for some neighbors and friends. Okay, it’s possible that our desire to have lots of cookie varieties without entirely destroying our diets might have had something to do with this. At any rate, folks seem to have enjoyed the surprise, and we certainly enjoyed the cooking! We very nearly have enough recipes made to review “Big Fat Cookies,” so look for a review of that probably shortly after Christmas. So far we certainly love the results from it, although 2 recipes aren’t a lot to go on. We’ve now made enough out of “Celebrate with Chocolate” to review that, so look for that review in the next week or two. If I had it to do over again I’d pick a slightly different selection of cookies; a few too many of them were of a similar sort of bent — lots of chocolate chips and the like — and when doing a cookie basket I prefer a wider variety.

  • Pecan Brittle, from “Caramel” (Buy from Amazon or read our review)****
  • Toffee Crunch Cookie Brittle, from “Big Fat Cookies” (Buy from Amazon)****
  • Super S’more Crisps, from “Big Fat Cookies” (Buy from Amazon)****
  • Kentucky Bourbon Balls, from “Celebrate!” (Buy from Amazon or read our review)***
  • White Chip Lemon Bars, from “Hershey’s Best-Loved Recipes” (Buy from Amazon or read our review)***
  • Rocky Road Treats, from “Hershey’s Best-Loved Recipes” (Buy from Amazon or read our review)***
  • Grandma’s Oatmeal Cookies, from “Jim Fobel’s Old-Fashioned Baking Book” (Buy from Amazon or read our review)**** (these got rave reviews from our neighbor’s kids, I’m told)
  • Cardamom Cookies, from “Jim Fobel’s Old-Fashioned Baking Book” (Buy from Amazon or read our review)****
  • Coffee-Cocoa Marshmallow Squares, from “Celebrate with Chocolate!” (Buy from Amazon)*** (would have been four stars except that it didn’t specify stand mixer and nearly wrecked our hand mixer, then although the recipe said the marshmallows could be stored for 3-4 days, they hardened overnight and weren’t nearly as good
  • White Chocolate-Butterscotch Cookies, from “Celebrate with Chocolate!” (Buy from Amazon)****

Ice Creams

We decided to make a selection of ice creams, which we made the week previous to Thanksgiving week since they freeze so well. Now that we have a full-size freezer we were easily able to freeze the bowl from our Cuisinart ice cream maker, which held up surprisingly well given the beating it took.

  • Banana Chocolate Chip/Coconut Ice Cream, two variations combined from Bruce Weinstein’s Banana Ice Cream recipe in his “The Ultimate Ice Cream Book” (Buy from Amazon or read our review)**** (This recipe uses actual coconut milk. Yum!)
  • Creme Anglaise Ice Cream, a variation on the Burnt Sugar Ice Cream recipe from Bruce Weinstein’s “The Ultimate Ice Cream Book”****
  • Spiced Oatmeal Crunch Ice Cream, two variations combined from Bruce Weinstein’s Oatmeal Ice Cream recipe in his “The Ultimate Ice Cream Book”****
  • White and Dark Chocolate Ice Cream, a variation on the White Chocolate Ice Cream recipe from Bruce Weinstein’s “The Ultimate Ice Cream Book”***
  • Honey Ice Cream, from Gene Opton’s “Honey” (Buy from Amazon)**** (review coming soon)
  • Berry Rosewater Sorbet, from “Celebrate!” (Buy from Amazon or read our review)**** (We couldn’t find packages of plain ol’ frozen raspberries so we ended up using one bag of blackberries and one of mixed berries, and I think it was even better that way. Adjust the amount of syrup to taste.)

