Thanksgiving

Pan Dripping Gravy | www.acozykitchen.com

Gravy is my everything. While I love it on everything from stuffing to slices of turkey to mashed potatoes, I REALLY love it the day after Thanksgiving. You know, when things have dried up a bit and really need that dreaded word we all hate: moisture. Cranberry sauce helps too and so does mayonnaise, which is actually foreshadowing as to what’s to come next week, but for now, GRAVY!

This gravy is thick and smooth and delicious. It starts by using the drippings from yesterday’s turkey. And I’ll say that the drippings from that turkey and its dry brine are VERY salty drippings. But I added a few things to combat that saltiness so no need to not get on this lil’ gravy train (do you see what I did there?).

Isn’t Thanksgiving the best? Even planning Thanksgiving excites me so very much.

Recipe and the rest of the post is on PBS Food.

Pan Dripping Gravy | www.acozykitchen.com [click to continue…]

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Citrus Dry-Brined Turkey | www.acozykitchen.com

For years and years and years, I dunked a raw bird in a wet brine and called it a day. Last year Josh spiced the brine with persimmons and quince and fall stuff like all-spice and cloves. I loved it. But, I also was curious if this was really even needed. I mean, it was kind of a pain. There was a trash bag involved and there’s something inherently weird about putting food you’re going to eat into a garbage bag, even if it’s clean.

So, I did some research. And turns out a lot of people we’re a million light years ahead of me with their hatred toward the wet brine. And some of the science behind why dry brines are best, made complete sense to me. (Serious Eats’ experimentation is super awesome.)

Citrus Dry-Brined Turkey | www.acozykitchen.com

I decided to give the dry-brine a go this year and I’m so glad I did. This year it’s all ’bout the dry brine. Says who? Just me.

The brine I made consisted of salt, ground coriander, minced herbs like sage, rosemary and thyme, and zest from a lemon and orange. It’s really actually quite simple. The bird is rubbed with it the day before and the entire bird dry-brines for a good 24 hours.

Citrus Dry-Brined Turkey | www.acozykitchen.com

There’s nothing fancy or weird or particularly unusual about this. I mean, it kinda reminds of how I like to roast a chicken. This recipe yielded the crispiest skin I’ve ever had on a turkey, which in my book immediately makes it a complete keeper. I would be completely content if someone served me crispy turkey skin ONLY. Of course, that’d be insane and v Paula Deen of me; not a cute look for me.

For the whole recipe and more pictures and a longer tirade about my love for this recipe and turkey, go to PBS Food!

#COZYTHANKSGIVING

Citrus Dry-Brined Turkey | www.acozykitchen.com
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Twice-Baked Acorn Squash topped w/Maple Butter and Pecans | www.acozykitchen.com

Twice-baked potatoes are kinda basic, aren’t they? They are in an endearing way, of course. They’re simple and adorable and I kinda have the urge to pat them on the head and tell them they’re cute. But for this Thanksgiving, I wanted a side dish with a bit of class, so I decided that old favorite of ours needed a bit of a makeover.

This is its classier bigger sister; less cheese, less carbs yet still indulgent and delicious. Also, this is definitely the first time where I’m saying less cheese/less carbs and meaning it as a good thing.

Twice-Baked Acorn Squash topped w/Maple Butter and Pecans | www.acozykitchen.com [click to continue…]

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Classic Apple Pie | www.acozykitchen.com

Do you ever wonder what your legacy will be?

I probably won’t be the richest grandma so I doubt I’ll leave copious amounts of money to a school or hospital; I won’t end up buying a ton of jewelery in my lifetime so there will be no diamonds (sorry, grandchildren); and there’s a good chance I won’t be leaving behind large amounts of land in the hills of Wisconsin (are there hills in Wisconsin?…you get what I mean).

My hope is that my grand kids will tell their friends about how their grandma looked so sweet and small yet she was strong, told sarcastic jokes and had a foul mouth. I hope they tell their friends that whenever I visited, I made them the most elaborate ridiculous lunches and wrote them the sweetest notes for them to find at lunch time. And I hope they tell their friends about how their grandma, with her super veiny hands, made the best pies ever.

My future legacy is what I’m sharing today.

(I’m feeling v emo this week, can you tell?)

Classic Apple Pie | www.acozykitchen.com [click to continue…]

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Cranberry Thyme Gin & Tonic | www.acozykitchen.com

When it comes to the beverage of choice, Thanksgiving has always been about wine. And beer. But mainly wine. Even growing up, Thanksgiving was that time when my parents would bust open the “fancy” bottle of wine a relative brought back from some region of Spain and we all discussed its legs and body like we knew what we were talking about.

