I love cooking for the holidays. Growing-up our house was always busy during the holidays with my mother cooking, cleaning and hosting. I never really understood how big my mother's family was until I went to other people's houses. My mother was the oldest of 12 kids and I have so many cousins that I would have to sit down and count it out to figure out the exact number. Needless to say, our house was always busy and even though I was technically an only child that was more in theory that actual practice. Every weekend there was either family at our house or we were visiting someone. Growing-up this led to a lot of jealousy on my part. I never really understood why I had to share my mother with so many other people. Now that my mother is gone and I have gotten a lot older I realize that some of my best memories involved growing-up in the constant chaos of a very large extended family. There was never a question of what to do, just who to do it with. You were never alone, which now that I have a family of my own and live far away from home I miss more than I would ever think possible growing-up. Baking and cooking is one way that I keep the spirit of my mother alive and well with my own family and this Thanksgiving I tried new recipes, mixed in with recipes I make every year. Here is a break-down of how Thanksgiving at my house looked.
I hate turkey. I know that sounds horrible, but I think I may be one of the few Americans alive that hates turkey. I have tried to grow to love the poultry over the years, but I just can't do it. It's doesn't help that the leftovers last for days and I have never been a fan of turkey pot pie (I know I seem to not like any quintessiantal American food). So this year I decided to go outside the box. I made individual cornish game hens and my kids absolutely loved them! Here is a pic of the finished product:
The game hens went over very well and my youngest child ate a whole game hen all by himself. Plus the leftovers made for two great pots of homemade stock the next day.
For side dishes I made garlic buttermilk mashed potatoes, seen here:
And Sauteed Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Apples (link to recipe in text).
And last minute I had extra sweet potato puree so I made individual sweet potato casseroles:
I modified a recipe found here. I added extra marshmallows since my kids love them and slightly reduced the amount of orange juice to approximately 1 tablespoon.
For dessert I made two pies the day before Thanksgiving. I was kind enough to be given over 20 pounds of sweet potatoes and cushaw squash from a friend of my husbands. Thanks to this generosity I was able to make two pies and a side dish without spending any money, which I love! For the first pie I made crust-less pumpkin pie. I can no longer eat gluten so this was an easy way to make the pie gluten free. I followed this recipe and here is the photo:
I did let the pie cook longer than the suggestion, I would say closer to an hour. Part of the longer cooking time was due to the fact that I made one deep dish pie and a series of mini pies in small souffle pans.
The second pie I made was a gluten free cushaw pie. I combined two recipes to make this pie. The first recipe was for a gluten free pie crust. Here is the link. Be very careful when working with this crust. It takes time in the freezer to fully set, do not try to over knead it or it will be tough. Additionally, make sure to follow the directions where the crust is set between two pieces of parchment this is an important step and the only way that you will be able to move your crust from the counter to the pan. For the actual pie filling I followed this recipe.
That was my Thanksgiving. I was happy that all my recipes and dishes turned out delicious and I was surrounded by my family. I hope all my readers had a great Thanksgiving!