Main Dishes, Stuffings, and Sauces

  • Roast turkey, using the cooking instructions from “I’m Just Here for the Food” (Buy from Amazon or read our review)****
  • Cider brine for the turkey from “The Thanksgiving Table” (Buy from Amazon or read our review)**** (If it isn’t enough brine — which it won’t be if you get a big turkey — simply make extra brining liquid by using the amount of liquid, sugar, and salt called for in the recipe as many times as necessary to submerge the turkey. The ratio of those three ingredients is the particularly important part. Just make sure to dissolve the sugar and salt in the water.)
  • Cranberry Ketchup, from “Celebrate!” (Buy from Amazon or read our review)*** (Make this ahead of time and give it a day or two in the fridge to mellow and blend.)
  • Almond Honey Butter, from a pamphlet we got in an order a long time ago from a company called “Honey Acres”***
  • Peach Gravy, from Paul Prudhomme’s “Louisiana Kitchen” (Buy from Amazon or read our review)****
  • Herbed Pan Gravy, from “Thanksgiving 101” (Buy from Amazon or read our review)****
  • Garlic Custard Stuffing, from “Garlic, Garlic, Garlic” (Buy from Amazon — review coming in a month or so once we make a couple more recipes from it)***
  • Sausage, Mushroom and Sage Stuffing from “The Thanksgiving Table” (Buy from Amazon or read our review)***

Sides

  • Avocado-Cucumber Toss, from “Weight Watchers Annual Recipes for Success, 2003” (Buy from Amazon)**** (needs to be made fairly last-minute, but it’s a refreshing contrast to the richer, heavier dishes)
  • Corn Cakes with Roasted Garlic, from “Garlic, Garlic, Garlic” (Buy from Amazon)****
  • Spiced Honeyed Carrots, from Gene Opton’s “Honey” (Buy from Amazon)**** (review coming soon)
  • Spinach Artichoke Casserole, from Rachel Ray’s “Cooking ‘Round the Clock” (Buy from Amazon or read our review)**
  • Cream Cheese Mashed Potatoes, from “50 Best Mashed Potato Recipes” (Buy from Amazon or read our review)****
  • Big Baked Potato Cake, from “50 Best Mashed Potato Recipes” (Buy from Amazon or read our review)****
  • Sweet Potato Hash Browns, from a pamphlet we got in an order a long time ago from a company called “Honey Acres”****
  • Brown Rice with Hazelnuts, from Rachel Ray’s “Cooking ‘Round the Clock” (Buy from Amazon or read our review)***
  • Braised Lentils with Bacon, from “From Our House to Yours” (Buy from Amazon)****
  • Blazing Beet Soup, from “Celebrate!”–we left out the extra water because we preferred the more intense flavor (Buy from Amazon or read our review)**

Breads

  • Orange Chocolate Chip Bread, from “Hershey’s Best-Loved Recipes” (Buy from Amazon or read our review)****
  • Milk and Honey Loaf, from Gene Opton’s “Honey” (Buy from Amazon)**** (review coming soon)
  • Cornmeal Scones with Sage and Cheddar, from “Weight Watchers Annual Recipes for Success, 2003” (Buy from Amazon)****
  • Dinner Rolls, from “Thanksgiving 101” (Buy from Amazon or read our review)**** (These are the softest, most tender dinner rolls I’ve ever had!)

Other Desserts

  • White Chocolate Cupcakes, from “White Chocolate” (Buy from Amazon or read our review)**** (This is the only high-butter icing I’ve ever really enjoyed; it was as soft and pillowy as a cloud.)
  • Lemon Pudding Cake, from “Luscious Lemon Desserts” (Buy from Amazon) (Recipe rating and book review coming soon)
  • Cranberry-Blueberry Pie, from “The Thanksgiving Table” (Buy from Amazon or read our review) (Recipe rating coming soon)
  • Pumpkin Pie with Pecan Pastry, from “The Thanksgiving Table” (Buy from Amazon or read our review)****
  • Caramel Coconut Cream Pie, from “Caramel” (Buy from Amazon or read our review)****
  • Caramel Mocha Cheesecake, from “Cheesecake Extraordinaire” (Buy from Amazon) (Recipe rating and book review coming soon)

Honey Source

Ever since we first visited the Maryland Renaissance Festival more than a year ago we’ve been buying honey from The Bee Folks. It’s perfect for cooking with — it comes in all sorts of naturally-based flavors. For instance, this year we used Killer Bee honey for the ice cream, Christmas Berry honey for the milk and honey loaf, and Apple Blossom honey for a couple of other recipes.

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