October 13, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving, Passive Aggressive Style

Ooof!  It's that time of year again.  The time of year where families happily unite over turkey and mash, gravy, cranberries, squash, stuffing, brussel sprouts... or maybe you're having manicotti instead.  Or pizza.  And maybe you're fighting.

Best not to dwell...

I have been invited to two family feasts - one at my Mom's (above for manicotti) and one at my s.i.l.'s (traditional).  I have been asked to bring NOTHING to my mother's except for an empty relish tray (she is going to fill it with--- relish?), and a DESSERT to my sil's.

Like I am going to bring "nothing" to my Mom's!  When I asked her what to bring (on Friday afternoon, she said, well you're leaving it a little late, aren't you?)  That's how I roll, Mom, that's how I roll.

Bring nothing.  gah.  I mean, I am definitely a rudesby, but even I am not that rude.

update - I am writing this one day later.  I made pumpkin chocolate chip cookies and brought them to my Mom's.   They seemed to be a hit.  They looked gooey and chocolatey and how can you go wrong with that?  I also made the dough in less than 15 minutes and that included jumping into the van and driving down the street to the grocery to pick up the can of pumpkin that I forgot to buy the day before.  Baking time was 10 mins.  EASY!!!!!

So I brought the flowers on the table above and a bunch of cookies.  And my cheerful disposition of course.  And the food and the company were lovely.  Thanks, Nan.


Feast #2 - Last year, I brought a dessert to my m.i.l.'s (pumpkin cheesecake), and due to the abundance of desserts that others brought, I don't think anyone actually ate my dessert.  What was I thinking anyway?  Who wants cheesecake after gorging themselves on turk?

I realize that I have just told a lie, two people took a sliver of the p.c. to be nice.  Thank you, food troopers.  I am going to sound rude here again, but I resent being asked to contribute food that no one actually eats.

Bitchy?  Maybe.

I guess I should just be thankful that anyone invites me to their home for Thanksgiving, especially as I am airing the dirty family laundry on my blog.

Prediction:  next year, I dine alone.

I wanted to bring roasted vegetables with maple ginger dressing to the inlaws, which EVERYONE eats because they are completely delicious but I have been instructed by voicemail not to do this.  I am sorely tempted to bring the veg, but rather than incur the wrath of all, I will bring dessert.

And so I find myself in the position of having to bring a dessert that no one will eat.  I don't like to make dessert.  At this point in my life, I gravitate to the roasted vegetables -- yum -- and tend to skip dessert because I am usually too full of turkey.  I am tempted to bring chocolate chip cookies to the inlaws too because who doesn't like a chocolate chip cookie? but I thought I might get in doo-doo for making something unseasonal.  Truth be told, I would be making them knowing that no one will eat them and then I could take the leftovers home (people tend to decline my leftover desserts), and pop them in the freezer for the kids' lunchboxes.  soundbite: evil laugh -  mwah, ha ha ha hah ahhh...

So I am perplexed.  What shall I make?  You already know that last year's pumpkin cheesecake was a bomb - not da bomb! - and so I am not making that again.  Pumpkin pie?  I make a good pumpkin pie, but it's a lot of work.  And I am not a fan of pumpkin pie.  I have a great recipe for it though.  You make it entirely from scratch, using a pie pumpkin that you may or may not have grown.  rolling eyes.  It all seems very Martha, doesn't it?  Meaning that after you make it, you'll feel compelled to tell everyone that you made the filling from a bona fide pumpkin that you may or may not have picked yourself, and you'll sit back smugly as someone else pulls out a $2.99 Jane Parker pie from the A & P.  Snap!

Still puzzled, I googled "thanksgiving desserts best" (not my best keyword search but it worked) and came up with this, from the Food and Wine website:

Apple Galette
I personally think that the apples look a little too carmelized here burnt here, but that's me.  The recipe is Jacques Pépin's Country Apple Galette.  I am assuming that JP - French chef extraordinaire - knows how to make a kickass galette and so that's what I will attempt.  Right now it's 10am and we have to be at the inlaws for 1pm.  I better get on it.

A galette is actually not difficult.  It looks impressive, but there is little fiddling around with pastry - the messier it looks, the better.

