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Dish that got the best compliments today - share the recipe

I saw so many great ideas and recipes for Thanksgiving on the board...our family did an assigned dish (works so well for our group of 12-18). I got salad w/ blue cheese, dried crans, balsamic, basil, sun dried toms, and walnuts for the first dish and an apple strudel. The strudel went over well - it was one of those recipes I have errored on too many times and finally made notes so my work fried brain did not have to remember how to do. Thought I would share and hope you would reply in kind. Many more holiday knoshes to come... happy chowing.

It was the strudel, so easy...

Easy Apple Strudel

You can buy the frozen puff pastry at any grocery – I use the Pepperidge Farm brand. Just follow the directions for defrost on the package.

I use a 13x9 baking stone made by the Pampered Chef…you can most certainly use another baking medium if you wish. I just consistently get great results from that product.

We had premium vanilla ice cream for the topper…yummers…

6 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, quartered, and thinly sliced
1/4 cup raisins
2 tablespoons sugar in the raw
1 T maple syrup
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoons ground nutmeg
1 T minute tapioca
2 puff pastry sheets
tablespoon melted butter & 1 T sugar in the raw

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F for both operations.

Combine the apples, raisins, sugars, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a glass baking dish. Cover and bake until the fruit is tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the oven, stir in the tapioca and allow the mixture to cool. If the mix seems too dry after cooling, simply add a T of water until you have the right consistency.

Lay the 2 sheets of pastry on a large baking stone. Mound ½ of the fruit mixture on ½ side of pastry, leaving about ½ inch empty around the apples on the 3 sides. Fold the top half over the apples and wet edges of the pastry with water and pinch to seal. Repeat for other sheet. Brush the top of the strudel with the butter then sprinkle with sugar. Vent the strudel with a sharp knife.

Bake to a golden brown, about 20 to 25 minutes.

Additional notes
You can add walnuts. I would make sure to toast them and add them just before assembly.

You can buy the frozen puff pastry at any grocery.

Cooking the apples in the oven eliminated the crunchy fruit problem that I had with not pre-cooking the filling. And, you can make the filling ahead and cook the strudel just before you travel. That would make the puff pastry in primo condition for the party.

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  1. Tuchetta with Chorizo and Cornbread Stuffing or Roasted Curried Butternut Squash Soup... Will share the recipes if people want them.

    after food coma is over.

      1. The main event--the turkey--was a huge hit, which I chalk up to the brining process used. (Pioneer Woman's favorite turkey brine recipe).

        As far as a dish goes, the yam dish I made got rave reviews and disappeared completely. I didn't expect that as my family usually does not care for yams but my mom loves them so I made them for her. They were laden with butter, sugar, and topped with marshmallows. Anything remotely of health benefit in the yams was more than lost with the rest of it. But they were good!

        1. Pumpkin pie with vanilla mint ice cream.

          1. Banana Pudding - a real hit! Stupid simple - no cooking ---- http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/pa...

            1. My appetizers were well received, but the favorite was a very simple baked goat cheese and caponata with balsamic glaze (you can look up all of those components to make your own, no recipe needed... just a nice combination). I make my grandmother's old fashioned yeast rolls, but those are known favorites, and my crème brûlée (again, no special recipe) disappeared, which is not a surprise, as who doesn't love crème brûlée?

              Most of all, though, my turkey was the big hit.

              1. Small dinner for 3 of us and we did prime rib instead of turkey (now I am totally 100% jonesing for turkey & stuffing, LOL) ...but this potato gratin from Epicurious had us all rolling our eyes...I sauteed the shallots in a little olive oil first...and fresh rosemary is a must:

                4 Replies
                1. re: Val

                  hard to go wrong with more than a pint of cream and a half-pound of cheese!

                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                    heh, I only used 1 cup of cream and the rest was whole milk...turned out just fine by the way...I should have mentioned that little change-up too in my post.

                  2. re: Val

                    Well I had turkey & stuffing so now I am jonesing for some prime rib and potato gratin!

                    1. re: Val

                      I agree. I make that gratin for a side dish with ham. I love it.

                    2. Corn Chowder -- http://www.mimiscafe.com/CafeCornChow...

                      My parents loved this, and it was an easy dish to make!

                      1. Everything was delicious BUT (and do not laugh) for the 1st time ever we had green bean casserole that my SIL made. It was so flippin' good. I need to get the recipe but it was a gluten-free version. She used Pacific mushroom broth, sauteed cremini mushrooms and topped it was homemade onion rings. I am seeing it in a whole new light...lol!

