A Month-Long Thanksgiving Feast

There is no other day in America when family and food take center stage like Thanksgiving. It’s not about presents. It’s not about attending an organized, orchestrated form of worship. It’s truly about “going home” – and all the emotion that “home” evokes within us. It’s about traditions, about family and deep appreciation for one another. It’s a moment for giving thanks from the heart for the people in our lives.

For 2015’s Thanksgiving offering, my plate was empty – no new recipes, no cute antidotes – just a rehashing of 2014’s Thanksgiving Memories and Recipes. There were some deeply personal reasons – my family was on the brink of suffering great loss and my heart just wasn’t into the holiday spirit. Coming up empty-handed was not something I would let happen again. Yet recipes need to be test-driven, modified and perfected. And a Thanksgiving postings need to be published well in advance of the Holiday to give others the opportunity to take a test-drive of their own. Hum, problems to overcome.

Since returning to California in 2009, we have not hosted a Thanksgiving Feast in our home but rather gathered with family, pot-luck style. I’m usually in charge of the appetizers and desserts as well as the stuffing. So how to do an entire Thanksgiving on our own, well in advance of the Holiday? To cook up an entire feast for Hubby, Kiddo and I would mean a great deal of work, resulting in a ton of left-overs. I had considered having a dinner party – that would help alleviate the left-over dilemma. But it also meant test-driving recipes while serving dinner guests at the same time. I don’t know about you, but the idea of an entire meal consisting of new recipes brought on a major case of stress. The solution was simple, stress-free and fun. Instead of preparing one giant feast with all new recipes, I decided to spread out the “testing” process of different recipes – maybe sample a new stuffing with a familiar roasted chicken dinner or take a different twist on a pumpkin pie to conclude a scrumptious Sunday Supper. Besides, I need time – oodles of time – to research the customs and traditions of Thanksgiving beyond my own. For example, did you know that there is no mention of a turkey at the first Thanksgiving? While the wild birds were abundant in the area around Plymouth, in all likelihood the fowl of the day included roasted duck. And pumpkin pie was really a custard roasted inside a hollowed out gourd. While this was something I wasn’t prepared to try, I had considered adapting the pumpkin custard concept to create a wonderful Caramel Pumpkin Flan. Or perhaps a warm pumpkin soup. The recipes were going to consist of “wherever the winds blew” over the course of about a month or so. Some tried and true, some new, some tweaked along the way. And Cranberries at the first Thanksgiving? Forget it, they were far too tart and sugar was in short supply in 1621. (And before anyone corrects me – I know Plymouth was not the first every Thanksgiving Feast, but it is the one we hold dear to our hearts and evokes all the traditions of the American Thanksgiving.)

While reading, researching and test-driving some wonderful recipes, one thing kept coming back to me – my family and their traditional idea of Thanksgiving. Hubby and Kiddo were good sports – sampling a little of this and a little of that, yet when it came time to put together the final menu, my guys were quick to point out family traditions and finicky eaters. Not wanting to venture too far outside the box, the final menu – although lengthy – is also simple and somewhat basic. Nothing strange or exotic. Practical approaches were a key factor – mashed potatoes in a crock pot freed up valuable stove space. Grilling small birds and lobster tails freed up oven needs. While I would have loved to go out on a limb, there’s not much point in exotic foods that are not going to be well received. Chestnut dressing was out. Sausage dressing in. While quail was added to the menu, no wine reduction sauces were included. The most “out there” recipe was the tarragon butter for the lobster tails.

One final thought before we head into the kitchen. While I realize this isn’t very practical; wouldn’t it be great if we could have our Thanksgiving Feast outdoors – just like the Pilgrims did? Long lines of picnic or wooden tables and benches with a seemingly endless spread of food. What a picture that would make!

Complete Thanksgiving Menu:

Appetizer Links to:
Thanksgiving Pumpkin Patch Cheese Balls
Turkey Vegetable Platter
Smoked Turkey Cheese Ball
Spinach Dip in a Sourdough Turkey Bowl

Butternut Bisque
Vegetable Soup

Foul and Seafood
Brandy Infused Goose
Grilled Quail with Herbs and Mustard
Grilled Lobster with Chive-Tarragon Butter
Vegetable-Stuffed Roast Turkey

Vegetables and Sides
Baby Carrots with Almonds
Crock Pot Mashed Potatoes with Turkey Gravy
Milk-Boiled Corn on the Cob with Sweet Butter
Mrs. Cubbison’s Sausage Stuffing
Steamed Broccoli in Herbed Butter

