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Jazz Up Your Thanksgiving // Part Two

Nov 11, 2011 12:10AM ● Published by Anonymous

Today’s tips come from What’s Up? Food Intern Catherine Irwin, a student at The University of Maryland.

  • If you’ve been tasked with the Thanksgiving appetizer this year, try this simple Cheese Spread to please your holiday guests. First, combine 1 ½ cups shredded white cheddar cheese, ½ cup softened butter, ½ to ¾ cup whipped cream cheese, and ¼ cup Dijon style mustard in a small mixing bowl. Beat on low or mix this by hand until it’s all blended. If it looks too stiff, add more cream cheese. Fold in 1/3 cup chopped pecans and ½ cup dried cranberries, then refrigerate. Let it soften for about 10 minutes before serving with hearty crackers or bread.

  • Before you serve dinner, try a creamy Roasted Walnut Soup.  Put two cups chicken stock on medium heat in an eight quart saucepan. In a hot skillet, put one cup of chopped walnuts for about three minutes or so, just enough to toast them before removing them and setting them aside. Add two tablespoons olive oil, ¼ cup chopped sweet onion, and two tablespoons finely chopped garlic until tender, add two tablespoons butter and melt to a light yellow color. Add ¼ cup flour, making sure to coat it with oil and butter, before adding two cups half and half slowly to the chicken stock, which should be almost at a boil, while whisking. Return it to heat for thickening to desired taste. Add salt and pepper to taste and two chopped scallions on top when serving.

  • Changing up your sweet potato recipe is another great way to add some excitement to Thanksgiving dinner. For a tasty side of Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Caramelized Onions and Pancetta, peel and cut two pounds of sweet potatoes into two-inch pieces before boiling them in a large saucepan of salted water over medium-high heat for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until very tender. Then drain the potatoes and return them to the saucepan, meanwhile heating two tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet until hot. Cook four ounces of finely diced pancetta for two or three minutes or until it starts to brown. Then add one coarsely shopped medium onion and cook it for 15 to 20 minutes until they are caramelized, stirring frequently. Add one tablespoon red wine vinegar and stir to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the skillet. Over very low heat, mash the sweet potatoes. Stir in ¼ cup cream cheese, salt and pepper to taste, and then the onion mixture.

  • Now for the most important part of any holiday meal -- dessert! This Triple-Layer Chocolate Pumpkin Pie is sure to be a crowd-pleaser for both looks and taste. Start by preheating the oven to 350 degrees and melting two tablespoons unsalted butter and then add in four ounces of coarsely chopped semi-sweet chocolate, leaving it over the heat until melted (about five to seven minutes) before whisking it until smooth. Then set it aside to partially cool the chocolate. Using an electric mixer on medium speed beat 12 ounces softened cream cheese in a large bowl, gradually adding 1 ¼ cups sugar. Beat in two large eggs one at a time. Next, blend in one cup canned pumpkin, ½ teaspoon vanilla extract, ¼ teaspoon cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon nutmeg, ¼ teaspoon ground cloves, and ¼ teaspoon salt until the filling is evenly combined.

    Pour slightly less than half the filling into a separate bowl and stir in the melted chocolate until evenly blended. Pour the chocolate filling into the pie shell and gently shake the pan to settle the filling. Bake the pie on the center rack for about 20 minutes before letting it cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Then carefully ladle the remaining pumpkin filling over the chocolate layer and shake the pan to settle the filling. Return the pie to the oven and bake for about 35 to 40 minutes. When done, place the pie on the cooling rack until the filling levels- about 30-45 minutes.

    Combine one cup sour cream and ¼ cup sugar in a small saucepan, stirring the mixture over very low heat for about two minutes, until it is fairly thin and slightly warm. Carefully pour it over the last layer and tilt the pan to evenly distribute the topping. Cool the pie thoroughly, then cover it with loosely tented tin foil and chill for at least four hours before serving.

By trying some new recipes and inventing new dishes with classic Thanksgiving ingredients, you can really add some pop to your holiday and make this meal one to remember.

 

 

 

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