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Friday, October 05, 2007
Holiday Cooking, Blogger Style - 2nd Edition

I must admit to feeling very challenged this year. Last year's post pretty much is my holiday menu now. I do try different things most years. The dessert is almost always different, but I didn't cook last year, so did not add anything new.

Then I decided to travel down memory lane. It was 1993. I was living in Gulf Shores. My sister, Kati, had her first baby in November. This was the first grandchild in our family. Everyone was coming home for the holidays. We decided to have Thanksgiving at her house for several reasons. It was big enough, plus that way she didn't have to go somewhere with a baby who was less than two weeks old.

She only lived an hour from me, and had the good timing to have her baby during the off-season for tourists. This meant I had plenty of free time. Thanksgiving dinner was going to be my responsibility. I decided it was time to go all out. I poured through all the foodie magazines and planned my menu. Some of the standard side dishes had to be included, but some things I jazzed up. The three things I picked from the magazines to shake up our holiday table were the turkey, a vegetable, and dessert.

Food & Wine magazine published an intriguing recipe from Mark Miller of Coyote Cafe. It was extremely labor intensive. It's definitely a very special occasion turkey, but it's the most amazing turkey I've ever made. The stuffing was just out of this world. I tried making it by itself one year, but it really needs the turkey to do it justice.

Coyote Cafe's Yucatec Stuffed Turkey
SERVES: 8-10

1 cup dried black beans
2 dried chipotle peppers*
1 imported bay leaf
2/3 cup long-grain rice
3 dried cascabel chiles* or 2 small dried hot red peppers
2 tablespoons achiote (annatto seed)
1 bunch of fresh marjoram or 1 tablespoon dried
2 cups fresh orange juice (from about 5 juice oranges)
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound medium shrimp, shelled and deveined
1 medium onion, finely diced
1 small carrot, finely diced
1 medium red bell pepper, finely diced
1 pint freshly shucked oysters with their liquor (about 20)
1/3 cup unsalted pumpkin seeds (pepitas)*
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh coriander (cilantro)
1 teaspoon finely chopped orange zest
10- to 12-pound fresh turkey
*Available at Latin American markets and health food stores

In a medium saucepan, cover the black beans with cold water and soak overnight. Or bring to a boil, remove from the heat and let stand, covered, for 1 hour. Drain well.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, soak the chipotle peppers in 1 cup of hot water for 1 hour. Remove the stems from the peppers. Place the peppers in a food processor. Add 1/3 cup of the soaking water and puree, adding more soaking water as necessary to make a thick paste. Strain through a coarse sieve and reserve.

In a medium saucepan, combine the black beans with 4 1/2 cups of water, the bay leaf and 1 tablespoon of the chipotle paste. Bring to a simmer over moderately low heat and cook until the beans are tender, about 1 1/2 hours. Drain and let cool; discard the bay leaf.

In a small saucepan, combine the rice with 2 cups of water. Cook, uncovered, over moderate heat until tender, about 12 minutes. Strain in a sieve and let cool.

In a small saucepan, combine the cascabel chiles with the achiote and 1 cup of water. Cook over moderately high heat until the chiles have softened and no liquid remains, 5 to 10 minutes. Transfer the chiles and seeds to a blender and add the marjoram, orange juice and lime juice. Puree for 10 seconds. Strain through a wide-mesh sieve. Season with the salt and black pepper; set the achiote puree aside.

Preheat the oven to 325°. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Add the shrimp and sauté over high heat, tossing, until just pink, 2 minutes. Transfer the shrimp to a plate to cool. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil to the skillet and reduce the heat to low. Add the onion, carrot and red bell pepper and cook, covered, until the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes.

In a medium skillet, combine the oysters and their liquor with 2 tablespoons of the chipotle paste (see Note). Cook over high heat until the edges of the oysters just begin to curl, about 7 minutes. With a slotted spoon, gently transfer the oysters to a plate. Boil the cooking liquid until reduced to 1/4 cup, about 2 minutes; it will be very thick. Stir in any liquid that drains from the oysters.

Place the pumpkin seeds on a cookie sheet and toast in the oven until they begin to pop, about 5 minutes. In a large bowl, combine the toasted pumpkin seeds with the black beans, rice, shrimp, sautéed vegetables, oysters and reduced oyster liquid, fresh coriander and orange zest.

Fill the chest and neck cavities with the stuffing. Sew or skewer closed; truss the bird. Set the turkey in a large roasting pan and pour on the reserved achiote puree. Roast, basting every 20 minutes and adding water to the pan if the drippings start to brown, for 3 1/2 to 4 hours or until the temperature measured in the inner thigh near the bone reads 160° and the juices run clear when the thigh is pierced. Cover the turkey with foil if the skin gets too dark. Let stand, loosely covered with foil, for 15 minutes before carving.

