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Posts Tagged ‘Thanksgiving’

Roast Chicken

In by Amy, Foodie Fridays, Foodie's Choice, This is Why John's Fat. on November 27 at 6:20 pm

A.k.a, “The First Foodie Friday,” “John’s Fat Chicken,” “John’s Signature Dish,” and “The Chicken Yang Yang and Mark Finished to the Bone”

Cooking time: 1 hour 30 minutes | Originally enjoyed on: Some Friday in September 2008

To supplement my family’s Thanksgiving turkey, I made the classic foodie favorite: roast chicken.

Nothing flavors chicken like thyme and hard work.

This recipe is near and dear to our hearts because it was the first dish that started the Foodie Friday tradition. John and Katherine were talking one day, and John suggested that he roast a chicken for dinner for a few friends. Katherine agreed and invited Yang Yang, and John called Mark and Paul. The rest is history.

I myself have made the chicken twice for the past two Thanksgivings. We use this recipe, with a few modifications. When John makes it, he remains faithful to the full-fledged butter and bacon strips; I am terrified of the high fat content these things carry, however, and thus omit the bacon and substitute in Smart Balance for the butter. I should mention that this is the dish that showcased John’s predilection for fat: upon my asking how he cooked the mushrooms, he famously  replied, “Chicken fat, bacon fat, and butter.”

The key to moist meat is to basting; make sure you baste every 20-25 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.

My favorite part of the dish is the vegetables. You can also include potatoes in the same pan. There’s no need to use olive oil or butter, just season with salt, pepper, and herbs and let the chicken drippings do their magic. I use a roasting pan with a rack at home, which makes room for a lot more tasty vegetables.

If you’re looking for a simple way to venture into the roasting world, this recipe is an excellent choice. Happy roasting!

Cranberry Almond Spinach Salad

In by Amy, Foodie Fridays, The Everyday Foodie on November 25 at 10:57 pm

Cooking Time: 20 minutes | Originally enjoyed on: 11/22/2009

This past Sunday, the Foodies gathered for one of the most epic Foodie Fridays ever: Thanksgiving Pre-Party. With over seventeen guests in attendance, we approached this one differently by making it a potluck. We had a ball stuffing ourselves full of delicious food and enjoying the fantastic view from Paul/Mark/Neil’s fantastic apartment.

The courses had an approximate $10 budget and included: dinner rolls, chips and dip, sautéed mushrooms, green bean casserole, garlic mashed potatoes, mac and cheese, salad, baked spaghetti with olives and cilantro, ham, turkey, salmon, vegetable stir-fry, home-made cranberry sauce, stuffing, candied yams, pumpkin pie, pumpkin cheesecake, ice cream, and roasted squash.

View from the apartment of our wonderful hosts, Mark, Paul, and Neil. True story.

Oh, and for the over 21 crowd, “Indian beer” and wine.

In honor of remembering that dinner and the holidays, I’m posting one of the dishes I made for the potluck: cranberry almond salad with a sweet cider and vinegar dressing.

Cranberry almond salad with sweet dressing; picture from

I first had this salad one year ago when I attended a smaller pre-Thanksgiving gathering with Anna S. and friends. It was the best homemade salad I had ever tasted, and  I’ve reproduced that dish several times after. You can find the recipe at the original site.

The recipe is very simple, but the ingredients tend to add up. I recommend buying the poppy seeds and sesame in bulk (a la Whole Foods or Berkeley Bowl). You can also find dried cranberries and pre-roasted almonds at Trader Joe’s for an extremely reasonable price. Lastly, I usually use more cranberries and almonds in my salad than the recipe calls for, so don’t be afraid to vary the proportion of dry ingredients to salad to match your taste.

Roasted Garlic Mmmmashed Potatoes

In by Deanne, Cooking for N00bs, The Classic Foodie on November 23 at 2:24 pm
To continue the “old school” trend, I adapted another recipe from my Good Housekeeping Illustrated Cookbook, circa-1980, this time with  mashed potatoes. What is there to adapt you ask? The part about adding the heavenly scent of oven-roasted stinking roses:

Roasted Garlic with drizzled olive oil and rosemary. And a couple of burnt cloves in the back--whoopsie poopsie! :P

Roasted garlic is also very easy to make, and will make a huge difference in your mashed potatoes (that is, if you are as much of a fan of garlic as I am). Simply peel away the outer layers of an entire garlic head without the individual cloves falling apart, cut off the tops so all cloves are exposed, and then pour at least a tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil on top (the more the merrier). Make sure to rub it in for an even distribution of olive oil. I recommend adding extra herbs on top; I used rosemary. Wrap the garlic up in foil and scrunch it all up tightly. Put it into the oven heated 400 degrees, leave it in for 40 minutes or so. When it’s time, take the garlic out and squeeze the delicious roasted garlic pulp out of the individual cloves. For this recipe, set the garlic aside for now.

Creamy roasted garlic mashed potatoes!

The potato part is also very straight-forward. I used fourteen medium-sized Russets, since it’s for a feast. I was too lazy to skin them beforehand so I boiled them with the skin on. I haven’t tried this technique myself, but according to a Japanese TV show I saw on Youtube, if you score all around the potato’s middle, then boil, set it in cold water for a few minutes, the potato will literally pop out when you squeeze it (I wish I knew about this earlier! It would have saved me 40 minutes). Set the potatoes in a big pot of cold water almost to the top with a teaspoon of salt. When it boils, lower the heat down to a simmer. Simmer for 30 minutes. Drain, wash in cold water, peel, and then set about putting your potatoes through the ricer for an easier time of mashing. Ricers also make potatoes fluffier. Handy dandy tip: remember your roasted garlic? Now put it in between layers of potato in the ricer, squeeze–and Voila! Your garlic is now evenly incorporated into the mashed potatoes! No one will accidentally get a mouthful of clove! Yay! Now mix in a teaspoon of salt, some black pepper, a cup of hot milk, and 1/2 cup of butter. Good job, you now have a pot of roasted garlic mashed potatoes! Fancy-schmancy!

Old School Pecan Pie

In by Deanne, Cooking for N00bs, Dessert First, The Classic Foodie on November 21 at 10:16 pm

Since Thanksgiving is coming up, it might be helpful to know an ol’ trick or two. This classic pecan pie recipe is from Good Housekeeping Illustrated Cookbook, first published in 1980. Back in its hey day, this cookbook was a huge success and had a definite presence in all family households. So I thought it might be nice to dust off its cover, flip through the pages, and make an era come alive all over again!

Pecan pie fresh out of the oven, with moody urban background

Making pecan pie is surprisingly easy. For this recipe, I used ready-made, unbaked crust (yes, the actual recipe calls for making your own crust. . . but we all cut corners here and there). I whisked 3 eggs, mixed in 1 cup dark corn syrup, a little bit less than 1/2 cup sugar, 1/4 cup melted butter, and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Whisk well. Then I prepared the nut/crust portion by creating 1 layer of pecan pie in any pattern you would like. Of course I had a little fun first:

A smiling, content pie.

A freaked out pie.

A pie with Cal insignia!!! Go Bears! (in honor of a proper trouncing of Stanford earlier today)

As fun as it is to make designs, you do want to pack as many pecans as you can into one layer, so that it comes out more like this:

Try to arrange the pecans in an aesthetically pleasing pattern

Next, carefully pour in the mixture as to not disturb the pecans’ pattern. Then pop it into the oven (heated 350 degrees) for about 1 hour. Take it out when you stick a knife in 1 inch from the edge and it comes out clean. Cool. Enjoy!