Welcome to our Thanksgiving potluck! Grab a glass of cheer, breathe in the savory aromas of cooking food and load up your plate with mouthwatering delights. A hearty thank you to our multi-talented writer/chef guests: Patricia Winton, June Shaw, Betsy Bitner, Tiger Wiseman, Leslie Budewitz and Pat Deuson.
Bon Appétit!BLOODY CHAMPAGNE OR CRIMSON CHAMPAGNE (depending on the holiday) – E.B. Davis
Pour 1/3 champagne flute with pomegranate ice tea (preferably Arizona)
Top to brim with champagne.
*****Minestra di Ceci e Zucca CHICK PEA AND PUMPKIN SOUP– Patricia Winton
The original version of this soup calls for dried chick peas (garbanzo beans) and raw pumpkin with twelve hours of soaking the chick peas plus two-and-one-half hours of cooking. I’ve adapted it using canned pumpkin and chick peas. The flavors will intensify if you make it the day before you plan to serve it.
1 rib of celery
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
2 cans of chick peas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
1 can of cooked pumpkin
3/4 cup of water
2 cloves of garlic
1 sprig of rosemary
Grating of nutmeg
1/4 cup of grated parmesan
1. Wash carrot and celery, peel the carrot, and chop both together until fine.
2. In a pot large enough to hold the finished soup, heat one tablespoon of the olive oil and add the chopped carrot and celery. Cook until soft. Do not brown.
3. Add the chick peas, pumpkin, and water. Bring to a simmer and cook gently for about ten minutes, stirring frequently to prevent scorching.
4. Meanwhile, remove the needles from the rosemary and chop together with the garlic cloves.
5. Heat the remaining olive oil in a small saucepan. Add the rosemary-garlic mixture and cook gently to allow the flavors to blend. Do not brown.
6. Remove the soup from heat. Add the rosemary-garlic mixture and the grating of nutmeg.
7. Combine and check flavors. Usually, canned chick peas have enough salt, but add more if the soup needs it.
8. Puree the soup in a blender or food processor. You may need to use two or three batches if your machine is not large enough, so check first.
9. At this point, the soup can be covered and refrigerated overnight.
10. When ready to serve, reheat and stir in the parmesan. If the soup seems too thick, you can thin it with a little milk or cream.
Patricia Winton writes about two of Italy's great works of art: food and crime. She is a former food columnist and cooking teacher who has lived in Italy for twelve years, the past nine in Rome. She's been an ardent mystery fan since reading The Bobbsey Twins at age eight. Her story, "Feeding Frenzy," appears in Fish Tales: The Guppy Anthology. She is a member of Sisters in Crime and its Guppy chapter.
Patricia blogs about life in Italy, food and wine, mysteries and crime. For more information about how Italians use pumpkin (not often for sweets) go to: http://italianintrigues.blogspot.com/2011/11/beyond-jack-olanterns-and-pumpkin-pie.html
She is also blogging about Thanksgiving at the top of the page http://italianintrigues.blogspot.com/
*****SEAFOOD-STUFFED EGGPLANT SUPREME A LA BOB – June Shaw
1 lb. crabmeat
1 lb. small shrimp
1 lg. onion chopped
½ lg. bell pepper chopped
2 cloves garlic minced
2 T. cooking oil
1 c. seasoned breadcrumbs
Salt and pepper to taste
Melted butter or margarine
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Cut eggplants in half and parboil 25-30 minutes. Carefully remove pulp of the eggplants with a spoon so as not to break the skin. Set the skin aside on a shallow pan. Mix cooking oil, eggplant pulp, onions, bell pepper, and garlic in a heavy pot and sauté about 20 minutes. Add crabmeat, shrimp, and salt and pepper. Cook about 20 minutes more. Fill eggplant shells with the cooked mixture. Top with bread crumbs and drizzle melted butter on top. Bake until topping is brown. Serves 8 lucky people.
This is one of the recipes from RELATIVE DANGER, the first in my series of humorous mysteries. Other great recipes are in my next books, KILLER COUSINS and DEADLY REUNION. You can learn about them on my website, http://www.juneshaw.com/
The main character in these books is a spunky widow who thinks she wants to avoid her hunky lover so she can rediscover herself. But he opens Cajun Delights restaurants in all the places she travels—and she is so bad at avoiding tempting dishes and men.
