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133 posts categorized "18) Just Thanksgiving "


~As American as Mom's Apple Pie & French Crepes~

In my opinion this 'feel-good' dessert is truly the best of two worlds: Our traditional American apple pie filling rolled up inside of a classic French crepe. It's light to eat, easy to make, elegant to look at, and, it's the perfect ending to any breakfast, lunch, brunch or dinner. It's as appropriate for a weeknight family meal as it is for a party or holiday celebration. It is so perfect, I am serving it right next to my traditional pumpkin pie after Thanksgiving dinner this week. Plus: The crepes & the apple filling can be made days in advance!!!...... View full recipe for "~As American as Mom's Apple Pie & French Crepes~"


~ Traditional Thanksgiving Preschutti Pumpkin Pie ~

When it comes to our Annual Thanksgiving feast, it is always a very traditional one. I like to tell the story about my serving cranberry-lacquered cornish game hens -- once. It was back in the early '90's and I found the recipe featured on the cover of Bon Appetit magazine. I made 24 of them, one for each person. They looked as magnificent as the magazine cover and they tasted as good as they looked, but, I wasn't feeling anything but polite indignation in my turkey-day dining room that evening. My efforts were less appreciated the next day because there...... View full recipe for "~ Traditional Thanksgiving Preschutti Pumpkin Pie ~"


~ Buttery and Easy-to-Make Pull-Apart Dinner Rolls ~

Even though my three boys grew up calling these "Mom's Pull-Aparts", this is not my recipe. Back in the 1980's (before home computers, the information super-highway or Food TV), moms in search of new recipe ideas often mailed a boxtop or two, and sometimes $1.00, to receive a booklet or pamphlet of recipes from that particular company. I did that a lot back then. This dinner roll recipe came from either a Fleischmann's yeast recipe booklet or a Land O Lakes butter recipe booklet. Both are products I used then and both are products I still use today. Bread baking...... View full recipe for "~ Buttery and Easy-to-Make Pull-Apart Dinner Rolls ~"


~ The Baker's German's ('German') Chocolate Pie ~

It seems to me that no self-respecting foodie should be without one reasonably easy-to-make chocolate pie recipe in his or her repertoire. Why? Because everybody loves chocolate pie, and, in a pinch, you can never go wrong serving a chocolate pie. Some people love it more than others, but, I've never seen anyone turn down a slice of chocolate pie. When it comes to pies in general, I'm a puritan in every sense of the word. Don't add chocolate to my chess pie, coconut-custard pie, pecan pie or shoo-fly pie -- I like them just the way they are. Make...... View full recipe for "~ The Baker's German's ('German') Chocolate Pie ~"


~ My Southern Favorite: Jeanne White's Chess Pie ~

What does a gal from Central Pennsylvania know about Southern chess pie? More than you might think. When I was growing up in Hometown, (Eastern) PA, my close high school friend, Susie White, lived over on Meadow Avenue. We spent so much time hanging out at each others houses, our mothers didn't ask, "is Susie staying for dinner", or, "is Melanie staying for dinner", they just set a place at the table. Susie's mom Jeanne was a charming, pretty woman who hailed from Chapel Hill, NC. Even when she was being stern, her melodic Southen drawl made it hard to...... View full recipe for "~ My Southern Favorite: Jeanne White's Chess Pie ~"


~Lovin' Spoonful: Buttermilk 'n Cheddar Spoonbread~

Spoonbread is a Southern dish and is believed to be Native American in origin, which makes sense, since the Native Americans were the culinary masters of cooking with maiz/maize (corn and its byproducts). If you've never eaten spoonbread, it is a savory side-dish. Calling it a bread is a stretch because it is a moist, ever-so-slightly grainy, custardy concoction with a crispy top. It gets served in the container it was baked, and, is eaten with a spoon, hence the name. I liken it to a combination of cornmeal-based polenta, cornbread casserole and cornmeal souffle! Taking a drive down memory...... View full recipe for "~Lovin' Spoonful: Buttermilk 'n Cheddar Spoonbread~"


