Friday, November 23, 2007

Thanksgiving Dinner

I obviously didn't spend much time on plating, but maybe you'll forgive me if I tell you that I was halfway through a bottle of wine by the time it hit the table, since I spent ALL DAY cooking for only four people. Oh, and only two of those people actually appreciated the food and ate it without making nasty faces.

I skipped the apple crisp, figuring that Rugrat wouldn't eat it and I'd be plenty full from dinner anyway. But I did put out a crudite platter for everyone to snack on during the afternoon, and whipped up a quick batch of stuffed mushrooms for Mr Wonderful and I. The kids won't touch mushrooms with a ten foot pole, which was just fine with me, because stuffed mushrooms are one of my favorite things.

Mashed Maple-Brown Sugar Sweet Potatoes
3 c baked, peeled & mashed sweet potatoes
1/3 c half and half
1/3 c good maple syrup
2 Tbsp melted butter
1/2 tsp salt
2 egg whites, lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 350.

Mix all ingredients together and spoon into an 8" buttered baking dish. Then, combine the following ingredients with a pastry cutter (or in a food processor or stand mixer, if you're lazy like me) until it gets crumbly and the butter bits are smaller than peas:

1/4 c lightly packed brown sugar
1/4 c flour
2 Tbsp cold butter

Sprinkle evenly on top of the mashed sweet potatoes, then bake for about 30 minutes. Serves 6-8.

Stuffed Mushrooms
1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp EVOO
10 mushrooms, cleaned
1 Tbsp minced shallot
1 Tbsp chopped parsley
1 tsp fresh lemon zest
1/2 c cracker crumbs (I usually use saltines; this time I had oyster crackers on hand, but you can use Ritz or whatever)
salt & pepper
2 Tbsp finely shredded Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 350.

Remove the stems from the mushrooms and chop the stems finely. Place the caps, hole side up, on a cookie sheet. Melt the butter with the EVOO in a small saute pan, then add the chopped mushroom stems, shallot, parsley and lemon zest. Cook for about 3 minutes to soften the mushrooms and shallots, and to blend the flavors together. Add the cracker crumbs. At this point, you may need to adjust a little - if the stuffing looks too wet, add a little more cracker crumbs; if it's too dry, moisten with a bit more EVOO. Cook for another minute, to bind everything together and toast the crumbs a little, and season with salt & pepper to taste.

With a teaspoon, stuff each mushroom cap with the mixture. You should mound it up and kind of press it down a bit with the spoon, making sure it's well packed. Top the mushroom caps with the shredded cheese and then pop them in the oven for 5-10 minutes, until the mushrooms give up their liquid and start to brown a bit. Serve immediately. This recipe will only serve about 2 people, though, because they are really yummy and you'll be scarfing them down as fast as you can.

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