Dessert Table
Apple Gallate
Apple Spice Bundt Cake
Gingerbread Cake with Orange Whipped Cream

Give Thanks Pumpkin Pie
Indian Pudding
Old Fashion Pecan Pie
Pumpkin Flan Cake

******** Appetizers and Beverages ********

If your family gathers are like mine, people begin to arrive long before the main feasting begins. It’s a wonderful time to visit with one another. It’s also a hectic time for those hosting the feast – last-minute touches and little details to attend to. So what do you do with the early arrivals? A nice selection of little morsels to munch on is always nice. You don’t need to “serve” the appetizers. A small Buffet table strategically located in the room or perhaps near the entryway that is large enough to accommodate a few trays, some small plates and napkins is all that is required. People can help themselves. If room is an issue, you can always use tiered serving trays to offer a small variety without taking up much room. And in the main gathering room (be it the living room before the meal is served), place a few bowls with nuts, pretzels and other “grab by the handful” items. In my family, we aren’t big on drinks (sodas, juice and perhaps some wine with the main meal is about all we serve) but that doesn’t mean you can’t set up another small table with an ice bucket, some glasses and whatever before dinner cocktails you might want to offer is always welcome. These simple offerings are especially nice for travelers who may have come from far away. Just make sure that your simple offerings are of the “self-served” variety while you tend to other matters of the day.

Suggestions: Thanksgiving Pumpkin Patch Cheese Balls,  Gobble Up Thanksgiving Appetizers or your favorite appetizers and beverages.

********** Soups to Warm the Soul **********
Butternut Bisque
Vegetable Soup

Okay, I’m taking certain liberties here. While the pilgrims may have eaten a butternut or squash based soup, it wasn’t a Bisque. In all likelihood, they did not have sherry. And there’s no  way they used an immersion blender or strainer to get that silky finish. Let’s face facts here – Thanksgiving diners of today aren’t going to be wild about the simple dishes of the first Thanksgiving. So let’s just say we are striving to capture the spirit of the day . . .

butternut-bisque-2Butternut Bisque
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 leeks, including light green parts, sliced and thoroughly rinsed
1 celery stalk, diced
1 small onion, diced
3 ½ cups diced, peeled Butternut Squash
1 fresh bay leaf
2 sprigs of fresh thyme
2 fresh sage leaves
2 quarts chicken stock
1 tablespoon kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3 Tablespoons Sherry
Croutons (garnish if desired)
Cream (garnish if desired)

In a medium soup pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the leeks, garlic, celery and onion. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent, 7 to 10 minutes.

Create a bouquet garni by tying the bay leave thyme and sage together to make a little bundle. Leave enough string hanging off the bundle of herbs to be able to remove later. (I tie the other end of the string to the handle of my stock pot). Add the Butternut Squash, bouquet garni and stock and bring to a boil. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook for 20 minutes, or until the butternut squash is tender and cooked through.

Remove the bouquet garni. Purée the soup with a handheld immersion blender until no lumps remain. (Note: if you do not have an immersion blender, puree soup in batches if necessary in a blender).

Add the sherry. Bring the soup back to a simmer. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Serve in warmed soup bowls. Garnish with croutons and/or a swirl of cream if desired.


While some sort of vegetable soup may have been served, it was more likely made with whatever was on hand, boiled in water and lacking in seasonings. Here we are taking liberty once again, with canned goods and frozen vegetables not available to the pilgrims.

vegetable-soupBasic Vegetable Soup
2 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onion (1 medium)
2 cups peeled and chopped carrots (about 4)
1 1/4 cups chopped celery (about 3)
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 (14.5 oz) cans chicken broth or vegetable broth
2 (14.5 oz) cans diced tomatoes (undrained)
3 cups peeled and 1/2-inch thick diced potatoes (from about 3 medium)
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp dried thyme
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups chopped frozen or fresh green beans
1 1/4 cups frozen or fresh corn
1 cup frozen or fresh peas

Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onions, carrots, and celery and saute 3 – 4 minutes. Add garlic and saute 30 seconds longer.

Pour broth into pot. Add tomatoes, potatoes, parsley, bay leaves, thyme and season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil.

Add green beans, reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 20 – 30 minutes.

Add corn and peas and cook 5 minutes longer, or until everything is warmed through. Serve warm.

