Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Spatchcock: Get In My Belly!

As I mentioned before, I had to work for Thanksgiving, and since it is also one of the most traveled days of the year, we decided it would be safer to stay in Dallas. 
But Carrie and Ryan didn't want us to spend the holiday alone, so they invited us over to have a celebration at the White House. We spent Wednesday night putting finishing touches on a few dishes and sipping on Poinsettias, a holiday drink I heard about consisting of Cranberry Juice and Champagne. 
Really, I think Carrie just wanted to take advantage of our cooking skills. I was making a full spread regardless, and Patrick decided to smoke the turkey this year even though the apron I made him last year says "Real Men FRY Turkey". He spatchcocked it, due to timing, which turned into an ongoing joke for the entire night.
Help was abundant and so was laughing. 
There was some worry, however, when us girls came into the kitchen and saw all the men standing over the turkey scratching their heads (and probably their butts) over what to do with it since it's temperature was rising faster then expected. And things got touchy when Carrie offered to go buy a new one. Never doubt a man's ability to smoke meat. Never.
Some nipple chaffing and hard work later, and he was down to just an apron and scaring the neighbors outside. And by 6am, Patrick was finally finished with his delicious share of the cooking and vowed to never smoke a turkey again. 
On Turkey Day morning we made a "hotel breakfast" for the boys, set the table with fine china, and waited for the crowd to arrive. 
For future reference, it's best to take pictures before feasting......or wear baggier clothes.....this was me sucking in as much as the food in my belly would allow while still managing a smile!!!
Everything was delicious, but my favorite thing was this Pumpkin Cheesecake with Candied Pecans that I made with the assistance of some little helpers!
The recipe (Part Paula Dean; part from who knows where): 


1 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs (I mash my own or use the food processer)
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 stick melted salted butter

1 (8 ounces) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1 (15 ounces) can pureed pumpkin
3 eggs plus 1 egg yolk
1/4 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
2 tablespoon all purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups (16 ounces) Sour Cream
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 

For Crust:
In medium bowl, combine crumbs, sugar and cinnamon. Add melted butter. Press down flat into a 9-inch spring-form pan. Set aside. 

For Filling:
Beat cream cheese, pumpkin puree, eggs, egg yolk, sour cream, sugar and spices until smooth. Add flour and vanilla. Beat until combined. Pour into crust. Spread out evenly and place in oven for 55 minutes (or until cheesecake is almost ready, may still be slightly jiggly). Do not open oven while cheesecake is cooking!!!

For Topping:
After the allotted cooking time, remove cheesecake from oven, cover with topping, then place back in oven for 5 minutes. (Total cheesecake cooking time approximately 60 minutes.)

Cover with homemade (or store bought, if you're lazy) candied pecans and refrigerate for 4 hours. 

What's your favorite Thanksgiving dessert?


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