Thursday, November 27, 2008

Preparations...

Our little homemade family of five will be sitting down to one heck of a meal tomorrow.  Jason has been baking bread and making sure everything is ready for our cooking extravaganza and three of our friends who can not travel this Thanksgiving will be joining our family table.

So far, we have a few loaves of bread and cranberry relish along with our homemade cranberry jelly for the turkey tomorrow (and for sandwiches the rest of the weekend... YUMM!!).  *Post-publication addition!!  Jason also made a pumpkin pie (you won't believe what he puts in his crust to make it PERFECTION!) that will be accompanied by an orange brandy whipped cream and a cheese cake flavored with chocolate and espresso.  Had to come back and add those items to the list.*  In addition...

THE MONSTER IS IN THE BRINE!!  LOL  Sorry about the dramatics but seriously... it's a 22 pound turkey... that's nuts.  We are brining it in our ice chest for the next six hours then, right after we watch the parade, we'll take that bird out of its bath and prepare it for some heat!  WOOHOO!!

Hope you all are having fun with your prep and, to all of our friends all over the world...

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!

Don't worry... we'll be snapping pictures and including recipes for EVERYTHING we make tomorrow.  But, for now, here is one recipe to hold you over:

Shannon's Cranberry Relish

I have made this for Thanksgiving for as long as I remember making my own Thanksgiving meals.  It is, at this time of year, where even localvore, homesteader folks like ourselves allow ourselves a luxury item or two.  In this case, Washington State is the second largest producers of cranberries in the country.  How cool is that?!?  I get to make my favorite condiment without going too far back to the commercial food grid.

The one pleasure we allow ourselves to add to our holiday meals is oranges.  Hey... even Little House on the Prairie got an orange in their stockings!  So, this is where our lovely friend the orange is focused in this meal.
  • One orange
  • 1, 1/2 cup of cranberries
  • Hazelnuts

This is soooo simple...

  • Put the cranberries in the food processor.
  • Zest the orange.  This is the part I LOVE doing.  While you are running your zester along the orange, you will find your hands covered in the oil from the orange.  After you have all the zest into the food processor, go splash a little water on your hands.  Then, rub the fragrant oil all over your hands.  Even tonight as I was knitting, I could smell the scent of oranges.  mmmmm...
  • Next, throw in a few hazelnuts.  I used about a dozen in my relish this year.  A note about the nuts you use.  We could not get any locally sourced walnuts this year so we used hazelnuts instead.  Hazelnuts are grown here in Washington State and our source is just barely within our 100 mile requirement... whew... However, if you can get walnuts, go for it!  The walnuts add a darker flavor to this relish and I would have used them had I been able to get them.  However, hazelnuts are local and that's what we're using.  The end result was a different flavor than previous years but still totally yuuuuumy!
  • Give everything a good whir in the food processor until the nuts and berries are chopped well.  Then, get out your reamer and break open that orange you just zested.  Work the orange over until it is dry to make sure you have enough liquid for your relish.  Add the juice and any pulp that comes free into the food processor.
  • Pulse the mixture a few times to incorporate all of the ingredients then turn the whole shebang on low for about five seconds.  This should give you a wonderful consistency that is not smooth by any means but all parts are evenly chopped fine.
  • Empty the contents into a dish and cover.  Allow the relish to chill overnight in your fridge.  This will also give the individual flavors to mingle a bit and really come out lovely the next day.

The color is wonderful, the fragrance is fantastic and it has just the right kick to accompany the rich foods you will be serving throughout your meal.

Now, I LOVE the dry, sour flavor of cranberries and the orange is usually enough for us to sweeten the relish sufficiently.  However, if you have to have a little more sweet, you can add a little bit of sugar.  NOT TOO MUCH!!  Remember, these flavors are meant to be a little more sharp.  If you want, the next morning, you can add a little sugar to it and put it over your hot cereal.  Or, use it as an addition to your favorite muffin recipe.  Personally, I can just about eat this stuff with a spoon and be happy.

Okay... that's enough for now.  gotta be up in six hours to watch the parade then the National Dog Show!!  WOOHOO!!  Can you tell we love the holidays??  LOL

We'll post up some pictures tomorrow night.  What all did YOU do tonight to get ready for your Thanksgiving meal?  Any brilliant recipes you have for preparing the night before and either doing very little or nothing to the next day?  Share 'em here!  Tomorrow we'll put up a post and have everyone share their Thanksgiving menus with us.

talk to you soon...
The Shibaguyz

7 comments:

Mary Ann said...

Happy Thanksgiving!

I'm certain you'll be giving thanks around a glorious meal!

lzyjo said...

Even though I'm a vegetarian your Thanksgiving feast sounds wonderful. I can't wait to hear the "secret ingredient." DH wouldn't even let me make my own crust.

Happy Thanksgiving, Shibas and Shibaguys!

our friend Ben said...

Happy, happy, guyz!!! Wonder if we could catch a plane here in Nashville and make it out there in time to join you for the meal... hmmmm... Maybe a Shiba will win big this year to top off your day!

Tyra in Vaxholm said...

Gosh! 22 pounds turkey! That is a monster you are going eat turkey untill Easter!


Happy Thanksgiving

Tyra

I wonder if I can tempt you with an apple

notsocrafty.com said...

Happy Thanksgiving!

Aunt Debbi/kurts mom said...

Sounds awesome. Do share more recipes. Happy Turkey Day.

Weed Whackin' Wenches said...

for the love of cranberries! We went to a potluck style turkey dinner over at the University Friends Meeting. It was delish EXCEPT for the cranberry sauce. There were at least half a dozen different versions and none was really very good--the one with balsamic vinagre was too tart, the one with maraschino cherries was too sweet. But yours sounds just right!
--Curmudgeon