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Monday, October 09, 2006

Thanksgiving 2006

Every year we mark one special day in Canada (2nd Monday in October and in the US it falls on the 4th Thursday of November). Truly a special it is linked to fall harvest festivals and the fine art of being thankful for what the harvest has brought to us to sustain the winter. Thought to be a day of feasting and giving thanks by the Pilgrims the very first thanksgiving day would have been a day of fasting and praying which was in keeping with the religious requirements of the Pilgrims. And although the actual date is long lost the thanksgiving feast would most likely have taken place during the harvest period of 1626 but was not a yearly celebration and did not become one until 1676 and not on the 4th Thursday of November the event was based on the English holiday which took place around the 29th of September.

Differing states had different dates for the holiday and in 1863 President Lincoln appointed the last day of November as a day of thanksgiving after that each President appointed a similar day until 1939 when President Roosevelt set the date as the 4th Thursday which was approved by Congress 2 years later.

The first “Canadian” thanksgiving could have been the day Martin Forbihser held a formal celebration of thanks after crossing the Atlantic during the fall of 1578. About the same time the French settlers and explorers like Samuel de Champlian came to Canada and they too had a similar celebration eventually forming “The Order of Good Cheer” sharing the bountiful fall harvest with all who came. In 1879 Canadian Parliament declared November 06 as a day of thanksgiving but it wasn’t until January 31 of 1957 that the Canadian government would declare “ A day of General Thanksgiving to Almighty God for the bountiful harvest with which Canada has been blessed”.

So on thanksgiving be blessed and enjoy some of the great dishes I’ve given you here.

Pumpkin-Apple Streusel Cake
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 cups diced peeled cored Granny Smith apples (about 4 large)
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup (firmly packed) golden brown sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup canned pure pumpkin
1/3 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 large eggs
Vanilla ice cream

Method apples: Melt butter in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add apples; saute until apples begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Add sugar and cinnamon and saute until golden brown, about 3 minutes longer. Cool.
Method cake:
Preheat oven to 350F.

Butter 9-inch-diameter springform pan.

Combine flour, brown sugar, butter, and salt in large bowl. Using electric mixer, beat until mixture resembles coarse meal. Set aside 2/3 cup of mixture for topping. Beat pumpkin, sour cream, 2 tablespoons sugar, spice, and baking soda into remaining flour mixture, beating just until smooth. Beat in eggs. Transfer batter to pan. Scatter apples evenly over top. Sprinkle reserved topping over apples. Bake cake until topping is golden brown and tester inserted into centre comes out clean, about 1 hour 10 minutes. Cool cake in pan on rack 20 minutes. Run knife around pan sides to loosen cake. Release pan sides from cake. Transfer cake to platter. Serve warm or at room temperature with ice cream.


3 tbsp butter
2 fine diced onions
3 minced garlic cloves
2 cups peeled, seeded and diced tomatoes
¾ lb lean ground pork
¾ lb fine diced beef
1 cup beef stock
2 bay leaves
¼ tsp each of allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg
1 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
⅓ cup fine bread crumbs
1 quantity double crust pie dough
3 tbsp milk
1 egg

In a large skillet heat the butter and sweat the onion and garlic. Add the tomatoes and cook for 3 minutes covered. Add the pork and cook thoroughly. Add beef, stock, bay leaves and seasonings. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Uncover and continue to simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated. Stir in the bread crumbs. Cool mixture to room temperature.

Preheat the oven to 400◦F (200◦C).

Roll out the pastry, divide in two and line a 10" (250 cm) pie shell with one part. Fill with the mixture and, cover with the remaining pastry. Crimp edges and cut a 1" (2.5 cm) hole in top. Make a tin foil chimney and fit into hole.
Mix milk with the egg and brush over pastry.
Bake for 10 minutes then reduce the heat to 350◦F (180◦C) and continue to bake for 25 minutes. Rest the pie for 20 minutes before cutting, or cool and chill and serve


4½ lbs. Virginia ham
½ cup peach preserves
¼ cup liquid honey
¼ tsp each of ground cinnamon, ground cloves, white pepper
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp cornstarch

Preheat the oven to 325◦F (160◦C).

Score the ham with 2" deep criss cross cuts, place into a roasting pan. Roast the ham for 2 hours.

In small sauce pan combine the preserves, honey and spices, heat slowly to a boiling point. Blend the lemon juice and cornstarch together and add the sauce, simmer until thick. Pour the sauce over the ham and continue to cook for an additional 30 minutes, basting every 7-10 minutes.

Serve the ham on a hot serving platter, with sweet root vegetables and fruit.



½ lb. diced bacon
1 large onion finely diced
3 large carrots finely diced
3 stalks celery finely diced
4 tbsp butter
4 tbsp flour
4 cups chicken broth
1½ cups cream
2 cups fresh sweet corn
salt and pepper to taste

In a large kettle fry the bacon, add the onion, carrots and celery and sauté until tender, drain all excess fat. Add the butter and flour and cook over low heat for 3 minutes. Pour the chicken broth over and simmer until thick. Add the cream and corn and continue to simmer for 10 minutes.
Check for seasoning and serve.



1 lb. brussels sprouts
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
½ cup milk
½ cup chicken broth
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp white pepper
pinch nutmeg
½ cup cooked crab meat

Cut off the root stem end of the sprouts and trim the outer leaves. Stem the sprouts for so minutes.

While sprouts steam, melt the butter in a sauce pan. Add flour and stir into a paste (roux) cook for 2 minutes over low heat.

Add the milk and chicken broth, stir; simmer until thickened. Add the seasonings and simmer 2 additional minutes. Brussels in the crab meat.

Place the brussels sprouts in a serving dish, smother with sauce and serve.



1 lb. carrots
1 cup dried apricots
1 cup water
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp cornstarch
1 tbsp lemon juice
¼ cup apple juice

Pare the carrots and cut into sticks. Steam the carrots for 12-15 minutes, transfer to a serving dish and reserve warm.

While carrots steam, boil the apricots in the water for 5 minutes in a small pan. Transfer apricots to a food processor and puree, reserve the water.

Stir the sugar into the water. Mix the cornstarch with the lemon juice, add to the water and simmer until thick. Pour over the apricots and blend.

Return to sauce pan and stir in the apple juice, heat but do not boil.

Pour sauce over carrots and serve at once.



6-6 oz. boneless turkey breasts
4 tbsp butter
3 minced garlic cloves
1 sliced green bell pepper
1 sliced onion
3 cups peeled, seeded, chopped tomatoes
¼ cup sherry
1 tsp paprika
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper

In a skillet, fry the turkey in the butter for 4-6 minutes per side (depending on the thickness of the breast). Remove and reserve hot.

Add the garlic, bell peppers and onions to the skillet, sauté until tender. Add the tomatoes and bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. add the sherry and seasonings, continue to simmer until the liquid has evaporated.

Place the turkey breasts on a platter, pour sauce and serve.


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