Thanksgiving was the time when my parents would serve me a glass of wine at the ripe age of thirteen because that’s what you Latin people do – we give our kids wine! My fellow American friends always thought that was so strange and awesome, but in South America alcohol and kids isn’t that big of a deal. You give ‘em a little sip because it’s a special occasion, you know? Sharing is caring.

Now, cooking is different. When you’re cooking it’s a cocktail time…and in this case, thyme. Cocktail thyme! (I’m annoying myself today, too, don’t worry.) I love a good spritzer. It’s because deep down I’m a grandma who loves her spritzers and maybe, just maybe when no one’s looking I put a few ice cubes in my wine, too.

Cranberry Thyme Gin & Tonic | www.acozykitchen.com [click to continue…]

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DIY: Last Minute Hostess Gift - Potted Winter Herbs // www.acozykitchen.com

Wasn’t Pie Week fun?! I kinda miss it already. I’m already scheming for a possible Cookie Week in December? And maybe more pie. Always more pie.

On Wednesday I’m headed up to the Bay Area for a very short trip for Thanksgiving, so I figured some of you might actually be heading to other people’s homes, too. I love hostess gifts that have a nice personal touch, and since this time of year is so crazy, they need to be quick and easy. I looove having winter herbs in my kitchen for cooking and making cocktails. These herbs will all survive a cold winter – they’re considered “aggressive” herbs, or so they say.

Supplies you’ll need to make this lil’ quick and easy DIY:

- 3 small terra cotta pots
- Assorted colors of acrylic paints
- Scissors
- Painter’s Tape
- Acrylic Top Coat Spray
- Winter Herbs: Rosemary, English Thyme, Mint, Cilantro or Sage
- Paint brushs

DIY: Last Minute Hostess Gift - Potted Winter Herbs // www.acozykitchen.com

Step 1: Brush each pot with two to three coats of paint. Allow ‘em to dry completely.

DIY: Last Minute Hostess Gift - Potted Winter Herbs // www.acozykitchen.com

Step 2: You can do any sort of patterns that you like. I figured it’d be nice to do all an assortment of patterns that all sort of compliment one another. For the first one, I cut out triangles from the painter’s tape and placed them on the perimeter of the pot.

I gave it two coats of metallic light gray paint, allowed it to dry and then removed the tape.

DIY: Last Minute Hostess Gift - Potted Winter Herbs // www.acozykitchen.com

Step 3: Continue with a different pattern. I chose little hand painted dots.

For the third and final patter, I used a spouncer – which is my favorite tool and word – dipped in paint to make a larger polka dot pattern.

DIY: Last Minute Hostess Gift - Potted Winter Herbs // www.acozykitchen.com

Step 4: I allowed the pots to dry completely, about 30 minutes, and then sprayed each pot with a clear top coat, which will help protect the terra cotta pots against moisture, weathering and overall handling.

DIY: Last Minute Hostess Gift - Potted Winter Herbs // www.acozykitchen.com

Step 5: Divide the herbs between the pots and fill with potting soil.

DIY: Last Minute Hostess Gift - Potted Winter Herbs // www.acozykitchen.com

DIY: Last Minute Hostess Gift - Potted Winter Herbs // www.acozykitchen.com

And that’s it! Super easy and quick. Tomorrow I’ll show you a cocktail recipe to use with one of these herbs. You know, so you can give your host the gift and then use it to make something. Super classy!

DIY: Last Minute Hostess Gift - Potted Winter Herbs // www.acozykitchen.com

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Brûléed Classic Pumpkin Pie // www.acozykitchen.com

By “classic pumpkin pie, ” I mean pumpkin pie spiked with rum, obviously. You know me.

This whole week I’ve spent under the covers with the sickness. Amelia thinks sneezes are the most terrifying thing in the world. Whenever I dramatically sneeze, she flinches, bracing for the worst. She’s a weirdo. Luckily (for me and her), the sickness has almost run its course.

One of the many downsides of being sick is the loss of taste. I literally can taste nothing. Everything tastes flat, bland, the same. Except this pie. I tasted every little sweet and spicy note and looooved it. At its base, it’s a classic, awesome pumpkin pie. Not too eggy. I have serious issues with super eggy pumpkin pie. It’s sweet but obviously not too sweet. And the spices! Hello. Perfect amount, I think.

