Saturday, November 10, 2018

Four Must Have Recipes For The Holidays

Every year, Chris and I typically end up hosting one of the major holidays we celebrate. This year we're hosting Thanksgiving at our home. We love to host and consider ourselves the "best cooks" in the family ... well Chris is A+ rated and I follow somewhere behind but still ranked the second highest to my own standards. I love to get an idea for new recipes each year but there are several that I stay true to and have always been a holiday favorite.

I stumbled upon a green bean casserole recipe several years ago in the Joanna Gaines Magazine... I love Jojo and honestly I think she can do no wrong. Chris typically hates casseroles because they tend to be full of hodgepodge and processed canned soups but no, not this one. I took Joanna's recipe and tweaked it to my own and it's definitely a crowd pleaser!

Green Bean Casserole (homemade version)
You'll need:
-2 lb green beans, trimmed
-1/2 cup unsalted butter
-8oz cremini mushrooms, sliced
-1 tbs Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tbs minced garlic (6 cloves)
- 1 tsp Salt
-1 tsp granulated onion
-1 tsp black pepper
-1/2 cup - all purpose flour
-2 cups heavy cream
-2 cups sliced onion

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large pot cook green bean in salted boiling water for 5 minutes or until tender. Drain and rinse and transfer to bowl.

2. In a Large saucepan melt 1/4 cup of the butter over medium-high heat. Add the next 6 ingredients (through black pepper). Cook about 5 minutes or until mushrooms are tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in 1/4 cup flour until combined. Reduce heat to medium. Add cream all at once and whisk until smooth. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Add beans - and gently coat.  Spoon mixture into 3-qt rectangular baking dish.

3. In a small bowl combine sliced onions and remaining 1/4 cup of flour and toss to coat. In a large skillet melt the remaining 1/4 cup butter over medium/high heat. Add onion mixture and cook until onions are browned- stirring occasionally.  Arrange onions over bean mixture and bake, uncovered for 35 minutes. Enjoy!

My next recipe is a sweeter favorite of mine. It reminds me so much of my childhood and looking forward to this dish during family get together and the holidays. Honestly, everyone's favorite dish includes marshmallows...

Sweet Potato Casserole

What you'll need:

- 6 large sweet potatoes
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 1 cup chopped pecans, toasted ( optional)
- 1 tsp. Salt
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
-1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
-1 sleeve crushed cinnamon graham crackers
-1 10 oz pkg of tiny marshmallows
-1/2 cup brown sugar

1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Peel and quarter sweet potatoes. In a large pot cook potatoes, covered in lightly salted boiling water for 25-30 minutes or until tender; drain.

2. return potatoes to the warm pot. Add cream and half of the butter. Mash together until smooth and stir in pecans, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg until combined. Spoon into a 3qt baking dish. In a bowl melt the remaining butter - stir in crushed graham crackers. Sprinkle over the sweet potato mixture- top with marshmallows and brown sugar.

3. Bake, uncovered for 10 minutes or until heated through and marshmallows brown.

( I'm interrupting this post to link all of my table and serving decor- my chargers are Hearth and Hand but no longer available online. My napkins are vintage and the florals were foraged from our property) You can shop my exact  blue and white dinner plates here

This one is a special recipe - it's completely contributed by Chris! He was actually pretty excited about prepping the duck for this blog post and really went above and beyond to make this recipe happen for the blog. To be honest- Chris cooks  A LOT... I typically make specialty items and bake but, Chris can whip together an excellent recipe in no time and it's always delicious!

Chris' Holiday Duck

What you'll need:

-1 whole duck
- Baby Yukon gold potatoes ( usually purchased within a sack)
-1 sweet onion sliced
- 1 lemon sliced
- 6 cloves of garlic
- olive oil/ salt and pepper
- 1 orange slice

The Brine:
( The duck will need to rest in the brine for 24-48 hours- the longer the better. The brining process brings the flavor and keeps the meat moist throughout the cooking process- do not skip!)
-1/4 cup of course pink Himalayan salt
- 1 tsp peppercorn
-1 tbsp of Italian seasoning
-1 bay leaf
-3 tbsp brown sugar
-2 crushed garlic cloves
-2 quarts of water

1. Add all ingredients to a sauce pan and bring to a boil until salt and sugar fully dissolves. Allow brine to cool.
2. Add brine to the duck in a Tupperware making sure the duck is fully submerged.
3. Set in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours.

Compound Butter:
-1 stick of unsalted butter
-2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
-2 cloves of garlic
- 1 tbsp of fresh thyme
-1 tsp of fresh oregano
-fresh ground pepper and salt
-1 tsp of paprika
-1 tsp of orange zest

1. Add herbs to a food processor and pulse to chop- once pulsed add butter to combine.

2. Remove the duck from the brine and pat dry - allow to air dry for 2 hours.

3. Prick the duck skin but make sure not to penetrate the meat to allow the fat to render. Take compound butter and cover the outside of the duck.

