# thanksgiving 2013

Turkey Day 2013 is in the books! We were really grateful to spend the day with some of our new friends here in Utah. Our awesome hosts, Chris and Chilali, had six of us over and we made it a pot-luck dinner of sorts. It reminded me of the pot-luck Thanksgiving and Easter meals we’d have at the Zajkowskis’ home while living in Cinci. It’s fun for everyone and many hands makes light work, right? Something like that.

There are a lot of family favorite recipes Joe and I have every year, but I decided to make new things for this Thanksgiving. It felt right — new home, new friends, new food. I documented my cooking on Instagram, but here’s what we brought to the table (har har):

Barefoot Contessa’s Apple Chutney (to pair with cheese/crackers or turkey), Pioneer Woman’s Burgundy Mushrooms (a vegetarian holiday staple, that happens to take nine (9!) hours to cook), Jeni’s Bourbon Ice Cream with Salty Buttered Pecans and Jeni’s Cranberry Royale Sorbet. The best part of my recipes? Three out of four could be made way in advance, so the only thing I had to do on Turkey Day was wake up at 4am to start the mushrooms. #truestory (I’ve put all of the recipes below.)

Thanksgiving prep

Let me give you a run-down of the entire menu, which is always one of the most important parts to me:

We started with Prosecco, aged cheeses from Amsterdam, cumin cheese, hummus, crackers, olives and…goldfish crackers. I love goldfish crackers and I’m not ashamed to say I ate the majority of them over the course of the night. Can’t get enough. #crackercrack


For the main meal, we had turkey, mashed potatoes, brussels sprouts with a walnut oil dressing, maple-glazed parsnips, green bean casserole, apple chutney, burgundy mushrooms, oyster stuffing, faux-sausage stuffing (yay!), gravy, mushroom gravy (yay!), rolls and the most amazing selection of wines. It was incredible…and also an incredible amount of food for eight people!

For dessert, we had my ice cream and sorbet, as well as sweet potato pie and a Bakewell tart, which I had never had before but it was delicious. It all was.


I was pretty horrible about documenting the day. At some point you just want to put the camera down and enjoy your company. I didn’t even bring my BGCs, but here’s a group shot Chris took on his iPad for his family. The biggest travesty is that I didn’t get a photo of our most wonderful hosts, who did so much to make the day perfect and special. We love Chris and Chilali, so I promise to posts some pics of them at some point soon.


Turkey Day wasn’t all “Utah” either. We spent much of the morning on Facetime with our families. Here are some highlights: Memaw and Uncle Patrick, Lee watched the Lions’ game with Joe, Jack and Sasha in her crate on his request, Lily and Molly (“Sissy”)

Thanksgiving Facetime

Here are the recipes — enjoy!

Apple Chutney

from Barefoot Contessa

6 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and half-inch diced
1 cup chopped yellow onion
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (2 oranges)
3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1 teaspoon whole dried mustard seeds
1/4 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes (optional)
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
3/4 cup raisins

Combine the apples, onion, ginger, orange juice, vinegar, brown sugar, mustard seeds, pepper flakes and salt and in a large saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to simmer and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, for 50 minutes to 1 hour, until most of the liquid has evaporated. Take off the heat and add the raisins. Set aside to cool and store covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Burgundy Mushrooms

from The Pioneer Woman 

4 pounds White Button Mushrooms
2 sticks Butter
1-½ teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
4+ cups Burgundy Wine (other Reds Will Work)
1 teaspoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper
2 cups Boiling Water
4 whole Chicken Bouillon Cubes
4 whole Beef Bouillon Cubes
1 teaspoon Dill Seed
5 cloves Garlic, Peeled
2 teaspoons Salt

Thoroughly wash the mushrooms and throw them into a large stockpot. Add all the remaining ingredients except the salt. Stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for six hours. Remove the lid, then continue cooking, uncovered, for three hours. Add salt to taste at the end if desired. The mushrooms will be very dark in color. Simmer until needed. Server straight from the pot or in a serving bowl. Dip crusty bread in the juice—yum!Mushrooms keep for days in the fridge.

Bourbon Ice Cream with Salty Buttered Pecans

from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home

2 c. whole milk
1 Tbs. plus 1 tsp. cornstarch
1 1/2 oz (3 Tbs) cream cheese, softened
1/4 tsp. fine sea salt
1 1/4 c. heavy cream
1/2 c. sugar
2 Tbs. light corn syrup
1/4 c. Bourbon
Salty Buttered Pecans (recipe below)

Mix about 2 Tbs. of the milk with the cornstarch in a small bowl to make a smooth slurry. Whisk cream cheese and salt in a medium bowl until smooth. Fill a large bowl with ice and water.

Combine the remaining milk, the cream, sugar and corn syrup in a 4-qt. saucepan, bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat, and boil for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat, and gradually whisk in the cornstarch slurry. Bring the mixture back to a boil over medium-high heat, and cook, stirring with a heatproof spatula, until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Remove from heat.

Gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese until smooth. Stir in the Bourbon. Pour the mixture into a 1-gallon Ziploc freezer bag and submerge the sealed bag in the ice bath. Let stand, adding more ice if needed, until cold — about 30 minutes.

Pour ice cream base into your ice cream machine’s frozen canister and spin until thick and creamy (20-30 minutes). Fold in the pecans before packing into a storage container and pressing a sheet of parchment paper directly on the surfact. Freeze for at least 4 hours.

Salty Buttered Pecans

3/4 c. pecans, chopped
1 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted
1/2 tsp. fine sea salt

Preheat oven to 350-degrees. Combine the nuts with the butter and salt in a bowl, tossing to coat. Spread evenly on a baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes, turning once, until crisp and aromatic. Let cool completely.

Cranberry Royale Sorbet

from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home

2 grapefruits
one 12-oz bag cranberries
1 c. plus 2 Tbs. water
1/4 c. light corn syrup
1 1/2 c. sugar

Using a vegetable peeler, remove 3 large strips of zest from 1 grapefruit. Halve the grapefruits and squeeze 3/4 cup juice.

Combine the grapefruit juice, zest, cranberries, water, corn syrup and sugar in a 4-quart saucepan and bring to a boil. Boil just until the cranberries begin to pop open, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool.

Remove the grapefruit zest. If desired, puree the cranberry mixture or leave for a chunkier sorbet. Fill a large bowl with ice and water. Pour cranberry mixture into a gallon Ziploc freezer bag and submerge the sealed bag in the ice bath. Let stand, adding more ice as needed, until cold — about 30 minutes.

Pour the sorbet base in the frozen canister of your ice cream machine and spin just until the consistency of very softly whipped cream. Pack the sorbet into a storage container, pressing a sheet of parchment directly against the surface and freeze with an air-tight lid for at least 4 hours.


4 thoughts on “# thanksgiving 2013

  1. Pingback: # we all scream | hashtag marci

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  3. Pingback: # thanksgiving 2014 | hashtag marci

  4. Pingback: Friday Five: Thanksgiving Prep | hashtag marci

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