A Cry for Help

I know, my readers, that some of you are secret culinary geniuses. I know because I lurk on your blogs too, and I see things like Melanie’s artisan bread and chakchouka (if you’re thinking “what the hell is chakchouka?” you’re not alone) or Andrea’s lasagna, chicken noodle soup, Amish bread and apple pie (just typing all that makes me tired) or Janet’s apple cake with caramel glaze, bbq pulled pork, homemade buns and monster snack for the kiddo (seriously, the ants on a log killed me). I see these things, and I wish that I lived in your house so I could eat your food. But since pretty much all of you live miles and miles away, in lush places that aren’t run by the mafia or decorated with rocks and awful palm trees, I can’t eat your food, and I can’t hang out in your kitchen learning tricks and secrets. So I’m asking for your help.

I love cooking, and I love Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is the only holiday where I do it all my way. I told the Ogre three years ago when we moved out here that I will continue to make his Mama’s Christmas bread on Christmas, and his Mama’s lamb spaghetti and spanikopita on Easter, and my Mama’s sinful brownies and amazing salsa on the 4th of July, but I claim Thanksgiving for myself. Last year our awesome friends from California drove out with their precious little girls and I made a turkey, stuffing and gravy from Bon Appetit. It was my first time ever cooking a turkey (or stuffing, or gravy for that matter) and although the turkey was woefully undercooked (no one died) the stuffing and gravy were perfect…more than perfect. So I’m sticking with that recipe this year, and my creme fraiche mashed potatoes and butternut squash with honey-butter. But I want to jazz up the other sides and dessert a bit. Boring green beans, store-bought bread and the weird cinnamon-y cranberry sauce we had last year just aren’t going to cut it. So I’m asking for your help! Here’s what I need:

1) A fabulous green bean recipe. Usually I blanch the green beans and saute them in butter and lemon juice, but I’m sick of that. I want something a little snazzier, and preferably something that involves bacon, because bacon makes the world go ’round (well, at least it makes my waist go round). Make-ahead would be great, but I’m not holding my breath because green beans are perishable. Also, if you happen to have a recipe for some other green vegetable that you think is fabulous, I’d love that too. I’m not dead set on green beans, but sadly the Ogre has vetoed Brussels sprouts so those are out. 

2) A cranberry sauce recipe that doesn’t have cinnamon in it. I really want something fairly traditional here; I’ve already vetoed a few promising-looking recipes because they contain pomegranate juice, and since nothing else on the table will be remotely Mediterranean I didn’t think the flavors would mesh particularly well.

3) A bread recipe. Ideally I’d like to have individual rolls instead of a loaf of bread, but I’m flexible. I would kind of like it to be a little jazzy, like rosemary rolls or something similar, but again, not dead set on anything. The only thing it absolutely must be is make-ahead, and I mean completely make ahead. I need to have these little beauties fully cooked and frozen so all I have to do on the day is warm them in the oven.

4) A pie crust recipe. Every single pie crust I have ever attempted has been a massive failure, so if you have an idiot-proof one that would be great. This, too, I need to be make-ahead by at least one day. I’m assuming it’s not really a problem to store pie crust in the fridge overnight, but again, I’m a pie crust amateur.

5) A pumpkin pie filling recipe. I’ve never made an actual pumpkin pie, but I’ve made lots of other pies so I’m pretty sure I can handle whatever you throw at me with this one. I do want it to be sinfully rich; dreamy, creamy, full of pumpkin flavor and lots of fat.

And lastly, I do have just one rule: no trans fats. So please, please, don’t send me an amazing recipe that calls for Crisco or vegetable oil. It will just make me sad. The only oils we use around here are coconut, olive, and butter, of course, although I am more than willing to cook with lard and bacon grease (how gross is that?).

I toyed with the idea of doing a blog carnival for this one but I don’t think I’ll have enough participation to make it work, so you can do one of two things. If you just want to leave the recipe in the comment box, that’d be great. But you can also post a recipe (and any other Thanksgiving triumphs you may have had) on your own blog and leave a link to that page (just that page, not your homepage!) in my comment box. Then we can all click on it and visit you!

Thank you all in advance. I’m really excited to see what kind of Thanksgiving magic goes on in your houses!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12557248434888642114 Melanie B

    You're right. I'm a foodie. My husband and I even started a cooking blog back when Bella was a baby. We haven't updated it in more than a year though. Not as much time for cooking these days as when we just had one baby.In the first few years after I graduated from UD I used to host huge Thanksgiving bashes at my apartment with up to 20 friends attending. What fun that was! But my husband has two brothers and two sisters, all of whom live nearby. So, except for the year that Bella was born when we hosted, we always end up doing Thanksgiving at someone else's house. It relieves the stress of me needing to cook it all; but I miss being able to do it all my way. My sister-in-law always insists on bringing stuffing made with Italian sausage. Ick! Some years I've done a make-up dinner with my own style stuffing etc on another day. 1. Here's my fabulous green bean recipe. When I read your plea, I was amazed I had something that fits the bill to a T. It calls pancetta, Italian bacon!!! But if you can't find pancetta you can of course use regular bacon. It's easy and super yummy. I'm not so sure about make ahead; it says to serve it warm. But I've had leftovers before (not very often, this is the kind of dish you find yourself eating the last few bites of instead of putting it away– but occasionally) and it tasted pretty good both cold and reheated. http://www.bettnet.com/blog/index.php/bella/comments/warm_green_bean_and_pancetta_salad/2. Here's an easy cranberry orange with no cinnamon: http://www.rachaelraymag.com/Recipes/rachael-ray-magazine-recipe-index/snack-spread-dip-recipes/Cranberry-Orange-SauceI'm not sure it was this exact recipe; but I've made something very similar in the past and it was awesome. I love the combination of cranberry and orange.3. I'm still looking for a good roll recipe myself; but if I find anything I'll pass it on. Or maybe I'll poach whatever you get from other readers that looks good.4. I can't help you there. I'm too lazy to try my own pie crusts. I buy the Pillsbury refrigerated pie crusts. Not the frozen ones in the foil pans but the ones in the refrigerated section that are in a box, rolled up. 5. Also no help as I don't really like pumpkin pie all that much. I am working to perfect my pumpkin muffin recipe; but that won't help you much. Oh and I used to have a killer pecan pie recipe but I haven't make it in a few years as several members of the extended family are allergic to nuts and I don't want to end up eating the whole thing myself, which I will if it's there.

