I'm still reeling from how much food I managed to prepare for our humble little feast yesterday! It all turned out fantastic and our little fridge is stuffed to the gills with the leftovers. As a matter of fact I think we used up all but 2 of our Rubbermaid containers!
The menu was the following:
Grilled turkey breast
Stuffing w/pancetta, apples and pine nuts
Yams w/maple syrup/butter/brown sugar
Creamed Corn w/pancetta
Broccoli & cauliflower cheddar gratin
I actually did make everything on the menu although towards the end I was thinking about skipping the gratin but I'm glad I went ahead and did that too. I slept in quite late and was in a considerable amount of pain in my shoulders and neck from carrying home the heavy bags the previous day so I was moving pretty slowly. As many of you know we are living in a motel room so the challenge to this feast was all about cooking w/o a real kitchen and limited cooking vessels. You can see the setup we have in this older post. Plus due to power issues I am paranoid and won't risk using more than one appliance at a time (we learned this will trip the circuit for the whole room) so no nuking the potatoes while sauteeing the veggies for the stuffing etc. All in all I spent about 6 hours cooking with the final half hour mostly reheating everything in the microwave.
I started with chopping celery, carrot, apple and onion for the stuffing and celery sticks for the relish tray.
Then I toasted the pine nuts in the dry electric skillet and put them aside.
Next up was the pancetta. I diced up the whole 8oz pkg. and into the skillet it went. When frying pancetta I think the best term to describe it is "frizzling" as it sizzles up like bacon but it's so thin and delicate and doesn't spatter the same;)
I put about half of this into the bowl w/the pine nuts to be added to the stuffing later and then to the remainder in the pan I added about 1/4 cup of heavy cream and 1tblsp of brown sugar stirring to dissolve over medium heat. When this started to simmer I added a 16oz pkg of frozen corn kernels. I let this simmer away until the corn was tender then turned off the heat to let it thicken a bit.
I had to clean the electric skillet so I put the corn into a container and let the skillet cool down. Next up was peeling the potatoes. I had picked up a cheap peeler the day before since I did not have one. That was a waste of $2. 2 potatoes in and the damn thing had bent and was useless. Thankfully I have a very good paring knife and my skills with it have increased over time. Used to be that I could not peel w/a paring knife without losing have the vegetable in the process. For the past year I have honed that skill;) So the potatoes got peeled, chopped and then boiled in the microwave. Meanwhile I started to prep the relish "tray" with cream cheese stuffed celery, cheddar cheese, pumpernickel, olives and some honey mustard.
Once the potatoes were done I mashed them up with butter and cream and transferred to another container. Next up was the yams. Much like the potatoes I peeled, chopped then nuked. Mashed them up with lots of butter, about 2tblsp of maple syrup and a couple of spoonfuls of brown sugar. I asked Mark to give 'em a taste as this was not a dish I had much experience with. He proclaimed it "perfect" and a "taste of childhood"!
So now with 3 dishes done I was ready for a little break.
Next up was the stuffing. I heated up a few tblsp of butter and about 2tblsp of olive oil in the skillet and dumped in the prepped veggies to sweat.
Once the veggies were tender I added the cubed stale bread liberally seasoned with some Harry & David Turkey Rub (lots of sage so it smelled perfect for the stuffing!) along with the pine nuts & pancetta. Then doused it liberally with chicken stock.
This then went into another container and I dumped my fresh broccoli & cauliflower into the casserole with a couple tblsp of water and steamed that in the microwave. When it was crisp-tender I pulled it out and added a can of cheddar cheese soup. Stirring to coat then back in the microwave for a few minutes and that was done.
It was finally time to get the star attraction: the turkey breast. I cut half of a large onion into wedges and peeled about 4 cloves of garlic and laid them in the middle of a large sheet of heavy duty aluminum foil. I placed my breast sections on top.
Then I coated them liberally with the turkey rub and drizzled on some olive oil before sealing up in the foil.
This went onto the Foreman grill for a good 15 minutes then I checked and turned it and let it cook for another 15 minutes as it was a very large thick breast of turkey. When it seemed cooked through I took the pieces out of the packet and put them directly on the grill to get nicely crisped up on the outside and then back into the foil to rest.
It came out wonderfully juicy and the turkey rub had a great flavor!
I grilled the ham while the turkey rested and then proceeded to rotate ingredients through the microwave to reheat. Finally dinner was ready!
My overloaded plate;) Just the way Thanksgiving should be!
And of course, the tasty beverage!
Late Night Cafe
- Thanksgiving 2010