i had a delicious delicious thanksgiving. my motto for thanksgiving: eat until it hurts. 🙂

cameron and i spent most of the day preparing three things for the thanksgiving feast: shrimp cocktail, ham, and apple pie!

the shrimp cocktail
from alton brown on

shrimp transformation

32 shell-on (21 to 25 count) tiger shrimp
For the brine:
1/4 cup kosher salt
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup water
2 cups ice
For the cocktail sauce:
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
1/2 cup prepared chili sauce
4 tablespoons prepared horseradish
1 teaspoon sugar
Few grinds fresh black pepper
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
Sprinkle Old Bay seasoning

1. Using a pair of scissors or a serrated knife, make an incision down the backside of the shrimp, following the intestinal track. Eviscerate shrimp and rinse under cool water leaving shells intact.

2. Place cleaned shrimp into a bowl with brine and refrigerate mixture for 20 to 25 minutes. While shrimp are brining, place tomatoes, chili sauce, horseradish, sugar, pepper, and salt in food processor and blend until smooth. Refrigerate cocktail sauce until ready to serve.
3. Place a baking sheet or broiler pan under oven broiler and preheat for 5 minutes. Remove shrimp from brine and drain thoroughly. Rinse the shrimp under cold water and dry on paper towels. In a large bowl, toss shrimp with olive oil and sprinkle with Old Bay seasoning, if desired.

4. Place shrimp onto a sizzling sheet pan and return to broiler immediately. After 2 minutes, turn the shrimp with a pair of tongs. Return the shrimp to broiler for 1 minute. Transfer to a cold cookie sheet. Refrigerate immediately.
Once shrimp have chilled, arrange with cocktail sauce in a martini glass or as desired.

comments: cameron saw this recipe on good eats, and it had great reviews on the food network site, plus there was this great sale on tiger shrimp (16/20) at star market. four pounds for $28! it turned out great! the texture of the shrimp was perfect, and i really liked the kick that the sauce had from the chili sauce (we used sriacha) and horseradish. we made it early and then chilled it in the fridge.

pit fired ham glazed with pineapple and mango maple syrup
from jill davie on

delicious, delicious ham

2 cups store bought mango sauce or 2 mangoes, peeled, seeded and diced
1 cup maple syrup, light or dark
1 4 ounce can pineapple chunks
1 (16-ounce) can pineapple rings, juice reserved
13 to 15 pound ham, bone-in
Toothpicks, as needed

1. Preheat a barbecue, charcoal pit, or oven to 350 degrees F.

2. In a small saucepan, add the mango sauce or mangoes. Stir in the maple syrup, pineapple chunks and pineapple juice and bring to a simmer. Continue to simmer for 8 minutes and then remove from the heat.

3. Working with a sharp knife, score the ham on the bias, fat side up, by drawing the knife from 1 side of the ham to the other. Be sure and make the incisions deep enough (about 1/2-inch) so that the glaze can reach the meat underneath the layer of fat. Continue scoring the top of the ham in the other direction to form a criss-cross pattern over the top.

4. Using the toothpicks, attach the pineapple rings to the top and sides of the ham. With a pastry brush or a large spoon, liberally apply a layer of the glaze.

5. Place the ham in the oven or a barbecue pit and cook, frequently applying coats of the glaze about every 20 minutes. Allow 20 to 25 minutes per pound of ham in a barbecue pit and 10 to 15 in a 350 degree F oven.

6. Slice and serve.

ham transformation

comments: delicious, delicious ham. one of my dreams in life is to be hugging a big delicious ham and snacking on bits of it while i sleep. mmm… so tasty. anyhow, this ham was AWESOME. it smelled so incredibly good while it was baking, and the repeated bastings paid off. it was juicy and flavorful with a great balance of sweet and salty flavors. and the pork fat was tasty tasty stuff.

easter 08 update: it’s even better if you puree the mango pineapple syrup mixture.  then the mango really gets into the ham.

double crust apple pie recipe
from emeril lagasse on

apple pie transformation

6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
2 1/2 pounds firm, tart apples (preferably seasonal local specials like Macouns, Northern Spy, or Granny Smith) peeled, cored, and sliced into 1/4-inch wedges
1/2 cup sugar plus 1 tablespoon for sprinkling
1/4 cup raisins
1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoons ground cloves
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons cornstarch
Basic Pie Dough, recipe follows
1 egg beaten with 2 tablespoons water to make an egg wash

Melt 3 tablespoons of the butter in a large, heavy-bottomed saute pan over medium heat. Add the apple wedges and saute until slightly softened but holding their shape, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the 1/2 cup of sugar and stir to combine. Add the raisins, cinnamon, and cloves and stir.

In a bowl, combine the lemon juice and cornstarch. Stir the mixture into the apple mixture and remove the pan from the heat. Let cool completely.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Fill an unbaked bottom crust with apple filling and dot the top crust with the remaining 3 tablespoons butter. Top with a rolled-out top crust. Cut 1/2-inch vents in a round-the-clock pattern into the top crust to allow steam to escape. Brush the top lightly with egg wash and sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon sugar.

