Thanksgiving Cocktail

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I have always loved Frangelico; it is a hazelnut liqueur that is traditionally served as an after-dinner digestivo. There is a legend that Frangelico was made by Friars in the Piedmont region of Italy where hazelnuts are abundant, it has a beautiful, nutty flavor profile.

Even if you’re hosting an intimate, family-only gathering, it’s a good idea to make a batch Thanksgiving cocktail. For one, you can make it ahead of time, and for another, everyone can fill their own glasses, leaving you more time to gather with your guests.

This recipe for the pumpkin monk is a palette pleaser. It’s not too sweet because of the citrus notes, and it has a lovely mouthfeel. It’s a delicious way to enjoy the flavors of the season.

Thanksgiving Cocktail: Pumpkin Monk
serves 16 (or 2 cocktails per person for 8!)

You will need:

– A large punch bowl
– 16 oz. Frangelico
– 16 oz. Appleton Reserve Rum
– 12 oz. lemon juice
– 8 oz. pumpkin spice syrup

To prepare:
Pour all ingredients into a large punch bowl and stir well. Serve over ice in a rocks glass or serve up in a coupe. Garnish with a cinnamon stick.

For the Pumpkin Spice Syrup
*
this makes 1 cup which is 16 servings

You will need:
– 4 teaspoons cinnamon
– 2 teaspoons ginger
– 1 teaspoon nutmeg
– 1 teaspoon allspice
– 1 cup water
– 1 cup sugar

To prepare:
Place in a pot, then bring to a boil and reduce about 10 minutes, set aside to cool.

Photo Credit: Dane Sponberg

xx Annette

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It’s never too late, rethink your guest list for Thanksgiving, Hanukkah and Christmas and New Year’s Eve

Happy African American family having fun while taking a selfie during Thanksgiving meal at home. Focus is on father and son.

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As Covid-19 cases spike during the winter months, I feel I must weigh in as an entertaining expert. It is my responsibility to share my opinion about entertaining in 2020 and early 2021. I am pleading with people to rethink your holiday gatherings and to please keep all the celebrations very small. Follow the CDC guidelines and keep everyone you love healthy and safe. Limit your gatherings to people living in your home, or in your quarantine bubble. Family gatherings look like they are number one in spreading Covid -19.

This is the year to use technology to gather around the table. I know we all want to be together, but this year will be an exception, and I urge you to reconsider large family gatherings. It will be different in the upcoming years, but we want everyone to be present and with the threat of spreading a deadly virus, it’s best to err on the safe side.

It’s never too late. If you’ve invited the whole family, opt to send a zoom invite. Zoom has suspended it’s time limit on meetings, so you can all see each other via your computer for the duration of the meal.

Over the last few months, I have been asked to contribute to holiday features on blogs and magazines with subjects like: “How to set your table for the Holidays”,  “Holiday Potluck Recipes” etc. But quite honestly the timing, in my opinion, is off.

I cannot stress enough that traditional gatherings is the not right message from entertaining experts this year. So I am taking a moment to tell you all that parties and entertaining will need to wait until it is safer and wiser to gather around the table. Some of you will say I don’t want to wait, so I encourage you to take your parties outdoors and wear masks.

Here are some great tips to host a larger gathering outdoors. If you want to take all the safety precautions, then here are some great tips for dining outdoors. Here’s an entertaining feature that I thought was timely and felt good about contributing to. If you are going to host a larger crowd outside, make sure you start planning now for all the safety precautions, so you’re well prepared to ensure the safety of everyone attending.

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This too shall pass, but let’s make sure we protect our families and friends. Please wear a mask, distance and wash your hands. God bless us all. May 2021 bring better times. Until then, let’s stay away from each other…at least until next year.

xx Annette

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Kumquat Cranberry Sauce

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A staple at our Thanksgiving table is cranberry sauce, but I always like to put my own twist on it. Cranberry sauce is a perfect complement to Thanksgiving turkey, but instead of opening a can, give this easy recipe a try instead. Even though the end product is luscious and luxurious, cranberry sauce can be whipped up in a matter of minutes, and this kumquat cranberry sauce is perfection.

Everyone will love the citrus flavors paired with the tart cranberries, and it will be the star of the meal. This cranberry sauce is especially good once the flavors come together which makes it perfect for leftovers. I like to serve mine from a jar; it gives it a wonderful homemade quality and is a pretty look for the table. Let me know if you give it a try and what everyone thinks!

Kumquat Cranberry Sauce
You will need:
– 2  cups water
– 1 cup sugar
– 12 kumquats cut into circle slices (cut the kumquat across to create pinwheel like slices)
– 1 tablespoon grated orange peel
– 1 teaspoon cinnamon
– 1 teaspoon minced peeled fresh ginger
– 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
– 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
– 1/2 teaspoon cloves
– 2 12-ounce bags fresh or frozen cranberries

 

To prepare:

Combine water, sugar, orange peel, kumquat slices and ginger in heavy medium saucepan. Bring mixture to simmer over medium heat. Simmer 4 minutes to blend flavors.