4. Cover the bottom of the roasting pan with the cut baby potatoes, onions and crushed garlic. Season with olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.

5. Place a sliced onion and a slice of orange into the cavity of the duck. Place the duck on top of the potatoes and place into the oven at 250 degrees- once the duck reaches an internal temp of 130 degrees- pull the duck out of the oven and increase the oven temp to 450 degrees.

6. Place the duck back into the oven and to brown. Once the skin appears brown and crisp- pull the duck from the oven and allow to rest for 15 minutes. Once rested- carve and enjoy!

I saved the best for last... No Thanksgiving meal is complete without dessert!

This year I'm choosing a new favorite of mine and it's not super traditional but your guest will greatly appreciate this tart more than the store bought pumpkin pie you thought about bringing.

Poached- Pear Frangipane Tart

What you'll need:

-3-4 firm pears (bartlett, anjou...)
-2 cups dry red wine (I used Cabernet Sauvignon)
-1/3 cup sugar
-1/2 vanilla bean, cut in half and scraped ( you can sub 1 tsp vanilla extract)
-1 orange- zest the peel and squeeze 1/3 cup orange juice
-2 cloves

-1 tablespoon unbleached all purpose flour ( extra for dusting)
-1/2  Pate Brisee ( pie crust- recipe below)
-1 cup whole blanched almonds ( I bought a bag of almonds already sliced and blanched)
-1/4 tsp kosher salt
-1 stick unsalted butter - room temp
-1/2 cup sugar
-1 large egg
-1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Pears- peel pears and transfer to a sauce pan. Add wine, sugar, vanilla, orange juice and zest, cloves and enough water to cover the pears. Place a sheet of parchment paper directly on top of the liquid - you may need to place a heat proof bowl on top to keep the pears submerged in the liquid. Bring to a simmer over high heat and then reduce to medium to low heat and simmer until pears are soft. ( 15 minutes) transfer to heat proof bowl and cover with the poaching liquid and let cool completely.

2. on a lightly floured sheet of parchment ( do not use anything other- it's easier to transfer the dough on parchment- I learned the hard way) roll out pie dough into a 13 inch  round about 1/8 inch thick. Fit into a 9 inch tart pan- trim and press the ends to match of to the pan. Lightly prick the bottom with a fork and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

3. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees - arrange your almonds on a cookie sheet and bake until golden brown and fragrant- 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool completely. Transfer the almonds to a food processor add flour, salt and process until finely ground.

4. Beat your butter with sugar on medium speed until pale and fluffy- about 2 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla; beat until combined. Add almond mixture; beat until pale and fluffy- 2 minutes.

5. Increase your oven temp to 375 degrees. Line dough with parchment paper and fill with dried beans or rice to hold dough in place and bake for until edges are golden- 20-25 minutes. Remove the beans or rice and parchment paper and bake for another 15 minutes or until golden. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.

6. reduce oven temp to 350 degrees- place a foil lined baking sheet below the rack. Spread the crust with the almond mixture and smooth with a spatula. Working with 1 pear at a time- remove from poaching liquid and pat dry- slice in half length wise and remove the stem and core and then slice cross wise 1/8 inches thick- fan pear slices on pie ( or decorate how you choose) to cover the entire top of the pie.

7. Place tart pan directly on oven rack; bake until golden- puffed and just set. About 50 -60 minutes. ( if your crust is getting too dark- make a ring out of aluminum foil and place around the crust) Transfer to wire rack and let cool completely - at least 4 hours.

Pate Brissee ( Pie Crust)

You can obviously purchase ready made pie crust but there is something special about making your own. I preferred to make my own with this recipe because it's not a traditional pie and requires a more buttery taste. I could eat the crust alone- it's that good!

-2 -1/2 cup unbleached all purpose flour.
-1-1/2 tsp kosher salt
-1 tbsp of sugar
-2 stick of cold butter- cut into small pieces ( I usually stick my butter in the freezer for a few minutes)
-7-8 tbsp of cold iced water

1. Pulse flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor until combined. Add butter; pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal with some pea size pieces remaining. Drizzle 5 tbsp of water over mixture. Pulse several times to combine. Add more water - 1 tbsp at a time, pulsing until mixture holds together when pinched.

2. Halve the dough. Shape into 2 disk ( this makes 2 pie crust but you'll only need 1 for the tart recipe) wrap each half in plastic and refrigerate for 1 hour or up to 1 day.

3. Take it out and make your tart!

I hope you find these recipes helpful during your holiday meals. I know that you and your loved ones will enjoy these just as much as we have!


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