26 November 2008

Thanksgiving Prep, Two

Monday & Tuesday


On Monday, I diced all the vegetables for the two stuffings, and on Tuesday my mom and I mixed them together. We decided to prepare it two days early since the flavors seem to come out better the longer it sets, but the stuffing won't be cooked until tomorrow.

All those apples were peeled and sliced for the pie. That's 10 rather large apples, hopefully for a mile-high apple pie, Martha Stewart style (except I found her recipe, which just called for cinnamon as the lone spice, to be rather bland so I added other spices and a bit of almond extract, as well as the grated zest of one lemon).


Unfortunately, I didn't decide to make this type of pie until right before the peeling of the apples. When Martha Stewart makes this pie she uses a recipe-and-a-half together, dividing the pieces so one disc is larger than the other. The larger piece is the top crust, rolled out to 18-inches so it can fit over the tall pile of apples. Oh well, that just means my pie is a '3/4-Mile-High Apple Pie'.




Glazed with a beaten egg yolk mixed with milk and sprinkled with granulated and sanding sugar, the pie baked into a golden-brown, sparkly glory. Nothing beats the aroma of a spicy apple while it's baking!


Tigger's Apple Pie, which I make every year, didn't come out as well. I mean, it'll taste great, but it won't be winning any awards for beauty. (I'll probably have an easier time convincing people that it was Tigger who actually made it, though!)


See? That's a classic example of crust fail. But I already know that I should make pies more than twice a year because I don't exactly have the technique down. Also, the recipe doesn't call for pre-baking the crust, and I don't think I did last year, but I should probably do it from now on because it does shrink. (That might just be my fault.)

Please don't send me notes of pity, as I'm not looking for any (I'm sure you can relate, though). There's more to Thanksgiving than perfect pies (I'm saying this as the perfectionist that I am), which I do realize, no matter how slightly annoying it is.


This place is a tomb. I'm going to the Nut Shop where it's fun.

I can't believe what I've been missing all these years. I don't know how I've ever gotten along without snacking on 'Sweet & Spicy Cashews' before. Not only is the taste incredible, but it's very easy to make. Need a last-minute appetizer? Is your family already at your home and you want to give them something quick to snack on? You must make these. Cashews aren't necessary; in fact, the original recipe called for almonds, but I only have cashews.

Unlike many recipes, the only baking required for this recipe is the toasting of whatever nut you choose. A simple, light glaze is heated in a skillet, which the nuts are added to and coated thoroughly before dumping into a bowl with the coating of sugar, cayenne pepper, and salt. Make the recipe your own by adding lime zest (which I'm going to add to my next batch momentarily), and you don't have to add the full teaspoon of cayenne pepper if you don't want it too hot. I only used half, and the slight heat comes through just as well.

I may update later today with everything else we're finishing, but if not I hope you all have a very happy Thanksgiving, and I'll see you on Friday!



Sweet & Spicy Almonds
Recipe from Everyday Food, December 2004

Makes 2½ cups

Ingredients:

  • 2½ cups ublanched almonds, or nuts of your choice

  • ¼ cup sugar

  • 1½ teaspoons kosher salt

  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • 1 tablespoon honey and water

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Spread 2½ cups almonds on a rimmed baking sheet; toast until fragrant, about 10 minutes. In a large bowl, combine sugar, kosher salt, and cayenne pepper.

  2. In a large skillet over medium heat, cook honey and water with olive oil, stirring, until combined, 1 minute. Add almonds; toss to coat.

  3. Transfer nuts to sugar mixture (do not scrape extra glaze into bowl); toss to coat. Cool in a single later.


These nuts will keep for up to 2 weeks; let cool completely, then store in an airtight container.

11 comments:

  1. I prepped my pies today too!! :-)

    Love that almond snack recipe!! Perfect "noshing" for the family.

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  2. the cashew pics look great! next time i'll try the cayenne pepper, too!

    thanks for sharing and i hope you have a wonderful thanksgiving :)

    and p.s. - who wants perfect pies anyway? yours look more home-made to me :)

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  3. Happy Thanksgiving! I made pumpkin pies for the family too. Apples are just too much work for this guy :)

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  4. Cayenne pepper? KICKIN'! The pie looks yummy! Happy Thanksgiving dear!

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  5. those nuts? probably best to keep me away :)

    i had the same experience with pie crusts this year! guess i need more practie... pies anyone??

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  6. Your apple pie looks fantastic, I would love a huge slice of that!

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  7. Thanks for sharing this prep with us! I'm no baker though - how about you bake and I eat - lol...you ready?

    -DTW
    www.everydaycookin.blogspot.com

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  8. Mmm, those cashews look delicious. So do those pies! I'm impressed since I've never tried to bake my own pies. It just seems so intimidating!

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  9. The pies look great, but what I'm really craving are the cashews. Those look incredible.
    I'm tempted to make a nut joke right now. I will resist.

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  10. Your pie crust looks amazing!

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Thanks for taking the time to comment. Your thoughts are appreciated! ^,^

~Christina

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