From one year to the next, I keep a few cans of my favorite Libby’s 100% pumpkin in the pantry. Thanks to my father-in-law, Gene Morgan (who spent years in grocery management), I know that “old” pumpkin makes for better pumpkin pies. I see no difference in pumpkin bread, pumpkin soup, or pumpkin martinis but pie — oh yes. The pie filling is darker, feels richer-thicker though still silky, and sports a deeper flavor profile with the aged cans. This year, I’m very glad I kept those few and a couple more because when I put in an order for pumpkin, my King Sooper’s app indicated zero, nada, zip, nil, nought, nothing, though it allowed as there were a few cans of the organic variety left. I don’t like those for pie (ewww), but I’ll take them in a pinch for baked goods and so tapped the icon. When I went to pick up my groceries, I didn’t even get the organic cans. Yikes. What was the story? Should I be grabbing a few pie pumpkins out of the produce section and getting out the roasting pan? Consider a Thanksgiving featuring sweet potato pie? While I have nothing against sweet potato pie as my parents were both southerners, I like pumpkin pie so much better. What’s a baker to do?Continue reading
“It’s not what’s on the table that’s important. It’s who’s in the chairs.”
This post includes:
- Guide to cooking and baking hotlines
- Links to great Thanksgiving sites for tips, food, decoration, kids’ activities
- My own favorite Thanksgiving photos, recipes, music, wine, and even a blessing or two …
I can’t preach about giving thanks. I’ll just say I think it’s healthy. It’s lovely in that it’s a discipline folks of any religion or country can take part. But of course, our fair “Rabbie” had it best:
Some Hae Meat
Some hae meat and canna eat,
And some wad eat that want it,
But we hae meat and we can eat,
And sae the Lord be thankit.
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. You could have guessed.
My worlds all come together on that day.
Giving thanks– being grateful–is a practice or discipline of many religions and cultures, including mine.
I need it. I need that discipline. And:
Creating a meal to honor that…is my idea of a great day!
I wish you a day of totally beautiful, grateful life.
A grace could be very simply giving thanks for the hands that made the meal, for the workers in the stores, on the trucks, in the gardens and the vineyards. Even a toast to all who made it possible would work. Mark the moment.
Thanksgiving, after all, is a word of action.
Awareness. Awakeness. Appreciation. Peaceful breath.
A table that includes something you love.
Someone you love.
Some of the best new scripture these days is found on paper napkins.
I have some that say, “It’s not what’s on the table that’s important. It’s who’s in the chairs.”
Ah, that we have to print that somewhere.
Deep breaths and a sense of warm wonder to you as you prepare to give thanks this year.
If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, “thank you,” that would suffice.
Before the fun begins, thanks for reading and responding:
In case you need help with the meal….
|Two Mushroom-Red Onion Soup from my upcoming book.|
*Splendid Table (Radio) from 11am-1pm CT on Thanksgiving Day: 800-537-5252
*Reynolds’ Turkey Tips: 800-745-4000 Open through December 31, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
*Butterball Hotline: 1-800-BUTTERBALL Weekdays from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Central Time
*Crisco Pie Hotline:
(877) 367-7438 toll-free. Provides answers the most common questions about baking pies for novice bakers as well as offering tips that will benefit the most seasoned baker. The hotline also offers the option for callers to connect to a live pie expert for pie baking guidance. Hours: 9 – 7 EST except for: Nov. 12 – 21 (8am – 8pm EST) and Dec. 12 – 22 (8am – 8pm EST)
*USDA Meat and Poultry Line:
(888) 674-6854 from 10a.m. to 4 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday. Closed weekends and holidays, except Thanksgiving. Special hours of operation on Thanksgiving are 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., Eastern Time.
It is of course possible to dance a prayer.
Thanksgiving Listening and Watching + Kids’ Stuff:
Download Mary Chapin Carpenter’s Thanksgiving Song here.