~ Butternut Squash & Caramelized Apple Casserole~

Sunday was the first day of Fall. Like clockwork, here in Central Pennsylvania, the temperatures have dropped to a chilly 40-50 degrees, and, even when the sun is shining bright, the breezes are brisk, and, Fall colors are starting to appear in our outdoor scenery. It is: sweater weather: All that is left from our vegetable gardens are butternut squash and pumpkins. If I store them in a cool, dry place, both will keep nicely until Thanksgiving, so, unlike Summer vegetables, I don't have to scurry around looking for ways to process or preserve them. I can enjoy them at...... View full recipe for "~ Butternut Squash & Caramelized Apple Casserole~"


~ Color Me Fall: An Autumn Butternut Squash Puree~

Fall begins precisely at 4:44 PM this afternoon and I've got to say, "I love the Fall." I'm one of those lucky people that lives in the Northeastern USA where we get to participate in four distinct seasons, with each one requiring a "sort of" different lifestyle. Fall: I love the clean, crisp "sweater weather", and, watching the leaves change in color from bright green to yellow-y golds and oranges. I especially love the transition from all of the fresh vegetables and grilled foods of Summer to the deep, nutty flavor of roasted vegetables and slow-cooked comfort foods! The only...... View full recipe for "~ Color Me Fall: An Autumn Butternut Squash Puree~"


~ A Holiday Tradition: My Bourbon Street Pecan Pie~

Pecan pie is almost always associated with a holiday, most noteably, Thanksgiving and Christmas. In my foodie world, if I was limited to making one pie for Thanksgiving, it would be pecan pie. It is so rich and crunchy and yummy, it could and should be classified as candy. Aside from an occasional "nut", I've never met anyone who didn't want a teensy-weensy slice! A bit about pecan pie: A staple throughout the South, it is said to have been invented by the French who settled in New Orleans, after being introduced to pecans by our Native Americans. But, no...... View full recipe for "~ A Holiday Tradition: My Bourbon Street Pecan Pie~"


~ A Sweet Potato & Caramelized Apple Casserole ~

It was Thanksgiving morning 1997. I was watching Good Morning America on my kitchen TV. Wolfgang Puck was their guest chef. He prepared this casserole, which he proclaimed to be his favorite way to eat sweet potatoes on Turkey Day. I adore sweet potatoes and am always looking for new ways to cook them. I quickly grabbed a piece of parchment paper from one of my baking pans and scribbled down the recipe as he spoke. I made the casserole that very day and it was every bit as good as Wolfgang proclaimed it to be. It's been on my...... View full recipe for "~ A Sweet Potato & Caramelized Apple Casserole ~"


~ Beehive Mashed-Potato Bread-Stuffing Casserole ~

Back in 1974, I was introduced to this amazing side-dish casserole by my neighbor in my first apartment. Toni (Antoinette) was/is a beautiful Mexican-American woman who had just moved to Pennsylvania from San Antonio, Texas, with her Texas-cowboy husband Tom and their son Sean. I had just moved to Happy Valley from Eastern, PA, as a new bride. We two women loved to cook and became fast friends. I have many great memories of the two years I spent being her next door neighbor (including Tom teaching me how to shoot a cross-bow). The first time I tasted this casserole,...... View full recipe for "~ Beehive Mashed-Potato Bread-Stuffing Casserole ~"


~ The Countdown to the Big Turkey Day Feast Begins (Melanie's Top 10 Tips to Not Let it Drive You Crazy)~

My countdown to Thanksgiving has started, how about you? For the next week, I'll be adding several of my favorite Turkey Day recipes to those already posted here on KE. Yesterday I received a phone call from a reporter from our local newspaper. Heather Hottle is writing an article for The Centre Daily Times about holiday entertaining (which will appear, in this Saturday's CDT). The article is not featuring me, it is mentioning me, but it was fun to be interviewed. She was given my name by an acquaintance (thank-you Jessica) and she asked if I would be willing to...... View full recipe for "~ The Countdown to the Big Turkey Day Feast Begins (Melanie's Top 10 Tips to Not Let it Drive You Crazy)~"


~ Creamy New England-Style Clam&Corn Chowder ~

Chowder is a soup that is thick and brimming with chunky seafood. It comes from the French word "chaudiere", which refers to the cauldron fishermen make their fresh stews in (with clam chowder being the most popular and the most famous). New England-style clam chowder is made old-English-style, with cream or milk, and, the broth is rich and silky, NOT, overly thickened with tasteless flour. Manhattan-style clam chowder (which will be another blog post at a future date) is made with a seasoned, tomato-based broth. Either style can contain any of several varieties of seafood and vegetables. Chopping, dicing or...... View full recipe for "~ Creamy New England-Style Clam&Corn Chowder ~"


