Thanksgiving 2013 Snapshots

Oh how we feasted last week. I’m such a horrible blogger, I should be posting these recipes BEFORE Thanksgiving, not after the whole festivity. I figured a lot of these dishes can be made any time during the year, especially with Christmas holidays coming up.

My mom roasts two super moist and flavorful turkey every year. Good old Butterball turkey, rub some herb butter under the skin, and rub seasoning and oil all over the turkey. Stuff some aromatics in the cavity, tie the legs and roast with 2 cups of broth in the pan, replenish the broth during the roasting process. The broth method will prevent burning on the bottom of the pan, and the steam helps to speed up the cooking process. Plus the remaining broth makes a darn good gravy.

Simple potato salad in butter lettuce cups. My mom loves to add crisp apples to the salad, top with a drizzle of Kewpie mayo and some nuts for crunch.
A delicious crispy potato and yam roast, I added a few splashes of cream, and topped with pancetta and thyme. Definitely not a healthy dish and takes a long time to bake, but a very delicious and hearty (and gorgeous!) dish for special occasions.


Crispy Potato and Yam Roast

adapted from Martha Stewart and Joyously Domestic


  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 lb russet potatoes, peeled
  • 1-2 medium sized yam, peeled
  • Kosher salt
  • 4 shallots, peeled and sliced very thin
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 4 – 6 fresh thyme sprigs
  • ~4 Tbsp of heavy cream (optional)
  • About 3 ounces pancetta, cubed


  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a small bowl, combine butter and oil. Brush bottom of a round 9-inch baking dish with some butter mixture. With a sharp knife or mandoline, slice potatoes, yam, and shallots very thinly crosswise.
  • Arrange potato slices vertically in dish. Wedge shallots throughout. Sprinkle with salt and red-pepper flakes (if using); brush with remaining butter mixture. Bake 1 hour and 15 minutes uncovered. If you find at anytime throughout baking that the potatoes are too dry, a little of the olive oil/butter from the bottom of the baking dish can be brushed on the slices. Also, a butter knife can be used to separate some of the slices if there are some sticking together too much.
  • While potatoes are baking, brown the pancetta in a small pan. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel. Set aside.
  • Remove potatoes from oven. Add pancetta by scattering around throughout the potatoes. Drizzle the heavy cream on top of the potato, lay the thyme sprigs on top of potatoes.
  • Bake for an additional 35 minutes. After taking it out of the oven, immediately sprinkle on a little more salt.  Serve immediately.  Sour cream is a great accompaniment to the potatoes.


My go to stuffing/dressing recipe, very simple to make and pack with lots of flavors. Sweetness from cornbread, and savory and spiciness from the sausage. It’s a perfect recipe to add in those giblets too. This year instead of using all cornbread, I used equal amount of rustic Ciabatta and cornbread. I also added jalapeno slices to the cornbread, which can be made days prior.

Sausage Cornbread Stuffing


  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, small dice
  • 3 ribs celery, small dice
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 pound spicy sausage, casing removed, broken into bite-size chunks
  • giblets, diced into bite-size chunks
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed and finely diced
  • 3/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
  • 10 sage leaves, finely chopped
  • 3 sprigs rosemary, leaves finely chopped
  • 10 cups stale cornbread, cut into 1-inch cubes (I used 5 cups Ciabatta and 5 cups jalapeno cornbread this year)
  • 2 cups dried cranberries
  • 3 to 4 cups chicken stock


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Coat a large saute pan with olive oil, add the onions and celery and saute over to medium heat. Season with salt and cook until the vegetables start to become soft and are very aromatic. Add the sausage and giblets and cook until the sausage begins to brown. Stir in the garlic and saute for another 1 to 2 minutes. Add the walnuts, sage and rosemary and cook for another minute, then remove from heat.
  • In a large bowl mix together the cornbread, cranberries, and the sausage mixture. Add chicken stock and knead with your hands until the bread is very moist, actually wet. Taste to check for seasoning and season with salt, if needed and transfer to an ovenproof dish.
  • Bake the stuffing until it is hot all the way through and is crusty on top, about 30 to 35 minutes.


Bake Salmon, another favorites at our household, and easily done in a small toaster oven.

Saute garlic, mushroom, shallots, and bacon together.

Place salmon on greased foil or parchment paper, topped with mushroom mixture, drizzle with Kewpie mayo. Broil or use the toast setting for 15 minutes. Seal the foil/parchment paper after baking so that the salmon will continue to cook. Before serving, a quick splash of light soy sauce.


Stuffed mushrooms!


Cheesy pull-apart bread. So good and should be served piping hot. The perfect appetizer for your guests to snack on while waiting for all the food to finish cooking. This pull apart bread craze was all over Pinterest and I was very excited to make it for Thanksgiving. Again, not a healthy recipe but hey, once in a while a girl’s gotta indulge.


I lined the serving plate with Italian Speck ham, the saltiness goes very well with the cheesy garlic bread.

