Tradition with a twist: A new take on Thanksgiving classics
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Buttermilk Cornish Hens with Lemon and Thyme
3 Cornish hens, 700 g (1-1/2 lb) each
1 L (4 cups) buttermilk
15 mL (1 tbsp) salt
3 lemons
45 mL (3 tbsp) butter, melted
kosher salt
freshly ground pepper
1 bunch fresh thyme
kitchen twine
Rinse Cornish hens under cool water, including the cavity. Pat dry with paper towels, set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together buttermilk, 15 mL salt, juice of 1 lemon and 10 sprigs of thyme. Place hens in bowl, breast-side down and cover with plastic wrap. Place in refrigerator. Let brine for at least 3 hours or overnight.
Heat oven to 425 Fahrenheit. Remove hens from brine and lightly pat dry with paper towels. Season cavities with salt and pepper and insert half a lemon and a sprig of thyme in each. Tie legs together with twine.
Brush hens with melted butter and season generously with salt and pepper. Place in a roasting pan.
Roast hens on middle rack of oven for about 1 hour, until skin is bronzed and internal temperature in thickest part of the thigh is about 165 Fahrenheit.

Roast Acorn Squash
3 acorn squash
olive oil
salt and pepper
Heat oven to 425 Fahrenheit.
Slice acorn squash in rings approximately 2-cm (3/4-inch) thick. Remove seeds. Place in a large bowl and add enough olive oil to coat the rings. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Place rings on a baking sheet and roast on top rack of oven for 15 minutes. Flip and cook for 15 minutes more, until golden brown and crispy.

Pan-Roasted Brussels Sprouts
450 g (1 lb) brussels sprouts, trimmed
125 mL (1/2 cup) butter
1 orange
60 mL (1/4 cup) slivered almonds
salt and pepper
Score an x on the bottom of each brussels sprout. Zest and juice the orange.
In a large sauté pan, melt butter over medium heat. Add brussels sprouts and roast until they start to crisp and brown. Add orange juice and cover, reduce to a simmer and cook until tender. Add zest and almonds, season with salt and pepper. Continue to cook over medium high heat, uncovered, until all liquid has evaporated.

Creamy Chicken Gravy
125 mL (1/2 cup) white wine
1 L (4 cups) low-sodium or homemade chicken stock
250 mL (1 cup) 35% cream
60 mL (1/4 cup) butter
15 mL (1 tbsp) fresh thyme
In a sauté pan over high heat, simmer wine until reduced by half. Add stock and reduce by half. Add cream and simmer until sauce is thick and coats the back of a spoon. Remove from heat and whisk in butter, 15 mL (1 tbsp) at a time. Add fresh thyme and serve.

Sausage & Cranberry Stuffing
3 L (12 cups) sourdough bread, cut into 2.5-cm (1-inch) cubes
3 onions, diced
3 stalks celery, diced
125 mL (1/2 cup), plus 60 mL (1/4 cup) butter
15 mL (1 tbsp) finely chopped fresh sage
30 mL (2 tbsp) fresh thyme
3-4 mild Italian or farmers sausage
125 mL (1/2 cup) dried cranberries
125 mL (1/2 cup) Martini Rosso or Grand Marnier
500 mL (2 cups) chicken stock
salt and pepper
Heat oven to 350 Fahrenheit. Butter a 22-by-33-cm (9-by-13-inch) baking dish.
Heat brandy in a small saucepan. When near boiling, remove from heat and add cranberries to soak.
In a large sauté pan, melt 125 mL (1/2 cup) butter and add vegetables. Sauté over medium heat till they start to caramelize. Add fresh herbs and sauté for 1 minute. Set aside.
Remove sausage meat from casing. Sauté over medium-high heat until cooked, about 6 minutes.
In a very large bowl, combine bread, vegetables, sausage and cranberries. Toss until evenly distributed. Add stock to moisten bread. Spoon into prepared dish.
Dice remaining 60 mL (1/4 cup) butter and sprinkle on top of stuffing.  Bake for 30 minutes.

Mascarpone Mashed Potatoes with Cracked Black Pepper
1.4 kg (3 lb) Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and quartered
375 mL (1-1/2 cups) mascarpone
olive oil
kosher salt
cracked black pepper
Place potatoes in a pot and cover with cold salted water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook until tender. Strain and return to pot.
Mash potatoes and add mascarpone. Mash together and loosen with olive oil until you reach desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper
Spoon into a serving dish and garnish with coarse-cracked black pepper and a drizzle of high-quality extra virgin olive oil.

Mulled Cranberry Sauce
250 mL (1 cup) apple cider
175 mL (3/4 cup) sugar
4 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
2 sticks cinnamon
3 whole star anise
10 cloves
5 peppercorns
Place all spices in the cheesecloth and make a sachet.
Put all ingredients (including sachet) in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 10 minutes, until berries have burst.
Cool to room temperature, then remove sachet. Store in a container in refrigerator until ready to serve.

