Since this is our first year away from our host family who is based in Minnesota, and since I have cravings for anything roasted and all other comfort foods alike, I went on to grab some of Foodnetwork's recipes online and planned for a Thanksgiving meal. It was a lot of planning ahead for this kind of meal, I can imagine it must be more difficult to prepare for 10 guests or so. However, I underestimate the challenge of cooking for two.
It is definitely harder to prepare for two person because you don't know how much to cut off on the portion. Like I can get a bag of celery, and I'm sure to have leftovers because I'm only going to need one to two stalks. And it's always better to NOT buy in bulk but in the US, everything is in bulk. LOL
Regardless of the challenges, I knew I have to have Thanksgiving dinner. There's so many tempting menus out there open on Thanksgiving day but nothing beats home made comfort food. Like some said, it's good for the soul.
So, I went ahead and buy some of the freshest ingredient available here in SoCal. No more frozen green beans or store-bought angel cake. Everything is made from scratch and I love it! It's so easy to cook here and the flavors are easily obtainable that I no longer had to mask it with lots of chicken stock to sweeten things up because everything is so flavorful and fresh. I can go on and on about food... yeah, I'm clever like that. HAHA
For this Thanksgiving meal, I mixed the traditional food with the new, more bistro like food such that for appetizer, I follow's Sandra Lee's semi-home made recipe where she use bacon to wrap the figs around. She use goat cheese as glue and then drizzle some honey over when it's done. I didn't use any goat cheese in this case thinking it will not only make us full before entree is serve, but I think with bacon, it should give enough flavor to the figs.
Here's some pictures before the figs were bake. These guys only need about 10 minutes in the oven. So, that was the last thing I had to cook before dinner.
When you're preparing for two, turkey is out of the question, We had to opt for something smaller, so two cornish hens were perfect. This recipe came from Barefoot Contessa (and I always thought her name was Contessa only to realize her name was Ina Garten LOL). For this one, it came with the cornbread stuffing, mixed with saute butter onion and some corn but I added more veggies: some more celery and carrots because I like them. Mixed it with a little bit of chicken stock to make it moist and stuff it into the hens' cavity. Sounds easy, but lots of work!
The recipe only call for onions but like I said, I had too many stalks of celery left, I added of the greens and carrots for the birds to make a good juice from.Two birds, one for each of us, only takes 30 minutes to cook at 400 degrees. These hens are bigger than I thought and it came out much more moist than what I wanted. I like the dried roasted type but oh well, we ate it anyway.
Lastly, for dessert I went for Paula Deen's Bread Chocolate Pudding. This one is a little complicated compare to the rest because of the mix and stir method. Lots of work but worth the fun. For this recipe, I have to cut the portion in half. When it called for one loaf of Italian bread, I only do half. The bread is then cut into cubes, soak in with three eggs, chocolate powder, cream, milk and some Kahlua, rum or almond liquor (I mix all three in! LOL yes, I'm liquor woman). After that, pour some chocolate chips on top and then the bread will be ready to soak up all that juice.
After about 20 minutes soaking all that good flavorful juice up, the pudding went into the oven for about an hour. The apartment sure smell nice the whole time its cooking!
Unfortunately, I didn't take a picture of the baked bread pudding but it look somewhat like before it was baked, only darker. The taste was absolute delicious and sinfully good, but I couldn't have a lot of it because it was making me loopy!
Here are the other dishes on our dining table.
With some apple spiced cider to accompany the dishes, it definitely smell like Thanksgiving in Minnesota.
Here's the roasted Cornish Hen. The following picture is the saute green beans, a recipe stole from Giada on Everyday Italian. I thought it was a simple dish compare to the traditional green beans in mushroom soup/sauce but since I gave my slow cooker away and don't have enough space to bake, I went for an alternative. The saute green beans seen here is cooked with cremini mushroom and onions, a little bit of chicken stock and when it's done, I shaved some Parmesan Reggiano cheese on top. Delish! The cheese sure make such a good sauce for this dish.
We didn't even get to drink that bottle of wine because we ended being too full! Only spiced apple cider to accompany and it was just nice.
And last but not least, my ultimate favorite!!
Baked sweet potato with marshmallow on top. I sprinkled some brown sugar onto the sweet potatoes before covering them with marshmallow. My mistake? I should have bought the smaller size marshmallows so that it baked better. These guys are too big but oh well, they end up in my tummy anyway! YUMMY!!
Have I tame my cravings yet? Yes
Have I overeat? Yes!
Can I button? NO!
Who can on Thanksgiving anyway?? Sheesh LOL
So, what did you have?