Yep, I live down in Cajun territory. And my hunk, Bob, is Cajun and a terrific cook. What’s not to like? He gives me these great recipes and yes, he could be Gil Thurman from my books: )
*****ROASTED ROOT VEGETABLES WITH MAPLE-MUSTARD GLAZE – Betsy Bitner
4 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks
2 beets, peeled, trimmed, and cut into 1 inch chunks
1 sweet onion, peeled and cut into 8 sections, vertically (through the root end)
¼ cup maple syrup (real stuff, not pancake syrup)
2 Tbsp. cider vinegar
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, minced
salt & pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400˚. Toss sweet potatoes, beets and onion with just enough olive oil to coat. Spread vegetables in a nonstick pan large enough to have them in a single layer. Sprinkle with sea salt. Roast for 15 minutes, give vegetables a stir, and roast for another 15 minutes.
Vegetables should be golden brown around the edges and just fork-tender. (The recipe can be made to this point one day in advance. Refrigerate the vegetables covered and bring to room temperature before proceeding.)
To prepare the maple-mustard glaze, combine the maple syrup, cider vinegar, mustard, garlic and salt & pepper in a small bowl. Toss the vegetables with the glaze and return them to the 400˚ oven for 10-15 minutes, so that the vegetables are heated through and the glaze bubbles.
Feel free to substitute other root vegetables that your family may prefer, such as carrots, turnips, rutabaga or parsnips, although why anyone would want to eat parsnips is beyond me.
You can find Betsy Bitner at Lost in the Adirondacks--a blog about getting a clue while writing a mystery. http://www.lostintheadirondacks.com/
*****NANNY DELANEY’S ZUCCHINI PIE - Tiger Wiseman
Note: you can skip making the crust yourself and just use a premade piecrust. A regular 9" pie also works if you don't have a fancy tart pan.
1½ cups flour
1 stick butter, cut into small pieces
1 Tbsp dried thyme
½ tsp coarsely ground black pepper
¼ cup ice water (more or less as needed)
3 small zucchini (6-8 oz each or their equivalent) cut into 1/4 inch thick rounds
1 cup (approx. 4 oz) grated Gruyere cheese
1 cup (approx. 4 oz) grated horseradish Cheddar cheese
½ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp coarsely ground black peppers
½ cup chopped fresh dill
2 Tbsp chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 medium tomatoes, sliced
- Sprinkle sliced tomatoes with salt and allow to drain on a triple layer of paper towels for 20 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Put the flour, butter, thyme and pepper in food processor. Pulse until coarse meal in texture. Slowly pour in ¼ cup of ice water, with motor running. Add or water if necessary to form a ball in processor. Stop immediately when dough begins to come together. Chill dough for 30 minutes. - Roll out to 1/8 inch thickness and carefully lay dough over 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom. Pat into place, leaving a slightly thicker amount on sides of the pan. Trim off excess dough. Prick bottom of crust with the tines of a fork and line crust with aluminum foil. Fill with either dried beans or pie weights.
- Bake uncovered for 10 minutes. Then carefully remove beans and foil, baking another 12 minutes. Allow crust to cool slightly. Leave oven on.
-While dough is chilling, sauté zucchini slices, in one or two batches, in olive oil over medium heat until lightly browned on both sides, 5 minutes. Drain on paper towels.
- Mix cheeses together. Spread cheese over bottom of pie shell. Arrange zucchini over in overlapping circular pattern, covering the surface. Then sprinkle with nutmeg, pepper, dill and parsley. Top with tomato slices in a circular pattern. Drizzle top with olive oil.
- Bake pie for 40 minutes. Let it rest 10 minutes. To serve, carefully remove the sides of the pan and run a thin spatula under the crust to loosen it from the bottom of the pan.
Visit Tiger Wiseman at Pen, Spoon & Dagger http://penspoonanddagger.blogspot.com/
to read about the ramblings of a food-obsessed, aspiring mystery writer.