Pumpkin Cheesecake with Poached Cranberries
375 mL (1-1/2 cups) crushed ginger cookies
60-75 mL (4-5 tbsp) unsalted butter, melted
zest of 1 orange

250 mL (1 cup) pumpkin purée
160 mL (2/3 cup) brown sugar
2 mL (1/2 tsp) ground cinnamon
1 mL (1/4 tsp ) ground ginger
1/2 mL (1/8 tsp) ground cloves
1/2 mL (1/8 tsp) ground nutmeg
pinch cardamom
1 mL (1/4 tsp) salt
2 225-g (8-oz) packages full fat cream cheese, at room temperature
3 large eggs, at room temperature
5 mL (1 tsp) pure vanilla extract

Place rack in centre of oven. Heat to 350 Fahrenheit. Butter a 20-cm (8-inch) springform pan.
In a medium-sized bowl, combine cookies, zest and melted butter. Press mixture into springform pan. Bake 8-10 minutes or until set. Let cool.
In a separate bowl, stir to combine sugar, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, cardamom and salt.
Using a stand or hand mixer at low speed, beat cream cheese until smooth. Add sugar and spices, beat until creamy and smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down sides of bowl and beat in vanilla extract and pumpkin purée.
Pour filling over crust and place pan on a baking sheet to catch any drips. Place a cake pan, filled halfway with hot water, on bottom shelf of your oven to moisten the air.
Bake the cheesecake for 30 minutes and then reduce the oven temperature to 325 Fahrenheit and continue to bake cheesecake for another 10-20 minutes, until edges are puffed but centre is still a little wet and jiggles when you gently shake pan.
Once cheesecake has completely cooled, cover and refrigerate overnight. This allows the cake to set and flavours to meld and produces a creamier texture.
poached cranberries
375 mL (1-1/2 cups) cranberries, fresh or frozen
125 mL (1/2 cup) sugar
125 mL (1/2 cup) water
1 stick cinnamon
pinch of salt
Cook 250 mL (1 cup) cranberries, sugar, salt, water and cinnamon in a small saucepan over medium heat, until berries burst and colour the syrup, about 10 minutes.
Strain syrup and discard burst cranberries. Place syrup in a clean pot and bring to boil. Reduce to low heat and poach remaining berries until tender but still whole, about 4 minutes.
Cool to room temperature and serve with pumpkin cheesecake.

Pear Crisp and Vanilla Ice Cream with Spiced Brown Sugar Ripple
4 large pears
15 mL (1 tbsp) all-purpose flour
250 mL (1 cup) rolled oats
125 mL (1/2 cup) brown sugar
125 mL (1/2 cup )all-purpose or whole-wheat flour
2 mL (1/2 tsp) ground ginger
big pinch of cinnamon
1 mL (1/4 tsp) salt
60 mL (1/4 cup) pecans, chopped
80 mL (1/3 cup) butter, at room temperature
Heat oven to 350 Fahrenheit.
Core and slice pears into 1-cm (1/2-inch)slices. Spread out in a 22-cm (9-inch) pie plate.
In a bowl, stir together oats, sugar, flour, ginger, cinnamon salt and pecans until evenly mixed. Using a fork or your hands, work in the butter until crumbly. Scatter over pears. Bake in centre of oven until pears are tender, about 45 minutes.
Vanilla ice cream with
spiced brown sugar ripple
250 mL (1 cup) whole milk
180 mL (3/4 cup) sugar
500 mL (2 cups) 35% cream, divided
pinch of salt
1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise
6 egg yolks
3 mL (3/4 tsp) vanilla extract

60 mL (1/4 cup) brown sugar
15 mL (1 tbsp) butter
2 mL (1/2 tsp) cinnamon
1/2 mL (1/8 tsp) cardamom
15 mL (1 tbsp) water
Warm milk, sugar, 250 mL (1 cup) cream and salt in a medium saucepan over low heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Scrape seeds from vanilla bean into milk mixture and add pod as well. Cover, remove from heat and let steep for 30 minutes.
Place a fine mesh sieve over a large bowl containing remaining cream and set aside.
Whisk egg yolks in a medium bowl. Slowly pour warmed milk mixture into egg yolks, whisking constantly. Scrape mixture back into saucepan.
Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula, until mixture thickens and coats the back of the spatula, a few minutes. The mixture should register 170-175 Fahrenheit on an instant-read digital thermometer.
Pour custard through the sieve and stir it into reserved cream. Add vanilla bean to custard, stir in vanilla extract, and place bowl over an ice bath. Stir occasionally, until mixture is cool.
While custard is cooling, heat brown sugar, butter, cinnamon, cardamom and water in a small pot over medium heat. Cook until butter and sugar melt, about 2 minutes. Refrigerate.
Cover and transfer custard to refrigerator, cooling until completely chilled, at least 8 hours.
Remove vanilla bean from custard and freeze mixture in your ice cream maker, according to the manufacturer's instructions.
Scoop into a freezer safe container, layering in the cinnamon ripple as you go. Swirl with a dinner knife when finished. Place in the freezer until set and you are ready to serve.


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