Picture Perfect Parties Turkey with Pear Walnut and Crispy Bacon Stuffing

Turkey with Pear Walnut and Crispy Bacon Stuffing

Tis’ the season for my book Picture Perfect Parties. If you want to pull off an amazing holiday soiree, dinner party, or Thanksgiving feast, now’s the time to pick up a copy. As a special treat on the blog today, I have my famous Thanksgiving turkey with pear walnut and crispy bacon stuffing recipe which is guaranteed to be a show stopper.

You’re welcome, and let me know how it turns out. Happy Thanksgiving! xx

Turkey with Pear Walnut Crispy Bacon Stuffing
Serves 8-10

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F

You will need:
– 20 lb. Organic Turkey
– 2 teaspoons flake salt
– ¼ cup olive oil
– ¼ cup chopped fresh rosemary
– 4 cloves garlic minced
– 1 lemon

Ingredients for the *mirepoux mixture for the bottom of the roaster:
– 1 carrot diced
– 2 celery stalks dices
– 1 yellow onion diced
– 2 cups turkey stock (I use store bought)

To Prepare:
In the bottom of a roasting pan place carrots, celery, onion and stock. Put a rack into the roasting pan. Place turkey on the rack.

Combine salt, oil, rosemary, and garlic, rub the entire turkey with the mixture, place whole lemon into the cavity of the turkey. Place in the oven with an aluminum foil tent on the top of the turkey for 4 hours, basting every half hour. Remove the tent for the last hour of baking, and bake until meat thermometer reads 150 degrees F

Pull from the oven and let rest.

*Reserve the mirepoix for the gravy.

Stuffing

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. *Note: place in the oven once you have pulled the fully cooked turkey from the oven, and it is resting.

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

Gravy

You will need:
– Mirepoix, defatted
– 2 cups turkey stock
– 2 tablespoons corn starch

Place the mirepoix into a saucepan, heat, and add turkey stock, and warm.

In a small bowl place cornstarch.  Add 3 tablespoons of the warm mixture to the cornstarch, mix with a small spoon until a paste forms. Add the paste to the gravy mixture to thicken. Stir until reduced. Remove from heat and strain into a bowl. Serve on the side with turkey and stuffing.

Photo Credit: Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn

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Picture Perfect Thanksgiving Starter: Squash Soup

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is just around the corner and happens to be one of my favorite hoidays. When you plan your menu, consider adding a soup to kick off the meal. It will warm your guests from the inside out and is a different way to start your meal than a traditional appetizer (although I do love a great charcuterie). This soup is a lovely starter to your Thanksgiving dinner – creamy and comforting.

This recipe, from my book  Picture Perfect Parties, is one of my favorite soups all winter long, and the sage croutons make it so unique!

Acorn Squash Soup with Sage Croutons
Serves 8

You will need:
– 3 acorn squash, sliced in half and seeds removed
– 6 tbsp. olive oil (3 tablespoons to toss the squash, 3 tablespoons to sauté the shallot, onion and celery and apple and herbs)
– 2 granny smith apples, cored and chopped
– 1 medium shallot, diced
– 1/2 yellow onion, diced
– 1 cup diced celery
– 1 tsp. kosher salt
– 1 teaspoon chopped fresh sage
– 1 tsp. fresh dried ginger
– 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
– 4 cups vegetable stock
– 1 cup water

To Prepare:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Line a baking sheet parchment paper or silpat.

In a large bowl toss the squash with olive oil and salt and pepper.

Place the squash, skin-side-down, onto baking sheet.

Roast in oven for 45-50 minutes, or until flesh is tender and skin is starting to turn golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow the squash to cool. Once it’s cooled, remove flesh from skin by using a spoon to scoop out the flesh into the bowl set aside.

In a large cast iron pot heat olive oil over on medium-high add apple, shallot and onions and celery and sauté until tender, about 6-8 minutes, add salt, ginger, sage, , cinnamon, and cooked squash then the vegetable stock.

Bring to a boil about 5 minutes and then reduce heat to low and simmer for 15-20 minutes.

Remove the soup from the cook top, and let stand for an hour to cool. Ladle the soup in batches into a food processor fitted with a steel blade, pulse until smooth, place into a storage container, and repeat. This can be done 2 days before and be stored in the refrigerator until ready to heat and serve.

Sage Croutons

You will need:
– 1 loaf of rustic bread cut into 1 inch cubes
– ¼ cup olive oil
– ¼ cup chopped fresh sage
– ½ teaspoon sea salt
– ½ teaspoon black pepper
– 2 cloves minced garlic

To Prepare:

Preheat the oven to 350 degree F

In a large bowl whisk oil, garlic, sage and salt and pepper.

Cut bread into 1 inch cubes, and toss into the sage oil mixture.

On a baking sheet spread the coated bread cubes and bake for 10-15 minutes until golden brown. You may need to shake the baking sheet to toast the cubes evenly 5 minutes into baking.

Remove from the oven, let cool, and seal in a zip-lock bag until ready to serve.

