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Thursday, November 22, 2012

Center Stage for the Sides

 Get up!
Throw on that old vinyl copy of Alice's Restaurant and get ready
to boogie in your fuzzy leopard slippers while howling the lyrics at 6:00AM~
 it's time to create the feast we wait all year for!
 We have a few last minute things to share with our besties.
 The Dreaded Jell-o Mold.
A traditional holiday joke, this poor little side dish gets beaten up like
 an overweight kid with braces in 3rd grade PE.
Let me tell you, sometimes that heavy weight can grow up to be a star!
No, you CANNOT see my elementary school photos.
Anyway, take one 8 serving size box of cherry gelatin and dissolve it with 2 cups of boiling water.
Stir in a can of whole berry cranberry sauce until melted.

 Add a drained can of tart cherries and a 12 ounce can of undrained mandarin orange slices.
 Sprinkle in a teaspoon of ground cinnamon and pop this in the refrigerator to chill.
 While that starts to become a gelled mess, rinse and pick through a 12 ounce bag of cranberries.
If you've been intimidate by cranberry sauce,
or consider it just a required dish of ho-hum, prepare to change your mind.
 Set a few perfect red berries aside.
 Using a heavy saucepan, add a cup of water and a cup of sugar to the berries.
 Bring this to a boil, stirring here and there to dissolve the sugar.
 Wipe off your camera lens.
You'll start to hear little juicy POPS.
The skin on the berries will split.
 This mayhem is good.
Bubble away for 10 minutes.
 Add another drained can of mandarin oranges and a splash of Gran Marnier orange cognac,
which hopefully you have in the bar for coffee with dessert.
Triple sec is a liqueur that's used in margaritas, is wonderful to keep on hand fro recipes.
and it will also work just fine in this case.
If nothing else, add some orange zest or flavoring.
 Stir until thick and gorgeously jewel-colored, like a garnet, about 5 minutes.
Chill and prepare to make this during the year just to serve with plain old chicken.
Leftovers freeze easily.
 If this doesn't hit my table, Thom glares at me for days.
And why skip something as gooey and confection-like as a classic yam casserole?
 Glump two cans of these drained bad boys into a bowl.
 Add a can of crushed pineapple, undrained, juice and all.
 Plop in 2 cups of brown sugar and a teaspoon of cinnamon, then attack
with a potato masher until lumpy-smooth. 
 Throw this into a greased casserole and top with marshmellows.
Any time there's room in the oven, bake this until the topping puffs and turns golden.
This will only take about 30 minutes at 350, however,
as long as you aren't broiling a steak for the ridiculous boy toy du jour
that Cousin Raine dragged over unannounced who thinks
poultry is unclean, it can really bake at any temperature.

What tangent?
 About now, your Jell-o should be thick enough to hold a dent when you press a spoon into it.
Give it a stir to mix the fruit again and pour it into a lightly sprayed mold.
 Pie time.
Now, if I can't garnish a cake, then the intricacies of a lattice pie crust
are understandably impossible to fathon.
That's okay.
Get the cookie cutters.
This is where easy becomes better.
Adding caramel ice cream topping to a basic apple pie filling
is already going to impress the bejeezus out of the crowd, right?
Roll out the crust for the top and start cutting leaves as close together as possible.
 Pull up any dough that isn't leaves and set the cutouts aside carefully.
Roll the unused dough back out and get some more leaves out of it.
 Now, place the leaves on the surface of the pie crust all falling in a direction
like they're fluttering from a tree in the breeze.
Take that, latticework!
 Roll out more dough and cut some acorns.

 Set the leaves and acorns you have left aside.
 Pumpkin pie is SIMPLE.
I went through my gourmet phase with souffles and such,
but the classic and I always got back together.
Love is meant to last.
All you need is:
15 oz can of packed pumpkin
1 12 oz can of evaporated milk
2 eggs
3/4 cup granulated sugar
 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger 
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
Beat the eggs, add everything else and mix.
Pour it into a pie crust and pop it in the oven on 425 for 15 minutes.
So far pretty simple, right?
 Turn the oven down to 350 and place the leaf and acorn cut outs on the pie(s).
Pop in the apple pie and bake all of this for 50 minutes.
 Meanwhile, roll ANY remaining pie crust dough into small balls.
Note the last little lonely pair of cutouts.
 We're going to put those on some corn pudding.
Unwrap a stick of butter into a 2 quart casserole and put it in the oven until the butter melts.
 Bring it back out.
We aren't just serving a pan of melted butter.
 You'll need:
1 can of corn, drained
1 can of creamed corn
1 box of corn muffin mix
8 oz fat free sour cream
 Pour all of the ingredients into the casserole, mix with a spatula, and smooth down the surface.
 Top with the pie crust dough berries and cut outs.
Bake at 350 until golden, about 30 minutes.
 Remember those cranberries we set aside?
 Put them on your pies a few minutes before pulling them out to just pop the cranberries.
 10 more minutes...
 ....oh yeah.... part of the meal is done.
So while my husband is outside wrangling the turkey fryer and inside 
doing the dressing and green bean casserole,
I'll be over here having some I Can't Believe It's Not Chardonnay!

We wish you and yours a wonderful, warm day full of love and happiness.
Remember the reason for the day,
and enjoy the slices of perfection that come your way.


Danni@SiloHillFarm said...

It all looks delicious to me! Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours from Silo Hill Farm!

brandy said...

Alices resturaunt is a huge part of my thanksgiving and I couldn't find my cd this year, I called 4 radio stations trying to find it befor i finally broke down and searched online. I find it really hard to belive that no one had it. I guess it's a little out ther but oh well. Do you do any seafood dishes for your pescatarians?

Life in Rehab said...

Hi Brandy!

Great question. We had medium rare Cajun salmon in fact, and I made a mushroom gravy for them to slather their potatoes and their dressing. The only foods they could not indulge in were the deep fried brined bird, my Marsala-Sage Turkey Gravy, and the sausage dressing. Everything else was 100% vegetarian.