Ready or not, tomorrow is Thanksgiving.
Before I write another word, I have an important message for you: Do NOT use the self-cleaning feature on your oven before Thanksgiving. Trust me on this one. Don’t use that self-cleaning feature, even if you’re having company, and you’re mortified to let anyone see the splattered condition of the inside of your oven.
I learned this years ago when I interviewed an appliance repairman who said that every holiday season he’s running around at full tilt fixing ovens that stopped working after the self-cleaning mechanism kicked in. The trouble is that the self-cleaning feature is super, super hot, and it sometimes it fries delicate circuits and kills the oven.
Wait until after your holiday meal is over, then try the self-cleaning mechanism. Better a splattered functioning oven than a spotless broken oven.
OK, that’s the end of my cautionary tale.
Back to Thanksgiving dinner. In my family, sister Shelly has picked up our all natural Diestel turkey at Tops Market (formerly Sunset) in Redding. She’s brining the bird, then letting it air-dry in the refrigerator before roasting. She’s also in charge of the green beans with bacon, sans almonds, because nephew Aaron is allergic to nuts.
She’s also the pumpkin pie girl.
Meanwhile, sister Bethany is in charge of the corn bread stuffing (or dressing, if you prefer), which I know has sausage, which is all I wanted to hear. Any ingredient after that is just a bonus. She’s bringing beverages galore, an array of cheeses for appetizers and See’s candy (it’s a tradtion) for dessert.
I’m making my cranberry orange relish with Grand Marnier, and friend Judy’s buttermilk yeast rolls. At Shelly’s request, I’ll make the same Pumpkin Cheesecake with Frangelico that I found in the 1985 Bon Appetit magazine. That means I’ve been making this recipe for nearly 30 years. OMG. Can I really be that old?
I still have some hazelnuts in my freezer that I brought back from my Terra Madre trip, so I can top the cheesecake with those nuts.
By the way, Frangelico – hazelnut liqueur – is one of those ingredients that you might not use very often, and it’s a bit expensive. So, for that reason, it’s perfectly OK, IMHO, to substitute another liquor, such as rum, oramaretto, or Kahlua.
While we get ready for Thanksgiving, many people are already thinking about holiday shopping. Fyi, Tops has a digital store, which allows us to stay in our pajamas, eat leftovers and shop online. I browsed and found a few things I wouldn’t mind finding under the tree this year, like the mini Cuisinart. And the children’s apron, perfect for my little sous chef, Austin.
Of course, you could take all the guess work out of choosing gifts for others, and just give gift cards. Works for me.
Either way, we’re down to the Thanksgiving wire. I wish you and yours a wonderful day surrounded by love and good food.
Pumpkin Cheesecake with Frangelico10 servings Gingersnap crust 24 gingersnaps 3 tablespoons sugar 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted Pumpkin filling 16 ounces cream cheese, room temperature 1 16-ounce can unsweetend solid pack pumpkin 5 eggs 3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar 1/2 cup Frangelico (hazelnut liqueur) 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1 teaspoon vanilla 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves Sour Cream Topping 16 ounces sour cream 1/4 cup sugar 1/4 Frangelico 10 whole hazelnuts
For crust: Grind gingersnaps and sugar in food processorto fine crumbs. With the machine running, add butter. Press mixture into the bottom of a 8-inch springform pan. Free for 15 minutes. (Can be prepared 3 days ahead.)
For filling: Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 400 degrees. Blend all ingredients in procesor until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides of the work bowl.
Pour the filling into crust-lined pan. Bake until edges of cake begin to pull away from the sides of the pan and cake begins to brown., about 45 minutes. Center will not be firm.
For topping: Whisk togethor sour cream, sugar and Frangelico.
Without removing cake from the oven, pour the topping evenly over the hot cake, starting at the edges. Spread evenly. Continue baking cake untill the edges begin to bubble, about 10 minutes. Cool on rack. Refrigerate at least 12 hours. (Can be prepared 2 days ahead.) L:ghtly press hazelnuts into the top edge of cake. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.
Source: November 1985 “Bon Appetit” magazine
This recipe sponsored by Tops Market in Weaverville and Redding.
Click here to order a sandwich online from the Weaverville Tops Market.
Independent online journalist Doni Chamberlain founded what’s now known as anewscafe.com in 2007 with her son, Joe Domke of the Czech Republic. Prior to 2007 Chamberlain was an award-winning newspaper opinion columnist, feature and food writer recognized by the Associated Press, the California Newspaper Publishers Association and E.W. Scripps. She lives in Redding, CA.