Put the pie on a cookie sheet or other low-sided baking tray to catch any spillage. Place on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 20 minutes, checking occasionally to ensure that the top is browning evenly. Rotate the pie 180 degrees to move the front edge to the back of the oven, and bake until the top is uniformly golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes more.

Remove the pie from the oven and let cool for 20 minutes before slicing and serving.

Basic Pie Dough:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 pound (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes, plus more for greasing
About 1/3 cup ice-cold water

Put the flour and baking powder in the bowl of a food processor and pulse to combine. Add the cold butter cubes and pulse a few times until the mixture begins to become mealy and the butter forms plainly visible pea-size nuggets

Dissolve 1/2 teaspoon salt in the water. With the motor running, pour in the water and let mix, just until the dough pulls together. Do not over-mix the dough. If it appears dry and is not holding together, add a few additional tablespoons of water.

Form the dough into a ball, flatten, and wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate until ready to use.

Lightly flour a pastry board and a rolling pin and unwrap the dough. Divide the dough into 2 equal pieces and keep the second piece refrigerated. Tamp down the dough with the rolling pin and gently begin to roll it out into a circular pie shape by rolling evenly in one-eighth turns to keep the rolling even. When the dough is rolled out to an even thickness of about 1/8-inch and is about 12 inches in diameter, it is ready to be transferred to a 10-inch pie dish.

Lightly butter the dish, lift the dough with the rolling pin by partially rolling the dough up on the pin, center the dough in the dish, and unroll. Pierce the dough in several places with the tines of a fork.

Roll the second half of the dough into a circle slightly larger than the pie dish. Fill the bottom crust with your chosen filling. Cover the filling with the top half of the dough. Using both hands, crimp the edges of the 2 crusts together to seal. With a sharp knife, make several crosshatch slits in the top crust. Brush with the egg wash and bake in a preheated 375 degree Foven for 35 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool for 20 minutes.

apple pie

comments: this pie was also very good. our apples were slightly on the crunchy side, but i like that better than mushy apples. at first i was not a believer in the power of the butter, but now i believe. the pie crust turned out nice and brown and tasty. i think i overworked the dough a little so it wasn’t as flaky, but it was still very good (mmm… butter).

the feast:

thanksgiving feast

my plate:

thanksgiving plate

final comments:

i ate until it hurt! but it was so good. i had some extra pie dough and apple filling so i made myself a little apple pocket. food brings such joy 🙂 happy thanksgiving!!!

tasty apple pocket

simplified pad thai

3/3/09 – see here for an update on this dish.

i ordered the best 30-minute recipes from amazon a little while ago.  my brother always tells me how great america’s test kitchen is, so i thought i’d try out this book since we need quicker recipes now that i’m working.  it seems pretty good so far except the book smells a little funny.  i would probably make more recipes from here but it’s such a strange smell.

simplified pad thai

simplified pad thai
(from the best 30-minute recipes)

8 oz thick rice stick noodles
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/3 cup water
3 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp rice vinegar
3 tbsp brown sugar
4 tbsp vegetable oil
3/4 lb. medium (40/50) shrimp, peeled and deveined
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 large eggs, beaten lightly
6 tbsp chopped unsalted roasted peanuts
3 cups bean sprouts, well rinsed
5 scallions, sliced thin
1 lime, cut into wedges (for serving)

1. soak noodles: cover noodles with hot tap water in large bowl and soak until softened, pliable, and limp but not fully tender, about 20 minutes.  drain noodles and set aside.

2. make sauce: while the noodles soak, stir lime juice, water, fish sauce, rice vinegar, brown sugar, and 2 tbsp of oil together and set aside.

3. cook shrimp: pat shrimp dry with paper towels.  heat 1 more tbsp of oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over high heat until just smoking.  add shrimp, spread into single layer, and cook without stirring for 1 minute.  stir shrimp and continue to cook until spotty brown and just pink around the edges, about 30 seconds.  transfer shrimp to clean bowl, cover, and set aside.

4. cooke eggs: add remaining tbsp oil and garlic to skillet and return to medium heat until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  add eggs and 1/4 tsp salt and cook, stirring vigorously until eggs are scrambled, about 20 seconds.

5. cook noodles and sauce: stir soaked noodles into eggs.  add fish sauce mixture, increase heat to high, and cook, tossing constantly, until noodles are evenly cooked.  add 1/4 cup of peanuts, bean sprouts, all but 1/4 cup of scallions, and cooked shrimp.  continue to cook, tossing constantly, until noodles are tender, about 2 minutes (if not yet tender add 2 tbsp water to skillet and continue to cook until tender).

6. garnish: transfer noodles to serving platter and sprinkle with remaining scallions and peanuts.  serve, passing lime wedges separately.

simplified pad thai

comments: this dish didn’t exactly have the same pad thai flavor (or color), but it was quite tasty for what it was.  the sauce had a good flavor and wasn’t too salty, and i really liked the lime juice.  we put some extra bean sprouts and noodles.  i think we’ll definitely make this again.