Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Thanksgiving - summer style.

Get the details about Yummy Mondays HERE.

What??  Today isn't Monday???

Just kidding.  I knew that.  Although last week I spent almost the entire time thinking it was Thursday... but I digress.  So this is actually yummy TUESDAY.  Obviously.

Remember last week?  The whole turkey incident?  And then I told you I'd be back with delicious ideas for turkey later?  You know, since the thing had to cook til midnight...

I hope it was worth the wait:

That's right!  We're having Thanksgiving!  Summer-style.

mr unabashedly admits that his favorite part of Thanksgiving is the leftover turkey sandwiches with cranberry sauce.  (Which is fine.  I mean, my favorite part doesn't have anything to do with dinner.  Or Thanksgiving.  It's shopping with the girls on Black Friday!)

I figured that since I had the free turkey and some cranberries sitting in my freezer from last year (is it weird that I always have cranberries on hand?) I should make mr a spectacular version of the leftover turkey sandwich.  With a summertime twist.

First off, you'll need to make the sandwich spread.  I didn't want to use mayo, so I came up with something else.  In my mind, nothing goes better on a turkey sandwich than avocado, so I made an avocado based spread.

Cream Cheese Avocado Spread
4 oz cream cheese
1 ripe avocado
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp basil
1/2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic salt
Cream the cream cheese with a mixer.  Peel the avocado and remove the pit.   Mix together the cream cheese and avocado.  Add the seasonings and mix well.

Super easy and pretty tasty, too!

Next up?

Alright, just a bit of back info.  I never liked turkey.  Ever.  And I was afraid of cranberry sauce because the only kind we had at Thanksgiving growing up was the weird gel stuff in the can because it was my grandpa's favorite.  The first Thanksgiving I spent with mr and his family, his mom made this INCREDIBLE cranberry sauce (which I was afraid to try, but too polite to pass by) and suddenly, low and behold, I love turkey.  So, I make this sauce every thanksgiving now.  Whether anyone else eats it or not.  The secret to her sauce is ORANGE JUICE!  mr tipped her off that if she wanted to counteract the bitterness of the cranberries, she would need to use something acidic, like orange juice.  And so, this recipe was born.

When I got my ingredients together to make my cranberry sauce, I realized I hadn't bought any oranges or orange juice!  Oh no!  I contemplated just putting sugar in as most people do, but I felt like it needed a little something.  So I looked around, considering my acidic options.  I DID have lemons.  So I took a leap and tried it.  We loved it!

Lemonade Cranberry Sauce
1 bag of cranberries (frozen is fine)
1 C water
1/4 C lemon juice (fresh squeezed) (this is pretty much 4 lemons)
1 C sugar
Combine the water, lemon juice and sugar in a pot.  Stir well.  Turn the heat on medium and add the cranberries.  Cook, stirring frequently, for about 10-12 minutes.  You will want all of the cranberries to POP - so if you find some that aren't popping on their own, smoosh them with a spoon.  Chill.

And for the record, I have NOOOOO idea why the sauce has seeds in it.  My dad was convinced it was strawberry sauce.  Uh, no.  It's never had seeds in it before... maybe because I used frozen this time??

Shall we assemble our sandwiches now?  OK!

Avocado Turkey Melt
1 loaf ciabatta bread
about 3-4 T butter
leftover turkey meat (I used all white, but it's up to you)
1 avocado, thinly sliced
Mozzarella cheese, sliced
Avocado Spread
Cranberry Sauce
Cut your ciabatta loaf into 4-5 pieces.  Slice these pieces in half so there is a top and bottom part to each piece.  Heat a skillet over medium-high.  Spread butter on each top and bottom and lay them on the skillet to toast.  Once toasted, spread avocado spread over each top and bottom.  Layer turkey, three or four thin slices of avocados, and mozzarella cheese.  Place the top on and stick two toothpicks in to keep it together.  Lay the sandwich on the skillet and form a tent of aluminum foil over it so that the cheese melts easily without taking too long.  Serve with cranberry sauce on the side.

Now, you can totally put the cranberry sauce right on it if you want to, but I wanted my family to be able to choose how much they wanted.

Obviously, there are a whole lot of Thanksgiving staples.  Mashed potatoes, a veggie tray, green bean casserole, gravy, stuffing, etc.  I wanted to round out the thanksgiving-ness of it all, so I decided to use sweet potatoes.  But what to do?  What goes well with sandwiches and feels summery?

Chips!  Super easy to make.  Not a very novel idea, but they turned out so well, I may even make them for thanksgiving.  My mom couldn't keep her hands off them.

Sweet Potato Chips
2 sweet potatoes
garlic salt
Fox Point seasoning
Oil for frying
Heat your oil in a pot over medium-high heat.  Prepare your sweet potatoes by washing and peeling them with a potato peeler.  Discard the skins.  Now, use your potato peeler to shave long, super thin pieces off.  Make them as long and wide as possible because they will reduce when fried.  Once both sweet potatoes are shaved, and the oil is ALMOST smoking, drop your shavings in the oil in small batches.  Cook for about 8-10 minutes.  Mix them up with a tongs every once in a while so they don't stick together.  Remove them from the oil and place them on a plate covered with paper towels to drain the excess.  Do the rest of the potatoes in the same way.  Make sure to sprinkle with garlic salt and fox point seasoning after removing each batch to make sure they all get seasoned well.  

Have you tried fox point seasoning?  You've got to get some, seriously.  You can find it at Penzey's Spices (I love that place.  I use their Vietnamese Cinnamon as well).  The Fox Point is great on fish, veggies, salads, fries, and potatoes.  And probably more, that's just what I've tried it on so far.  

And of course, what's Thanksgiving without a pie??

This is a repeat.  I made it way back when.  That first time, I talked about how runny the inside of the cake was and how I wasn't quite sure why???  Well, it was pretty obvious this time that my impatience is to blame.  When you make this pie, you will NEED to chill it before you eat it to help the inside congeal.  If you don't, you will end up with lemon cake pudding, which is what we've had both times I've made this pie.

Lemon Cake Pie

1 9-inch deep dish pie crust
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel
5 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (it’s gotta be FRESH)
3 eggs, separated
1 1/4 cups milk 
Put rack on lowest position in oven.
Preheat oven to 375.
In a medium bowl, stir together melted butter and sugar.
Stir in flour, salt, lemon peel and lemon juice.
In a small bowl, beat egg yolks with milk until well blended, stir into lemon mixture.
In another medium sized bowl, beat egg whites with an electric mixer until they hold distinct but moist peaks. Gently fold egg whites into lemon mixture (Don't mix it too much.).
Pour filling into pie crust.
Bake until the top is browned and the center jiggles only slightly when pan is gently shaken (45-55 minutes). If the crust begins to brown excessively, wrap it with foil.
Let cool before serving.

Don't get me wrong.  This is super tasty, whether congealed or runny.  I mean, delicious.  I think it's amazing how you just mix everything up in a batter and then pour it in a pan and it separates all on it's own so the cake part is on top.  Incredible!  And yummy, that's the important part.  Next time I make it, I'll have to plan ahead so I have time to chill it before eating.

Happy Thanksgiving in Summer!  While you're at it, you can take a moment to recognize all those things you're thankful for - I know I don't do that often enough!

*Be sure to check just below for all the fun parties I link to!


alisamm said...

This looks really good. Maybe another Sunday dinner??

Brandi said...

Um, YUM. I want to make every single thing you've featured today but we already had dinner and I have none of that ready. Can I just have some of yours? :)

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