Brûléed Classic Pumpkin Pie // www.acozykitchen.com [click to continue…]

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Caramel Pear Pie with Oat Crumble // www.acozykitchen.com

One of my favorite movie food scenes is from Waitress. You know, the movie with Keri Russell (Felicity), where she plays a waitress who loves making pies. She names each pie after a sentiment running through her bones, like “I-hate-Earl-Pie,” “I-hate-my-job-pie.”

The other day as I was rolling out and crimping, I started to think about my feelings and what’d I’d name my pies. I’d probably have a “Will-Amelia-Ever-Stop-Chewing-Stuff-Pie,” and, “The-Most-Heartbreaking-Part-About-Adulthood-Is-Learning-Your-Parents-Aren’t-Perfect-Pie,” and, “Am-I-Going-Down-The-Right-Path-Pie,” and lastly, “Joshua-Is-A-Dream-Pie.” I just got all real with y’all. Pie therapy: a new method for de-stressing.

Caramel Pear Pie with Oat Crumble // www.acozykitchen.com [click to continue…]

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Pie Crust 101 // www.acozykitchen.com

Pie is my love language. And this week I’ll be serenading you with butter and caramel and fruit. It’s PIE WEEK!

Each day I’ll be bringing you a new pie. Some will be classics with small twists; other’s will be new-to-me (and you, hopefully) combinations.

Thanksgiving is next week and if you’ve worked it right, you’ve got the savory stuff down. You have your turkey reserved and situated. Dessert, though, might still be up in the air. If so, I urge you to make a lil’ pie. What’s great is that all of these pies can be made the night before and then served the next day. They all keep well.

I’ll admit that the first time I made pie, years ago, it was a complete disaster. I blame myself for being a terrible reader of instructions AND pies aren’t “easy as pie.” (That might be the most inaccurate, idiotic idiom I’ve ever heard.)

Pie has its challenges, though it’s definitely not impossible. Hopefully these tips and photos will help make you successful at da pie-a-makin’.

Pie 101 // www.acozykitchen.com

INGREDIENTS: Freeze your butter. Start with frozen butter. I generally freeze the butter for about an hour or so prior to starting.

Step 1: Possible obvious advice: Careful when measuring out your dry ingredients. I always weigh out my dry ingredients (because I actually find it easier than dirtying up cup measures). If you do use cup measures, make sure to fluff the flour, scoop it and then level it off with a butter knife.

Step 2: Use a box grater to cut up the butter. I find this WAY easier than breaking it up using a pastry cutter. Just shred the frozen butter atop the mixed dry ingredients. The end goal when making pie dough is to get the butter to resemble pea-sized bits; well, if you use a box grater, you’re already there. This makes it so you handle the flour mixture less, which will result in a tender pie crust.

Step 3: The key to good pie crust is everything should be cold, cold, COLD! This includes the water. I usually drop a few ice cubes into the water so the water is chilly.

Step 4: I usually add about 50% of the water I need to the dry ingredients, mix it together, AND then add more water a tablespoon at a time, until the dough comes together. Knead the dough a good ten times and form it into one cohesive ball. If it’s a bit shaggy, no biggie. When the dough rests in the fridge, the moisture will disburse throughout.

Step 5: This is a double-crust, so I slice it in half and reshape the dough into two discs. You should see the butter striated throughout the dough, creating layers of butter and flour.

Step 6: Let the dough rest. Resting the dough for an hour usually does the trick, but ideally it should be kept overnight. Have you ever had problems with your pie crust shrinking in the oven? This usually happens because there’s too much water in the dough and/or the gluten in the flour hasn’t had enough time to relax. Overnight is always better.

Pie 101 // www.acozykitchen.com

Step 7: Have you ever started rolling, only to find out the pie dough starts to crack on you?! Very frustrating. Allow the dough to sit on a floured work surface for about 10 minutes. This way it’ll shake off its chill, making it easier to roll out.

Step 8: Flour everything. Everything!! Press your rolling pin and roll outward. Give it one push, then rotate the disc a quarter turn, and repeat the process until the pie dough has reached about a 13-inch circle. Keep flouring, too. If the dough seems like it’s sticking to your counter, lift it and sprinkle a little flour underneath.

Step 9: The transfer. I like to do it grandma style by rolling the dough onto the rolling pin and then laying it over my pie pan. Some people like to fold it like a business letter and then transfer it. Both work fine.

Step 10: Trim the dough, leaving about a 1/2-inch overhang. There will be a bit of shrinkage, so just prepare for it.

Step 11: Crimp, if you like! Or braid it. You can also take a fork and create little indentations. Place the pie pan in the freezer for 20 minutes. This is also a good time to preheat your oven. If you’re filling it with fruit, do it post-freezer trip.

