Monday, November 29, 2010

Thanksgiving Recap

Our first family Thanksgiving was a total success (if I do say so myself).  Traveling went well, no one got the pat down at the airport, and BOISE STATE LOST (!!!).  I can't imagine having a better Thanksgiving, surrounded by family.   

I didn't take many pictures, other than the one at the head of the post, because I was hustling and bustling about.  Joan took an ordinary grocery store bouquet and turned it into a beautiful centerpiece.  She seriously has an eye for this stuff, whereas I don't.  I did most of the prep in the weeks and days beforehand, but left some last minute things (such as making rolls, etc) for the day of, so I would be busy.  There is one picture I would have LOVED to have - at one point Sam and I were debating turkey and oven rack placement, and apparently we looked hilarious - I had on one normal oven mitt, and an oven mit in the shape of a lobster claw, and was gesticulating wildly. 

I like to challenge myself by making things from scratch - often making something from scatch can be done more cheaply then buying the processed version, and you can control levels of salt/fat/whatever, which is pretty important to me.  This Thanksgiving, I made ALMOST everything from scratch - the two exceptions were the pumpkin pie - I used canned pumpkin, and the guest-requested cool whip.  I made a somewhat traditional green bean casserole, making the sauce instead of using the canned soup, and it was a big hit. 

Green Bean and Mushroom Casserole
1 lb. fresh green beans, trimmed
2.5 tbs. butter or margarine
0.5 lb. baby portobella mushrooms, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbs. flour
0.75 c. chicken broth
1 tbs. dry sherry
0.5 c. heavy cream
salt, pepper
1 slice whole grain bread

  • Preheat oven to 425 F.  Coat a 2-quart casserole dish with cooking spray. 
  • Cook the green beans in salted water for about 3 minutes - you want them to be crisp and bright green.  Drain beans, and shock in ice water to stop cooking.  Drain again and transfer to the casserole dish.  
  • Melt 1.5 tablespoons of butter in a skillet over medium-high heat and add mushrooms and garlic.  Saute for about 6 minutes (adjusting heat if necessary) until the mushrooms are softened, but retain some of the moisture.  Stir in the flour and cook for about a minute.  Stirring constantly, mix in chicken broth, sherry and cream.  Allow to come to a boil, then reduce heat, and simmer for 10-15 minutes, until the sauce has thickened.  Add salt and pepper to taste, add sauce to green beans in casserole.
  • If you're making this dish ahead, after the last step, you can cover the casserole and refrigerate it for a day).
  • Break the bread into pieces and pulse in a food processor until it's crumb-y.  Add remaining butter and pulse again until blended.  
  • Sprinkle crumbs over the beans.  Bake uncovered for 15 minutes until the casserole is bubbly and the crumbs are browned.  
A few notes:
  1. I totally spaced the bread crumb part.  Didn't realize there were supposed to be a topping on this until I re-read the recipe after starting this post.  Obviously it didn't make much of a difference. 
  2. As I only have one oven (when we get a house, it was unanimously agreed upon by all parties present that I NEED to have the dual oven setup), and the turkey's roasting temperature trumped every other dish, I actually ended up baking this dish for about an hour at 325.  
  3. I obviously don't pay proper attention to ingredients at times - I used full grown portobellas.  Using the baby ones (or even button mushrooms) would have been better - everyone would have gotten smaller slices, instead of the larger pieces.  
  4. One could throw the french fried onions, or fry up some shallots for the topping instead of the bread crumbs, I opted not to, as I was hell bent on making almost everything from scratch.

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