  • Anonymous

    Ah, man, you are seriously missing out on Brussels sprouts!!! They are the best, and so pretty (as far as food goes)! Sorry, I can't help with the pie dough, rolls, or pumpkin pie…I bet smitten kitchen or pioneer woman would be helpful. Giada di Laurentis has an awesome zucchini gratin recipe, but it has so much heavy cream, cheese and butter that it really can't be considered a green vegetable…but you should try it sometime because its a recipe that fits your dietary restrictions, I think. Here is the link:http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/verdure-al-forno-recipe/index.htmlThis is seriously the best zucchini dish I have EVER had. And let me know if you get a good recipe for rolls and pie dough, I've never tried to make either. Vic

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10135272827538989265 Andrea

    Oh my goodness! I am so honored that you linked my recipes hahaWell, I have a cranberry recipe for you, and a pie crust recipe. (Possibly a pumpkin pie recipe.) Pie crust is tricky because most traditional recipes call for shortening, but I have an amazing one that uses butter instead and is just delicious with pumpkin pie. And you can make it ahead, no problem. That's what I'm doing this year.Ok, let me get it posted and I'll link back.(Also, I loved your tin foil post the other day. It cracked me up and I can't say I disagreed.)

  • Rebekah

    This is my Grandma's roll recipe. It is a pretty basic recipe, but it is tasty and I love it. It is also easy to mess with because it is so basic. I love my mom's pie crust recipe, but it calls for shortening, so it doesn't make your cut. :-) 3 ½ to 4 ½ Flour1t salt1 c Milk¼ c butter3T sugar2T dry yeast½ c waterIn a large bowl, mix well—1 ½ c flour, sugar, salt and undissolved yeast. Combine milk, water and butter in a pan and heat until very warm. Gradually add to dry ingredients and beat 2 minutes on medium speed. Add ½ c flour and beat 2 minutes more on high speed. Stir in enough more flour to make soft dough. Turn onto board and knead till smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Place in greased bowl and set bowl in warm place for 15-20 minutes. Turn out and shape as desired. Place on baking sheet, cover and let rise 15 minutes. Bake 350degrees for 12-15 minutes. Buttered Rosemary Rolls—shape rolls into rounds. Generously coat a cast iron skillet with olive oil. Place rolls into skillet, cover and let rise 15-20 minutes. Brush rolls with melted butter. Sprinkle with fresh chopped rosemary, bush with melted butter (yes more butter) then sprinkle with a tiny bit of coarse sea salt. Bake 350 degrees for 15-17 minutes. Then, just to be really bad, brush them with a little more melted butter once out of the oven.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10135272827538989265 Andrea

    Ok, I posted a recipe for cranberries and pie crust. http://runninganniemm.blogspot.com/2010/11/time-to-be-adult.htmlHowever, after thinking about it, I realized that my pumpkin pie recipe comes right off the Libby's pumpkin can. It's really good, simple, and I make it the day before.Also, I was going to tell you that concerning bread, you can just take any basic white bread recipe and make it into rolls, and add whatever you want to it. That's the plan here. I also like to make corn bread and zucchini muffins for the bread basket.

  • vegfudie

    Here's a great green bean stir-fry you might like; it's a vegetarian recipe:http://www.vegrecipes4u.com/green-beans-fry.html

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10135272827538989265 Andrea

    Sorry to post so much! But after reading your post again, I am here to beg for your butternut squash with honey butter recipe. Please please post it!!!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15778596300503008018 J M Yaceczko

    Yes, please post the butternut squash w/ honey butter recipe. Please. I'll post you the full pie crust and a roll recipe tomorrow. The rest, I got nothin. I've never cooked Thanksgiving Dinner….This year is my first Christmas dinner, though, so I'd love some input from you. :) Cheers! (And thanks for posting my yummies…I want that cake again – it was so goood…)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02257686914743591573 Katy

    Here's a great crust:http://smittenkitchen.com/2008/11/pie-crust-102-all-butter-really-flaky-pie-doughI trust everything she makes and have never been failed. I highly recommend Williams-Sonoma's Essentials of Baking. Perhaps your library has it? They have many recipes on their website as well and I have definitely had good luck with everything in there even when it calls it a "Master Recipe" and then I feel really awesome when I make said master recipe.Good luck. Also, if you're considering making pumpkin pie from scratch go get a real pumpkin and do it. It's super easy and yields more than you get from a can. I just quarter the pumpkin, wrap in foil and bake until it's soft or I can pierce with a fork. Then just mash it up or pop it in the food processor/blender (just pull the peel off first!)


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