Thou hast given so much to me,
Give one thing more, – a grateful heart;
Not thankful when it pleaseth me,
As if Thy blessings had spare days,
But such a heart whose pulse may be Thy praise.
Minneapolis Turkey Day 5K Run 8am Nov 22, 2012
Walk to End Hunger Mall of America Nov 22, 2012: 7am Registration; 7:30-10:30
Really Good Websites with Thanksgiving Tips, Recipes, and Ideas
I could reinvent the wheel here and give you step-by-step, day by day, but here’s a list of places that have already done all that work. Have at it. Below that, I’ve listed some of my own favorite recipes or menus from this blog or Dinner Place, Cooking for One. I include an Intimate Thanksgiving, which is a Thankgiving for two (with leftovers) or for four (not too many leftovers.) It was created for those who really don’t have much time to spend on Thanksgiving, but want a special meal nevertheless.
America’s Test Kitchen: Turkey and Gravy
James Peterson’s Gravy Guide
Martha Stewart’s Thanksgiving Planner
Vegan Thanksgiving: 12 Recipes
LA Times: Great Thanksgiving Photos
Glazed Turkey from the Chicago Trib
Free: Martha Stewart Thanksgiving (2011) Ebook with 40 Recipes
Smitten Kitten’s Thanksgiving
Taste Test: Store-Bought Stuffing
Perfect Pantry Sugar-Free Slow-Cooker Cranberry Sauce
Serious Eats: 16 Salads for Thanksgiving
Kalyn’s Kitchen: 11 Green Bean Recipes
Mark Bittman: 101 Starts on the Day
Giada’s Butternut Squash Lasagne
Melissa Clark: What Can I Actually Prepare Before Thanksgiving?
Gourmet Live: Thanksgiving 2012
Chowhound’s 10 Thanksgiving Cooking Essentials
The Bitten Word’s 2012 Thanksgiving Recipe Index:
Thanksgiving Videos: Mark Bittman
King Arthur Flour Cranberry-Pumpkin Rolls
Perfect Pantry’s Squash Muffins
Download Gluten-Free Thanksgiving Baking App
Pie Perfected by Carole Bloom
David Lebovitz’ Pumpkin Ice Cream
Thanksgiving Wine: NYTimeswine:
HGTV’s Stylish Thanksgiving Table Settings
Thanksgiving Decoration from Epicurious
|Maybe it’s a good time to pull out the bread machine?|
More Time at the Table/Dinner Place Thanksgiving Posts:
|Kathy’s Apple Pie (More Time at the Table)|
Alyce’s Thanksgiving: An Intimate View : Very Simple and Quick Thanksgiving for 2-4 people who don’t want to cook much:
- Starters: Olives and Nuts–set out in small bowls served with sparkler/wine
- First course: Pumpkin or Butternut Squash Soup (purchased)
- Main course: Turkey Roulade, stuffed W/ Proscuitto/Sage/Onions/Garlic
- Sides: Oven-Roasted Root Vegetables with Fresh Rosemary
- Brussel Sprouts (pan-roasted) w/ Parmesan & Pumpkin Seeds
- Home-made Spicy Cranberry Sauce w/ Apples and Lemon
- Bread: Corn Muffins or Rolls from the bakery
- Dessert: Pumpkin Ice Cream, purchased from grocery OR Pumpkin Custards baked the day before and refrigerated (Use any pumpkin pie filling recipe and bake custards in pammed ramekins about 30 min. at 350—No crust)
- Drinks: Wine: A to Z Riesling and Sineann Pinot Noir- Have both! Coffee: French Roast, laced with Cognac and Whipped Cream
|Pears Poached in Port|
Other recipes of mine you might enjoy at Thanksgiving:
Alyce’s Bacon Roasted Chicken or I Don’t Want Turkey
Alyce’s Roasted Chicken and Butternut Squash
Alyce’s Roasted Pork Loin, Hot and Spicy Cranberry Sauce
Potato Gratin with Rosemary Crust
Alyce’s Butternut and Other Squash Soup
Alyce’s Pan-Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Parmesan New Potatoes
Alyce’s Green Beans Sauteed with Onions and Garlic
Alyce’s Turkey Pot Pie from Thanksgiving Leftovers
