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Holiday Recipes as Shared by Lunchers

  • Dec 23, 2011
  • by
If you're looking for some new recipes to spice up your dinner parties this holiday season, check out these festive recipes as shared by Lunchers!  From mashed sweet potatoes to ginger apple crumb pie, we've got you covered ;)
A turkey is what really makes a holiday meal and there are so many ways to prepare them, including frying and baking, but @ suggests to "smoke 'em if you've got 'em".  He says "The meat falls right off of the bone and the smoked flavor rules", and who can argue with that?!

Here's a recipe from Alton Brown for Honey Brined Smoked Turkey:

1 gallon hot water
1 pound kosher salt
2 quarts vegetable broth
1 pound honey
1 (7-pound) bag of ice
1 (15 to 20-pound) turkey, with giblets removed
Vegetable oil, for rubbing turkey

Combine the hot water and the salt in a 54-quart cooler. Stir until the salt dissolves. Stir in the vegetable broth and the honey. Add the ice and stir. Place the turkey in the brine, breast side up, and cover with cooler lid.. Brine overnight, up to 12 hours.

Remove the turkey from the brine and dry thoroughly. Rub the bird thoroughly with the vegetable oil.

Heat the grill to 400 degrees F.

Using a double thickness of heavy-duty aluminum foil, build a smoke bomb. Place a cup of hickory wood chips in the center of the foil and gather up the edges, making a small pouch. Leave the pouch open at the top. Set this directly on the charcoal or on the metal bar over the gas flame. Set the turkey over indirect heat, insert a probe thermometer into the thickest part of the breast meat, and set the alarm for 160 degrees F. Close the lid and cook for 1 hour.

After 1 hour check the bird; if the skin is golden brown, cover with aluminum foil and continue cooking. Also, after 1 hour, replace wood chips with second cup.

Once the bird reaches 160 degrees F, remove from grill, cover with aluminum foil, and allow to rest for 1 hour. Carve and serve.
To go with that turkey?  Stuffing.  @ shares her family's favorite stuffing recipe with an Italian twist -- Italian sausage.  She says that this "stuffing gives a great texture to the standard bread-y chunks".

2 loaves Italian bread (2 pounds), crusts removed and cut into 3/4-inch cubes   (20 cups)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 pounds sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
2 large onions—1 finely chopped, 1 quartered
1 large celery rib, finely diced
3 large garlic cloves, very finely chopped
1/4 cup finely chopped sage leaves
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 cups turkey stock or low-sodium chicken broth
Salt and freshly ground pepper
One 18- to 20-pound turkey, rinsed
2 carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
3 cups water
1/4 cup all-purpose flour

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°. Spread the bread cubes in a large roasting pan and toast for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until dry and lightly browned.
  2. In a large, deep skillet, heat the oil. Add the sausage and cook over moderately high heat, breaking up the meat, until browned and no trace of pink remains, 10 to 12 minutes. Add the chopped onion, celery and garlic and cook until softened, about 6 minutes. Stir in the sage and butter. Scrape the mixture into a large bowl. Add the bread cubes and toss. Stir in 2 cups of the stock and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Increase the oven temperature to 450° and position a rack in the bottom of the oven. Set the turkey in the large roasting pan fitted with a shallow rack. Spoon 5 cups of the stuffing into the cavity and tie the legs together with kitchen string. Spoon the remaining stuffing into a shallow 2 1/2-quart baking dish. Scatter the quartered onion and the carrots around the turkey and add 1 cup of the turkey stock. Roast the turkey for 30 minutes. Lower the oven temperature to 375°. Roast the turkey for 3 hours longer, covering it loosely with foil as the skin browns and adding 1 cup of water every 45 minutes to prevent the pan from scorching. The turkey is done when an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the inner thigh registers 175°. Transfer the turkey to a large cutting board and let it rest for 30 minutes.
  4. Drizzle 1 cup of the stock over the remaining stuffing in the baking dish. Bake for 30 minutes, until the stuffing is heated through and crisp on top.
  5. Meanwhile, pour the pan juices into a heatproof measuring cup. Spoon off the fat. In a small bowl, whisk 1/2 cup of the stock with the flour. Place the roasting pan over 2 burners on high heat. Add the remaining 1 1/2 cups of stock and cook, scraping up any browned bits stuck to the bottom and sides of the roasting pan. Pour in the reserved pan juices, then carefully strain the liquid into a medium saucepan. Boil over high heat until reduced to 4 cups, about 10 minutes. Whisk in the flour mixture and boil until thickened and no floury taste remains, about 5 minutes. Season the gravy with salt and pepper.
  6. Spoon the stuffing from the cavity into a bowl. Carve the turkey and serve the stuffing and gravy alongside.

