Posted by: Kate | November 25, 2008


In an effort to get out of my own head for a while, I’m on a quest for Thanksgiving recipes. We’re spending the day with my dad and his girlfriend – at their house, no less, which is noteworthy because it’s the first time in two years, on and off, that such an invitation has arisen.

We don’t mind entertaining here, and most of the time I’d rather clean the house and prepare food than drive and worry about my kids breaking something, as most of the people we spend time with do not have similarly-aged rug rats and therefore have chosen interior decorating themes other than “Mostly Not Breakable.” But still, it’s nice to have the option of going somewhere else, especially because I really don’t need to make more turkey stock but would feel compelled to if I had a whole turkey carcass in the house.

So, off we go. They live about 45 minutes away, so it’s just long enough for the kids to ask, “Are we there yet?” without being long enough for annoyance.

I’m bringing an appetizer and a dessert… I’m thinking stuffed mushrooms, and maybe bacon-wrapped scallops, because both of those go over well with the crowd without being particularly difficult to make (read: painfully easy).

Here, proof of the ease of stuffed mushrooms:
Stuffed Mushrooms
1 lb. fresh mushrooms, any size (I prefer them on the smaller size)
Several tablespoons butter
1 small onion, minced fine
~1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 pound scallops or crab meat, minced
1-2 cups bread crumbs or crushed crackers
Herbs according to personal preference (I like parsley and basil, and a dash or three of red pepper)
1/2-1 cup shredded cheese, any kind according to personal preference

Separate mushroom caps from stems. Mince stems and set aside. Brush caps with butter and fry top-down very briefly on high heat, just to lightly brown the outsides. Set aside on a baking sheet, top-down.

Reduce heat to med-high, add more butter if needed and saute onions and garlic until translucent and soft, then add mushroom stems and seafood and heat several more minutes. Add bread crumbs a few tablespoons at a time until mixture is thick enough to hold together if pressed with spoon. Add more butter if needed. Add herbs to taste. Remove from heat.

When stuffing is cool enough to touch, fill each mushroom cap generously with stuffing, and sprinkle each with cheese. Bake at 350F for 10-15 minutes, until heated through and cheese is melted.

I’ve been sitting on a bookmark for German Chocolate Pie, from Magi, for several months now, and it seems as good a time as any to try it out. (I’ll make the double recipe and try some at home first, because I’m not yet brave enough to debut a new recipe to an audience without a trial run.)

But I haven’t firmly decided yet, and don’t plan to go ingredient-shopping until tomorrow. So, dish: what is your favorite appetizer or dessert, the one you bring to gatherings and feel all warm-fuzzy-Martha-Stewart about? There are no food allergies to deal with here…

On a similar note, Gretchen brought over a baked fish dish the other week, a few days after things went downhill, and I’m frankly a little surprised that no one got burn marks on their face from simply diving directly into the pan. It’s that good. She posted the recipe, and you should, quick, go copy it down before she thinks better of it and decides to copyright.


  1. jalapenos, stuffed with chive cream cheese, wrapped in bacon then cooked on the grill.

    or anything with cheese. 🙂

  2. German Chocolate Pie is good, but this one is the that is really impressive. Don’t let it intimidate you. Break it down and it’s easy to make and really good, too.

    White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Pie

    3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
    1/2 cup heavy cream

    6 1/2 ounces cream cheese, softened
    1/3 cup sugar
    1/3 cup heavy cream, plus 3/4 cup, whipped soft
    6 1/2 (1-ounce) squares premium white baking chocolate, melted
    1/2 teaspoon orange zest
    2/3 cup roasted, chopped macadamia nuts
    1 pre-baked deep-dish (9-inch) pie shell

    1 1/2 cups heavy cream
    1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
    1 to 2 ounces chopped macadamia nuts

    Place chocolate chips in a metal mixing bowl. Bring cream to a simmer over medium heat. Pour simmering cream over chips and stir until melted. Set aside and allow to cool to room temperature.

    Beat cream cheese and sugar with a handheld electric mixer until smooth. Scrape bowl with a spatula and mix in 1/3 cup heavy cream. Add the melted white chocolate, zest, and nuts and stir just until incorporated. Fold in the whipped cream. Spread into pre-baked pie shell and level off using a rubber spatula. Put in freezer until frozen.

    To finish pie, place the ganache in the microwave on low for no more than 10 seconds at a time. Stir after each warming, until ganache pours loosely but is not even close to boiling. Be very careful when warming chocolate, as it will burn very quickly when heated in the microwave. Once chocolate is scorched it is unusable. Spread warm ganache over top of frozen pie, smoothing to the edges with a spatula.

    Beat cream and confectioners’ sugar with a handheld electric mixer to stiff peaks. Transfer to a piping bag and pipe edges of pie with whipped cream. Sprinkle macadamia nuts over top. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

    Notes: I didn’t make the ganache until I needed it, so you can skip the reheating stage. Also, you can use pre-made whipped cream if you prefer. Don’t worry about piping it out. Just plop it on.

  3. I’m going to try this one this year:

    It looks great, great reviews and you can’t go wrong with Paula Deen. I even bought a trifle bowl for the experiment.

  4. I wish I had something interesting to share. The dessert that I’ve been bringing to my family’s Thanksgiving since high school is apple pie. It’s not super spectacular – just a basic apple pie. I don’t even make the crust. Pillsbury has refrigerated pie crusts that are way better than anything I could make. The thing I really like about my recipe is that the filling is not cooked first. It’s just a combination of sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and apples. The apples are always really crisp, which is how I prefer them. I’m not a big fan of smooshy apple pie.

  5. Oh, probably a pecan/chocolate pie. But I almost always bring an apple cake — made with lots of walnuts. It doesn’t look spectacular, but tastes really good.

    I don’t think we’re doing anything really interesting for Thanksgiving, unless you count eating the turkeys we slaughtered today, but I’m still looking forward to it.

  6. Dressing! Proportions vary wildly each time I make this, depending on how much I buy of what.

    Wild rice
    Sausage meat or ground pork
    Croutons, flavored or not
    Pecan halves
    Butter for melting

    Put wild rice on to cook most of the way, but not all the way done, as much as you feel like. You can use either water, or chicken broth, to cook the rice in. While it cooks, brown some sausage meat (I use Jimmy Dean sage variety), remove the meat from the fat but leave the fat in the pan. Brown and soften some diced onion and celery in the sausage fat.

    Combine the almost-cooked wild rice, sausage meat, onion and celery, some pecan halves, some croutons, and either some melted butter or some of the sausage grease, as much as is needed to moisten it all.

    Put in a greased casserole, cover, and bake until heated through and the rice is done cooking.

  7. My go-to, this time of year through say March, is gingerbread from scratch. It’s easy to the point of foolproof. Remember: thou shalt not forget, nor scrimp on, the whipped cream.

    (And wow does that pumpkin-gingerbread trifle look DIVINE!!! Thanks ETsW.)

  8. Happy thanksgiving folks. My mouth is watering but I’ll have to wait for Christmas!

  9. Sorry I’m not much help at the moment, but I wanted to say thank you for posting this because I’m going to try Evil Twin’s Wife’s Trifle for D’Arcy’s birthday cake tomorrow! (With a few modifications to make it safe, of course…) It looks amazing!

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