Alyce’s Pumpkin Soup or Making Up for Thanksgiving
Alyce’s Spicy Cream of Pumpkin Soup+Wendy’s Sage and Thyme
Alyce’s Pear-Grilled Fig Salad with Goat Cheese
Alyce’s Israeli Couscous-Butternut Squash Salad with Fall Fruit and Cheese
Alyce’s Pumpkin Bread
Alyce’s Quick Prune Bread
Alyce’s No-Knead Bread Post on Dinner Place
Alyce’s Whole Wheat Yeast Rolls (from Bill Kalbus)
Poached Pears in Port
Alyce Morgan’s Pie 101
Alyce’s Derby Pie (Pecan-Chocolate with Bourbon)
Alyce’s Kathy’s Apple Pie
Alyce’s Almond-Scented Pear Crostata
Alyce’s Ask Me About Dessert Post
Alyce’s Pumpkin Custard with Cinnamon Creme Fraiche (One Minute Pumpkin “Pie”–no crust)
|Pumpkin-Chocolate Chip Bread. Thanksgiving morning breakfast.|
my quick take on the (american) wine and other drinks
Need extra wine glasses? Borrow them! If you’d like a large inexpensive set to keep from year to year, and can’t spend much: go to the dollar store or a discount place like Marshall’s. You can store a couple of boxes in the closet or basement and have them available for loan or a February Sangria party.
Drink what you like:
Wine is for your enjoyment and the enhancement of food. So, do not fret and fuss about the wine (or anything.) First and foremost, you should drink exactly what you like with Thanksgiving dinner. If you have no idea what you like, go to the wine shop or liquor store, and find a salesperson who’s willing to talk to you. Do not do this on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving unless you’re a glutton for punishment. Everyone else in the city will be there and the clerks will be infinitely hassled while wondering what they’re having for Thanksgiving and who’s going to cook it all. Tell the salesperson what kinds of wine you (and your guests if you know) like, what your price is (don’t be shy), how many people you’ve having, and what your menu is. Believe it or not, everyone is not having turkey, dressing, and pumpkin pie. This person has paired vegetarian lasagne, pumpkin ravioli, goose, steak, and an all-raw menu before you arrived.
Don’t know what you like:
If you’re a do-it-yourself kind of shopper and want to go to the liquor superstore or simply have NO idea of what to buy, then I go with my tried and true recommendations, which are:
A. One bottle of wine per person (total) is the rule. Yes. You’ll be there for hours. I like American wine for Thanksgiving, so my recommendations are based on no wine from outside the United States.
B. Overall: Provide a sparkler for before dinner or apertif, then one white and one red to make everyone at least closer to happy. Some sort of after-dinner drink or digestif is needed as well, though a walk will help, too.
I don’t like a cocktail before this kind of a meal…too many calories and too much alcohol, but then again, I’m a wine person.
Have beer on hand. Get your brother-in-law’s favorite so he’ll be quiet or choose a saison, which would pair admirably with the meal if he won’t drink wine even with food.
Have lots of non-alcoholic choices. Sparkling water is pretty in a wine glass and is good for digestion for everyone, actually. Non-alcoholic beer (Kaliber is about the best), iced Ceylon tea, and plenty of plain water are good choices. Coffee is necessary; have the pot ready and start it when you sit down to dinner so people can help themselves. Some will want it immediately after the meal even if they’re happy to wait hours for dessert. If you don’t drink coffee, borrow a pot. You can’t skip it.
