Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Rose is coming, hooray! Also: recipes for a feast.

Monday, one of my students gave me a great compliment...kind of: "Ms. Kiley, aren't you teaching English 111?" I told him I wasn't, because I'm better at the artistic side of composition than strict rhetorical forms (the focus of 111 is rhetoric and research). "Well," he replied, "I was going to take it with you. If my teacher next semester sucks, I'm going to be mad at you." Hee! Then a few other students added that they had tried to register to take 111 with me, too, and were disapointed to see that I wasn't teaching it. Aw! It's nice to be appreciated.

We're at that point in the semester when I start to panic just a little--the point when time is running out and I have tons of papers to grade and finals to complete. Aaaaiieeeeeee!

Well, I don't have time to worry about that right now, because Rose is coming. Hooray! First she'll fly from San Diego to DC and hang out with her friends there. Then she and her friend Ted will rent a car and drive down here. In honor of her visit, I've been picking out recipes for Thanksgiving dinner, and buying supplies. I even decided to do a little decorating. Okay, perhaps that's not the best use of time when there's too much to do, but our living room had zero decorations. I've stayed at hotels with warmer decores. At Wal-Mart I spent $12 on picture frames and a couple of dollars on acid-free paper. Then I printed out a black-and-white photo I took a few years ago. I cut out the paper, layered and glued it to make a little wall art. Ta-da! (Note to self: Straighten those pictures. They are crooked!)

Below are the recipes I plan to use for Thanksgiving dinner, adjusted from recipes found random places on the internet (I forgot to write it down). Travel safely and have a happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

• 1 whole turkey, neck and giblets removed
• kosher salt
• 1/2 cup butter, melted
• fruit (I chopped an apple and cut the peel and skin off an orange and lemon.)
• onion, peeled and chopped
• thyme
• bay leaves
• dry white wine
• Optional: celery, chopped and carrots**

1. Rub the turkey inside and out with the kosher salt. (Last year, the turkey was too frozen to rub inside, so I just rubbed outside. Place the bird in a large stock pot, and cover with cold water. (You can also use a thick plastic bag inside the roasting pan.) Place in the refrigerator, and allow the turkey to soak in the salt and water mixture 12 hours, or overnight.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Thoroughly rinse the turkey, and discard the brine mixture.
3. 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 fruit. Scatter the vegetables, bay leaves and thyme around the bottom of the roasting pan, and cover with the white wine.
4. Roast uncovered 3 1/2 to 4 hours in the preheated oven, until the internal temperature of the thigh reaches 180 degrees F (85 degrees C). 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.

Mashed Potatoes-
1 1/2 lbs yukon gold potatoes, peeled and quartered length-wise
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 Tbsp heavy cream
2 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp milk
Salt and Pepper
A potato masher

1. Put potatoes into a saucepan. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add water until potatoes are covered. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer, covered, 15-20 minutes, or until done - a fork can easily be poked through them.
2. Warm cream and melt butter, together, either in microwave or in a pan on the stove. Drain water from potatoes. Put hot potatoes into a bowl. Add cream and melted butter. Use potato masher to mash potatoes until well mashed. Use a strong spoon to beat further, adding milk to achieve the consistency you desire. (Do not over-beat or your potatoes will get gluey.) Salt and pepper to taste. [Edited to add- Rosa ended up making the potatoes. She fixed a whole lot more potatoes and added fresh roasted garlic and a bunch of low-fat sour cream instead of heavy cream.Yum!]

Candied Yams
* 1 (29 ounce) canned yams
* 1/4 cup butter, cut into pieces
* 1/2 cup brown sugar
* 1 1/2 cups miniature marshmallows

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
2. Drain yams. Place sweet potatoes in a medium baking dish and mash slightly. Distribute butter pieces evenly over the sweet potatoes. Sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon to taste. Layer with miniature marshmallows. [Edited to add- Rosa ended up picking out some of the butter. She did not approve of the suggested quantity.]
3. Cover and bake in the preheated oven 25 minutes, or until sweet potatoes are tender and marshmallows have melted. Hint- spray foil with Pam. Remove foil and bake a few minutes to brown marshmallows.

Macaroni and Cheese
* 5 cups cooked macaroni (8 ounces raw)
* 4 tablespoons butter
* 4 tablespoons flour
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1/8 pepper, or to taste
* 2 cups milk
* 3/4 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
* paprika, optional

In a saucepan, melt butter over medium-low heat. Stir flour into the butter until smooth and bubbly. Stir in salt. Gradually add milk, stirring constantly. continue to cook, stirring constantly, until thickened. Add cheese and continue to cook and stir until melted. In an 8x10-inch baking dish, alternate layers of macaroni and cheese sauce. Sprinkle with paprika, if desired. (Toss some buttered bread crumbs if you want to add a little crunch.) Bake in a preheated 350° oven for 20 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.
Serves 6.

Crock Pot Stuffing
5 c. bread cubes
1 c. chopped celery (or to taste)
½ c. chopped onions (or to taste)
½ tsp. Sage
¼ tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
½ c. chicken broth (or more. Enough to moisten the the bread.)
up to ¼ c. melted butter

1-Combine all ingredients but butter. Mix well. Toss with butter.
2- Spoon into slow cooker. Cook on low 4-5 hrs.
Note: The portion is rather small because I have the 1.5 quart Crock Pot. If you have a big one, triple it!

[Rose ended up adding a lettuce salad with cranberry goat cheese, raisins, raspberry vinaigrette, and who knows what else, and she baked some salmon with an awesome marinade. I've got to get the recipes!]

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