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: hto44

                          this year was the first year we have made GBC from fresh green beans, and it totally changed my perception of the dish as well! amazing!

                          1. re: hto44

                            The one that I made sounds like that. I used fried sliced shallots instead of the bread topping, and it was very good. Nothing like the Campbell Soup one! LOL

                          2. Butter. Used some 3 pounds cooking for 25 people. Used to make a quart of hollandaise, cooking carrots, shrimp, white fish (shark), Milwaukee butter burgers the evening before, Capt Morgan dill sauce, and 5 loaves of various home made breads. I think half a pound were soaked up by the mushrooms alone.

                            The only veggie it wasn't in was the corn pudding. And I plan on adding at least one melted stick next year.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                              i think you need to change your username to SAVANNAHGA !!

                              or possibly THEBAGLADY

                              1. re: mattstolz

                                Sorry about the caps. I keep asking the techies to put into lower case. Didn't realise caps loc was engaged when I initially entered.

                                Also, THEBAGMAN would be more appropriate.

                            2. Brined and smoked turkey was out of this world good. The dark meat especially took on a bit of a bacon flavour. Just from the salt and smoke.

                              My SIL's corn casserole was a huge hit but I don't know the recipe. If enough people want it, I'll ask her for it.

                              Her SIL makes THE best deviled eggs. Unfortunately she doesn't measure but fortunately for us, we're good at cooking. So it's basically as follows. 15 eggs, boiled and cut in half with yolk scooped out obviously. "Lots of mayonnaise, some mustard and half a jar of dill pickle relish" mixed in with the yolks. Scoop back into egg halves.

                              She usually makes some diversionary DE's for Mrs. Sippi and me so we don't eat all the ones for dinner before the container hits the counter.

                              SIL's Strawberry Pretzel Salad is always a huge hit.
                              2 C crushed pretzels
                              2 sticks margarine
                              1 1/2 C sugar.

                              Combine and press into a 9x13 dish. Bake @ 400* for 5 - 8 mins. Cool completely.

                              8 oz pkg cream cheese
                              8 oz pkg cool whip thawed
                              1 C sugar

                              Combine and spread over pretzel crust

                              8 oz pkg strawberry Jell-O
                              2 C hot water
                              10 oz pkg frozen strawberries

                              Combine Jell-O, water and strawberries. Cool in fridge until chilled. Pour on top of cream cheese mixture.
                              Looking at this last step it probably means you can't let the Jell-O set up.

                              Refigerate until Jell-O is set.



                                  1. re: Davwud

                                    I know. And I don't generally go nuts over dessert. This was incredibly awesome. Almost like a chocolate mousse pie -- super-chocolatey and rich, but not too sweet!

                                    1. re: linguafood

                                      This looks really good. Did you use bittersweet or semisweet or some of both? I like things not too sweet.

                                      1. re: linguafood

                                        Which cookies did you use for the chocolate crumb crust?

                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                              These were called Famous Chocolate wafers, I believe. And the bittersweet chips were Scharffenberger.

                                    2. I improvised a dish of sauteed black kale, roasted butternut squash cubes, chestnuts, bacon and a black olive vinaigrette that went over extremely well - even my husband, who generally ignores vegetables on Thanksgiving, had a second helping, which I consider high praise!

                                      1. I made cranberry sauce and sweet potato dishes "two ways". I did traditional a sweet potato souffle with a brown sugar pecan topping-then then did a new a dish from Bobby Flay....... "Smoked Chile Scalloped Sweet Potatoes" (on the FN site). Everyone raved at the Bobby Flay recipe! I used one big chipotle in Adobo in the heavy cream sauce and it was VERY spicy and good. I was really surprised at how good it was for such a simple recipe- the few simple ingredients really "meld together" and create a new taste.

                                        Another hit was an "alternate" cranberry sauce (no recipe) made with fresh cranberries, red wine, sugar, allspice, cinnamon, clove, blueberries, a scoop of orange marmalade and a dash of brandy added at the end... it tasted more like Christmas than Thanksgiving, but even *non-cranberry sauce* eaters had seconds and thirds of it. It was delicious. Everyone said it was like Christmas in your mouth!

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: sedimental

                                          I did the chipotle sweet potatoes for the first time at Thanksgiving last year, and we now make them frequently. So good! And that cranberry sauce sounds amazing.