So I pulled out the Braun -- best food processor EVER - and made the crust.  (I actually did this part yesterday and let it chill in the fridge overnight).  The recette calls for 1 stick of butter plus 2 tbsp, but that is just annoying because we don't buy our butter in sticks here in Canada.  So what you'll really need is a 1/2 cup, plus 2 tbsp of beurre.

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup of butter plus 2 tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/3 cup ice water

Whir together the flour, sugar, salt and butter for about 5 seconds.  Add the ice water and blend until dough is just coming together.  (10 seconds?).  Dump out into bowl and mix it together with your hands, just to get it into a ball.  Wrap it up in some saran wrap and chill for at least an hour.

That's where I'm at.

I am going to the kitchen to roll out my dough and decorate it with apples.


Okay, it's in the oven and I am STOKED.  That dessert was super-easy.  It's only 10:30 right now!  That means that I have a LOT of time to do totally selfish activities like write this blog, knit my sweater and read before we have to go!  yes!!!!!

Let me tell you about the dessert.  I dragged G off the tube (but Mumma, Jessie's on!!) and put her to work.  Here she is, tethered to our island  kiddy table, peeling and coring apples with the best tool ever invented, which I purchased at a yard sale for $3 (they wanted $5, but I am a haggler):

Pampered Chef Apple Peeler and Corer

The tool had never been used; it was still in the box.  

Can I just tell you that this implement is a marvel?  It is so easy to use that even the G can set it up and do it herself and she's only 7!  You crank that handle and the magic happens:

And look at the pretty ribbons of apple peel.  Eat your heart out, Ma Ingalls!
Maybe others are already aware of the peeler and are annoyed by moi, but I am new to it and using it is like watching a baby being born.  Seriously, I am THAT excited.  Look at this bowl full of peeled, cored and sliced apples.  I am tearing up; such beauty.  It took Gwen less than 5 minutes to assemble apples, peel, core and slice them.  Crying here.

Okay, must compose myself.  Moving on...

Next step, roll out dough.  This took less than 5 minutes and it didn't stick to my counter, rolling pin or hands (secret? use lots of flour!).  I folded it in half after rolling and dumped it onto the cookie sheet.  This picture also makes me cry.

I chopped up half of the apples and threw them on the dough, then stacked the rest of the apples in what was supposed to be a pleasing arrangement.  I give myself 5 out of 10 for arranging, but I hate fussing so this is what I ended up with after I dotted said apples with honey, butter and a mixture of cinnamon and sugar:

I am impressed.

It's baking right now, it smells awesome in here, and it has 20 mins to go.  I cannot wait to see the finished product!!!!


Thank you, technology.

Here is the galette, straight from the oven and it looks amazing!  I feel compelled to add two pictures because I am so proud.  

My my my.

I hope it tastes good. What am I talking about? It is going to taste exactly like the BEST GALETTE IN THE WORLD should taste!

Happy Thanksgiving!  I am thankful for my family, friends, health and life.


A note on the cookies:  these cookies are not crispy.  The pumpkin makes them soft and slightly cakey. There is no way around this, unfortunately.  Also note that there are no eggs in these cookies.  The pumpkin does the work of the egg.

this recipe is from:  http://sallysbakingaddiction.com/2013/09/04/pumpkin-chocolate-chip-cookies/

Note on the galette:  I used Honeycrisp apples.  I hate Delicious apples.  The honey I used came from Clovermead in Aylmer and you need to use more than a tbsp.  Oh and for my galette, I made more pastry than the recipe called for (about a third more).  I baked the tart for 50 minutes exactly.

from:  http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/country-apple-galette

Addendum:  see if you can spot my galette in this picture:

hmmmmn... where could it be?  There's a big bowl of strawberries, an apple pie, an angel food cake, two pumpkin pies, another apple pie and...  oh yes, my galette.  That's it, on top of the "piano" box, under all the tinfoil and pot lid. mmm... looks so delicious, doesn't it?

In case you doubt my recollection of events, here is another picture in which you can see it peeking out from beneath all the crap piled on top of it.

Soundtrack:  Alanis Morrisette's Thank You

Addendum - that galette was DELICIOUS!  Even Nathanimal, who declares himself a hater of pie, ate three pieces and this morning, he asked me to make another!  Who knew?