Pumpkin Soup
For supper, @ shares an easy pumpkin soup recipe.  She says that it "can be adapted for any squash you have on hand or available in the store".  Hint: she also says that it's great with lots of black pepper or Tabasco sauce!

2 small pumpkins, or other type of squash (butternut, acorn, kabocha) about two lbs each
1 can coconut milk
1 - 3 teaspoons Thai curry paste, red is best
salt and pepper 
vegetable broth

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Half or quarter the pumpkin, spread on butter, salt and pepper. Place on baking sheet in the center of the oven and roast for 1 hour.
Wait till the pumpkin cools down, then scoop insides into large soup pot. Add coconut milk and curry paste, simmer for 5 minutes. If you have, use a hand blender to puree soup, if not, transfer to blender. Add a half a cup of broth at a time until soup is the consistency you desire. When done, return to stove and bring up to a simmer again, season with salt and pepper, and add more curry paste if desired.
Mash Sweet Potatoes
This is my personal favorite side dish.  I love it so much that I took the time to perfect my own recipe that I shared below.  It's super easy to make and will literally melt in your mouth.  My favorite sweet potato to use lately are the Japanese Satsuma variety.

Main ingredients:
  • 5 large sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 stick of unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 bananas, sliced
  • 2 juiced oranges, or 1/2 cup of orange juice

Optional seasonings (I use 'em all!):
  • 1 of these sweeteners: 1/2 cup of either brown sugar, maple syrup or honey
  • Dash of bourbon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp minced ginger
  • 1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • Orange zest
  • Pinch of salt

Optional toppings:
  • Chopped nuts, like walnuts and pecans
  • Dried cranberries
  • Raisins
  • Melted or baked on marshmallow (check out this marshmallow recipe I posted)
  • Whatever you have around the house that you think would be good for this :P

Directions: Boil the sweet potatoes until tender, then drain and reserve.  Melt butter in a pot and add in your sliced bananas.  Cook for a few minutes until the bananas are mushy, then add the orange juice.  The moment you get that boiling would be a good time to add one of the sweeteners if you please.  Toss in the reserved sweet potatoes and mash everything together, then stir in all the seasonings to taste and top with your toppings of choice.
See the full review, "An Easy-to-Make Melt-in-Your-Mouth Side Dish".
@ writes that "cranberries makes a nice complement to any holiday feast" and they really do!  Here, she shares a recipe for cranberry sauce AND cranberry relish!  One thing that that I discovered recently: cranberry really good on vanilla ice cream.

Cranberry Sauce
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 bag (12 oz normally) cranberries
1 cinnamon stick
1 orange peel

Combine water and sugar in a pot, bring to boil; add cranberries, orange peel and cinnamon stick. Return to boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cool completely at room temperature; remove orange peel and cinnamon stick. Refrigerate until time to serve.

Cranberry Relish
1 bag (12 oz normally) cranberries
1 cup sugar
1 orange, peeled and chopped up
Add half cranberries, half the orange, and half a cup of sugar into a food processor, until evenly chopped and smooth. Put in bowl. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Mix in bowl and refrigerate.

Nesselrode Pie
For dessert, @ shares a recipe for Nesserode pie, calling it "a long forgotten holiday classic", so if you really want to surprise your loved ones, check out this recipe that's pretty much delicious cream in a pie shell!

  • 1   envelope unflavored gelatin      
  • 3   tablespoons dark rum      
  • 1   tablespoon water      
  • 1 1/2   cups heavy cream      
  • 1/2  cup milk          
  • Pinch of salt      
  • 2   tablespoons sugar 
  • 2   eggs, separated      
  • 1/4   cup sugar      
  • 1   10-ounce jar Raffetto's "Nesselro" fruits, well-drained    
  • 1   baked deep 9" pie shell      
  • 1   ounce semi-sweet chocolate, optional for decorating 

  1. Sprinkle gelatin on rum and water and let stand until softened.
  2. Scald cream and milk together.
  3. In a medium bowl, with a wooden spoon, mix salt and 2 tablespoons sugar into yolks. Add scalded cream slowly to yolks, stirring constantly. Pour into the top of a double boiler, over simmering water, and cook until thickened, stirring frequently. Do not boil.
  4. Stir in gelatin and chill until almost set.
  5. Beat egg whites until they hold peaks, then add 1/4 cup sugar, while continuing to beat until stiff.
  6. Fold beaten whites into cream mixture along with nesselrode fruits. Chill 5 minutes. Stir and turn into pie shell. Decorate with shaved chocolate, if desired.