                                        2. had a request for my turnip soufflé recipe in another thread so i'll just post the link to it here:

                                          it was actually something of an experiment, and clearly a successful one because we all loved it.

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                            I love the sound of this, ghg. A couple of questions:
                                            what kind of turnips did you use? I am considering it for a nice gilfeather I have.
                                            Also, evaporated milk gives me the willies ( I know, it's really fine, just a quirk of mine)
                                            what do you think would be a good sub? milk, cream, soymilk?

                                            1. re: magiesmom

                                              i used standard purple tops because it was all our market had, but Gilfeathers would be *wonderful* in this. you probably won't need any sugar because they'll definitely be sweeter than the turnips i used.

                                              sub heavy cream or half & half for the evaporated milk. easy swap.

                                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                Thank you (again!) We lucked out when a neighbor grew "too many" gilfeathers . They are really delicious and I think this will show their flavor off nicely.

                                          2. Second day of Thanksgiving for us - yesterday was the "Not Yo' Mama's Banana Pudding" and today was David Lebovitz's Apple-Frangipane Galette. Really terrific!! Had a bit of difficulty rolling out the dough - but everyone loved the crispiness and delicious flavor.

                                            1. Green beans.

                                              Steam up a mess of green beans (1 costco sized bag of fresh, frenched beans)
                                              Melt 1/2 a stick of butter along with three tsp dijon mustard. Toss in a handful of pecan chips. Stir the sauce. Pour over the hot steamed beans and toss well.

                                              These were amazingly good.

                                              1. People loved the sauteed shredded brussels sprouts with candied pecans > Brussels sprouts haters and lovers alike were enthralled.
                                                I did not slice them individually with a mandoline, which I would still be doing, but insted ran them through the slicing disc of the cuisinart.

                                                Also very popular were sweet and sour cippolini onions from Saveur.

                                                1. I adapted Paula Deen's (Jiffy) Corn Pudding and this was hands down this year's winner, lol!


                                                  12 ouces of Sour Cream
                                                  1 15 ounce can of niblets (drained)
                                                  1 can of cream of corn (unsalted)
                                                  1 lb.frozen bag of shoe peg corn
                                                  1 medium jalapeno pepper, minced
                                                  1 large egg(whisked)
                                                  2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
                                                  1 stick of melted butter
                                                  1 box of corn muffin mix (I used Jiffy)

                                                  Add corn(s) to a large bowl, sitr. Add sour cream, jalapeno,1 cup of cheddar, box of corn, sir.
                                                  Add corn muffin mix, egg and butter mix again. Spread into a 9 x 13 glass or ceramic baking dish, cover with foil and bake at 350 for 30 min. Remove from oven, sprinkle remainder of cheddar cheese all over top, place back in oven for 20 minutes, uncovered. Let sit for 10 minutes, serve at room temp.

                                                  Now mind you, this dish was up against some really good food: PW's Brined & Roasted Turkey, homemade turkey gravy, homemade stuffing with sausage, apples, onions and bread, brown sugared seared carrots, roasted brussel sprouts with balsamic glaze, homemade yukon gold mashed potatoes and a very nice salad..... hmm.

                                                  1. Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Honey, Cumin and Lime using a recipe from Howard Raczkiewicz of Moonstruck, in Asbury Park -- see http://localads.app.com/SS/Page.aspx?...& (bottom-left of page 19 in online edition; page 15 of print edition). I followed the recipe as written, but needed 50 minutes at 450F to get the sweet potatoes fork-tender.

                                                    1. Market has sold out of brussels sprouts (!), so I made Edna Lewis' roasted okra with red onions and mint. Threw in some pitted black olives, and leftover pico de gallo. Roasted 400 degrees for about half an hour. Reheated it in the oven at our host's house--got raves.

                                                      1. The simplest recipe turned out to be outstanding. Thanksgiving day I barely ate and tasted the food, as usual. Everyone kept raving about the mashed potatoes. Tired as I was I dismissed the comments, and had the leftovers on Friday. I got the idea to make buttermilk mashed potatoes from Zuni and I can't say enough about them. Extremely light when compared to other recipes, she only uses a couple of tablespoons hot milk or cream, same amount of buttermilk (but I added slightly more) warmed only, and same amount of butter for 1 1/2 pounds of golden potatoes - I made 3x that for the day. Boil potatoes, pass through a ricer and mix in the above and add coarse sea salt. The golden potatoes really make this dish even though she says you can sub in russets. The mixture was very light, tangy and delicious, I think the scant amounts of cream, buttermilk and butter is what made them special. (Ina modeled a version after hers, the recipes are worlds apart).