Photo credit : Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn

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Easy DIY Chalkboard Menu Vase

DIY chalkboard menu

October marks the third year my book Picture Perfect Parties (Rizzoli NY) has been on bookshelves. I run into people all the time that tell me they cook from my book regularly, or they threw one of the parties in the book with great success. This makes me extremely happy. To know that I have inspired people to live a better, more stylish life is a gift like no other. I am always humbled and touched with these wonderful personal stories, so thank you to everyone from the bottom of my heart for sharing your experiences with my book.

One of my favorite decor hacks is this one. I love chalkboard paint and recycling; this project has it all.

This fall centerpiece is definitely an easy fix to get your table in the autumn spirit.  One of the parties in my cookbook, Picture Perfect Parties Rizzoli NY, is all about Sunday Supper. Sunday Supper is a staple at the Josephs; people that gather on Sundays include our family and our friends. The entire point of Sunday Supper is to hangout, enjoy comfort foods, and wrap-up the weekend. So give it a whirl! You’ll love this tradition as much as we do.

This DIY is perfect for Sunday supper, and it would be perfect for Thanksgiving. You will use this great addition to your tablescape again and again.

The step-by-step instructions are simple, and the items needed you probably already have on hand, and if you don’t, are easy to find. I love the texture that chalk adds to the vase. Be sure to add vibrant flowers to really make everything pop.

Have fun creating the menu vase DIY, and don’t stress if it doesn’t turn out perfectly; that’s part of the fun! BTW this is a great craft project to do with the kids, get them involved because they will be so proud when you unveil your table scape to friends. Happy Sunday Supper everyone.

Menu Vase DIY

You will need:
– Painter’s tarp
– 1 (8-inch) terra-cotta pot
– 1 chan chalkboard spray paint
– chalk
– Glass vase, slightly shorter than the terra-cotta pot
– 3 dozen fresh mums, dahlias, or other festive flower

To make:

1. Spread the tarp on a work surface in a well-ventilated space.
2. Spray the terra-cotta pot with the chalkboard paint, using 2 coats to cover, and allowing it to dry between coats.
3. Let the paint dry completely.
4. Write your menu on the pot with chalk.
5. Place a glass vase half-filled with water inside the menu pot.
6. Arrange the flowers in the glass vase and use the menu pot as a centerpiece of your table.

For this and more fun crafts run out and buy my book Picture Perfect Parties Rizzoli NY

Photo Credit: Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn

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Gluten Free Apple Crisp

gluten free apple crisp

I love anything apple, and baked apples are the my favorite in the fall. Apples in the fall are at their best, so why not use them as much as possible? Full disclosure: I love this dish for breakfast with a frothy cappuccino. It’s simply YUMMY! Or serve it as an easy, quick, and great last minute dessert with vanilla ice cream or whipping cream. Here’s my gluten free apple crisp recipe. Enjoy fall and enjoy the harvest!

Gluten Free Apple Crisp

You will need:
– 8 organic apples, cut into 2 “cubes
– 1 tablespoon gluten free flour like Cup 4 Cup
– 1 cup gluten free oatmeal
– 1 cup Cup 4 Cup Gluten Free Flour
– 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
– 3/4 cup sugar + 2 tablespoons for apples
– 1 stick chilled butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes

To prepare:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Cut apples into cubes and place them into a bowl. Toss with the 1 tablespoon flour and 2 tablespoons sugar, set aside.

In a bowl, combine the oats, flour, butter, and salt with your fingers or a fork.  Combine the until it becomes a mixture of large crumbs.

Place the apples in a ceramic,10½” x 7″, baking dish and cover with oat crumb mixture. Place dish in the oven on the middle rack for 1- 1 1/2 hours, or until top is golden brown and the apples are bubbling.

To serve:
Serve warm with ice cream or whip cream topping if desired.

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Quick Thanksgiving Dessert, move over Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin Bread Pudding

I was looking for an alternative to a pumpkin pie one year. Even though I love pumpkin pie, my husband is not a big fan of it. He does, however, love bread pudding, so this recipe is a great compromise. This Pumpkin Bread Pudding is so easy to make. To take the pressure off,  you can make the raisin bread a couple of days ahead, or use store bought bread and then assemble this dessert first thing Thanksgiving morning. Being organized and logical about timing on menu decisions can make the holiday season much less stressful. A relaxed hostess is a happy hostess. Look for this and more recipes plus great entertaining tips in my book Picture Perfect Parties.

Happy Thanksgiving! Let me know how your Pumpkin Bread Pudding turns out, and be sure to post some pics in the comments section. xx

Pumpkin Bread Pudding
Makes 8 servings

You will need:
– 1 cup heavy cream, *milk can be a substitute for cream
– ¾ cup canned solid-pack organic pumpkin
– ½ cup sugar
– 6 large eggs
– ½ teaspoon salt
– ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
– ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
– 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
– 6 cups cubed (1-inch) day-old raisin bread
– ¼ cup chopped toasted walnuts
– 1 stick unsalted butter, melted

To prepare:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

Whisk together cream, pumpkin, sugar, eggs, salt, and spices in a bowl.
Toss bread cubes with butter in another bowl, then add pumpkin mixture and toss to coat. Transfer to an ungreased 8-inch square baking dish and bake until custard is set, 25 to 30 minutes.
Serve with a dollop of vanilla ice cream.

Pumpkin Bread Pudding

* this can be assembled ahead and popped in the oven, when you sit down for dinner.

Photo Credit: Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn

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