*****CRANBERRY PUMPKIN NUT MUFFINS – Leslie Budewitz
In 2013, The Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries by Leslie Budewitz will debut from Berkley Prime Crime. The series is set in the lakeside village of Jewel Bay, Montana–where good food and murder cook side by side! Erin Murphy manages Glacier Mercantile, known as The Merc, selling Montana-made foods and products. If it’s made in Montana, it must be good!
Erin loves easy, flavorful food. These muffins are perfect for Thanksgiving morning, when you’re too busy with the turkey and its friends to cook breakfast, or for those post-holiday mornings with a houseful of guests. Make ahead if you’d like–they freeze beautifully!
2 c. flour
1 T. baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp allspice
½ tsp nutmeg
3/4 c (scant) sugar
1/3 c vegetable oil
1-1/4 c. canned pumpkin
½ walnuts, coarsely chopped
2 c. cranberries (fresh, coarsely chopped) or dried
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Stir together flour, baking powder, salt, spices, and sugar. In a small bowl, mix oil, eggs, and pumpkin. Add to flour mixture and combine into a thick batter. Mix by hand; the batter is so thick that it tends to clog an electric mixer. Fold in walnuts and cranberries.
Spray muffin tins with oil. Spoon batter into tins, about 3/4 full. Bake 18-20 minutes or until a knife or tester inserted into the middle comes out clean. Muffins will be soft. Cool slightly before removing.
Makes about 24. These muffins freeze well.
*****MONKEY BREAD – Betsy Bitner
Okay, I know this is the recipe from Pillsbury, but it still makes an easy and delicious breakfast treat to enjoy while watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
½ cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 cans (16.3 oz. each) Pillsbury Grands Homestyle refrigerated buttermilk biscuits
½ cup chopped walnuts, if desired
½ cup raisins, if desired
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
¾ cup butter, melted
Heat oven to 350˚. Lightly grease a 12-cup fluted tube/bundt pan with shortening or cooking spray. In a large plastic food storage bag combine the granulated sugar and the cinnamon. Separate dough into 16 biscuits; cut each into quarters. Place biscuit pieces in plastic bag with sugar and shake to coat. Arrange biscuits pieces in prepared pan, adding walnuts and/or raisins, if using.
In a small bowl, mix brown sugar and melted butter; pour over biscuit pieces.
Bake 28-32 minutes, or until golden brown and no longer doughy in the center. Cool in pan 10 minutes. Turn upside down onto serving plate; pull apart to serve. Serve warm.
*****THANKSGIVING THEN AND NOW – Patricia Deuson
Everyone has a dish or two they’d rather not find on the Thanksgiving table, often it’s a plate of ribbed slices of ruby red glue. Cranberry jelly, usually from a can. But cranberries are a wonder food and they definitely have more to offer that gelatinous goo. Here’s an easy way to turn them into a palate pleasing accompaniment that is tasty enough to put this little red berry on the road to rehabilitation. It smells wonderful while cooking.ROASTED CRANBERRIES
3 cups of sorted cranberries frozen or fresh
2-3 tbsp of mild honey
3-4 tbsp of sugar [vanilla sugar is especially tasty]
4 long strips of orange peel
4 medium sized springs of fresh rosemary
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Pour the sorted cranberries in an approx. 9 x 13 oven proof, glass or ceramic, baking dish. Drizzle the honey, sprinkle the sugar and mix [a bit sticky this, just do the best you can] then tuck in the orange peel and the rosemary sprigs. Put the dish in the oven. Set the timer for 10 minutes. Remove dish from oven and give the berries a mix. It will be easy now since the honey has melted, but be gentle. Put the dish back in the oven for another 10 minutes or a bit longer until the cranberries are tender. Cool slightly, remove the rosemary. You can also take out the orange peel, but I like the smell so I leave it in. When cool put the roasted cranberries in a storage container like a nice glass canning jar and refrigerate. Don't forget to use roasted cranberries freely with turkey, chicken, pork, lamb, or mixed in with the apples for a pie.A SWEDE BY ANY OTHER NAME….Is a rutabaga.
