Two days until Thanksgiving!!

Turkeys are in hand, perishables are bought, and flowers for my centerpiece are in water as I write…All of my pies crusts are made and ready to be rolled into delicious treats for my family and friends. Last night I made the cranberry sauce (my best batch ever if I do say so myself!) and made sure I had the wood for my smoker. I am using apple and maple woods this time around. Speaking of smoking, in addition to my turkey breast I will smoke the habanero peppers given to me last week by our friends, some pecans, scallops and possibly some shrimp. Some of our neighbors will help fill any leftover space (it is a large smoker) with salmon and another turkey breast. I have this idea that if I throw some cranberries and a couple of cinnamon sticks in there I could bring cranberry sauce up to new heights…I will let you know if and how that works! And tomorrow is my big baking day. I will rise early to get the smoker going, and then the pie-baking frenzy will begin!!! When I go to sleep tomorrow night I will be counting pies instead of sheep…is there a better way to end the day?

My son is home from college, and I know he is looking forward to a break from the dining hall food selections he has been presented with these past few months. His food requests include risotto and pumpkin soup. Of course he is most looking forward to all the pies after the Thanksgiving meal…he loves pie! Wednesday is pie-baking day…and also the day I smoke the turkey breast. The day will begin with getting the smoker going. It takes a little time for it to come up to temperature, but I can finish prepping the turkey while I wait. Once the turkey goes in the smoker my husband will monitor the temperature during the day, and I will jump into the pie-baking festivities! It is a day loaded with food prep – and lots of dishes!!!

Yesterday I wrapped up the majority of my grocery shopping. I will pick up the turkey and turkey breast on Tuesday along with any perishibles.

Butterflake Herb Rolls

Today I made 2 batches of Butterflake Herb Rolls. The recipe is essentially a Parker House Roll with an herb butter slathered on each one before folding. As per my mother-in-law I line 12 together in a loaf formation (butter spread between each roll) before baking. Each recipe yields 24 rolls (2 rows of 12). They are delicious…I don’t prefer them to the Sweet Potato rolls I made yesterday; however, they can hold their own at the dinner table. I use the herb butter mixture from my MiL’s recipe and a different Parker House roll recipe which uses butter rather than shortening. So now I have two types of bread to serve with Thanksgiving dinner, with plenty extra for leftovers the next day. I cannot wait!!!

Throw together meal…

Last night I did not feel like going to the grocery store, and I also did not have a whole lot going on in my fridge/pantry…I gave the last of the leftovers to my son, then took inventory of what I did have to make a complete and healthy meal. This is what I came up with: whole wheat penne pasta, frozen broccoli, raisins (organic), lemons, walnuts. So I cooked my penne pasta, then added the broccoli (which I had cooked while waiting for the pasta), raisins (which I added to the broccoli during the final seconds of cooking to plump), olive oil, lemon zest, red pepper flakes, walnuts (which I roasted on top of the stove, adding balsamic vinegar and salt at the end), and a grating of parmesan cheese to finish. If I do say so myself, the results were outstanding. I had 3/4 of a bottle of wine left in the fridge from the previous night’s meal, so I poured myself a glass and feasted away on my new creation. It was quick, easy, healthy and inexpensive. Love that!!!

Update on rolls

I baked 3 batches of my sweet potato rolls with cherries and cardamom. The house still smells delicious with the faint traces of cardamom lingering throughout…I had a total of 48 rolls, but that number has decreased by around 1/2 a dozen! They better make it to the freezer quickly or there may not be any left for the Big Day. Actually, being the wonderful wife I am I will wait until my husband has had a chance to sample them and offer up an opinion before I relegate them to the depths of the freezer.

With respect to making the rolls, I did 2 batches in my Kitchen Aid mixer – the method I have always used. The third batch I tried in my new Cuisinart food processor. WOW! It was so easy to use and the dough turned out perfectly. I did not notice any difference between the two methods in the final product. I think I will be using my new Cuisinart a lot more than my old one. I especially love the fact that the flour doesn’t ‘poof’ out when I use it. I made most of my pie dough in this as well, and again, the results were terrific. I will update on the results of my future uses…