Tried and true holiday food that will make your eyes roll heavenward in fits of ecstasy, but your booty more -licious than you might prefer:
Praline Sweet Potatoes
6 cups baked, mashed sweet potatoes (I mash 'em in the mixer, lazy girl style!)
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
1 tb pumpkin pie spice (or equivalent)
1 tb grated ginger (we likes the ginger!)
1 cup heavy cream
1 stick butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
In a mixing bowl, combine the sweet potatoes, syrup, vanilla extract, spices, eggs and cream. Whip until light and fluffy, and spread evenly in buttered casserole dish.
Prepare the topping by combining the butter, brown sugar, flour and pecans (I used the food processor and pulsed until crumbly). Sprinkle over sweet potato mixture.
Bake for at least an hour in the preheated oven, maybe longer, until casserole is puffy in the middle and pecans are toasted.
Eat until the point of sickness like a little piggy.
Maple Phyllo Dessert Cups
two, 8 oz packages of cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup (real) maple syrup (preferrably from your own maple trees, he he. Martha ain't got nothing on this girl!)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp maple extract
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
40+ phyllo prebaked phyllo shells
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup pecans, toasted and finely chopped
Blend first four ingredients together until well mixed. With balloon whip attachment, slowly drizzle in 1/2 cup of heavy whipping cream until fluffy (3-5 minutes or so). Place mix into pastry bag fitted with star tip, and pipe into phyllo shells. Chill at least 3 hours. Drizzle each cup with remaining 1/4 cup maple syrup (1/4 tsp or so for each) and top with the pecans shortly before serving (any leftover mix is pretty fan-freaking-tastic on plain bagels the next day, mmmmm~).
Someone made a Baked Brie with Orange Cranberry Sauce for our work party yesterday, it was AMAZING. I'll try to weasel the recipe somehow and post it when I can:
(Updated ACTUAL recipe follows... I was close:)
1/2 package Puff Pastry Sheets
1 tablespoon water
1/2 cup +/- cooled cranberry sauce (recipe follows)
1 (13.2 ounce) round Brie cheese, rind intact
Thaw pastry sheet at room temperature 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Mix egg and water.
Unfold pastry sheet on lightly floured surface. Roll into 14 inch square. Cut off corners to make a circle. Spread preserves to within 1 inch of pastry edge. Sprinkle cranberries and almonds over preserves. Top with cheese. Brush edge of circle with egg mixture. Fold two opposite sides over cheese. Trim remaining two sides to 2 inch from edge of cheese. Fold these two sides onto the round. Press edges to seal. Place seam-side down on baking sheet. Decorate top with pastry scraps if desired. Brush with egg mixture.
Bake 20 minutes or until golden. Let stand 30 minutes to allow cheese to set. Serve with crackers, or a fork, whatev. I was craving this the whole dang week after I had it.
Cranberry Sauce (modified from Cooks Illustrated)
3/4 cup orange juice (or water)
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 Tb grated orange zest
1 bag fresh or thawed frozen cranberries (12 ounces)
In a medium saucepan, combine first 4 ingredients; bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring constantly, until sugar dissolves.
Add cranberries and continue simmering until cranberries pop and mixture has thickened; about 5 minutes.
Off heat, stir in 2 tb orange liqueur (Grand Marnier or Triple Sec)
After Thanksgiving Soup:
(best when prepared with Jake's wild turkey, but he didn't get one this year, bummer)
Place turkey carcass (as much of it as you can fit) into a large crock pot. Cover with water and a splash of apple cider vinegar (leaving room at top to boil), and heat on high until mix starts to boil. Turn on low, and forget about it for a while (or overnight).
Strain the broth, picking out all the decent meat off the bones, and save for the soup.
*The vinegar removes a lot of minerals from the bones, making the broth super rich and the bones really soft. I feed the softest, mushiest ones to the dogs for treats.
Cool the broth until the fat is solid and can be removed with a spoon; put fat aside in a bowl.
In large dutch oven/soup kettle, sautee in 1/2 cup of the reserved fat (or butter) until tender but crisp:
1 medium onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, sliced
2 carrots, sliced (+/-, we like a lot of carrots)
2 cups sliced mushrooms (the hen of the woods we find across the street are always nice, but you can use white or baby portabellas, whatever you can forage at the grocery store, lol!)
Reduce heat, and sprinkle in 1/2 cup flour, stirring until bubbly and well mixed. Add broth slowly, stirring constantly. Bring to a boil, and add:
2 cups cooked wild rice
2 cups half and half (or heavy cream, or even whole milk if you prefer. It's all good.)
2 cups cooked, diced turkey
Parsley, pepper, garlic powder, dill, and chicken base to taste
Simmer for 30 minutes.
Jacob wanted me to add this one:
Jacob's "Da Bomb" (don't ask) Peppermint Fudge:
2 bags (11 oz) Ande's Candies chips
2 bags (12 oz) chocolate chips (your choice: milk, chocolate, semisweet, whatever you fancy)
2 14 oz cans sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp peppermint extract
Heat the above in a large, heavy pan (we used our largest dutch oven), stirring constantly until melted and well incorporated. Pour into a 9x13 inch pan lined with wax paper. Crush as many peppermint candies as you feel like (up to a cup), and press into top of soft fudge. Cool slightly, and cut into 1 inch squares. Chill.