Gobblegobblegobble: Part II

Readers share tasty traditions

November 17, 2010 

Whether it’s the rolls, the sweet potato casserole, the cranberry relish or grandma’s butterscotch pie, many South Sound families will sit down to Thanksgiving dinner next Thursday with some remnant of an edible family legacy on the table.

We asked readers to share their favorite family Thanksgiving recipes, and they replied with side dishes, cranberry relishes, casseroles, soups and desserts. We also were given stories about the dishes. Lots of them.

Doug Baker, who grew up in Tacoma’s North End, wrote to us that his parents would host a Thanksgiving dinner for 100 family members every year. A special Thanksgiving cocktail always preceded dinner (wouldn’t you start your meal with one, too, if you were cooking for 100?).

“A family tradition was the bowl of ‘Tom and Jerry’ batter,” wrote Baker of his family recipe. “My mom and dad, along with friends and family, would make a batch of batter the night before, to ‘test it,” and to make sure it was ‘just right.’ On Thanksgiving day, mom would get out her Tom and Jerry ceramic bowl with matching cups and dad would make the first drink, pronouncing ‘Summer Rules: I make the first one, you’re on your own after that.’

That tradition continues every year for the Baker family. “My sisters come over the night before and we make a batch using Mom’s Tom and Jerry batter bowl and mugs,” wrote Baker. “We even use mom’s original nutmeg grater.’

When Normajean Hedman and her family of 25 sit down next Thursday to their Thanksgiving dinner in Puyallup, Grandma Hedman’s cranberry nut pie will be among the dessert offerings. Their tradition is to honor their late grandmother with the inclusion of her pie at the family meal.

Mary Fahnlander’s Thanksgiving table would not be complete with the chocolate chess pie she learned to make while stationed with her husband and three sons in Germany for four years. “We made friends with many wonderful people whom we called family. We also exchanged many recipes, and this recipe is one of our favorites. We make this pie every year at Thanksgiving,” wrote Fahnlander, of Spanaway.

Lisa Cress of Shelton always prepares her grandmother’s peanut butter pie for her Thanksgiving dessert. “Grandma Wheeler was the best pie maker. This was my favorite” pie, wrote Cress of her submitted recipe.

Now their family favorites can be yours. The recipes begin below.

Grandma’s Sweet Potato Casserole

5 large sweet potatoes

1 can Dole pineapple chunks, drained (reserve juice)

1 cup whole pecans

1-12 cups pineapple juice (if you don’t have enough, add water to make the 1-12 cups)

1 teaspoon cinnamon

14 teaspoon cloves

12 teaspoon nutmeg

1 tablespoon flour

1 cup dark brown sugar

4 teaspoons butter

1-12 cups miniature marshmallows

In a large pan, boil sweet potatoes, drain, peel, cool. Cut into large chunks and place into a large, greased casserole dish. Add pecans and pineapple chunks, and toss gently. In a sauce pan, mix together pineapple/water mixture, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, flour, brown sugar and butter. Stir together, then bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Cook one minute more. Pour mixture over sweet potato mix and cover with foil. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes. Remove from oven, remove foil, and sprinkle with mini marshmallows. Place under broiler until golden brown.

Source: Diana Gentry, Rochester

Scalloped Corn

1/4 pound butter or margarine

1 can cream style corn

1 can whole kernel corn

2 eggs well beaten

1 cup sour cream

1 small package corn muffin mix (such as Jiffy Mix)

Melt margarine in large casserole dish. Add corn and eggs, mix well. Stir in sour cream. Add corn muffin mix, beat well. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

Source: Nancy Barker, Tacoma

Linda Lee’s Pumpkin Custard

3 cups pumpkin (1 large can)

3 cups milk or unsweetened soymilk

1-12 cups sugar

1-12 teaspoons of cinnamon

1-12 teaspoons of ginger

1-12 teaspoons of nutmeg

1 teaspoon of cloves

1 teaspoon of grated orange peel

2 teaspoons of vanilla

4 eggs

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Beat ingredients together until smooth. Pour into a 9 by 12 baking pan. Bake at 450 for 10 minutes and then reduce temperature to 325 degrees and cook for an additional 55 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the custard comes out clean. This custard may take longer to cook, depending on how deep the custard is.

Source: Linda Lee Tatro, Olympia

<.b>Sweet Potato Cookies

12 cup butter

1 cup brown sugar

12 cup milk

1 cup canned mashed sweet potatoes

2-12 cups flour

1 teaspoon salt

12 cup currants

2 beaten eggs

2 teaspoons baking powder

12 teaspoon baking soda

12 teaspoon allspice

1 teaspoon vanilla

12 cup chopped pecans

Cream butter, then add sugar. Then add eggs, spices, potatoes, flour, soda, baking powder and milk. Add nuts and currants. Roll or drop onto a greased cookie sheet and bake in a 350-degree oven for 15 minutes.

