Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving with Contest and Recipe

Hello Chickens!  I hope that you are all gearing up for a very happy day of celebration.  If any of you are still in any way panicked about the big day, and in need of assistance, I turn your attention to last year's post which may be helpful...  A Polymath Thanksgiving Primer

This year, instead of a traditional Thanksgiving recipe, I wanted to share one that was inspired by my godmother Susan and Charming Suitor.  She is the queen of chocolate, and the darker the better.  He is the king of all pudding. Susan doesn't want any nuts or fruits or flotsam and jetsam to mar perfect chocolatey goodness, and CS will eschew all manner of cakes, pies, and other baked sweets if he can just have pudding. 

CS and I were having a couple of pals over for Monday night dinner, and I needed a dessert that was quick and easy.  I had spotted a Jean-Georges recipe for a dark chocolate pudding a week or so back, and I thought it would be the perfect thing to play with.  A few little tweaks and we have a very grownup pudding that is dark enough to make Susan smile.  And a handy thing if you need a last minute dessert for your holiday:

Super Dark Chocolate Pudding for Susan and CS
adapted from Jean-Georges Vongrichten
½ c granulated sugar
½ c Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa powder (or the darkest cocoa powder you can find, Ghiradelli works too)
5 T cornstarch
Pinch salt
1 t instant espresso powder
1 qt half and half
3.5 oz dark chocolate, (85-90 % cacao) chopped
1 t vanilla

 Sift all dry ingredients together.  Whisk in the half and half and strain into a large saucepan, just to catch any possible lumps, because you want the smoothest pudding ever.  Cook over medium heat, whisking upretty constantly, until the pudding starts to bubble and thicken, about 4 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in chocolate and vanilla.  Whisk until chocolate is fully melted and incorporated.  Pour into a large bowl or into six ramekins and cover with plastic wrap, preferably with the wrap touching the top of the pudding so that a skin does not form.  Chill until set, about 4 hours for a single bowl, 2 hours for individual servings.  Serve with very lightly sweetened whipped cream, and maybe a couple little shortbread cookies on the side.

It's been a while since we had a giveaway, so I thought we would have a small one in honor of the holiday.

Share your best Thanksgiving tip or recipe in the comments section, and I will choose one at random to receive this fabulous Orka 11 inch Silicone Oven Mitt:

Blue OrkaPlus 11" Silicone Oven Mitt with Cotton lining
So, share with the class between now and 11:59PM on Sunday night, and I will announce the winner on Monday.

And seriously?  Make the pudding.  You can thank me later.

Wishing you all a wonderful holiday.  Know that I am always thankful for you.

Yours in Gratitude and Good Taste,
The Polymath


  1. I live for 85% chocolate and can't wait to try this. Anyway...my tip is to skip all the cooking. I didn't learn my lesson last year, but I'm pretty sure I will swear it off after this year. Hopefully my next go-round will be at a swanky restaurant since I'm lacking godparents.

  2. My favorite fall/Thanksgiving recipe has to be for pumpkin muffins. They are super easy and are Weight Watchers friendly (3 Points+ each) which is important to me.

    Makes 24 muffins

    1 box spice cake mix
    1 large can of pumpkin

    Mix well, bake for 45 minutes.

    I use this as an alternative to pumpkin pie. It's nice because it is super easy to make and portion controlled.

  3. The best advice I ever got Thanksgiving-wise is to brine the turkey! We started brining and never went back, the flavor difference was incredible.

  4. Last year I had a very small group (5 of us) for Thanksgiving. We all preferred dark meat, so I bought a package of turkey thighs and a package of turkey drumsticks instead of a whole turkey. They cooked much faster than a whole bird, plus there was more room in the oven for the side dishes. I may never roast a whole turkey again!

  5. My family is all about the carbs for sides -- rolls, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, and stuffing. To add a little green, I make a festive salad.