********** Foul and Seafood Taking Center Stage **********
Brandy Infused Goose
Grilled Quail with Herbs and Mustard
Grilled Lobster with Chive-Tarragon Butter
Vegetable-Stuffed Roast Turkey

american-eagleNo one is certain about the origins of Turkey on the Thanksgiving Table. There is little doubt that wild turkeys were abundant – there is even mention of a turkey hunt just days before the first Thanksgiving Feast; so it is possible that Turkeys were present at the table. As was venison, beef, seafood and water fowl. Wild turkeys were so prevalent in America, that Benjamin Franklin suggested Turkeys as the National Bird. Imagine that for a moment – instead of a fierce Bald Eagle clutching arrows and an olive branch, we had a turkey.

The recipes that follow aren’t necessarily to replace your Thanksgiving Turkey, but rather to serve alongside for an additional selection. Not everyone is going to gravitate to a Goose or Quail. If serving Quail, keep in mind that these birds are tiny (especially along side a nice, big turkey); so the quail is more of a sampling rather than a serving. Just as there isn’t a lot of meat to a goose. If you don’t have duel ovens, and want to serve several roasted meats; a pot luck style dinner might just be in order. The goose can also be cooked in a large roasting oven.

Confession time:  I had wanted to try my hand a roasted duck as well. Having never cooked a whole duck before, I did my homework. Everything I read about duck scared me to death. And so the duck remains in the freezer; taunting me . . .

Brandy Infused Goose
1 Young Goose, about 6-8 lbs
1 large orange, sliced
1 Cup Brandy
½ Cup Butter
1 Tablespoon Poultry Seasoning
1 Teaspoon Paprika
1 Large Syringe or Flavor Injector
2 Bartlett Pears, cut into chunks
1 Orange, peeled and broken into natural slices

Lay goose on a clean counter. Reach inside the tail end and remove the excess fat. There will be an incredible amount of fat. Reach under the skin of the breast and remove some of the pockets of fat as well. (If desired, reserve and render for later use).

Slice first orange, rub bird inside and out with the orange. Discard orange. Inject bird inside and out with brandy. Let bird rest for a few hours in the refrigerator for the orange and brandy to soak in and begin to tenderize the meat. (Overnight is fine, too).

In a small bowl, mix butter and seasonings. Remove bird from the refrigerator and rub LIGHTLY with butter mixture. The goose will have enough fat on its own, this mixture is more to give the skin a nice golden color.

Fill the cavity with apples and oranges. Fill the neck with smaller pieces of fruit. Let bird rest again. It’s best to start roasting the bird once it has reached room temperature, so an hour or so before roasting is fine.

Heat oven to 450 degrees. Place bird, breast side up, in a roasting pan fitted with a rack to keep bird from soaking in the pan drippings. Once oven has reached temperature, place goose in the oven, then IMMEDIATELY turn the temperature down to 350 degrees. Roast goose for 20 minutes per pound, lightly basting every 30 minutes.

After about an hour, if the skin is nice and brown, turn bird breast side down and roast another 20 to 30 minutes or until cooked medium-rare.

Remove goose from oven, tent to keep warm and let rest for 10 minutes. Transfer to serving platter, garnish with grapes, orange slices and other fruit as desired.

Carve and serve.


This next recipe was chosen based primarily on convenience. The quail are butterflied (perfect for serving – 6 butterflied quail are perfect “samplers” for twelve dinner guests) and they are cooked on the grill. No need for a 3rd oven! These tiny birds will grill up quickly, so be prepared!

grilled_quailGrilled Quail with Herbs and Mustard
6 Quail
1 1/2 Cups Loosely Packed, stemmed mixed herbs (such as basil, rosemary, oregano, thyme, marjoram, chives and/or flat leaf parsley)
3 Cloves Garlic, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
1/4 Cup Dijon Mustard
1/4 Cup Lemon Juice
1/2 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Place the herbs, garlic, salt and pepper into a food processor fitted with a blade. Process until finely chopped. Add mustard, lemon juice and oil. Process briefly to create a thick paste.

Butterfly the quail by cutting out the backbone with a pair of kitchen shears.

Place quail breast side up on cutting board and press down to flatten birds.

Place quail and marinade paste into a zip-lock bag.Toss to coat evenly.

Marinade 4 to 6 hours in the refrigerator. Overnight is okay.

Build a nice, medium ash fire in the grill. While fire is built, remove quail from refrigerator.

Using thin skewers, skewer three quail through the thigh area. Run a second skewer through the wing area. The birds should now be secure and easy to hand. Repeat with remaining quail. Let sit on counter until ready to grill

Grill over medium-high heat for 5 minutes per side or until no longer pink.

