Monday, November 29, 2010

jams, jellies and sweets galore

My Austin Thanksgiving in numbers this year:

42 famished guests

25 pounds of Becca's
(my grandmother)
famous cornbread dressing

10 delicious desserts (cakes, pies, trifles, cookies and tarts)

3 beautifully set tables of 10 (the others had to find a spot)

3 roasted turkeys, 1 ham

a never-ending Longhorn/Aggie fued

...and a partridge in a pear tree

Amongst the chaos, the spread was mouthwatering and bountiful. Our contributions to the meal included:

Truffle Roasted Turkey

[Seriously the best turkey I've ever had in my life. No chopping, no basting, no guess work. Pull turkey out at 150 degrees to allow for carry-over cooking. Thanks, Ina.]

Roasted Brussels and Rutabaga with a Hazelnut Brown Butter

[There is nothing better than caramelized brussels sprouts to me. Sweet, tangy roasted rutabaga and hazelnut brown butter were icing on the cake.]

Roasted Cauliflower with Gruyere, Capers and an Anchovy Vinaigrette

[Some of my favorite flavors wrapped up in one gratin dish.]

Sweet Potatoes with Ginger, Orange and Clove

[Baked sweet potatoes are baked, peeled then sliced and layered with fresh ginger, orange peel, cinnamon, clove, a sprinkling of marshmallows and a touch of turbinado.]

After a short drive, we placed our dishes amongst an already-full table of:

Turkey, Ham
Scratch-Made Gravy
Mashed Potatoes
Corn Pudding
Cornbread Stuffing
Green Bean Casserole
Pecan and Brown Sugar Sweet Potatoes
Cranberry Orange Sauce
Waldorf Salad
Yeast Rolls
Potato Rolls

And don't forget about dessert....

My contribution:

Fresh Cranberry Tart with a Maker's Mark Glaze

[buttery, tart and full bodied] accompany the table of sweets bursting with:

Apple Pie
Chocolate Pecan Pie
Pecan Pie
Pumpkin Pie
Apple Crumb Pie
Chocolate Kahlua Trifle
Autumn Cookies
Banana Cake with Pecans
As a result of my oversized meal finished with sweets, coffee and wine...I fell in a turkey trance quite quickly.

After a cooking day of rest, I pulled out my baking sheets, parchment, saucepans and more to create a dozen Linguine and Dirty Martinis Homemade for the Holidays gifts.

This first treat is oh-so-simple. We had extra fresh cranberries leftover from Thanksgiving along with several bright lemons. Voila!

Cranberry Lemon Jam
yields approximately 6 cups

2 cups fresh cranberries
rind of 2 lemons, thinly sliced
2.5 cups sugar
3 cups water

Reduce all ingredients in a medium saucepan until reduced by half-- approximately 1 hour. Let cool completely then package in jars or chill and serve.

After I packaged this bright and tart jam, I simmered plump blackberries with sliced jalapeno, black pepper, sugar and water to create the perfect topping for cocktail party treats:

Blackberry and Jalapeno Compote

This amethyst-hued delight has a kick of hot pepper that packs a punch. Not for the faint of taste buds!

Next treat to create are holiday staples: Spiced Nuts. These are a sweet and spicy version given depth with an enhancement of nutmeg and fresh rosemary.

Rosemary Spiced Mixed Nuts

yields 1.5 cups

3 T light corn syrup
1.5 T sugar
3/4 t kosher salt
1/4 t fresh ground pepper
1/8 t cayenne
1/8 t ground nutmeg
1 t fresh rosemary, minced
1.5 cups mixed roasted and salted nuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients thoroughly in a bowl. Spread into a greased baking sheet in an even layer. Bake approximately 8 minutes until coating is bubbly and nuts are golden.

Spread mixture atop parchment paper in an even layer and let cool completely. Before packaging or serving, break up cooled nuts with hands to separate.

If saving treats for your own use, add cheeses, fruit and vino for a cocktail party in a flash!


1 comment:

Weekend Cowgirl said...

This food is all so lovely! Cannot wait to taste the jelly!!