Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Post Card from New York: Happy Thanksgiving!

This year I spent my favorite holiday, Thanksgiving, back in New York. Whats not to love about Thanksgiving--all you can eat delicious food surrounded with family and friends! Its been a while since my whole family was together to celebrate this delectable tradition and the night was truly a success. The process of Thanksgiving shopping usually starts 3 days before the big day. Thanksgiving always falls on the fourth Thursday of November, so that previous Monday off to the market we go. While Turkey is the main event of the night all the fix-ins and the starters are my favorite!

Starters Menu: Artichokes, Meat and Cheese Plate, Pumpkin Bread

1. Steamed Artichokes with Breadcrumbs and Grated Parmesan

Recipe and Method: (serves 10)

1. 4 artichokes
2. 1 cup Parmesan
3. 4 tablespoons of seasoned bread crumbs
4. 3 tablespoons of butter
5. 3-4 garlic cloves
6. 2 lemons
7. salt

Cut the stems of the artichokes off so that they will properly balance in a big pot. Grate 1 cup of Parmesan cheese. Put the artichokes in a pot filled with about 2 inches of water. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of seasoned bread crumbs on top of each of the artichokes. Then sprinkle on 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese evenly on top of each artichoke respectively. Place a cover on top of the pot and let the artichokes steam for about 40-45 minutes. You will know when they are ready when you can easily pull out one of the pieces. After the artichokes are ready remove the lid of the pot and sprinkle the rest of the Parmesan cheese on top of the artichoke. The petals of the artichoke should have opened up even more so the cheese will sink down into each piece. Then place the lid over the pot, but this time the fire of the stove should be off. Because of the resonating steam the cheese will melt down into each petal. After 2 minutes remove the artichokes from the pot. Be careful though they will be hot!

For the artichoke dip: chop the garlic cloves very finely. Melt the butter and mix in the finely chopped garlic. Squeeze in lemon to taste and add salt the same. You are ready to serve!

2. Cheese and Meat Plate

1. Prosciutto
2. Melon
3. Salami
4. Truffle Cheese
5. Manchego
6. A beautiful platter

3. Pumpkin Bread

Recipe and Method:

1. 3 1/2 cups flour
2. 2 tsp baking soda
3. 1 1/2 tsp salt
4. 2 tsp cinnamon ( i always put extra)
5. 2 tsp nutmeg
6. 1 tsp pumpkin spice (optional)
7. 2-3 cups sugar (brown sugar can also be used)
8. 1 cup oil
9. 4 eggs
10. 2/3 cups water
11. 1 lb canned pumpkin

Preheat your oven to 350 F. Sift all dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, pumpkin spice, sugar) together in a big mixing bowl.
Spices should be measured in heaping spoons. Then add the four eggs, 2/3 cup of water, and 1 lb of canned pumpkin to the bowl. Mix all the ingredients with a wooden spoon until smooth. Pour the mixture into either a loaf pan or a bunt cake pan, whichever you prefer. Bake until spongy, which depending on the pan can take anywhere from 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes. I like to garnish with clementines or cranberries for color!

Mains Menu: Turkey, Stuffing and Veggies

1. Turkey

Recipe and Method:

1. Turkey (usually get 2 pounds per person)
2. Fresh Rosemary
3. Fresh Thyme
4. Fresh Sage
5. Paprika
6. Butter
7. Olive Oil
8. Chicken Stock
9. Salt
10. Red Wine
11. Rock Salt

Clean the Turkey, by rubbing it with rock salt and then showering it will cold water. You need to marinate the turkey the day before serving it to properly get the flavours of the fresh herbs. After the turkey is clean rub it with butter. I usually use about half a stick, but it depends on how much of a butter fan you are. Then rub the turkey with about 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Chop up your rosemary, sage and thyme into small pieces and rub the spices on the the turkey. I usually put extra rosemary because its my favorite herb, but the ratio is entirely up to your taste buds. Then pour about half a cup of red wine over the turkey and salt to taste. Sprinkle on the paprika at the end, cover the turkey with foil and shove it in the refrigerator over night. When its time to cook preheat your oven to 400, give yourself about 20 minutes-1/2 hour of cooking time for every pound of turkey you have. Baste your turkey with chicken stock every 45 minutes-1 hour to keep it moist. When your turkey is done change the oven from a bake to a broil. Broil until the top of the turkey is that perfect color brown, the paprika will give you the beautiful colour. Let it rest for 5 minutes before you carve.

For veggies go simple and colourful: potatoes, carrots, brussels sprouts, corn and yams. Since the turkey has a lot of flavour, don't overdo the veggies with spice. Instead chop them into small cubes and take out some of the turkey juice as a marinate. Roast the veggies alongside the turkey. Stuffing is essential, we usually throw in some sausages for that extra kick (For you veggies out there add in mushrooms). Cranberry sauce is a must to accompany the turkey. Plus it makes the table look even prettier :-)!

Dessert: Pie

No thanksgiving dinner is complete without apple pie and pecan pie a la mode. I'm sorry I don't have a recipe for you. Ours is usually store bought. Oops! But a tip to serving apple pie, make sure you heat it up enough so that the inside is as warm as the outside. This usually takes at least 15 minutes in the oven, even when the pie is ready. Serve your pie with a heaping scoop of vanilla ice cream!

And of course no Thanksgiving Dinner is complete without a game of Charades! Split your group up by boy v. girl or by age. The hardest movie this year in Charades was Limitless; the most fun to act out was Kung Fu Panda....just a suggestion :-). Enjoy!

Posted By Ameesha Mansukhani. Ameesha is a free lance writer who recently moved to Bombay from New York. Her favorite sin? Gluttony of course :-)


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