Remove from grill, push birds off skewers and onto serving platter. Tent to keep warm, let rest 5 minutes before serving.


Research has shown that Lobster was a part of the Thanksgiving Feast. Grilled lobster can be cooked alongside the quail, both grill up in about the same amount of time. Since lobster can be expensive, I would grill up the lobster, then remove the meat from the tails, cutting into bite size morsels. Return the meat to the tail, with a fork for serving. Hopefully, people will get the hint and not take an entire tail. Hum . . . I’m wondering if it would be in poor taste to have two tables – a big turkey with the usual trimmings and a “sampler” table with quail, lobster and goose. Just a thought.

Just a cute little story first – when Kiddo was in the first grade, his teacher sent home a list of foods for the students to bring to school and share with his classmates the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Hubby and I looked over the list and decided to go with the lobster. We only brought a few, expecting each child to take a couple of pieces to try. It never occurred to us that nearly every child would refuse to even try a bite of lobster. The lobster did not go to waste. His teacher was thrilled. In her 30 years of teaching; no one had brought lobster to the classroom. She asked if she could take them home. Since we were leaving for the family farm; we were thrilled that she would have five tails to take home. (The sixth tail was eaten that day by Kiddo, his teacher, Hubby and I).

grilled-lobster-tailsGrilled Lobster Tails With Chive-Tarragon Butter
2 Sticks Salter Butter, soft
2 Tablespoons Chives, chopped
2 Tablespoons Tarragon Leaves, chopped
2 Cloves Garlic, minced
Dash or Two Hot Sauce
Freshly Ground Black Pepper to taste
8 (6 oz) Lobster Tails (or more; maybe 1/2 small tail per person)
Olive Oil
Kosher Salt to taste
Lemon Wedges for Garnish
Chives Sprigs for Garnish

Preheat grill for direct medium-high heat.

In a small bowl, blend butter, chives, tarragon, minced garlic, hot sauce and black pepper with a rubber spatula. Blend thoroughly. Cover with plastic wrap and reserve.

Using kitchen shears, butterfly the lobster tails straight down the middle of the softer underside of the shell. Cut the meat down the center without cutting all the way through.

Insert a metal skewer down the lobster tail so that the tail stand straight.

Brush tails with olive oil and season with salt to taste.

Grill lobsters cut side down over medium high heat, about 5 to 6 minutes or until the shells are bright in color.

Turn tails over, spoon a generous tablespoon or so of the herbed butter onto the butterflied meat. Grill for about another 4 or 5 minutes or until lobster meat is an opaque white in color and flaky.

Remove lobster from grill, pull from skewers. Set tails on a serving platter, brush with additional butter.

Garnish tails with Chives. Serve with lemons.


What Thanksgiving Tradition would be complete without our beloved Turkey? Cook up your family favorite or give this Vegetable-Stuffed Bird a try. Most of us grew up eating stuffed turkey, until someone decided stuffing the turkey was a bad idea. Roasting the bird “empty” tends to lend to a dry bird. Placing things such as apples, pears or in this case vegetables does two things – imparts flavor to the meat and helps steam things from the inside out, helping to keep the turkey moist and flavorful.


vegetable-stuffe-turkeyVegetable-Stuffed Roast Turkey
1 (18 pound) whole turkey, neck and giblets removed
2 cups kosher salt
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 large onions, peeled and chopped
4 carrots, peeled and chopped
4 stalks celery, chopped
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1 cup dry white wine

Rub the turkey inside and out with the kosher salt. Place the bird in a large stock pot, and cover with cold water. Place in the refrigerator, and allow the turkey to soak in the salt and water mixture 12 hours, or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Thoroughly rinse the turkey, and discard the brine mixture.

Brush the turkey with 1/2 the melted butter. Place breast side down on a roasting rack in a shallow roasting pan. Stuff the turkey cavity with 1 onion, 1/2 the carrots, 1/2 the celery, 1 sprig of thyme, and the bay leaf. Scatter the remaining vegetables and thyme around the bottom of the roasting pan, and cover with the white wine.

Roast uncovered 3 1/2 to 4 hours in the preheated oven, until the internal temperature of the thigh reaches 180 degrees. Carefully turn the turkey breast side up about 2/3 through the roasting time, and brush with the remaining butter. Allow the bird to stand about 30 minutes before carving.

