Tuesday, November 20, 2012

10 Recipes for Thanksgiving

Sweet Potato Biscuits with Honey Butter
Sweet Potato Biscuits with Honey Butter
I'm really excited about this Thanksgiving!  I'm a traditionalist when it comes to the menu, so I've got to have my roast turkey, gravy, potatoes, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, and stuffing.  And lots of apple cider.  The vegetables and desserts can change.   One odd tradition my family has is fried shrimp.  That's right, batter-fried shrimp, on Thanksgiving.  I once asked my mom where the recipe came from, and she said she heard it on a Chinese-language radio program.  You know, back in the old days when folks  used the radio for entertainment.  But my siblings and I demand the shrimp.  And I always make an effort to watch the parade.  The Macy's parade in New York, of course!

Cranberry Apple Relish
Cranberry-Apple Relish recipe follows jump
One other tradition is what my twin sis and I called "Dinner Number Two" as kids, long before I heard of Second Breakfast.  My mom used to insist on serving dinner at 2 p.m. so she could clean up and enjoy the rest of Thanksgiving.  Weird, I know.  By the time night came, sis and I were hungry again.  We would eagerly reheat another plate full of Thanksgiving dinner and eat it in front of the TV, in the later years with reruns of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Ah, good times.  These days Joe isn't really up for a second dinner with Fresh Prince reruns, but we still make all our favorite dishes.  What are some of your quirky Thanksgiving traditions?

Thanksgiving Collage

But you came for the recipes, not to listen to my babble.  Here are a few I've blogged, and a few tried and true that I recommend.  They're not terribly fancy, since I like the classics.  Happy eatins'.

1. Maple-Glazed Apple Crostata. For apple pie goodness that's quicker to throw together.
2. Pumpkin Cupcakes with Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting. Seasonal and lightly spiced.
3. Chocolate-Covered Pecan Bars. When you're feeling super indulgent.
4. Sweet Potato Biscuits with Honey Butter. Don't skip the honey butter. You'll be sorry you did.
5. Pecan Tassies. Not as eye-catching as the pecan bars, but way better and lighter.

6. Dry-Brined Turkey. I'm not a fan of finding a vat big enough to hold a turkey and gallons of liquid. And refrigerator space is prime real estate on Turkey Day. This dry brining from the LA Times is much easier and gives you a flavorful, moist bird.
7. Country Bread and Sage Dressing. I've made this Bobby Flay recipe on a few Thanksgivings. The sausage gives it nice flavor, but I've also omitted the sausage and swapped the chicken stock for vegetable stock for vegetarians. I like to add a diced Golden delicious apple, and toast the bread briefly in the oven first before proceeding with the recipe.
8. Dorie's Pumpkin Pie (or Tart). I haven't had the chance to do a new photo for this one, but don't be put off by my awful photography from 2008. This is my all-time favorite pumpkin pie, and I've made it many times. My mom prefers it warmed in the oven, but I like it cold from the fridge and dolloped with whipped cream. You decide.
9. Foolproof Turkey Gravy. It sounds so simple to make, but gravy is also easy to mess up.  This Mad Hungry recipe helps you get it right.
10. Linda's Cranberry Apple Relish.  I'll admit it.  I love canned cranberry sauce.  Previous attempts at homemade cranberry sauce didn't wow me, but this relish is good enough to eat alone by the spoonful.  Recipe after the jump!

I love this recipe from my co-worker Linda!  I tried to substitute the apple juice concentrate with apple cider, but it's just not the same.  There's less apple flavor and you wind up having to use more brown sugar.  Go with this recipe as is.

Linda's Cranberry-Apple Relish
12-ounce can of frozen apple juice concentrate, thawed
3 tbs. brown sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
1 bag cranberries
3 Golden delicious apples, peeled, cored, and diced
Squirt of agave syrup, optional

Heat the apple juice concentrate with the brown sugar and cinnamon sticks until boiling, then add the cranberries.  Simmer until most of the berries have popped.  Discard the cinnamon sticks and stir in the apples and agave syrup, if using.  Chill in refrigerator until ready to use.


  1. I'm imagining that relish served over a scoop of vanilla ice cream--ooh, yum. Or maybe with a little crumble on top! On a grilled cheese? Yes, that too! I'm glad you finally found a homemade cranberry recipe you like! :)

    1. I've been thinking about cranberry on grilled cheese ever since I saw your post! Vanilla ice cream sounds good too.

  2. Wow that Maple-Glazed Apple Crostata looks so good, making me hungry now

  3. Wowo everything looks super super delicious.

  4. omg! everything in this collection looks fantastic! i really want to get my hands on #3 ;)
    -abeer @ www.cakewhiz.com

    1. haha I think that's everybody's favorite photo.

  5. Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! I love our mom's idea of serving dinner at 2pm and enjoy the rest of the evening! :) Everything looks so good.... I wish I had Thanksgiving feast!

    1. It must be a mom thing, right? Nobody else wants dinner at 2:00. lol Mine was nice, thanks. I ended up getting sick, but it was nice to be with family for the holiday. I bet your Taiwan travels made up for the lack of holiday feast, though.


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