Applejack-Spiked Cranberry Sauce

In my family, one of the most cherished items on the table for the holidays are the brandied cranberries.

It’s basically just from scratch cranberry sauce with a bunch of brandy tossed in when they’re cool so it doesn’t cook off. That means it needs to sit for a few days to let the flavors meld at for the stuff not to taste like straight up booze.

Applejack-Spiked Cranberry Sauce

I added my own little spin by adding a few spicy notes with cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg, and substituting my favorite holiday booze, applejack.

Get ready to give thanks to that most American of fruits, the apple (despite it getting its start where Borat is from – but hey, most of us are transplants here), and its magical ability to give us sweetness, sustenance, and intoxication. And to turn your Thanksgiving cranberry sauce up to 11.

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Roasted Garlic Smashed Potatoes

Thanksgiving without mashed potatoes should be a crime. Especially with these potatoes.

I have been making the very same mashed potatoes for a decade now (with the more recent addition of caramelized shallots), and every year it’s a battle to make enough for there to be any leftovers, let alone enough to go around. And that’s a shame, because these potatoes actually get better with time.

Roasted Garlic Smashed Potatoes

 

After a few days in the refrigerator, the metric shit ton of roasted garlic and shallots seeps into the very being of those potatoes. Just heat them up, add an extra blob of butter, and enjoy the amped up deliciousness.

These potatoes are a lumpy smashed variety, using red-skinned potatoes for their more durable texture. We’re looking for meaty potatoes, not fluffy. And yes, you leave the skins on. Not a fan of the skins? They’re good for you, just eat them.

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Cranberry Orange Horseradish Relish

My mom has been making this horseradish cranberry relish every time we make turkey for years upon years. It is spicy, sweet, earthy, and a little crunchy, because it is all raw.

This relish is fantastic on turkey or ham on Thanksgiving or Christmas, and even better on sandwiches made from the leftovers.

Cranberry Orange Horseradish Relish

I used fresh horseradish here instead of the jarred variety – if you can get your hands on a root, don’t take the shortcut on this one. It is good either way, but there is still no comparison. Some orange zest brightens the tart cranberries, and the white pepper adds complexity to the spice of the horseradish.

Although this can be eaten after a few hours in a pinch, give the flavors as much time to meld as you can. It just keeps getting better.

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A Thanksgiving Feast Full of Slab Bacon & Applejack

For many years now, I have been primarily responsible for most of the holiday meals in our family.Over the course of these many meals, I have gotten quite good at cooking for a crowd. It takes a lot of planning and a lot of multi-tasking, but I absolutely love feeding a big group. It gives me a chance to make some large-scale dishes I don’t get to pull out too often, and then, there are the leftovers. Glorious, glorious leftovers.

Thanksgiving

This was Thanksgiving four years ago. I have gotten even better at this since then.

This year all of the dishes are going to be original or adapted recipes, which I will be rolling out over the course of this week and through the end of the month. That’s right, until the end of November, we are going all food, all the time. Get ready for some gluttony. Read on for the complete menu for this year, and some of my tips for how to prep for the biggest meal of the year in a way that keeps your sanity intact. [Read more…]

Ginger Orange Molasses Cookies

Molasses cookies, with their rich, deep, sweet and spicy flavors, are one of our favorite fall and winter treats around this house.

But even with all of those amazing flavors and soft and chewy texture, molasses cookies don’t get a lot of love. But a few extra ingredients, like orange sugar, black pepper (the perfect counterpoint to the sweetness) and crystallized ginger give them a makeover that will make sure these are never the unloved ugly ducklings at the party.

Ginger Orange Molasses Cookies

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