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Monday, November 20, 2006

My Favorite Thanksgiving Recipes

We are heading to Toledo for Thanksgiving this year, and since we are 1. arriving so late (Wednesday night), and 2. not having it at our own house, things are scaled down at bit. BUT, there are some things that we ALWAYS need to have at a Wiley Thanksgiving:

Other favorites that we LIKE to have, but will be absent this year:

Moppy's Cheesy Potatoes
Moppy is Michael's mom (we call his dad Poppy, and the kids have so many grandmothers that we had to get creative with names). She makes this for nearly every special occasion. It is basically a heart attack in a bowl, but it's AWESOME.

5 lbs. potatoes (she uses russets), peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks
1 block Philly cream cheese
1 stick butter
salt and pepper to taste
milk as needed
8 oz. bag of shredded cheese (we use sharp cheddar)

Cook potatoes in boiling, salted water until tender. Add cream cheese, stick of butter, salt and pepper. Mash until smooth. (We use a masher. Moppy uses an electric beater.) If too thick, add some milk. Place into an oven proof serving dish. Pour shredded cheese over the top. This can be refrigerated at this point. When you are ready to serve, heat it in a 350 degree oven until the potatoes are heated through and the cheese is melted.
(You can also put the mashed potatoes into a crockpot and then cover with cheese. This will keep all day on low. This is a great option if your oven is filled with other items.)

Cranberry Horseradish Relish

This is from the 1994 Thanksgiving Bon Appetit. It is one of our favorites. The tangy flavor provides an excellent foil to the rich turkey. My sister-in-law is vegetarian, but she eats this with EVERYTHING. She especially loves it with the creamed corn.

2 cups cranberries (about 8 ounces)
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup prepared horseradish
1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

Chop berries with sugar in a food processor. Place it into a bowl. Add horseradish and lemon juice, and mix well. Cover with plastic wrap and chill it for at least 1 day. (Can be made up to
5 days ahead). You are correct in reading that the cranberries are raw in this recipe. If this relish doesn't sit for at least 24 hours, it will be too crunchy.

Cook's Illustrated Cranberry Sauce
Every Thanksgiving, my mom made homemade cranberry sauce. And, while some of the berries were sweet and delicious, there are always plenty that were almost too tart to bear. After I found this recipe by Cook's Illustrated in 1999, the too-tart berry became a thing of the past. The secret? Salt!! The salt brings out the sweetness from EVERY cranberry, yielding the perfect cranberry sauce.

3/4 cup water
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 12oz.bag of cranberries, picked through

Bring water, sugar and salt to a boil in a medium pot over high heat. Stir occasionally to insure that the sugar dissolves and doesn't burn. Once dissolved, stir in cranberries and return the mixture to a boil. Lower the heat to medium and simmer until the sauce thickens. You want about 2/3 of the berries to pop open. (CI says this takes about five minutes. I ALWAYS cook it longer, because I like a thicker sauce.) Pour the sauce into a bowl (not metal) and chill. This can be prepared up to seven days in advance. CI recommends serving it at room temperature, but I like it nice and cold.


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