Tuesday, November 29, 2011

I Am Thankful...

Happy Belated Thanksgiving, everyone.

It has been a busy weekend/week for me.  I accomplished quite a lot with my extended weekend, albeit obviously not in terms of blogging.  And not in terms of work, either, which means I was completely burred when I got back.  Hence my not writing until a full week after Thanksgiving.

I am thankful for words like hence and albeit.  They are fun and make me happy.

I did have a food filled Thanksgiving.  I didn't get to cook, so it wasn't all local, but it was made by friends and family which makes it good.  I didn't make that much, and didn't stress myself out, and did all my cooking thanksgiving morning during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.  And the start of the dog show afterwards.

I am thankful for the dog show, because I always try to pick out the kinds of dogs that my mutt is made up of.  I'm less thankful when my husband turns off the dog show to put on football, especially because neither of us really likes football.

I also did a little bit of black Friday shopping.  No, I am not a crazy person.  I firmly believe that Midnight is a time for getting ready for bed (or getting another round), not a time to start shopping.  I don't believe I actually ever left my house on Black Friday.  I may not have ever even put on real pants.  But I still got in just a smidg of shopping.  Only a present for me... but a really good present.

I bought a chest freezer!

I am thankful for my chest freezer, even if I don't have it yet.

I also spent the good part of Sunday cleaning my basement to make room for the chest freezer.  I am less thankful for that.

It doesn't get delivered until 12/10, but I am anxiously waiting.  I'm already making a list in my head of all the things I am going to buy/make to put in it.  My freezer has been so full that I haven't had room to make ice cream, and I LOVE making ice cream.  I'm thinking cranberry ice cream to start... 

For Thanksgiving, I made a cranberry apple chutney, and a sweet potato goat cheese dip.  Both were excellent, easy, and quick - which is important in a holiday food.  One of my biggest pet peeves is going to someone else's house for a food related gathering, and then having to beg for room in the oven or on the stove or whatever to finish up my food.  Worse is when people come to my house and do that, because I always have my oven space carefully planned out and I feel like I have to give it up to them or be a bad friend.

Remember that, people who come to my house for food.  If you need oven space, ask me for it ahead of time so I can plan!

Cranberry Apple Chutney
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 large onion, chopped (1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 2 bay leafs
  • 2 stick cinnamon
  • 1 cup honey
  • 4 cups fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup dried apricots, diced
  • 1 cup apricot nectar
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 large apples, peeled, cored, and cut in 1/2-inch dice
Melt butter in a large sauce pan, and add onions, ginger, allspice, bay leaf, and cinnamon.  Cook over low heat, until onions are translucent and soft - about 10 to 15 minutes. 

Stir in honey, cranberries, apricots, nectar, lemon zest and juice, salt, and pepper. Stir mixture to combine well, then bring to a boil over high heat; reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 25 minutes. Stir in apples. Continue to simmer 10 to 15 minutes longer, stirring once or twice, or until apples are tender yet still hold their shape.

Remove from heat and transfer to a serving bowl. Cover surface of chutney with plastic wrap. Cool at room temperature 30 minutes, then refrigerate several hours until well chilled and chutney has set up. (Chutney can be made up to 3 days before serving and stored in the refrigerator.)

 Sweet Potato and Goat Cheese Dip
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 whole head garlic
  • 4 cups sweet potato, peeled and cubed
  • 1 (11 ounce) log goat cheese
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • honey to taste
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cut the top off of the garlic head and place on a square of aluminum foil.  Drizzle the olive oil over the garlic, and season well with salt and pepper.  Wrap the aluminum foil around the garlic and seal tightly.  Bake the garlic for about 45 minutes, or until soft.  Allow to cool, and then pop each garlic clove out of it's little garlic pocket.

Steam sweet potatoes until soft.  Place in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, and beat until whipped.  Add goat cheese, lemon, and spices.  Beat again until well combined.  Taste, and season with salt, pepper, and honey as desired.

I served this both with pretzel chips, and homemade graham crackers (recipe to come!)

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