It comes from the old Swedish word rotabagge, is botanically, Brassica napus
, and often called a swede. They showed up on every Thanksgiving table at home as a carrot and rutabaga puree which I grew up not eating. I’d pretend to take a spoon, then quickly pass the bowl, certain that on a plate as full as mine this would go unnoticed. It [mostly] did, and the lowly rutabaga remained unnoticed by me until one Thanksgiving I decided to give that puree of rutabaga and carrot a go myself. I tricked it out a bit and it’s now a favorite. It would be the favorite if it wasn’t for dressing, which you might call stuffing. Both are best served with a good splash of turkey gravy. It’s pretty easy to make, too:
1-2 pounds peeled sliced carrots
1-2 pounds peeled diced rutabaga
Cream to taste, if desired
Salt, pepper, nutmeg to taste
4-8 tbsp unsalted butter [if you use salted taste before adding additional salt]
You need equal amounts of carrot and rutabaga to get the right flavor. Put the prepared carrots and rutabaga in separate sauce pans, cover with cold water, bring to a boil and cook until fork tender. Drain. Mash the carrots and rutabaga together with a potato masher, or put in a food processor and pulse until it’s of a smooth but slightly chunky consistency. Add the butter while the mix is still hot so it melts easily. Season with salt and pepper to taste, a dash of nutmeg, and dribble in a little cream. Cream lightens the color and makes it smooth and luscious. It’s strictly not needed but a nice touch and remember this is Thanksgiving! Mix gently to incorporate the seasonings. Carrot/rutabaga puree can be made ahead of time, refrigerated and buzzed in the microwave in a cheery bowl. Serve it with a snappy name like ‘Swedes – My Way’ and a flourish and make sure to pass the gravy.
Pat Deuson who can be found at: http://cooksinn.blogspot.com/
*****CRANBERRY FUDGE – KB Inglee
This recipe is from a cranberry bog in Harwich on Cape Cod.
11/4 Cups fresh or frozen cranberries
½ Cup light corn syrup
2 Cups chocolate chips (I use Hershey Dark)
½ Cups powdered sugar
¼ Cup evaporated milk
1 Tsp. vanilla extract
Bring cranberries and corn syrup to a boil in medium sauce pan. Boil on high 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally until the liquid is reduced to 3 tablespoons. Remove from heat. Immediately add chocolate chips, stirring until they are completely melted. Add remaining ingredients, stirring vigorously until mixture is thick and glossy. Pour into paper candy cups or an 8 by 8 inch pan lined with plastic wrap. Cover and chill until firm.
*****VANISHING OATMEAL COOKIES - Warren Bull
Recipe can be found on the underside of Quaker Oatmeal lids.
*****PECAN PUMPKIN PIE WITH CARAMEL SAUCE- Kara Cerise
This is tasty without the caramel sauce but if you have a sweet tooth add the sauce.
Makes 2 pies.
Pecan Pumpkin Pie Ingredients:
1 can (30 ounces) pumpkin pie mix (usually found by canned pie filling)
1 cup sugar
1 can (5 ounces) evaporated milk
2 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp salt
1 package yellow cake mix
1 cup butter or margarine – melted
1 ½ cups chopped pecans
Caramel Sauce Ingredients:
1 cup butter or margarine
2 cups packed brown sugar
1 cup whipping cream (best is to buy whipping cream in a carton and whip it yourself)
Line two 9-inch pie plates with waxed paper or parchment paper; coat the paper with on-stick cooking spray. Set aside
In a mixing bowl combine pumpkin, sugar and milk. Beat in eggs, cinnamon and salt. Pour into prepared pans. Sprinkle with dry cake mix (use the whole box between the two pies). Drizzle with butter. Sprinkle with pecans; press down lightly. Bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes or until golden brown. Cool for 2 hours on wire racks. Carefully run a knife around edge of pan to loosen. Invert pies onto serving plates; removed waxed paper. Chill.
In a heavy saucepan over low heat, melt butter. Add brown sugar and cream, cook and stir until sugar is dissolved.
Cut the pie into slices, drizzle with caramel sauce and dollop with whipped cream.