Sunday, November 30, 2014

30 November 2014 – Thanksgiving Weekend

Re: Purpose

The holidays have gotten off to a busy start. The long Thanksgiving weekend has been great but hectic as usual. Of course, I have spent a lot of quality time in the kitchen. Those who know me well realize that the Thanksgiving feast is my favorite meal to prepare all year. I think it is because of the four day weekend, the smell of sage (my favorite), and the reason to pause and ponder all the reasons I have to be truly grateful. This year, I was prepared to pass on the ritual feast preparation, but I couldn't resist the urge. However, I did manage to keep it somewhat smaller in scale than in years past, and that made all the difference.

After a Saturday visit to Cherokee Market for lot of supplies and product, the first cooking steps began last Sunday when I made cornbread for my mother's dressing recipe. This is the one dish I look forward to each Thanksgiving, and it never fails to comfort me with memories. Her version calls for a lot of sage, celery and onions. I still use a lot of these ingredients, but I've made some minor adaptations over the years. Nothing drastic, mind you, because I have no interest in being haunted by an upset Franny Betty! I think she would approve of the final product, and it honors all of the steps in her original process. After the cornbread, the next step involved making the stock. I use a combination of turkey and chicken stock in my dressing, and since I roasted a turkey the Saturday prior to Thanksgiving, I was in luck. The rest of the dressing came together nicely, and the final product was baked in a large iron skillet – the way God intended!

On Wednesday, Thanksgiving Eve, I picked up my natural free range turkey from the Corner Butcher Shop on Bells Ferry. The owner, Larry, sent it home in a brine solution, and I air dried it in the refrigerator overnight for 14 hours. While the turkey was brining, I baked Edna Lewis's Hummingbird Cake for Jeff's mom, Theresa Brown, to take their family Thanksgiving lunch. It turned out beautifully, and she enjoyed it all weekend. We returned home to One Britt around 3 PM, and I began preparing our Thanksgiving dinner. I had left the bird out to come to room temperature, and I used a high heat roasting method by Thomas Keller of The French Laundry. I was skeptical, but the results were amazing! He roasts the turkey at 450 degrees for the entire time, so it cooks fast, and he bastes with clarified butter so it does not burn or brown too quickly. This method results in a very crispy skin and a moist turkey. I will never cook the turkey another way again! In addition to the dressing, the sides included cream cheese mashed potatoes, fresh cranberry sauce with maple syrup, turkey gravy, and roasted brussel sprouts with Benton bacon. For the sprouts, I trimmed and cut them in half, tossed them with a little olive oil and place them cut-side-down on strips on thick bacon. I roasted at 400 degrees on a lower rack and tossed them about 10 minutes before they were done. I crumbled the bacon on top at the end, and they were divine!

Thanksgiving dinner was perfect, and Friday was mostly about recovery, relaxation and leftovers. On Saturday, we supported our downtown for Small Business Saturday by having lunch at R&M Hoagie Shop and proceeding to buy gifts at our great shops: Stout's Growler Shop, Noni's Attic, Chamberhouse, B.Loved, Cup Up Coffee, Keys Jewelers and Practically Perfect Spa. We had a great time visiting with the merchants and seeing a lot of friends along the way. I hope everyone remembers to shop local this holiday season, because Canton's independent businesses really do have a lot to offer. Plus, the dollars you spend locally stay in our community!

As Sunday finally rolled around, the fridge was still filled with leftovers and a turkey carcass! I believe in honoring these ingredients as much as possible, and I am very appreciative for my blessings. The carcass was used to make stock for a healthy turkey vegetable soup for lunch this week. There was still some leftover turkey and dressing, so tonight's Sunday Supper featured one of my favorite creations from a past Thanksgiving: Turkey and Dressing Ravioli with Sage Brown Butter Sauce. The raviolis are perfect little all-in-one bites of the Thanksgiving meal, and the sage brown butter sauce is simply decadent. I served it with some steamed asparagus, and dessert utilized the leftover cranberries for a cranberry custard pie with cranberry sauce whipped cream. Now, the refrigerator is almost empty, except for the turkey veggie soup, but the aroma of sage and roast turkey still lingers and comforts with grace and gratitude.

The Menu:

- Turkey and Dressing Ravioli with Sage Brown Butter Sauce

- Pan Roasted Asparagus

- Cranberry Custard Pie with Cranberry Sauce Whipped Cream

The Recipe – Turkey and Dressing Ravioli with Sage Brown Butter Sauce


1 cup leftover roast turkey

1 cup leftover dressing or stuffing

1 T chopped sage

1 egg, beaten

Pinch salt

Pepper to taste

1 Pkg prepared won ton wrappers

1 stick butter

10-12 fresh sage leaves



Add chopped turkey to bowl of a food processor and pulse until chopped into small pieces but not a paste.

Add dressing and pulse until combined. Add egg, sage, salt and pepper and mix until well combined into a thick paste with small pieces of turkey still visible.

Put a rounded teaspoon filling in center of a won ton wrapper. Lightly brush edge of wrapper with water, then place a second wrapper on top and seal, pressing out any trapped air. Repeat with remaining wrappers and filling, keeping ravioli covered as you work.

Boil ravioli in 2 batches in a pasta pot of salted boiling water until tender, 2 to 3 minutes per batch, removing with a slotted spoon.


While your pasta cooks, melt butter in a 12 to 14-inch saute pan and continue cooking until golden brown color appears in the edges of the butter. Add sage leaves and toss for a minute or so then remove from heat.


Place a few ravioli into a bowl and top with brown butter sauce and a few fried sage leaves.

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