Thanksgiving is one of my favorite times of the year. As a foodie, I love all encounters around food preparation. Plus, this holiday provides the perfect opportunity to welcome other military families for a Friendsgiving celebration.
Here are three ideas that will make your menu even better:
Perfect turkey brine
Brining is the process in which sugar and salt are used to lock in moisture and flavor. This recipe is for a wet brine.
First you will need a container large enough to hold the turkey, which includes immersing it in hot water.
- 3 oranges, sliced
- 2 lemons, sliced
- 1 cup whole black pepper
- 1 cup salt
- 1 cup brown sugar
- ¾ oonce fresh sage
- ¾ oonce fresh thyme
- ¾ oonce fresh oregano
TIP: Many stores also sell a poultry mix or herbs closer to Thanksgiving time.
- Add sugar and salt to lukewarm water. Hot water is best to allow the sugar and salt to dissolve more completely.
- After preparing the brine solution, add the citrus fruits, pepper and herbs.
- Dip turkey, cover and refrigerate (12 to 24 hours).
Duchess potatoes are like mashed potatoes, but channeled into individual clouds of perfection. They can be prepared ahead of time (frozen, if needed), then baked when ready to serve.
You’ll want to make sure you have a piping bag and a large nozzle that allows for some sort of swirling pattern.
- 2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and well boiled
- ¼ cup butter
- ¼ cup sour cream
- 2 egg yolks
- 5 cloves of micro-planed garlic/garlic paste
- ½ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon of pepper
- While potatoes are boiling, add all other ingredients to a stand mixer. That way, when the potatoes are added while they’re hot, the butter, cheese, and ingredients melt together really well.
- Once the potatoes have boiled and break easily when touched, immediately add them to the stand mixer.
- Mix with the spatula until smooth and creamy.
- Add your socket in your bag and then the mashed potatoes.
- Pipe on a silicone mat or parchment paper.
- Bake for 15 minutes at 400 F.
Ginger Orange Cooler
If you’ve never heard of ice cream cake, you’re in for a treat. All you have to do is make whipped cream, spread it on chocolate wafers and let it sit for 4 hours or overnight. In fact, making this dessert the night before adds to its perfect texture.
The biscuits absorb the whipped cream and take on a cake-like texture. And while many of us have seen it made with chocolate wafers, did you also know you can make it with ginger cookies? I also add Grand Marnier and orange zest to my whipped cream to give it even more of a Thanksgiving theme.
- 1 package of gingerbread cookies
- 2 cups heavy whipped cream
- ¾ cup powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon of vanilla
- 1 tablespoon Grand Marnier (or other orange liqueur)
- 2 oranges
- Mix the heavy whipping cream in a stand mixer with a whisk until it begins to harden. Add vanilla and powdered sugar until stiff enough to hold a peak.
- Zest 1 orange, add the Grand Marnier and mix slowly until well incorporated.
- Using a spoon, spread a line of whipped cream in the center of a serving platter. This will give the cookies something to stick to when you drop them.
- Cover one side of a cookie with about 1 tablespoon of whipped cream and place another cookie on top of this whipped cream. Repeat this process several times and place the cookies on the baking sheet so that they stand vertically. Keep repeating this process until you have completed most of the package. I like to leave a few cookies to crumble on top for topping. You can also end up having two rows side by side, like I did.
- Cover cookies with remaining whipped cream.
- Cover and refrigerate overnight (or at least 3 hours if you’re in a hurry).
- When ready to serve, garnish with orange slices and crumbled ginger biscuits.
Visit www.caviarandcrayons.com for more recipe inspiration.