                                                        4 Replies
                                                        1. re: lilgi

                                                          The golden potatoes really make this dish even though she says you can sub in russets.
                                                          bingo. i only use yellow-fleshed potatoes for mashed or whipped. the flavor of the potatoes themselves is better & more complex than that of white-fleshed varieties like russet, and when combined with buttermilk it's really wonderful.

                                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                            Seriously, I must have made mashed potatoes a thousand different ways in my lifetime. So glad you said that about the complexity of the flavor and the combination with buttermilk. The texture was excellent, not drowning in milk and butter along with the use of the ricer which has always been my favorite gadget. I read on a different thread how the ricer doesn't affect the starch and it all made perfect sense; I've always loved using it, now I want to swaddle it in a blanket before putting it away :) Oooh and the coarse grains of seasalt!

                                                            1. re: lilgi

                                                              I read on a different thread how the ricer doesn't affect the gluten and it all made perfect sense
                                                              except for the fact that there's no gluten in potatoes...?

                                                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                corrected above to starch which is what makes them gummy when overworked, I read that on a different thread and never bothered to investigate. I was wondering to myself how you could eat them ghg and not be affected ;)

                                                        2. I've made the Carrots with Shallots, Sage and Thyme from the last issue of Gourmet (RIP) for the past few years and it gets rave reviews. Everyone had seconds of it this year.

                                                          1. The turkey. It was hands-down the very best one ever. Crisp-skinned with both white & dark meat perfectly cooked & juicy with excellent turkey flavor. Even the leftovers are juicy. Wonderful bird.

                                                            Ordered from Whole Foods, as usual. Free-range. Fabulous.

                                                            1. We had 7 people. We had cranberries 3 ways (we love our cranberries!) and all 3 options were well eaten, but one stood out. We had the standard fresh cranberry-orange relish which is always light and fruity and popular. I made a standard cranberry sauce using the back-of-the-bag recipe only I substituted unfiltered apple cider for the water and then cooked it longer than usual until it was almost caramelly tasting. Very good. The standout this year was the vanilla-orange-cranberry sauce: 1 12oz. bag of cranberries, 1/2 cup unfiltered apple cider, 1/2 cup water, 1 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons Penzey's Vanilla sugar, 1 oz. Grand Marnier simmered til you like the texture (about 20 minutes for me). Yum.

                                                                1. Three thoughts come to mind:

                                                                  1. Chinese water spinach stir-fried with slivered ginger
                                                                  2. Tiny clams. Water. Ginger (cut into matchsticks). Cook til clams open. My Taiwanese mother-in-law calls it "Matt's Soup"since every time I see her I ask for it. So simple. amazing.
                                                                  3. When you bake a potato, bake an onion alongside. When done, chop up onion as finley as you can. Add to 2 cups of sour cream. Serve on top of potato. From Union Square Cookbook. Always gets rave reviews.

                                                                  5 Replies
                                                                  1. re: Westy

                                                                    Westy - I love the idea of the onion sourcream topping - I tend to microwave the potatoes lately for convenience time sake - do you ever microwave the potato and onion as well?

                                                                    1. re: smilingal

                                                                      No. I cook them in the oven. I think the onions in particular benefit from it. Maybe since they carmelize a bit?


                                                                      1. re: Westy

                                                                        yes - that's why i asked - i wouldn't think the onions would cook in a good way in the microwave - thanks for this yummy sounding easy suggestion

                                                                        1. re: smilingal

                                                                          That sounds ummmm. Have you ever added garlic to the mix? Roasted in a separate container in the oven at the same time?

                                                                          1. re: MartiniGenie

                                                                            You know...it might be good. Then again, the fact that it has only two flavors: Sour cream and onion, has a sort of appeal, too.

                                                                  2. I made Paula Deen's Sweet potato casserole with the crumble topping. I made it gluten and dairy free (used coconut oil instead of butter, no milk, and used gluten free flour.) It was gone and the bowl was scraped.

                                                                    The Creole Bread Pudding with bourbon sauce from Southern Living (the one with 5T vanilla) is also always a huge hit.