Saturday, November 27, 2010

Pumpkin Cheesecake

I made a pumpkin cheesecake for Thanksgiving dessert! It was a WIN, despite the fact that I forgot to serve it with the brown-butter pears! I used the recipe from Food & Wine's November 2010 issue. Can I say that the hardest part of making this cheesecake had nothing to do with the ingredients or making of the cheesecake, but in creating a watertight seal for the spring form pan. Man, I was so proud of myself when after 4 tests, I finally succeeded in creating a watertight seal for that pan.



The crust (crushed gingersnap cookies):

The spring form pan seal:

The water bath:

Pomegranate Glazed Organic Roasted Heritage Turkey

This year, I shelled out the bucks for an organic heritage turkey. It cost 3x more, but we had a pregnant woman in the family and what the pregnant woman wants, she gets. Like in years pass, I followed Alton's Brown no-fail roasted turkey method. It include brining the turkey in salted vegetable stock overnight, roasting at 500 degrees and then 350 until the meat reaches temperature. It's much quicker and juicier than the traditional 6-8hr slow roast.

Same as last year, I used the pomegranate glaze to baste the turkey. It helps the nice color, crispiness and glaze of the turkey.

After sitting in the brine overnight, the turkey rinsed and dried:

The herb rub and aromatics (I stuff the turkey with the aromatics along with a bunch of sage and rosemary):

The herb-rubbed turkey:

After 30 minutes:

As you can see, the turkey is nice and brown. After lowering the heat, I removed the foil to cook the breast to temperature:

Thanksgiving 2010

We had another successful Thanksgiving meal :) The key is in the prep. I started food prep on Tuesday and thanks to all the planning, everything turned out delicious, especially the pumpkin cheesecake (everyone loved it). We also had organic turkey this year and I tackled the cornbread and sweet potato casserole for the first time. I tried to replicate Boston Market's and my brother said I made it better than them :) Yay for another great Thanksgiving meal!

I cooked the food, and transported it to my brother's place. His gf took care of the turkey ham, mashed potato & gravy, pies, and veggies. The photos here were taken with my phone, so sorry for them not being as great as the photos I took at home with the D-SLR...

The Menu:

Pomegranate Glazed Organic Heirloom Turkey
Turkey Ham (not picured)

Mashed Potatoes & Gravy
Sweet Potato topped with Oats Casserole
Cranberry Sauce
Green Beans
7 Cheeses Mac & Cheese

Apple Pie ala Mode
Pumpkin Pie
Pumpkin Cheesecake
Pumpkin Mochi

The table:

(the covered dish is a crab plate my aunt made. It's covered because we had a seafood allergic person in the family)

Carving the turkey:

My first plate of food:

Food prep schedule:
Tuesday night I started by making the turkey brine and began grating 3 kinds of cheeses. Wednesday I made the pumpkin cheesecake, continued grating more cheeses, and made the cranberry sauce. Before hitting the bed on Wednesday night, I dropped the turkey into the brine in the fridge overnight. Thursday morning, I rinsed the turkey from the brine, made the sweet potato casserole, mac & cheese, cornbread, and of course roasted the turkey. Yay for planning!

7 Cheeses Mac & Cheese (A family favorite)

Everyone really loves this dish, and although it takes a lot of effort and trips to 3 different stores to gather all the cheeses together, it is so worth it. The recipe can be found here. I only make this for Thanksgiving, hehe. It tastes even better as leftovers, yummy in everyone's tummy!

All the cheeses (minus the mozzarella) ready to shred. I started shredding as early as Tuesday, continued shredding on Wednesday, and finished the last of the shredding on Thursday morning:

All the cheeses shredded:

All mixed up:

Ready for the oven:

Cooking in the oven (we were running about 30 minutes behind schedule because of this dish):

Cranberry Sauce

I used the same (no-fail) recipe. I made it on Wednesday and heated it up before the meal.

10 oz. cranberries (washed and picked through)
1/2 cup water boiled
Zest and juice of one orange

1. Bring water, zest, juice, and sugar to boil - stirring until sugar is dissolved
2. Add cranberries into the boiling water until they explode
3. Lower heat and simmer

Sweet Potato Casserole

I soured the web for a recipe to replicate the Boston Market's sweet potato casserole. And I found one - the secret in addition to the crumb oat topping - is a secret, haha. It turned out really, really good.
Sweet potatoes scrubbed and washed:

Bake in oven for 60 minutes until tender:

Prepare the oat crumb topping:

Add ingredients to sweet potatoes:

Ready for the pan:

Place in dish and ready to bake (a layer of a little something special added between the sweet potatoes and crumb topping).

Bake for about 65 minutes. Remove from oven. Add mini marshmallows and let melt.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Meet My Marshmallow Zombies

I saw these on a blog, and decided to create my own.  How cute are they?