Archive for November, 2010

food coma.

Hey! Wanna see what I made for Thanksgiving?

Here we have an apple- and raisin-stuffed turkey breast up top, potatoes below.

Sous chef Michelle sautes up some green beans.

Grandma H's Cranberry Salad

Red wine-caramel apple pie with crumble top.

Damn fine turkey alert!

Join me in my kitchen, won't you?

What's a fine meal without a fine wine? Thanks, Michelle and fam!




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Friends, the holidays make me sentimental. Thanksgiving, especially, gives me the warm fuzzies you only get from hanging with your grand-folks and Norman Rockwell paintings.

Like this one (via 5000moms.com)

But, alas, I’m going to be an orphan this Thanksgiving. Not that I’ll be alone; I’ll just be spending my holiday away from my adorable and beloved family.

I’m a little bummed, because I love Thanksgiving at our house. Mom and Dad have both sides of the family over (we’re a small clan). My little cousins play games with us. My mom and grandmas are both amazing cooks, so we get to eat like kings. The men tend to drift toward the TV, the ladies stick around the kitchen table for gossip, and everyone goes away warmer, fuller, happier.

I’m hoping to achieve that with my Orphan Thanksgiving Rounds 1 and 2 this week!

A friend is interning here in DC, and her parents are coming here for ye olde Turkey Day. They offered to take me out to a restaurant, but isn’t the beauty of Thanksgiving really about gathering at home and eating something someone made with love? And also leftovers? I think so, so they’re coming here.

Let’s see how bad I can screw this up!


-Turkey breast stuffed with apple and raising dressing from Whole Foods (I didn’t want to try to cook a whole bird the first time in my tiny oven, for four people.)

-Sour cream mashed potatoes (use half the butter you normally would and dump in a thing of sour cream. Done.)

-Green beans, sauted with garlic and slivered almonds

Grandma H’s cranberry salad

-Caramel apple red wine pie with a crumble crust, based on the recipe here

Pretty good, right? I kind of hate stuffing (I know I love bread, but WET bread? Nah, thanks) so the bird comes with it, negating one dish I’ll have to make. I can make the pie crust tonight and the cranberries tomorrow and the pies Wednesday, so on Thursday morning I can go to yoga and chiiiiiiilll while my taters and turkey do their thing.

After Michelle and her folks take off, I’ll visit the vegans for Vegan Thanksgiving, which I don’t think I could fully support (I need that white meat, guys), but I will support for dessert.

I’m going to veganize the chocolate bourbon pecan pie here. I’ve never made pecan pie, but it’s one of my favorites, and I’ve been feeling warmly toward all things Southern lately, so this will hopefully be a huge hit.

Am I missing anything? Are you ready to throttle me over the lack of appropriate stuffing? What are you making for Thanksgiving?

May the Butterball Hotline answer all your questions in a timely manner!


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I know there are folks out there who don’t love Paula Deen, our fair nation’s Queen of Butter, the Lady of Licensing, the Grand Dame of Ham, but I don’t get those people. I love her. I love how feisty she is, and that she and her husband Michael “Myyyyyyyyh-cahhhhl” make sex jokes on her TV shows. I love her love of “budderrrr” and “ahhhhhl.”

I love her autobiography, It Ain’t All About The Cookin’, which my adorable and talented little sister got me for Christmas one year. I love her hair and that she never takes off her bling no matter what she’s cooking.

Most of all, I love an underdog story. You can read her biography pretty much anywhere online, but I think those stories are better in person. That’s why I went to go see her at the Metropolitan Cooking and Entertaining Expo in DC this weekend. (Note: I almost went to see Rachael Ray. I like her very much, too, but come on – PAULA DEEN. Not even a question.)

Paula! with the creator of Metrocooking (left).

Oh my gawd y’all. She was so funny. Paula’s live shows are not known for the cooking so much as her storytelling and general sass. My mom and I sometimes wondered watching “Paula’s Party” if she was drunk doing the shows, but I’m pretty sure she just likes to have good times. She takes the audience along for the ride.

All of us.

I’m not sure I can summarize the 90 or so minutes she spoke, but I’ll try: Lots of sex jokes and poop jokes, suggestive back-and-forth with Michael as he cooked with an assistant (cornbread stuffing, glaze for a fresh ham and a gooey butter cake, which we’ll get to in a minute). She recognized two audience members – a little boy from Make-A-Wish and an Iraq war veteran who’s signed up for another tour of duty – both made me cry a little bit. She answered a few audience questions, but mostly she just chatted away, Paula-style, and really, that was all I wanted. OK, maybe a few tips for my upcoming Thanksgiving Orphans dinner that I’m cookin’ up, but this was still pretty good. Oh, and at one point she actually used the phrase “the finest meat skins you’ve ever eaten,” regarding ham skin and making your own pork rinds. God I love her.

When I came home, I was inspired to make a version of her gooey butter cake.

For the crust, you’ll need:

A box of yellow cake mix

One stick of butter, melted

One egg

Mix those together until they form a dough, kind of like cookie dough. Spread that into a 13×9 pan that’s been lightly greased. I threw down a layer of bananas for deliciousness.

Then, for the filling, you’ll need:

One thingie of cream cheese, softened (I used Honey Nut)

Another melted stick of butter

Two more eggs

1 tsp vanilla

1 box powdered sugar (I used a little more than half a box and it turned out OK)

Beat that cream cheese until it’s nice and smooth, then add in the butter, eggs and vanilla. Beat the hell out of that and then add the sugar. Beat it again! It’s going to be smooth and lovely when it’s done. Pour that concoction on top of your doughy crust thing. I threw on another layer of bananas because they’re yummy.

Pop the whole thing in a 350 oven for 40-50 minutes. You want the middle to still be gooey. I might have overdone or underdone mine. I don’t know. I do know that it was very tasty.

Love and best dishes, y’all, from Paula’s kitchen to mine, and then on to yers.


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