NOTES Any leftover chipotle paste can be refrigerated, covered, and used as a hot seasoning. It will keep for at least three weeks.

WINE The added spice and heat that the chiles give this bird point toward an equally assertive red, but one with some fruitiness for balance. A California Zinfandel, such as 1990 Round Hill or 1990 Ridge Sonoma, would be just the ticket. Alternatively, soften the southwestern bite with a fruity California rosé, such as 1992 Joseph Phelps Vin du Mistral Grenache.

Recipe by Mark Miller From Favorite Thanksgiving RecipesThis recipe originally appeared in November, 1993.

The vegetable came from either Gourmet or Bon Appétit. It was a very simple Julia Child recipe. I basically sauteed fresh brussel sprouts in butter and tossed them with seedless red grapes, cut in half. I can't find the exact recipe.

The dessert came from Bon Appétit.

Pumpkin Cheesecake with Caramel Swirl
Bon Appétit November 1993
Serves 10.

1 1/2 cups ground gingersnap cookies
1 1/2 cups toasted pecans (about 6 ounces)
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted

4 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 2/3 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups canned solid pack pumpkin
9 tablespoons whipping cream
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground allspice
4 large eggs

1 tablespoon (about) purchased caramel sauce
1 cup sour cream

For Crust: Preheat oven to 350°F. Finely grind ground cookies, pecans and sugar in processor. Add melted butter and blend until combined. Press crust mixture onto bottom and up sides of 9-inch-diameter springform pan with 2 3/4-inch-high sides.

For Filling: Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar in large bowl until light. Transfer 3/4 cup mixture to small bowl; cover tightly and refrigerate to use for topping. Add pumpkin, 4 tablespoons whipping cream, ground cinnamon and ground allspice to mixture in large bowl and beat until well combined. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating just until combined.Pour filling into crust (filling will almost fill pan).

Bake until cheesecake puffs, top browns and center moves only slightly when pan is shaken, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Transfer cheesecake to rack and cool 10 minutes. Run small sharp knife around cake pan sides to loosen cheesecake. Cool. Cover tightly and refrigerate overnight.

Bring remaining 3/4 cup cream cheese mixture to room temperature. Add remaining 5 tablespoons whipping cream to cream cheese mixture and stir to combine. Press down firmly on edges of cheesecake to even thickness. Pour cream cheese mixture over cheesecake, spreading evenly. Spoon caramel sauce in lines over cream cheese mixture. Using tip of knife, swirl caramel sauce into cream cheese mixture. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

Release pan sides from cheesecake. Spoon sour cream into pastry bag fitted with small star tip (do not stir before using). Pipe decorative border around cheesecake and serve.

Epicurious.com © CondéNet, Inc. All rights reserved.

These were outstanding recipes, and I have no excuse for not making them more often. I hope you try them and enjoy them. If you do, please let me know!

Go visit Overwhelmed with Joy for more fantastic recipes!

Past FIF recipes:
Eye of Round Roast
Mozzarella & Tomato Sandwich
Marcia's Taco Soup
Chicken Parmesan Casserole
Cajun Baked Catfish
Jim's Snickers Pancake
Crawfish Monica
Grilled Meats and Vegetables over Saffron Orzo
Crockpot Red Beans
Better Than Almost Anything Cake
Fruity Sangria
Outrageous Brownies
Enchiladas de Pollo
Catalina Chicken
Croissant French Toast
Corned Beef
Sloppy Joe, Mac 'n Cheese Casserole
Shredded Chicken
Baked Bean & Burger Casserole
Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie
Crab Rangoon
Sausage con Queso and Ro-tel Cheese Dip
Blueberry Multigrain Coffeecake
Banana Bread
Bananas Foster
Old-Time Beef Stew
White Chocolate Snack Mix
Gorilla Bread
Ginger Shrimp
Roast Chicken
Tex-Mex Chicken Taco Soup
Shrimp Mold
Pasta Puttanesca
Pork Milanese
Pumpkin Dip
Oven-fried Chicken
Best Bundt Cake Ever
Hot Dog Casserole
Chicken & Rice
Peanut Butter Fudge
Omelets in a Bag
Shrimp Boil
Apple Cheese
Pulled Pork BBQ

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Blogger When We Were Young said...


You and I have this love of cooking in common! I tyrust yu on the turkey and I am doin' it :). I will let you know how it goes for Thanksgiving.


Blogger Overwhelmed! said...

This stuffed turkey recipe sounds fantastic! And I'm definitely going to have to try the pumpkin cheesecake with caramel swirl cake.

Thanks so much for participating in the 2nd Edition of my Holiday Cooking, Blogger Style recipe exchange! I greatly appreciate it!

Blogger Renee's Ramblings said...

Oh, wow!!! These recipes sounds delicious! Especially the stuffed turkey. Thanks for sharing!

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