~ Pumpkin Bread+Apples = Autumn Bread Pudding ~

I just love making "quick" breads. "Quick bread' is an American term that refers to bread that is quick-to-make because: it doesn't require kneading or rising time. It originated during the American Civil War, when the demand for food and bread was high. Innovative cooks began to rapidly produce bread and baked goods that were leavened with baking soda, rather than yeast. Bread pudding, which can be made using any type of bread, was also a way for innovative, frugal cooks to make use of leftover or stale bread, and, I for one am grateful for their invention! Two days...... View full recipe for "~ Pumpkin Bread+Apples = Autumn Bread Pudding ~"


~ Joe's Favorite "Roasted" Pumpkin Quick Bread ~

I'm kinda of proud to announce that I have never used or cooked with canned pumpkin. Over the years, I've also had a lot of people tell me they think pumpkin is one of the few foods that is better canned than fresh. They key word here is "think". I am one of purists that is here to tell them, and you, if you have ever tasted a light, silky-smooth, custard-like pumpkin pie, made from fresh pumpkin puree, you would rethink that statement. My Great Aunt Mary (my grandmother's sister) lived on a farm and grew her own pumpkins. She...... View full recipe for "~ Joe's Favorite "Roasted" Pumpkin Quick Bread ~"


~ Once Upon a Time: A Tale about Shrimp Cocktail ~

Once upon a time, when I was around five years old, which would have been 1960, I was certain that my mother was the inventor of shrimp cocktail. You might think that odd, as shrimp cocktail has the reputation for being reserved for special occasions or eating in fancy restaurants. That was not the case in our house. My mom loved shrimp cocktail. She almost always had a large jar of it in our refrigerator. She'd simmer two pounds of jumbo shrimp and carefully whisk together the cocktail sauce. She'd put the slightly-warm shrimp in the jar, pour the sauce...... View full recipe for "~ Once Upon a Time: A Tale about Shrimp Cocktail ~ "


~ A Tale of Two Cocktail Sauces: Classic and Creamy ~

Thanksgiving is tomorrow, and Christmas is right around the corner. No time like the present to present two, easy-to-make, seafood sauce recipes that represent festive occasions and fine-dining experiences for us all. I've been eating classic shrimp cocktail since I was 5 or 6 years old and loved to watch my mom make it. She would let me arrange the shrimp around and in each champagne glass, which, if you have children, is a tricky way to get kids to try a new food. It wasn't until years later, on a trip to London in December of 1983, that I...... View full recipe for "~ A Tale of Two Cocktail Sauces: Classic and Creamy ~"


~ Crabmeat & Montasio Stuffed Mushroom Caps!!! ~

Did someone say succulent, crabmeat stuffed mushrooms? "Step into my parlor", said the spider to the fly! This is one of my most popular hors d'oeuvres and over the past twenty or so years I've served them more times than I can count... especially during the Thanksgiving/Christmas holiday season. It is perfect served at any time of day: with a glass of champagne for breakfast, wine for lunch or a cocktail just before a sit down dinner or buffet supper. That being said, I've also portioned the decadent crabmeat mixture into larger sized mushroom caps and served them (with a...... View full recipe for "~ Crabmeat & Montasio Stuffed Mushroom Caps!!! ~"


~ Bacon, Onion & Rosemary-Tomato-Cream Soup ~

One thing I will never walk away from is tomato soup. I love it, love it, love it. I grew up loving the days when my mom or dad would make us a can of Campbell's for lunch and serve it to my brother and I with a few crushed Nabisco saltines on the the top or a grilled cheese sandwich to the side. Nowadays, if I'm out for lunch and a chef has an interesting version of this classic on the menu, it is the first thing I will order. And, if I'm not feeling well, a mug of...... View full recipe for "~ Bacon, Onion & Rosemary-Tomato-Cream Soup ~"


~ Danish Blue, Swiss Emmentaler & Pine Nut Tarts ~

I vividly remember the first time I made these savory tarts. It was the Fall of 1996 -- the day before Thanksgiving. We'd just moved into our current home three weeks earlier and everyone, in both of our families, was anxiously awaiting the opening of the front doors, the grand tour, and, a long, relaxing holiday weekend full of family, fun and football... all 27 or so of them! I had been cooking up a storm for a week and was excited to be serving a very elegant Thanksgiving buffet that evening. With a host of hors d'oeuvres, two huge...... View full recipe for "~ Danish Blue, Swiss Emmentaler & Pine Nut Tarts ~"