Add cinnamon, salt and clove and simmer 2 minutes. Add cranberries and simmer until berries burst and sauce is thick, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat.

Refrigerate cranberry sauce until well chilled. (Can be prepared 3 days ahead. Cover and keep refrigerated)

Photo by Stefania Crudeli on Unsplash

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THE BEST Thanksgiving stuffing:: Pear Walnut Crispy Bacon Stuffing

Turkey with Pear Walnut and Crispy Bacon Stuffing

Saying a recipe is the best is a bold statement, I know. But this stuffing really is a game changer. Give it a try and let me know what you think. And if you’re looking for more Thanksgiving inspiration, tis’ the season for my book Picture Perfect Parties. If you want to pull off an amazing holiday soiree, grab a copy!

Pear Walnut Crispy Bacon Stuffing
Serves 8-10

 

You will need:
– 5 slices of bacon
– 1 yellow onion chopped
– 2 stalks of celery chopped
– 3 cloves of garlic minced
– 1 cup toasted walnut halves
– 3 pears cored and cubed
– 4 tablespoons chopped fresh sage leaves
– 4 tablespoons chopped rosemary
– 3 links of Italian sausage, out of the casing and crumbled
– 1 loaf of country bread cubed
– 3 cups of turkey stock

To Prepare:

In a large sauté pan, cook bacon until crispy, drain, and set aside. Reserving about a ¼ cup of the bacon drippings in the pan (discard the rest) sauté the onion, garlic and celery in the bacon drippings, when translucent, add the sausage and sage and rosemary walnuts, pears remove from heat. In a large bowl place the bread cubes and the turkey stock, add the mixture from the sauté pan, and crumble the bacon into the bread bowl combine thoroughly.

Grease a casserole dish pour the stuffing into the dish. Set aside until ready to bake

*Bake for 30 minutes in a 350 degree oven, serve warm

 

Photo Credit: Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn

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Dessert for a Small Crowd:: Pumpkin Bundt Cake

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Since we will be entertaining for smaller crowds this season, your family. I suggest everyone get dressed up in their costumes and your family can celebrate safely at home. Originally I made this dessert for a photo shoot, about a fall party. It ran in Atlanta Magazine’s Home a couple years ago and it was a lovely family fall spread. The whole party may be worth recreating instead of trick or treating this year. Please be creative and stay home, enjoy your family and stay safe.

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This layered pumpkin bundt cake is one of my favorite fall recipes. Add it to your menu for this weekend. You won’t be disappointed you did!

Layered Pumpkin Bundt Cake
Serves 12

For the cake, you will need: 

– 3 cups all-purpose flour
– 2 teaspoons baking powder
– 1 teaspoon baking soda
– 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
– 2 teaspoons ground ginger
– 1 3/4 teaspoons ground allspice
– 1 teaspoon salt
– 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
– 1 1/2 cups sugar
– 1 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
– 1 cup canola oil
– 4 large eggs
– 1 15-ounce can pure pumpkin
– 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
– 1 tablespoon grated orange peel

Note: 2 fluted bundt pans.

To prepare the cake:

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Butter two 9-inch-diameter bundt pans; Butter and dust pans with flour. Sift 3 cups flour and next 7 ingredients into medium bowl. In the bowl of a standing mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, beat both sugars and oil until combined (mixture will look grainy). Add eggs 1 at a time, beating until well blended after each addition. Add pumpkin, vanilla, and orange peel; beat until well blended. Add flour mixture; beat just until incorporatedDivide batter between prepared pans. Smooth tops.

Bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 1 hour. Cool cakes completely in pans on rack. Run knife around cakes to loosen. Invert cakes onto racks, then turn cakes over on to a platter.

For the frosting, you will need:

– 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, room temperature
– 10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
– 1 tablespoon dark rum
– 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla paste
– 4 1/2 cups powdered sugar

To prepare the frosting: 

In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat cream cheese and butter in large bowl until smooth. Beat in dark rum and vanilla. Add powdered sugar in 3 additions, beating just until frosting is smooth after each addition (do not overbeat or frosting may become too soft to spread).

For the chocolate icing, you will need:

– 12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
– ½ cup cream

To prepare the chocolate icing:

In a small sauce pan heat chips and cream whisk until smooth.

To assemble the cake: 

Place 1 pumpkin cake layer, rounded side down, on platter. Spread the of cream cheese frosting over top of cake to edges. Top with second pumpkin half. Drizzle with Chocolate icing using a fork in a zig zag splatter pattern.

Note – Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover with cake dome and refrigerate. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour before serving.

Photo credit: The Raftermen

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