******** Vegetables and Sides to Pass Around the Table **********
Baby Carrots with Almonds
Crock Pot Mashed Potatoes with Turkey Gravy
Milk-Boiled Corn on the Cob
Mrs. Cubbison’s Sausage Stuffing
Steamed Broccoli in Herbed Butter

For whatever reason; it seems that we always have more side dishes than anything else to pass around the Thanksgiving Table. I’m not sure why that is – maybe it’s because people always wants to contribute to the feast and those dishes are almost always side dishes. Mashed potatoes and stuffing are a gimme – can’t celebrate Thanksgiving without them! (There might even be a law or something that says so). Sweet Potatoes are another favorite, as the bright orange color brings the Fall Season to the table. This same bright color can be achieved by serving carrots instead. I seem to recall cartoon pictures of the First Thanksgiving – there was always a big platter of corn on the cob. Haven’t a clue why, it was just there. So corn on the cob it is. I’ve added steamed broccoli to mix for additional color.

baby-carrots-with-almondsBaby Carrots with Almonds
1 pound fresh baby carrots
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons Diamond of California silvered Almonds, toasted
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon butter
1/8 teaspoon salt

Place carrots and water in a microwave-safe bowl. Cover and microwave on high for 4-6 minutes or until tender; drain. Stir in almonds, sugar, butter and salt. Serve immediately.


crock-pot-mashed-potatoesCrock Pot Mashed Potatoes
5 pounds russet potatoes
3 to 4 cloves garlic, optional
1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt, plus more to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
3 to 3 1/2 cups milk, or a mixture of milk and cream
1/2 cup unsalted butter

Peel and chop the potatoes: Lightly grease the slow cooker insert with butter or cooking spray. Peel the potatoes and chop into small pieces about 1 inch to a side. The smaller the potatoes, the faster they will cook, obviously. Transfer the potatoes to the slow cooker.

Add the seasonings: Smash the garlic cloves, if using, and drop on top of the potatoes. Stir in the salt and a generous quantity of black pepper.

Pour in 1 1/2 cups milk and stir the potatoes once. Cover the slow cooker and cook 4 to 5 hours on HIGH or until the potatoes are very tender and soft. Turn the heat to WARM.

When the potatoes are done, melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat. Stir 2 cups milk, or a mixture of milk and cream, into the melted butter and warm gently over low heat.

Mash the potatoes: If you used garlic but don’t want the potatoes super garlicky, remove the garlic cloves and discard. Use a spoon to scoop out and discard any browned bits on the sides of the pot.

Use a potato masher or ricer to mash the potatoes right in the pot.

Slowly stir in the dairy: When the potatoes are as smooth as you like, slowly stir in the warmed dairy and butter. The potatoes will look soupy at first but the potatoes will quickly soak up the liquid. Add an additional 1/2 cup of milk or cream if you want them to be even creamier.

Taste and season: Taste and season with additional salt or pepper if desired.

To keep the potatoes warm, leave in the covered slow cooker on the WARM setting for up to 4 hours.

Turkey GravyTurkey Gravy
Juice from Roasting Turkey
Enough Chicken Stock to measure 4 cups when combined with Turkey Drippings
1/4 Cup Flour
1/4 Cup Butter + 2 tablespoons
Salt & Pepper to taste

Place juice from roasting turkey into a 4-cup Measuring Cup. Add enough Chicken Stock to measure 4 cups. Set aside.

In a large skillet, blend flour and butter to create a roux base. Slowly add Turkey-Chicken Stock mixture, whisking constantly. Continue to cook until desired consistency is achieved.

Remove from heat, whisk in 2 tablespoons butte until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Keep warm until ready to serve. If gravy becomes too thick, add a little chicken STOCK to thin.


Years ago, we had friends that brought the Corn on the Cob to a pot luck gathering. I had never seen Corn on the Cob boiled in milk before – it seemed strange. All I can say is don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. The corn was sweet, buttery and delicious.


Milk Boiled Corn on the Cob
6-8 ears corn, husks and silk removed
water as needed
1 1/4 cup milk
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup butter (optional and to add to the water)

Fill a large stock pot half full with water (use a large enough pot to hold all the corn).

Add in the milk, sugar and butter. Bring to a boil, then add in the corn cobs. Reduce heat to a simmer and allow corn to cook for 7-8 minutes or until just tender, depending on size of corn. Try not to over cook the corn as it will become tough. Using long tongs remove and place on a plate or in a bowl, then cover with foil until ready to serve. Serve with butter and salt to taste.