Supplies:

Here’s what I like and why.

1. Pie Pan – Glass. I like this Pyrex one. I love vintage-y pie pans I find at yard sales, but they heat unevenly and get way too hot. I like that the Pyrex ones are inexpensive and see-through so I can see how the crust is doing.

2. French rolling pin. These are inexpensive, better looking (in my opinion) and way less heavy than the traditional ol’ handle rolling pins.

3. Box grater. See above for my long-winded, very passionate reason why I use a box grater! Another thing that would work is a food processor with the cheese grater attachment. But do we really want to clean a food processor? Not really.

Take the jump for the recipes!

Double Crust

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Yield: Dough for 2 nine-inch pie crusts

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups (312.5g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon (15g) white granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon (7g) fine-grain sea salt
  • 2 sticks (226g) unsalted butter, frozen
  • 3/4 cups very cold water, divided
  • 1 large egg, beaten (for egg wash)

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar and salt. Using a box grater, grate the cold butter atop the flour mixture. Working quickly, and using your hands, break the butter bits into the flour until they're evenly distributed and resemble the size of small peas.
  2. Add a 1/2 cup of water and mix. The mixture will be shaggy at this point. From here, add 1 tablespoon of water at a time until the dough comes together (I usually need to add 3 to 4 tablespoons). Flour your counter and dump the dough onto it. Knead a few times more until it comes together. Divide the dough, forming two discs. Wrap the discs in plastic wrap and transfer to the refrigerator to chill for at least 1 hour, ideally overnight.
  3. Remove the first disc of dough from the refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature for 10 minutes. Liberally flour your work surface and rolling pin. Begin to roll the dough, being sure to rotate it every so often to avoid sticking, to a 13-inch round. Wrap the dough around the rolling pin and unroll it over the pie tin. Gently fit the dough into the bottom and up the sides of the pie tin. Trim the dough around the pie tin, leaving a 1/2-inch overhang.
  4. Remove the second disc of dough from the refrigerator and repeat the rolling process as you did with the first disc. You have some options: you could create a lattice; you could cut into thin strips and create a braided trim; you could use a small cookie cutter (whatever shape you like) and make a cute trim that way. The ideas are endless! Get creative. Just remember to transfer the pie to the refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes and then brush the entire top of the pie dough with egg wash—it makes it a beautiful golden brown.
http://acozykitchen.com/pie-crust-101/

Single Pie Crust

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Yield: One 9-inch pie crust

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups (187g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons (8g) white granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon (5g) fine-grain sea salt
  • 1 stick (113g) unsalted butter, frozen
  • 4-8 tablespoons very cold water, divided
  • 1 large egg, beaten (for egg wash)

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar and salt. Using a box grater, grate the cold butter atop the flour mixture. Working quickly, and using your hands, break the butter bits into the flour until they're evenly distributed and resemble the size of small peas.
  2. Add 4 tablespoons of water and mix. The mixture will be shaggy at this point. From here, add 1 tablespoon of water at a time until the dough comes together (I usually need to about 3 more tablespoons). Flour your counter and dump the dough onto it. Knead a few times more until it comes together. Form into a disc. Wrap the disc in plastic wrap and transfer to the refrigerator to chill for at least 1 hour, ideally overnight.
  3. Remove the disc of dough from the refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature for 10 minutes. Liberally flour your work surface and rolling pin. Begin to roll the dough, being sure to rotate it every so often to avoid sticking, to a 13-inch round. Wrap the dough around the rolling pin and unroll it over a 9-inch pie dish. Gently fit the dough into the bottom and up the sides of the pie dish. Trim the dough around the pie tin, leaving a 1-inch overhang.
http://acozykitchen.com/pie-crust-101/

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Classic Cranberry Sauce // www.acozykitchen.com

I know this week I’ve thrown you some renditions of Thanksgiving classics, but when it comes to cranberry sauce I like my stuff simple. Classic. Don’t throw sage in my dang cranberry sauce. Don’t put bacon in my cranberry sauce. I’ll get an attitude.

I have very fond memories of buying cranberry sauce from the can and plopping it onto a plate and carefully slicing it in between the can-rivets. I loved it. For years, even after I got into cooking, I’d still buy cranberry sauce from the can–it was emotional, I think! But now I just can’t do it, especially considering how simple and easy and delicious homemade cranberry sauce is.

Classic Cranberry Sauce // www.acozykitchen.com [click to continue…]

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