Saturday, November 24, 2012

Thanksgiving

I'll provide links to the recipes I used at the bottom of the post. In the meantime, enjoy going through the pictures and reading the commentary. ^_^ I decided to tackle Thanksgiving dinner by myself this year, partially because we had already "celebrated" Thanksgiving a few weeks earlier. Plus, for the second year in a row, I've had a craving for chicken pot pie during the holidays. This year's version is infinitely better than last year's. I made everything from scratch, which contributed to the day-long process, but I enjoyed it immensely. I really believe from-scratch meals taste the best.

Dad stumbled upon my secret spice stash and started using the electronic dictionary to translate the spices from English to Mandarin Chinese.
I found this totally endearing. 

If someone knows how long I should be keeping some of these, please do let me know! I can never keep track. O_O 

Course 1
Roasted Apple and Squash Soup
Butternut squash, celery, apples, red chili pepper, spices before


Butternut squash, celery, apples, red chili pepper, spices after


I've made this soup before, and I believe I made it better the first time. This time around, I didn't roast the vegetables long enough so blending them led to a chunky consistency instead of a smooth one. It tastes better with a smooth, soup-like consistency. Plus, I used different apples which I think didn't help. :o\ For future reference, just stick with the recipe on this one.

Course 2
Chicken Pot Pie
I boiled a whole chicken (on sale for 99 cents/pound at H-Mart!) with the lid on for about 30-35 minutes. Later, I shredded it by hand using latex gloves, throwing away the skin.

 Pie crust topping in the making, using the ingredients and directions from the traditional apple pie I made a few months ago. Once I added enough water to the mix, I formed the dough, placed it in a bowl, covered it, and put in the refrigerator.

Chicken pot pie filling - potatoes, frozen mixed veggies, carrots. Sorry for the blurriness.

Same veggie mix with chicken broth and half and half. 

Toss in the shredded chicken. 

NOM 

I refrigerated the dough for a while, then I took it out and rolled into as rectangular a shape as possible. I tucked the excess crust as best I could into the pan. 


I really like using an egg wash on top. It gives the crust a wonderful golden look once everything is baked, plus it tastes so much better with the egg wash than without. 

Course 2 1/2
Homemade Baguettes
I did not take pictures of the process behind making the baguettes. I used a commercial stand mixer and several cups of flour (recipe for four loaves). The yeast was not proofing properly at first, so I added a bit more. Once the yeast was proofing, I mixed in flour and salt while the dough hook did its business. Once I took the dough out of the mixer, I let it stand for at least two hours to make sure that it rose "enough." I honestly did not keep track of how long I let it rise, only that I punched it down a couple of times in the process. I knew from past experience that if I did not let it rise, then the bread would turn out on the not-so-good side. 

I made two ginormous loaves of baguettes because, at that point, I didn't have enough pans or willpower to make small loaves. O_O One loaf turned out all right, the other is simply a monster, haha. For future reference, it's best to leave either the wax paper or the baking pan out of the equation. We ran out of aluminum foil, so I thought wax paper would be an adequate substitute. I was wrong, sort of. 

Wax paper + dough on oven rack = Fine.
Wax paper + dough on baking pan = Wax paper sticking to baked dough. -___-""

Monster loaf before

Monster loaf after - I donated this loaf to a couple of friends. It turns out the loaf is similar in size to their four-month-old baby. Hahaha...


Course 3
Turkey Salad Crostinis
I combined the homemade baguettes from above with the turkey salad I had made the night before to make turkey salad crostinis.  




Thanksgiving dinner

Course 1

Course 2
Crust - Crust is from the traditional apple pie recipe. 

Course 2 1/2
Homemade Baguettes - Change the yield from 1 loaf to 4 loaves, or however much you prefer

Course 3

For the crostini, I simply sliced the baguettes, drizzled olive oil on the slices, topped with turkey salad, and warmed them in the oven. I probably should have used a toaster but oh well. I was quite tired at this point in the day. ;oP

Course 4

My stepmom contributed the salad and homemade salad dressing.

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