I’ve always been a basic, traditionalist when it came to stuffing. Mine was a giblet-based stuffing, just like Dad used to make, with one small exception – Dad made his own bread cubes, while I preferred Mrs. Cubbion’s Herb Bread Cubes. Upon returning to California, we began the tradition of celebrating at my youngest sister’s house every Thanksgiving. Not roasting the turkey also meant not having the giblets. I tried using chicken – not the same thing at all. One year our good friends joined us – and Gary convinced me to use sausage instead of giblets in my stuffing. Yeah, that was the ticket.

sausage-stuffingMrs. Cubbison’s Sausage Stuffing
5 Cups Celery, finely chopped
3 Cup Onions, finely chopped
8 Mushrooms, chopped
6 Cloves Garlic, pressed
2 Lbs Jimmy Dean Sausage, cooked & drained
4 Boxes Mrs. Cubbison’s Cube Stuffing
4 Tablespoons Butter, melted
1 Teaspoon Thyme
1 Teaspoon Sage
1 Teaspoon Poultry Seasoning
2 Can Chicken broth
1 1/2-2 Cups Chicken Stock

Chop all vegetables, set aside until ready to use.

Lightly oil large frying pan and heat over medium-high heat. Crumble and brown sausage.

Remove sausage from pan, set aside. In the now-empty pan, sauté celery, onions, mushrooms and garlic. Once onions are tender and celery is pale in color, remove from heat. Drizzle with melted butter. Add seasonings to vegetables, toss to coat.

Return sausage to pan, stir to mix with vegetables and seasoning.

Add 2 boxes of Mrs. Cubbison’s Cube Stuffing Mix. Moisten with chicken stock. Use hands to blend bread with vegetable-sausage mixture. Continue to add bread crumbs and chicken stock until all the bread crumbs have been added and mixture is moist.

Cover and set aside until ready to bake. Place in oven for about 20 minutes to bake.


steamed-broccoliSteamed Broccoli in Herbed Butter
1 pound fresh broccoli, cut into spears
2 tablespoons butter
1-1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
1-1/2 teaspoons finely chopped onion
1/4 teaspoon salt, optional
1/8 teaspoon each dried thyme, marjoram and savory

Steam broccoli until crisp-tender. Fill a pot with a few inches of water and insert a steamer basket over top. Be sure the water does not touch the bottom of the steamer basket. Bring the water to a simmer over medium-high heat. Add the broccoli florets and stems and cover. Steam for 4 to 5 minutes, until tender.

Melt butter; add lemon juice, onion, salt and herbs. Place steamed broccoli in a serving bowl. Add butter mixture; stir to coat.


****** Unforgettable Puddings, Pies and Cakes ******
Apple Gallate
Apple Spice Bundt Cake
Gingerbread Cake with Orange Whipped Cream

Give Thanks Pumpkin Pie
Indian Corn Pudding
Old Fashion Pecan Pie
Pumpkin Flan Cake

Pumpkin Pie is a must. While my guys tell me I make a great pumpkin pie, I wouldn’t know since I don’t eat Pumpkin Pie. Thank goodness, my guys only expect Pumpkin Pie at Thanksgiving. Anything with apples is another wonderful choice. Apple pie and apple cake are the first “apples” that spring to mind. Research shows custard type dishes were served; although these were not the smooth; sweet custards of today as milk and sugar were in short supply. Again, some liberties need to be taken while “capturing” the spirit of that first feast. Dad always looks for Pecan Pie at the holiday table. I’m not sure just how authentic Pecan Pie is . . . or if it’s more a “southern thing” added to the Thanksgiving Table. I suspect it’s the latter; as sugar syrup wasn’t plentiful. Of all the “desserts” chosen, Indian Pudding more closely resembles something that very well may have appeared on the Puritan Thanksgiving Table. The fact that I have chosen to share seven different desserts tells you how I love desserts – especially in the fall. The truth is, I’ll only be bringing two or three to our Thanksgiving Pot Luck. Even now, I’m not sure which two or three. Each is delicious and deserving of a spotlight. I wish I had the time to make them all . . .

apple-galletApple Galette
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup cold unsalted butter, cubed
1 egg
2 tbsp cold water
1 tbsp white vinegar

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place the racks to the lower and middle of the oven.

To make the pastry, add the flour and salt to a large mixing bowl. Cut butter into the mixture using a hand pastry blender until evenly crumbly.