~ From a Potato to My Southern Sweet Potato Pie ~

Sweet potato pie is a Southern tradition. Similar to pumpkin pie in its texture, it too is mostly served in the Fall, when sweet potatoes (as well as pumpkins) are in season, and, is the star of the Southern Thanksgiving dessert table. It is a simple-to-make pie, consisting of mashed sweet potatoes, milk, sugar, eggs and sometimes spices. Like pumpkin pie made from fresh pumpkin puree (any type of canned "stuff" not included), the custard filling varies from silky to dense, depending upon the ratio of mashed sweet potatoes to milk and eggs. As for the spices, it seems to...... View full recipe for "~ From a Potato to My Southern Sweet Potato Pie ~"


~ Sweet Potato & Apple Stuffing for Poultry or Pork ~

October and November is the time of year when many of us switch gears to gravy. We've transitioned from grilled chicken or pork chops to roasted chicken or braised pork chops and we're craving them drizzled with creamy gravy. While mashed potatoes and gravy go together like salt and pepper, if given the choice between stuffing or mashed potatoes, my fork is in the stuffing. Because of my love affair with stuffing, I have a few stuffing recipes in my repertoire, but: this is my favorite Fall stuffing recipe. It doesn't contain anything fancy, but it does contain two of...... View full recipe for "~ Sweet Potato & Apple Stuffing for Poultry or Pork ~"


~ Super-Crunchy Sugar-Crusted Spiced Pecans ~

What? Sugar-crusted pecans in July? Shouldn't Mel be posting this around Thanksgiving or Christmas? Well folks, while we mostly associate these addictive little treats with holiday snacks and hostess gifts (presented in pretty little glass jars all adorned with ribbons and a bow), I'm posting this in July because I'm going to be using them in a few sumptuous salad and scrumptious dessert recipes this Summer. In fact, I'm going to be using them later today to garnish a spectacular grilled pineapple dessert to kick off our 4th of July weekend. There are a lot of recipes for making sugar-crusted...... View full recipe for "~ Super-Crunchy Sugar-Crusted Spiced Pecans ~"


~ Shiitake Mushrooms in White Wine Sauce ~

Joe and I moved into our newly built home here in Boalsburg, PA, on schedule, on October 31st, 1996. As planned, that gave me three weeks to get unpacked, settled in and four days to prepare Thanksgiving dinner for 22 guests coming to celebrate our holiday housewarming. Sound overwhelming? Not really. At the end of the first day of moving in, all of my furniture was in place, thanks to several very big, strong, Penn State college guys (all friends of my son). Then, working nonstop, with the help of my good friend Bonnie, during the next three weeks: Each...... View full recipe for "~ Shiitake Mushrooms in White Wine Sauce ~"


~ 'Twas the Tuesday after Thanksgiving Thursday ~

For those of you who know me personally, it is no secret that Thankgiving, the week surrounding it and thru the Monday afterward, is my favorite time of year/holiday. To me it is hands-down better than Christmas, better than birthdays, weddings, anniversaries and most celebrations in general. Why? For starters, no one has to buy or bring a gift... which, if I had my way and were the President of a small country, would be how Christmas would be handled. Thanksgiving is the day for our closest family and friends to gather here at our house, feast, enjoy each others...... View full recipe for "~ 'Twas the Tuesday after Thanksgiving Thursday ~"


~ A Truly Tart & Triple-Delicious Cranberry Sauce ~

Cranberry sauce has always been one of my favorite things on the Thanksgiving table... and I mean on anyone's Thanksgiving table. I'm a person who has a taste for sweet and savory, and loves a great sweet and savory fruit sauce with almost any protein. I've never tasted a cranberry sauce I did not like, except once, and it contained pears and espresso (or very strong coffee). It was in a fancy country-club restaurant and it remained on my plate at the end of the day. I grew up eating the smooth, gelatin-like sauce that slid out of the can...... View full recipe for "~ A Truly Tart & Triple-Delicious Cranberry Sauce ~"