C. For the sparkler, buy a New Mexican sparkling wine like Gruet.
I suggest Riesling for the white (Washington state, Oregon, or New York). The lower the alcohol content, the sweeter the wine. The alcohol content is printed on the label. So if you like sweet, get an 8 or 9% alcohol Riesling. 11? Much drier. Don’t know? I’d go with the sweeter for a group; you’re bound to have people in who want sweeter wine and your red will definitely be dry.
The red: Oregon Pinot Noir. It’s a splurge and it’s worth it. If you need a lower-price Pinot Noir, choose A-Z or Angeline. If you simply don’t like Pinot Noir (why?), buy a good California Merlot. By the way, if you decide you like the Oregon Pinot Noir (and I’m a Pinot girl), buy a couple of extra bottles and squirrel them away in a cool, dry place for next year. This wine doesn’t have to age terribly long to be scrumptious, but it’s usually better with a few years under its belt. The older vintages are sometimes available, but not always. If they are, they’re a lot more expensive. Buy them young.
D. If you’d like a dessert wine, American sherry–or port– is lovely with pumpkin pie.
A little nip of Jack in the coffee would do no one from below (or even above) the Mason-Dixon line any harm. Save the Irish coffee for St. Patrick’s Day.
some pics of blog favorites for the holiday:
|Almond-Scented Pear Crostata from More Time at the Table.|
On Thanksgiving Day, all over America, families sit down to dinner at the same moment – halftime.
|Hot and spicy Cranberry Sauce cooking in the pot. It’s done quickly and can be done a day or two ahead.|
|My pumpkin soup topped with Parmesan and chopped peanuts. A nutritious soup for a first course is elegant and will help keep folks from overeating.|
|Pecan or Derby Pie is a great Thanksgiving choice. When else would you make it?|
|Spicy Cream of Pumpkin with Wendy’s Sage and Thyme|
|Pear-Grilled Fig Salad with Goat Cheese (dried figs are fine, too)|
|Don’t bake? One-Minute Pumpkin Custard with Creme Fraiche.|
|Butternut and Other Squash Soup|
|Oven-Roasted Root Vegetables (Leftovers make great soup.)|
I adore pumpkin in nearly any form. I think I love pumpkins because they appear during my birthday month. Maybe not, though. Because, truly: I love to eat them. Almost any way. While I’m sure pumpkin soup has been around a long time (A quick peek at my historical cookbooks, however makes no mention of it. American Cookery 1796 has a recipe for Pumpkin Pudding. Fanny Farmer, 1896, lists only pumpkin pie. The Household Searchlight Recipe Book, 1931, has listings for canning pumpkin, making pumpkin custard, jam, and pie with cheese crust–but no soup,) I had never tasted it until 1985 when we went to live in Spokane, Washington, and my God’s gift of a neighbor, Joyce Smith, made pumpkin soup in the pumpkins for a holiday meal. Ten years later, I traveled right here to St. Paul, and good cook Lani Jordan whipped up a pumpkin-peanut butter soup for Sue’s birthday lunch.
My own soup was years later coming. Late 90’s maybe. By now, it comes in several guises. I sometimes blend cooked, ripe pears and apples into the mix.. or other batches contain a touch of vanilla and a sprinkle of pumpkin seeds on top. One memorable pot was ladled into bowls with my sweet-crunch “Go Nuts” as garnish. I’ve also been known to use a mix of squashes and vegetables (also cooked dried beans) with the soup and up the heat factor, as well.
While, according to an old Craig Claiborne book, you can steam unpeeled pieces of pumpkin and later peel and mash them, I’m by now definitely attached to opening a can. As are many women. And…
Pumpkin anything is pretty simple if you’re willing to used canned pumpkin. I also adore butternut squash soup, but if you want to make butternut squash anything, you have to peel and cook the rock-hard thing. Which takes a lot of effort. I buy a new peeler every year because the winter squash wreaks havoc with them. Even Paula Deen gets one of her boys to peel her squash. (My children don’t seem to be waiting in the wings to peel my squash. Where are you?) Your other option is to pay through the nose for already cut-up butternut squash. I’m not doing that. But pumpkin! Well, that’s why God made Libby’s, right? (Or go ahead and roast or microwave a whole one if you have to, but after trying it once, you’ll head to the grocery store canned aisle.) I seem to be on a pumpkin jag lately–both in this blog and in Dinner Place. So! Go ahead and make pumpkin soup. Did I say it’s quick? (Doubles or triples easily for a larger group.)
