These days, I really look forward to Thanksgiving. My mother-in-law is the designated chef for this holiday. She has had a party on this day forever. It works out perfectly. Since this is an American holiday, I don’t have the tradition of eating turkey and stuffing. I make my own versions. A friend told me one year when I made my orange marinated turkey breast that “it is not ok to cook it like that!” It is supposed to be a whole turkey first of all, not just the breast. And not to serve stuffing and pumpkin pie??? My god, what a crime.
When I first came to the US, I didn’t celebrate it at all. I remember one year, I went to the movies with a co-worker. It turned out to be a little turkey celebration since we saw the horrible George Clooney movie, “Solange.” That must have been rated one turkey so I guess it was appropriate for the season.
Orange & Whiskey marinated Turkey breast.
1 turkey breast, about 2-4 pounds (or cut up turkey pieces.)
1/2 c. Whiskey (or Cognac if you so prefer).
2/3 c. red wine or port wine (red or white).
1/4 c. soy sauce (I prefer organic soy sauce with less sodium).
3 tbsp light oil.
1″ fresh ginger-sliced or 1 tsp. dried ginger.
2 tbsp. honey.
Fresh herbs. Sage, Thyme or Parsley. About 1 tbsp of each, coarsely chopped.
Hot pepper to taste (optional).
1/4 c. orange marmalade.
Mix the marinade directly in a ziplock bag (plastic bag). Let the turkey or turkey parts sit in the marinade for at least 2 hours. If you use a breast, 6 hours or even over night is good if you have that extra time.
You can either bake the whole breast or just cut slices/chops. For the chops, quickly sear them on both sides. Add to an oven proof dish.
Pour the marinade over the turkey. Bake in a 350 F degree (175 c) oven. Cook until the internal temperature of the turkey measures 165 F degrees (65-67 c). For the breast that would take about 1 1/2 hour. Be sure to cook the bird all the way through. I think it is really good and smart to cut the marinated breast into slices/chops and just quickly sear them on both sides and then bake them in the marinade in the oven for about 15 minutes or until done. It becomes a little more moist. The meat has also more taste in general. You can “glaze” the turkey the very last few minutes by brushing some orange marmalade on top of it. It makes it get a nice color.
If you would like, take some of the left over sauce from cooking the turkey and boil it down with some more of the Whiskey and a splash of the port wine. You can also add a little very finely chopped onion. Pour on top of the finished plating.
Serve the turkey breast on top of a pumpkin “ring.” I used an Acorn pumpkin. Cut the pumpkin into approximately 3/4″ slices. Roast in the oven on 350 F (175 c.) until soft.
You can brush a little butter on the cut sides for the pumpkin to get a beautiful golden brown color.
Use the pumpkin ring as a mold for the stuffing.
Equal parts cut up carrots, celery & leeks (onion works as well). About 1/2 c. of each.
6 slices of good bacon. Thick slices if possible. Cut into smaller cubes.
1 c.cubed good French bread or some kind of farmers bread. (I try to always use whole wheat or organic bread). Lightly toast the bread in the oven. (Just to dry it out. Stale breads works great).
A small handful of dried cranberries.
A splash of port wine.
A splash of whiskey (Cognac).
Fresh herbs. Sage, Thyme or Parsley. About 1 tbsp of each, coarsely chopped. You can of course add more if you would like to.
Salt & pepper to taste.
A squeeze of orange juice. (Plus the rind/zest of the orange just squeezed optional).
1/2 c. good beef stock.
Cut up the carrots, onions and celery. Cut up the bacon. Fry in a skillet until almost done.
Add the rest of the ingredients. Keep stirring.
You can also bake it off in the oven for about 5-7 minutes. Personally I don’t do that. I just use the skillet.
Put the pumpkin ring on a plate. Add the stuffing. Finish off with a few slices of the turkey breast. Add a little of the sauce on top. Decorate with a little fresh herbs. I used sage this time.
Toasted Pumpkin seeds.
The seeds from the pumpkins you just roasted.
A pinch of ground cinnamon.
A pinch of ground ginger.
A pinch of ground Cayenne pepper.
Salt is optional.
Clean the seeds from any pumpkin “meat.”
Dry roast in a frying pan on medium-low heat (you don’t want to burn them).
When done, sprinkle a little ground cinnamon, ground ginger, dried cayenne pepper (salt is optional).
Serve as a snack with drinks or just as something before dinner.
We have a grape plant in our back yard. Every year, I plan on making a wreath for the house. And every year I forget. But not this year! I finally did it. It is easy. You cut off the branches and start twisting them over each other. Take off the leaves but let the little sprouting “cork screws” stay on the branches. Make sure to overlap and not start and stop at the same place. You can add little berries, nuts, bows or whatever you feel like.
“In 1621, the Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Indians shared an autumn harvest feast that is acknowledged today as one of the first Thanksgiving celebrations in the colonies. For more than two centuries, days of thanksgiving were celebrated by individual colonies and states. It wasn’t until 1863, in the midst of the Civil War, that President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day to be held each November.
Thanksgiving Day is traditionally a day for families and friends to get together for a special meal. The meal often includes a turkey, stuffing, potatoes, cranberry sauce, gravy, pumpkin pie, and vegetables. Thanksgiving Day is a time for many people to give thanks for what they have.
Thanksgiving Day parades are held in some cities and towns on or around Thanksgiving Day. One of the biggest ones is the Macy’s Thanksgiving day parade in New York city. Some parades or festivities also mark the opening of the Christmas shopping season. Some people have a four-day weekend so it is a popular time for trips and to visit family and friends.”
“Eat a turkey, don’t be one…”