Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

This was our second Thanksgiving with no family near, but it was my first time making the much anticipated meal. (Notre Dame fed us last year.) I've got to say, I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. Of course, it was nothing like my best friend's undertaking, documented here. (She and her husband took on feeding 25 people for their first time making the Turkey-Day meal.) Instead of 25 people, we invited a couple from Ryan's work to come over with their three kids, making four kids and four adults altogether. I opted for a bone-in turkey breast instead of the whole bird—we'll save that adventure for another year. My part of the meal included the turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans, and a pumpkin cheesecake with homemade whipped cream. I'll share the recipes soon, but for now, here are a few pictures to make my mom proud. :)

Note the traditional Williams/Wood family napkin fold.

I thought the sunflowers added a nice autumny touch.

(I took this photo well after dinner had settled in our bellies,
so the texture of the whipped cream isn't quite the same. You get the idea, though!)

Double Layer Pumpkin Cheesecake
2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 pinch ground cloves
1 pinch ground nutmeg
1 (9 inch) prepared graham cracker crust

1. Combine first three ingredients; then add eggs one at a time.
2. Spoon about half the mixture into your graham cracker crust.
3. Add the pumpkin puree and spices to the reserved mixture, and spoon over the white bottom layer.
4. Bake at 325 for about 35 minutes, or until the center has almost set. Cool completely, then refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight. Top with whipped cream. (Homemade is out of this world!)

You may notice in the picture that mine was one layer instead of two. Oops! Oh well, I've done it both ways and it tastes the same. It's just prettier if you remember to separate the layers!

Turkey Breast & Gravy
I rubbed the turkey breast with 2 Tablespoons each of canola oil, poultry seasoning, dried sage, dried thyme, and 4 cloves of minced garlic. I threw carrot, celery, and onion into a Reynolds oven bag, set the turkey on top, and poured in one can of chicken broth. Our 5.5-pound turkey breast cooked for just shy of 2 hours.

The juices in the bag after it had cooked made for some fantastic gravy. I made a roux by melting 4 Tablespoons of butter with 4 Tablespoons flour over medium heat, whisking constantly. Then I added the roux gradually to the juices, and whisked while it bubbled. I seasoned with salt and pepper. In the end, it was the perfect thickness and had a great flavor.

Ryan also added some butter, salt and pepper, and sage to the potatoes when he was mashing them, and they were heavenly!! (Thanks, babe!)

Hope everyone enjoyed their Thanksgiving. I have so much to be grateful for this year, in particular my healthy, happy baby and loving husband.

Happy Thanksgiving!


Rachel said...

Go Erica! That looks like a great meal. And yum, that pumpkin cheesecake looks good...

Naters and Katers said...

Yummy! Everything looked and sounded wonderful!