Note: Place nesselrode fruits in a strainer over a bowl to drain thoroughly. Syrup may be saved for another use -- for instance, to sweeten a rice pudding, to blend with rum and soda for a tall drink

Pistachio Pound Cake
Another great, and not to mention simple, recipe from @ -- pistachio pound cake!  He describes it as "festive looking, moist and delicious.....and a snap to make", and with these simple ingredients and directions, to looks way too easy not to try!

1 pkg yellow cake mix
1 pkg Pistachio instant pudding
4 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup jimmies
1 cup chopped walnuts   (optional)

Blend all ingredients except jimmies and walnuts.  This is a very thick batter!  Beat at medium speed for 5 minutes.  Fold in walnuts and jimmies.  Pour into well greased bundt pan.  
Bake at 350 for 40-45 minutes.  
Close-up of one sweet potato pie
This sweet pie recipe was shared by @ and loved by all those who tried it.  With such simple ingredients and directions, it looks like another dessert recipe definitely worth trying!

2 pie crust shells
2 sweet potatoes
2 cups sugar
¼ lb. butter
2 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. nutmeg
½ cup milk
4 eggs

  1. Cook sweet potatoes in boiling water for approximately 1 hour (until soft through-and-through as tested using a skewer)
  2. Peel sweet potatoes and mash them together with the butter
  3. Mix in the sugar and spices
  4. Beat eggs and milk together in a separate bowl, then slowly add mixture to the potatoes (I recommend combining the ingredients by hand rather than using a mixer)
  5. Pour potatoes into 2 pie crust shells
  6. Bake on 425º for 15 minutes
  7. Bake on 350º for 45 minutes or until firm (use skewer in middle of pie to test that it comes out clean)
  8. Cool until room temperature and then serve with whipped cream

Gingery Apple Crumb Pie
If you want a new twist on a classic, check out the recipe that @ shared for gingery apple crumb pie.  Apple with ginger?  Trust me, it works.  And it's even better with a slice of cheddar cheese melted on top!

  • 1 9" pie crust
  • 1/2 cup cup cold unsalted butter (1 stick), cut into small pieces
  • 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 1/2 pounds apples (about 5), peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

  1. Set an oven rack in the lowest position and heat oven to 375º F. Place the pie plate on a foil-lined baking sheet.
  2. In a food processor, pulse the butter, ¾ cup of the flour, and ¼ cup of the sugar until large clumps form. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate until ready to use.
  3. In a large bowl, toss the apples, ginger, cinnamon, salt, and the remaining ½ cup of sugar and tablespoon of flour.
  4. Transfer the apple mixture to the crust, sprinkle with the crumb topping, and bake until the top is golden and the apples are tender, 55 to 60 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Hot Toddy
Every one can appreciate a hot toddy on a cold winter night, so check out this classic hot toddy recipe that @ shared in her list of 10 drinks to keep you warm on a cold night.  One novel suggestion that she added -- adding hot tea in place of hot water!

1 oz brandy, whiskey or rum
1 Tbsp honey
1/4 lemon
1 cup hot water (or 1 tea bag)

  1. Coat the bottom of a mug or an Irish coffee glass with honey.
  2. Add the liquor and the juice of the lemon quarter.
  3. On the side, heat water in a tea kettle and add the tea bag to make hot tea.
  4. Pour the steaming tea into the glass and stir.
  5. **You can substitute tea for the hot water as well, most black and green teas mix well with the sweetness of honey and lemon.

What did you think of this list?

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December 26, 2011
Great list, D! Thanks for the recipe shout outs :)
December 27, 2011
Thanks for sharing the great recipes! :)
December 25, 2011
I like the brine preparation for the turkey. Great list !
December 25, 2011
Thanks, J!
December 26, 2011
You are very welcome, Devora.
December 24, 2011
Ok....I am hungry. Have to make a ham hock LOL!
December 25, 2011
Mmmmm, ham.....
About the list creator
devora ()
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When I'm not Lunching, I'm a jeweler, and an all around, self-proclaimed web geek. My passions include social media, the interweb, technology, writing, yoga, fitness, photography, jewelry, fashion, … more
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