In a small bowl, beat the egg, water and vinegar with a fork, then poured it into the large bowl, stirring just to bring the dough together. Form the dough into a ball and rolled it out on a sheet of parchment paper dusted with flour until it is 16-18 inches across.

Lift the parchment paper carefully to transfer the rolled dough to a rimmed baking tray (it’s okay if some dough hangs over the edge of the tray).

2 1/2 lbs apples, cored and cut into 1/4-inch slices (skins on)
1/2 cup granulated white sugar
1 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon

To make the filling, place the apple slices in a large mixing bowl.

In a smaller bowl, combine the sugar, flour and cinnamon, then tossed the mixture with the apples.

To assemble, pour the filling into the middle of the rolled dough and arrange to occupy a circular space about 10 inches across. Fold dough up and over the filling, leaving the middle exposed.

Bake the galette baked on the baking tray at 425 degrees on the low rack for 10 minutes to firm up the bottom, then lower the heat to 350 degrees. (F) and moved the tray to the middle rack, baking for another 50-55 minutes until the pastry was golden and the filling was bubbling.

Finishing (Optional)
1 tbsp milk
1 tbsp granulated white sugar

Brush top with milk and sprinkle with sugar when moved to middle rack.


apple-spice-bundt-cakeApple Spice Bundt Cake
1 Box Spice Cake Mix
1 Can (21 oz) Apple Pie Filling
4 Eggs
3 Tablespoons Sugar
1 Teaspoon Cinnamon
Powdered Sugar, for Dusting
Fresh Whipped Cream for Serving

Preheat oven to 350-degrees

Grease a bundt cake or tube pan. Set aside until ready to use.

Mix cake mix, apple filling and eggs together until well blended. Pour into prepared pan and bake 30-40 minutes.

Let cake cool in pan, about 1 hour. When cooled, shake pan to loosen cake, invert onto flat surface and carefully move to serving platter.

Cover with plastic wrap, store at room temperature until ready to serve. If desired, dust with powdered sugar and serve with a dollop of Whipped Cream garnished with a little cinnamon.


gingerbread-cake-orange-toppingGingerbread Cake with Orange Whipped Cream
Ingredients – Gingerbread Cake
1 2/3 Cups Flour plus extra for dusting
¾ Teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1 ½ teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of nutmeg
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus extra for greasing
½ cup firmly packed DARK brown sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon orange zest, finely grated
½ cup LIGHT molasses
½ cup warm water

Preheat oven to 325-degrees. Lightly grease a 8-inch square baking dish and dust with flour.

In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt until nicely blended. In a separate bowl, using a mixer on medium-speed, beat together butter and brown sugar until well blended and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, until just blended. Add zest and beat until blended. Continue beating while slowly adding molasses. Sprinkle flour mixture over egg mixture and stir until just incorporated. Add water and stir until just blended.

Pour batter into prepared baking pan. Bake until the gingerbread is puffed and tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Transfer to wire rack to cool.

Serve warm or at room temperature with a dollop of orange whipped cream.

Ingredients – Orange Whipped Cream
1 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream, well Chilled
2 Tablespoons Sugar
1 Teaspoons Orange flavoring or orange liqueur

In a well chilled mixing bowl with well chilled beaters, whip cream until foamy on medium speed. Continue to whip, add sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time. Increase speed to medium-high and whip until firm peaks form, about 3-4 minutes. Gently fold in flavoring using a rubber spatula.

Cover and chill until ready to serve.


give-thanks-pumpkin-pieGive Thanks Pumpkin Pie
1 Basic Pastry Pie Shell Recipe, prepared according to directions or Refrigerated Pie Crust such as Pillsbury

Pie Crust: Lightly dust work surface and rolling-pin with flour. Roll out chilled dough into a 14-inch round about 1/8-inch thick. Lift and turn the dough several times as you roll to prevent sticking. Dust surface and rolling-pin with additional flour as needed. Use dough scraper or icing spatula to loosen the pastry round if it sticks.

Carefully roll the dough around the pin and position it over a 9-inch pie plate, preferably glass. Unroll the dough and fit it into plate, gently but firmly pressing the dough against the sides and bottom while taking care not to pull or stretch dough. Trim the edges, leaving ¾-inch overhang. Roll the overhang under itself to create a high edge on the plate’s rim. Flute the edge decoratively and freeze for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 425-degrees. Line the frozen crust with foil and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake blind for 15 minutes. Remove the weights and foil, continue to bake until shell is golden, about 4-5 minutes longer. Par-baking produces a lighter, more flaky pie shell. If edges begin to over-cook, cover with strips of foil or pie shell shields. Let shell cool completely on wire rack.