Stuffed Cheesy Pull-Apart Bread

Adapted from Food Wanderings in Asia


  • 1 Italian loaf, about 12 inches long
  • 1 stick butter, melted (less if you feel REALLY guilty)
  • 1/8 cup olive oil
  • 3 tsp minced onion
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, grated
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 3 tsp chopped scallion (add more if you wish)
  • 12 oz grated cheese (I used a mix of yellow sharp cheddar and Italian blend)
  • Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  • Mix the melted butter, olive oil, onion, garlic, and dijon mustard in a bowl.
  • Cut the bread into cubes with X slices without cutting all the way through the bottom crust.
  • Pour the butter-onion garlic mixture carefully into those X cracks using a small spoon and over the top of the bread. Fill those delicious cracks with the grated cheese and scallion. (It seems like a lot of work and trouble but it’s all worth it. Yes.)
  • Wrap the entire loaf with foil, sealing the sides properly and bake for 15-20 minutes. Remove from the oven and unwrap. Bake for another 10 minutes until the cheese is melted and gooey.



Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Garlic Aioli

recipe adapted from Costa Kitchen

The simple way of roasting really transforms this notorious vegetable into some delicious and addictive eats, even without the aioli! And the addition of pancetta definitely doesn’t hurt.


Brussel Sprouts

  • 20 Brussel Sprouts cut into wedges
  • Canola Oil
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 2 oz of pancetta, diced (optional)
  • 1 shallot, sliced thin


  • 6 tbs mayonnaise
  • 1/4 tsp garlic minced fine
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbs flat leaf parsley chopped fine

For Brussel Sprouts:

  • Place brussel sprouts, shallots, and pancetta on a baking sheet and drizzle with canola oil. Crack some fresh salt & pepper to taste. Mix around brussel sprouts on pan to ensure they all get nicely coated in the oil. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes or until golden brown on at least one side.

For Aioli:

  • Mix together mayonnaise, garlic, parsley and lemon juice. Serve in a ramekin.


My mom made this amazing pumpkin trifle last year, this year she made it even more awesome by adding a layer of eggnog custard. The trifle has layers of fresh fruit, ladyfingers, chiffon cake, pumpkin custard, and eggnog custard. Topped with some fresh blueberries, chocolate dipped strawberries, and a brigade of gingerbread man.


thanksgiving_apple maple tart

I saw this dessert on Pinterest (can you tell that I am ALWAYS surfing on Pinterest?) and couldn’t get it out of my head. It’s so stunning and the flavor combo sounded fantastic. I am pretty obsessed with rosettes and roses decoration so this became our second Thanksgiving dessert.

Due to allergies, instead of walnut, I used almond flour. The crust was so nutty and crumbly, looooved the taste with the maple custard. The tart tasted even better after one night in the fridge.


It was a tiny bit time consuming, but was so much fun to make. Once I got a few slices going, the rest was a piece of cake.


Apple Almond Tart with Maple Custard

Recipe from Baking A Moment
with modification of using almond instead of walnut
For the Crust:
  • 2.5 cups of almond meal
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 egg white
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
For the Custard:
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ½ cup milk (I used 2%)
  • ½ cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 apples (I used Macoun), quartered, cored, and thinly sliced with mandolin. Keep in lemon water until ready to use
  • juice of a lemon
  • ¼ cup apricot jam, warmed (optional)
Make the Crust:
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  • With a fork, tossing together almond meal, sugar, butter, egg white, and salt. Press the mixture evenly over the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom.
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.
Make the Custard:
  1. In a medium pot, whisk the cornstarch and salt together.
  2. Slowly pour in the cream, milk, maple syrup, and vanilla, whisking, to avoid lumps.
  3. Place the pot over medium heat, and bring to a bare simmer. Turn the heat down to low.
  4. Crack the eggs into a small bowl, and ladle about a half cup of the hot cream mixture over the eggs, whisking to combine. Repeat with more hot cream, until the eggs are warmed.
  5. Pour the egg mixture into the pot with the remaining cream mixture, whisking vigorously.
  6. Continue to cook, whisking, until the mixture is hot and thickened (it should coat the back of a spoon).
  7. Pour the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer, into a heat-safe vessel, and press cling wrap over the surface so that a skin will not form. Refrigerate until cooled.
Assemble the Tart:
  1. Spread the maple custard in the tart shell.
  2. Warm the apple slices in the microwave until pliable. (35 seconds worked for me.) If there is a lot of liquid, briefly pat dry the apple slices with a paper towel before rolling them into roses.
  3. Roll a slice of apple into a tight spiral and stand it up vertically in the custard. Continue to arrange apple slices in a concentric pattern, around the first one, building a rose pattern.
  4. Warm the apricot jam, and thin it with lemon juice. Brush this glaze over the apples, for shine and to prevent browning (optional).


Hope everyone had a great long weekend and got to enjoy some great food and quality family and friends time. I’d love to hear about your Thanksgiving eats!

PS, here are pictures from last years’ Thanksgiving feast.

Cin Cin!



One thought on “Thanksgiving 2013 Snapshots

  1. Oh my goodness, what a feast! Your photos are gorgeous and I so want to eat at your house next year… your apple tart is just perfection, bravo! Thank you so much for linking to my blog and congratulations on a beautiful post 😀

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