CURRIED PUMPKIN SOUP
serves 4 (or 6 small first course servings)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup each chopped onion and celery
- 3 medium carrots, cut into 1-2 inch pieces (don’t peel)
- 1/2 cup chopped parsley, plus 2 tablespoons for garnish
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper (more if your curry powder is mild)
- 1 quart (4 cups, 32 ounces) low sodium chicken broth or stock
- 15-ounce can pumpkin
- 1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
- 1 teaspoon curry powder, or more to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger, or more to taste
- 3 tablespoons heavy cream for garnish
- Heat olive oil in a 4-6 quart small stockpot over medium heat and add onions, celery, and carrots. Season with a bit of salt and pepper and cook five minutes or so until somewhat softened. Add parsley and garlic during last minute of cooking.
- Pour in chicken stock and stir in pumpkin and applesauce. Add curry and ginger. Stir well. Taste and adjust seasonings. Stir again.
- Bring to a boil and reduce heat. Simmer until the vegetables are quite tender.
- Puree using immersion blender in pot or pour soup into food processor or blender and puree in small batches. Whichever method you choose, be quite careful; the soup is hot. If using blender, hold down a doubled up dish towel over the lid to keep it tightly in place.
- Ladle soup into bowls, top with a sprig or two of parsley and drizzle with a bit of heavy cream to create an attractive pattern.
*I keep a variety of small jars of curry powder, but like Penzey’s Maharajah curry powder as the spices are the ones I enjoy and the heat is moderate. If you use a hotter powder, use a bit less. If you use a milder one, you might want to add a few drops of hot sauce. You can also make your own curry powder from ground tumeric, coriander, cumin, cardomom, fenugreek, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, cayenne, etc. Or you can read The Surly Vegetarian and get a great recipe for curry.
Two-Dog Kitchen and Life in the ‘Hood
|Cooks just want to have fun: Making pie crust cookies.|
|The last of Wendy’s heirloom tomatoes that ripened on the windowsill in my dining room for two weeks.|
|Under 5 minutes in the microwave: great acorn squash.|
|Rustica Bakery, Minneapolis: on BA’s list of ten best bakeries in the U.S. Yep.|
|Rustica Bakery’s almond croissant.|
|Rustica Bakery: a bit more elegant garnish, eh? This is their latte.|
|58 years in the neighborhood, Troos comes to check Dave’s work on the vegetable garden.|
|Under the bushes he dug out, an old glass jar appears.|
|Appears to have been buried by Julie in 1965. Troos doesn’t remember Julie.|
|One of the thousands of crazy, crazy squirrels in Tangletown this year.|
|This is a tiny bush with precious blooms in my south garden.|
|This chickadee cracks her seeds between her toes.|
|All cleaned up for Opus and Olives Sunday night downtown with 850 other Friends of the St. Paul Library supporters.|
|Lani and Jeanne after dinner having fun.|
It’s been a warm week. Two days we even had the AC on to cook and sleep. Weird October.
We have guests for dinner two nights coming up,a trip south with a friend to pick up a new puppy, Book Club here Tuesday, rehearsal on Wednesday and also Taize service in conjuction with Cabrini Catholic Church in Minneapolis. Come worship@ 6:30 (Wed, 10/14) at Prospect Park United Methodist. Take an hour bite out of your life to unplug, sit quietly, and reflect. It’d do ya good. Sounds like we’ll need it too.
Sing a new song of fall…leaves and pumpkins and wind and cooler temperatures,