I love the Holidays. We had a great, yet quiet, Thanksgiving this year. I cooked the whole dinner myself but spread it over 3 days so that I could actually finish. It turned out delicious so I was very pleased. I knew that making 12 dishes alone, there would be a few disasters along the way. I couldn’t expect everything to be perfect! A few things I learned about my Holiday cooking experience:
- Growing up as a kid and even in college, you don’t appreciate the fact that your mom (or Dad or whoever) just prepared a 12 dish meal for you. You think it’s good. You eat it. You might say thanks, but you don’t get it until you do it yourself. I challenge you all- go cook a 12 dish (or even a 6 dish) Thanksgiving dinner and you will have a whole new appreciation for the meal.
- Brining the turkey is the way to go. This was my best turkey ever. So moist and flavorful, a nice tang from the herbs and cider vinegar brine. It was delicious.
- This might be the last year I make the green bean casserole. I tried a new recipe with mushrooms and onions and it was still just ok.
- I make the same sweet potato casserole year after year because it.is.so.good. I will never not make this particular recipe.
- I overmixed my pie crust dough in the food processor. You are supposed to “pulse” the mixture and I spun it to death. It was kind of an accident. The result- tough pie crust as opposed to flakey ones. Oh well, lesson learned.
- I need to find a new gravy recipe. Made turkey stock the day before to make the homemade gravy. It was just ok.
- Pecan and pumpkin pies are a must at my Thanksgiving table. Just thought you should know.
So now that Thanksgiving is over, we quickly prepare for Christmas! I am already thinking about food, gifts, decorations. Our tree will go up this evening and shopping will be done online soon because the lack of stores in our neck of the woods calls for 100% ordering online. I will miss the big mall holiday shopping scene but that’s life!
Since I can’t let you leave without a recipe, I am going to share this fig jam I made a couple months ago. I picked up these beautiful figs from Whole Foods in St. Louis and immediately knew I wanted to make jam. I am not into canning and all that, so made is similar to how I would make cranberry sauce and it turned out great. We ate it for days with delicious crusty bread and also on peanut butter sandwiches. SO good. If you see figs, give it a try. It is an easy non-canning version. YUM! P.S. It would be perfect for the Holidays served on crostini over a soft cheese. By the way, these beauties are Black Mission figs.
Figs are full of anti-oxidants (look at that beautiful purple skin) and are high in fiber and potassium. For the most antioxidants, choose fully ripened figs!
We also bought this fresh cranberry nut bread from Whole Foods which was ridiculously good. A fresh loaf of bread and homemade jam would make a great little gift for a neighbor, coworker or teacher. If fresh figs are no longer available you could always make another fruit-based jam.
Mmm….fresh bread, homemade jam. The touch of cinnamon really comes through.
Easy Cinnamon Fig Jam
~1 lb figs (15-16), stems removed, cut into wedges
1/2 cup water
2/3 cup sugar
zest of 1/2 lemon
juice of one small lemon
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of salt
1. In a large saucepan, bring combine water & sugar. Bring to a boil until sugar is dissolved. Add figs, lemon zest, and lemon juice, cinnamon and salt. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook for about 1 hour, stirring often.
2. Store in small canning jars or air tight container in refrigerator for up to 2-3 weeks.
COOK’S NOTES: My figs were super sweet. If yours aren’t, you can add a little more sugar.