Reduce oven temperature to 325-degrees. Prepare filling.

Ingredients – Pumpkin Pie Filling
1 Can Pumpkin Puree
2/3 Cup Firmly Packed light brown sugar
1 Cup Heavy Cream
2 Whole, large eggs plus 1 large egg yolk, room temperature
4 Teaspoons Flour
2/3 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
2/3 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
¼ Teaspoon Nutmeg
Pinch of ground cloves
Pinch of Salt

Pumpkin Filling: In a large bowl, combine the pumpkin puree, brown sugar, cream, whole eggs plus egg yolk, flour, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt. Whisk until smooth. Pour filling into cooled par-baked pie pastry shell. Bake pie until filling is set but center still jingles slightly when pie pant is GENTLY shaken, about 50 minutes – longer if using a metal pie pan. Remove from oven and cool completely on wire rack. Serve at room temperature or slightly chilled. Top with whipped cream, if desired.


rhode-island-720Indian Corn Pudding
Butter, for the baking dish
4 cups whole milk
1 cup fine-ground yellow cornmeal
½ cup molasses
4 eggs
½ cup sugar
½ cup raisins (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon ground ginger
Whipped cream or ice cream, for serving

Heat oven to 350 degrees and butter a 2-quart baking dish. In a large pot, warm milk over medium-high heat until hot but not boiling. Whisk in cornmeal and molasses and cook, whisking, 2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low.

Crack eggs into a medium bowl and lightly beat. Very slowly add 1/2 cup of the hot cornmeal mixture to the eggs, whisking constantly. Pour tempered egg mixture into the pot, whisking constantly to keep eggs from scrambling, and cook 3 minutes. Remove pot from heat.

Stir in sugar, raisins, vanilla and ginger. Pour mixture into prepared pan, then place in a larger baking dish or roasting pan. Transfer to oven and carefully pour water into the larger dish until it comes about halfway up the sides of the smaller baking dish.

Bake until pudding is set, but still jiggles slightly in the center, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Serve warm, topped with whipped cream or ice cream.


Note: This recipe was first published in 1935.

old-fashion-pecan-pieOld Fashion Pecan Pie
1 Pie Crust
1 Cup Karo Syrup
3 Eggs, slightly beaten
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons butter, melted
1 cup pecans

Commercially prepared pie pastry shells may be used in this recipe. You will need a 9-inch UNBAKED shell. If using a store-bought crust, Pillsbury pie crust found in the refrigerator section of the grocery store most resembles “home made”. No one will be able to tell the difference, especially since you bake them in your own pie pan.

Preheat oven to 400-degrees. Mix all ingredients for filling in large bowl, adding pecans last. Pour into unbaked pastry shell. Bake in hot oven at 400 degrees for 15 minutes; reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake 30-35 minutes longer. When pecan pie is done, outer edge of filling should be set, center slightly soft.


pumpkin-flan-cakePumpkin Flan Cake
1-3/4 cups sugar, divided
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. water, divided
1 can (12 oz.) evaporated milk
4 oz. (1/2 of 8-oz. pkg.) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, cubed, softened
8 eggs, divided
1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin, divided
1 box (2-layer size) yellow cake mix
1/3 cup oil
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup thawed COOL WHIP Whipped Topping

Cook 1 cup sugar and 2 tablespoons water (without stirring) in small saucepan on medium heat 5 min. or until sugar is completely dissolved and mixture is deep brown in color. Immediately pour into 12-cup fluted tube pan sprayed with cooking spray. Blend evaporated milk, cream cheese, 5 eggs, 3/4 cup pumpkin and remaining sugar in blender until smooth.

Beat cake mix, oil, spices, 1/2 cup of the remaining pumpkin and remaining water and eggs in large bowl with mixer until blended. Pour over caramel in pan; gently ladle evaporated milk mixture over cake batter. Cover with foil sprayed with cooking spray, sprayed side down. Place in large shallow pan. Add enough water to larger pan to come halfway up side of tube pan.

Bake 1-1/2 hours or until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool completely. (Do not remove dessert from pan.) Refrigerate 2 hours. Loosen dessert from sides of pan with knife. Invert onto plate; gently remove pan.

Combine COOL WHIP and remaining pumpkin. Decorate cake with whipped topping or spoon over individual servings of dessert just before serving.