    - 1 bag romaine lettuce.
    - 1 bag spinach leaves
    - 1 medium apple
    - 1 medium pear
    - 1 cup cashews
    - 1/4 cup dried cranberries

    mix with homemade poppy seed dressing

    - 1/2 cup sugar
    - 1/3 cup apple cidar vinegar
    - 2 tsp. lemon juice
    - 2 tbsp. minced onion
    - 1/2 tsp. salt
    - 2/3 cup of EVOO
    - 2-3 tsp. of poppy seeds

    Blend or shake before adding to salad.

  6. My favorite tip for Thanksgiving, is the one you shared last year: "know your audience". I made many items from scratch this year, and all my family wanted was the stove top stuffing and crescent rolls!

  7. My favorite tip is using leftover mashed potatoes to make wonderfully tasty potato pancakes for breakfast this morning. I just threw the potatoes in a food processor with grated onion, garlic, parsley, one egg, 1T flour, and then fried them in a little oil. Delightful!

  8. The one Thanksgiving/Christmas dish I cannot be without, no matter if it's just me eating deli turkey from the market, is my mother's cranberry salad:

    1 bag cranberries, washed and picked over
    1 Granny Smith apple
    1 red apple
    1 cup pecans
    1 orange
    1 small box raspberry jello
    1 1/2 cups sugar
    1 1/2 cups water

    Zest the orange. Chop all the fruit and nuts in a grinder or food processor; peel and puree the orange sections. Combine in a bowl. Heat water and sugar to nearly boiling, or until sugar completely dissolves. Remove from heat and whisk in Jello. Pour over fruit and stir well. Let sit overnight in the fridge; remove and stir before serving.

  9. My favorite tip for Thanksgiving is to clean as you go. It helps if you have someone else doing the cleaning while you're cooking, but it makes it much more organized and less chaotic if you clean and put away dishes you've dirtied. And in my family, if you cook, you don't clean up afterwards! I really like that rule :)

  10. A nice break form green bean casserole...

    2 lb. fresh baby spinach
    1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
    1 medium onion, finely diced
    4 eggs, lightly beaten
    1 cup fresh ricotta
    ¼ grated parmesan cheese
    Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
    Oil/butter to grease the baking dish
    Grated cheese such as cheddar

    Preheat the oven to 375F. Wash the spinach and put in a very large pot with a few tablespoons of water, cover with a lid and let it steam, transfer to a colander and let it cool. Once the spinach is cool enough to handle, squeeze as much liquid as you can.

    Heat the olive oil in a pan over medium high heat and sauté the onion until soft and takes on a light color.

    In a large bowl, combine the spinach, eggs and cheeses, season with salt and pepper, transfer the mixture to a baking dish and top with the cheese. Bake until the cheese has melted and looks golden. Serve hot or at room temperature.

  11. This year I tried something a little different. I love sweet potatoes and all of their super-food goodness, but I want to eat them for dinner, not dessert! So I came up with this yummy, savory alternative.

    Sweet Potato Hash

    2 Medium sweet potatoes
    3 Portobello Mushroom caps
    2 Green (Granny Smith) Apples
    1/2 Cup Chicken Stock
    4 Tablespoons Butter
    Ground Ginger, salt, pepper and fresh parsley to taste.

    Microwave sweet potatoes for 2 minutes on high (to make them easier to chop!).
    Remove skin with vegetable peeler.
    Dice into 1/4 inch cubes and season with ginger, salt and pepper.
    In a (very) large pan, saute potatoes in chicken broth and 2 tablespoons of butter until bright orange, but not so far that the starches release.
    While potatoes are working, remove ribs from mushroom caps by scraping with a spoon and dice into 1/4 inch cubes.
    Peel apples with vegetable peeler and cut away from core. Dice into cubes.
    Add the mushrooms and apples to potatoes and gently combine.
    Add the remaining butter and saute until until apples are tender.
    Toss in fresh parsley and serve warm.