I have a few food notes about Thanksgiving before this year's autumnal feast zooms into the past.
This year I made my usual pair of pumpkin pies, a cranberry jelly mold, a chard and sweet potato gratin (to prove I can cook without sugar), and possibly the best pecan pie I've ever made.
The cranberry mold (see above) is from an old Gourmet recipe. In the original you boil up pounds of fresh cranberries with some sugar, add some gelatin and poof you have a lovely, trembly jelly. But, I tell you pounds of cranberries cost bucks (especially when you double the recipe like I always do), so now I use a combination of some fresh berries, but mainly pure cranberry juice. Much more economical, and quite a bit easier.
The gratin was from Smitten Kitchen, and my only alteration of the recipe was to make an extra cup of white sauce. My sauce became too thick (because I didn't read the directions carefully enough, whoops), but once I added more white sauce I was living pretty. I did the whole assemble it the night before, and bake it off in the morning. Perfection, I tell you.
Now, the pecan pie. I had this package of ultra dark, but not very sweet, molasses brown sugar, and it called to me to be made into pie. I subbed in this dark, dark sugar and a 1/4 cup of molasses for part of the sugar and corn syrup in my pie recipe (yes, I know corn syrup is the devils nectar), and I threw in an extra 1/2 cup of pecans to totally through caution to the wind. Oh my... it was rich, and dark, and only vaguely sweet, and oh I wish some had survived the dinner.
And then there was the next night.
The Dinner After, the Harvest Dinner, the Dinner Part Deux.
This is our chance (those of us who dare) to try some non-traditional recipes of Autumn. For this I made two pumpkin cheesecakes and a gingerbread pumpkin trifle. The cheesecakes are my traditional offering for this night's feast, but the trifle was something new I wanted to dabble in. I made it exactly as Gourmet describes, except I made less whipped cream as the garnish. It was perfect. The gingerbread is perfect, and the pumpkin mousse adds a lovely compliment. Plus, it's not a terribly sweet dessert.