~ How to: Clean and Roast Pumpkin Seeds ~

Once a year, when I am making and freezing roasted pumpkin puree from the sugar pumpkins Joe grows in our garden, I can't wait to finish up with the puree and roast the seeds. Even if you are not making your own ~ Roasted Pumpkin Puree ~, recipe found in Categories 15 & 18, and are just carving a big Jack-o'-lantern pumpkin for Halloween, please, please, please, keep the seeds! Homemade roasted pumpkin seeds are indeed a treat and taste nothing at all like those hard, salt-encrusted white "things" they sell in stores. I am a purist about them and...... View full recipe for "~ How to: Clean and Roast Pumpkin Seeds ~"


~ Roasted Pumpkin Puree (The Preschutti Way!) ~

Once we pick the pumpkins from Joe's garden, he and I know it is indeed fall. He starts the process of wintering the gardens and transplanting whatever herbs we can move indoors into pots. I start the process of roasting and pureeing all of the pumpkins and squash. The entire process is extraordinarily easy (at least my end of it is). I'm not going to lie, it takes a little time, as each batch takes 2 hours to roast and 1 hour to cool, but aside from oven time, your hands-on work-time is limited to about 10-15 minutes per batch....... View full recipe for "~ Roasted Pumpkin Puree (The Preschutti Way!) ~"


~ David & "The Great Pumpkin" Patch ~

Today my grandson David is taking us "out back" to grandfather JoePa's pumpkin patch. At first it is a little "spooky"... lots of long, strung out, woody vines and large leaves with heavy, orange-colored balls and lots of other strange-shaped "things" (squash) growing. [Some people use large jack-o'-lantern pumpkins for cooking and there is nothing wrong with that. I've done it successfully and I'll be discussing that in my next post.] David's JoePa grows 4-8 pound sugar or "pie" pumpkins! David is carefully selecting his pumpkins, for him to take back to Pittsburgh. Always try to choose one with no...... View full recipe for "~ David & "The Great Pumpkin" Patch ~"


~ Smashed Maple Sweet Potatoes ~

Sweet potatoes were first introduced to North America when Columbus brought them over from the island of St. Thomas, where this large, edible root (which belongs to the morning-glory family) is native to the tropical regions of the Americas. There are many varieties of sweet potato, but the two most widely grown commercially are a pale sweet potato and a dark-skinned variety Americans erroneously call "yam" (the true yam is not even related to the sweet potato). The pale sweet potato has a thin, light yellow skin and pale yellow flesh. Its flavor is not sweet, and after being cooked,...... View full recipe for "~ Smashed Maple Sweet Potatoes ~"


~ Bread Machine Basics & Melanie's Brioche Recipe ~

When I want a slice of toast in the morning, or a sandwich for lunch, I want it to be on "real" bread. In my mind: brioche is the best bread known to womankind for this exercise in happiness. I've got a knack for bread baking. Hard as I try, I can't remember experiencing a bad bread baking experience or disaster. Some say it "comes naturally", or, "she was born with it". In my case this is partially true -- my grandmother was a marvelous bread baker. Read on: My grandmother was at her best in the kitchen and she...... View full recipe for "~ Bread Machine Basics & Melanie's Brioche Recipe ~"


~Stan's Hail Mary, 'We Are', Born Again Bloody Marys~

Stanford Cook was one of our best friends. He was also the official toastmaster for our Penn State tailgate group. He also happened to make the best Bloody Mary I have ever had the pleasure to drink. Back in the days when I single-handedly cooked the main course for our tailgate group, 40-50 people strong for each and every home game, Stan would bring pitchers of his Bloodys for everyone the morning of the game. Besides his own, superb, blend/mixture of ingredients, Stan shared his "big secret" for their great taste with me: "I mix 'em up on a Thursday...... View full recipe for "~Stan's Hail Mary, 'We Are', Born Again Bloody Marys~"


~ Bejeweled Brie Torte (As Easy as It is Elegant!!!) ~

This is decidedly the most decadently delicious way to serve Brie and you will not find this recipe in any cookbook! It is quite easy to make, elegant to look at and I have a great story to share about it: During the 2008 holiday season, my delightfully demanding bachelor-cousin Victor called me to report he had recently eaten a "magnificent appetizer" at a party he had been invited to. He told me the presentation was "elegant and the taste was unbelievable." In fact, he told me his first visual impression (before eating it) was that it was a dessert...... View full recipe for "~ Bejeweled Brie Torte (As Easy as It is Elegant!!!) ~"