Friday, December 19, 2008

Season's Baking

I am on a huge kick of using fresh vegetables and ingredients while trying to avoid using canned or packaged products. I like the idea of going back to cooking origins by making things from scratch.

Thanksgiving was a great time for cooking from scratch. I have learned everything I need to know about roasting a turkey from my mom. She learned from her mom (who actually hated cooking and was always looking for shortcuts), but expanded upon what my grandmother did to create her own traditions.

Unfortunately, I didn't participate in preparing the turkey for roasting since I was working that morning. However, I did all the shopping for the ingredients so I got to choose what we would eat this year. And, I did get to prepare the mashed potatoes and a "new" way of preparing yams using fresh ones instead of canned yams. More to come on that later.

Here's the menu of our traditional Thanksgiving feast:

Roasted Turkey (Norbest) - roasted with the stuffing inside the bird
Stuffing (though I never eat my mom's) - white bread torn into small bits and mixed with the turkey's inards that have been cooked with onions and celery and lots of poultry seasoning
Mashed Potatoes - I wanted to use broth, but was overruled and used milk and butter with salt & pepper to taste (should have used my Cambodian pepper)
Yams - I prepared these on the stove top in a skillet
Creamed Corn (a recipe given from a longtime family friend) - canned corn & whipping cream, 'nuf said!
Cranberry Sauce (homemade from whole cranberries) - we prefer this to the canned stuff, hands down.
Pillsbury Crescent Rolls (not my choice, but there's been an excess of these in the fridge.)

Recipe for Skillet Yams
(as half-heard from a morning news show while I was getting ready for work)
4-5 medium yams (the red/orange ones), peeled and cubed
1-2 cups chicken, turkey or vegie broth
1 cup brown sugar
2-4 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp oil

Place oil in bottom of large skillet (cast iron is preferred, though any will do). Add cubed yams, broth, butter and brown sugar. Stir and cover. Cook on medium heat until bubbling, then turn to low to simmer until the liquid becomes a thick brown sauce. Remove from heat and serve.

The first time cooking these for Thanksgiving this year I got caught up talking with a dinner guest and they overcooked, but were still very tasty!