Source: Bev Schroetlin, Puyallup

Grandma Wheeler’s Peanut Butter Pie

1 cup peanut butter

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened

1 cup sugar

2 tablespoons melted butter

1 cup Cool Whip

1 teaspoon vanilla

Chocolate chips, for drizzling

1 prepared graham cracker crust

Cream together peanut butter, cream cheese, sugar and butter. Fold in Cool Whip and vanilla. Pour the pie filling into the prepared graham cracker crust. Melt chocolate chips in microwave, and drizzle over the top. Chill at least three hours in the refrigerator.

Source: Lisa Cress, Shelton

Cornbread Dressing

For the chicken stock:

6-8 chicken thighs

16 cups water

For the cornbread:

1 cup flour

1-1/2 cups yellow cornmeal

2 tablespoons sugar

4 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons salt

2 eggs, beaten

1 cup milk

4 tablespoons oil

For the dressing:

1 stick butter (no substitutes)

1-12 cups celery, chopped

1 large onion, chopped

2-3 teaspoons chopped fresh sage

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

1 loaf white bread, cut into cubes

4 eggs, very well beaten

For the chicken stock: Boil 6-8 chicken thighs with the skin on in a large pot filled with 16 cups water until done, about 30 minutes. Remove chicken but save all the stock.

For the cornbread: Mix and sift dry ingredients. Combine egg and milk. Add to the dry mixture. Mix until just moistened and then add oil. Mix well. Pour into either a cast iron skillet or an 8-by-8 square pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes at 375 degrees until golden brown on top and it doesn’t indent when you touch it. Remove and turn out into a large bowl or roasting pan. When it cools enough, break it apart with your hands until free of lumps.

For the dressing: Sauté celery and onion in the butter until just slightly brown and the onions look clear. Cut the bread into cubes and add to the pan of cornbread. Pour the celery and onion mixture over the breads and begin adding chicken stock until it is all moistened and just a little soupy. In the TNT test kitchen, we added about 51/2 cups of stock, but you may prefer more. Add sage, salt and pepper to taste. After you have it seasoned the way you prefer it, add the beaten eggs and mix well. Either bake the dressing in a roasting pan or large casserole dish. Cook for about 60 to 90 minutes in the oven until the top looks dry and the dressing doesn’t “jiggle” around if you move the pan.

Source: Janis Stevenson, Tumwater

Auntie Anna’s Yam Cheesecake

2 dark orange-fleshed yams

1 tablespoon melted butter

2 teaspoons lemon juice

3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, regular or light, room temperature

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

4 large eggs

1/4 cup whipping cream

1/4 cup sour cream

1/4 cup maple syrup

2-1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

Maple Cream

34 cup whipping cream

14 cup maple syrup

Pecan Crust

14 cup pecans

1-14 cups finely ground graham crackers

2 tablespoons sugar

5 tablespoons melted butter

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

For the yams: Peel yams and cut in half lengthwise. Place in a 9 by 13 baking pan and brush with melted butter. Bake about 45 to 55 minutes. Scrape any charred spots off yams, then cut into chunks. Whirl in a food processor or mash in a bowl with lemon juice until smooth. Reserve 1 cup; save any extra for another use.

Prepare pecan crust: Blend 1/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans in a blender until finely ground. In a bowl, mix pecans, 11/4 cups fine graham cracker crumbs, 2 tablespoons sugar, and 5 tablespoons melted butter. Press into a prepared 9-inch cheesecake pan with removable rim. Press mixture evenly over bottom of pan. Bake in same oven with potatoes until lightly browned all over, about 10 to 12 minutes.

Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese until fluffy. Gradually beat in granulated and brown sugar until mixture is smooth. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Add 1 cup of yam mixture, the whipping cream, sour cream, maple syrup, and pumpkin pie spice. Mix until well blended.

Wrap bottom of cheesecake pan with heavy-duty foil, pressing it up the sides. Pour batter over crust. Put cheesecake pan in a roasting pan at least 2 inches deep. Set in oven and pour enough boiling water into roasting pan to come halfway up sides of cheesecake pan.

Bake until cake barely jiggles in the center when gently shaken, about 55 minutes. Remove pans from oven. Lift cheesecake pan from roasting pan and let cool completely on a rack, about 1 hour, then chill until cold, at least 11/2 hours, or up to 3 days.

Before serving, cut around inside of pan rim to release cake; remove rim. Serve with maple cream.

For the maple cream: In a bowl, with a mixer on high speed, beat 3/4 cup whipping cream until stiff peaks form. On low speed, beat in 1/4 cup maple syrup just until blended.

Source: Anna Wagner, Tacoma

<.b>Grandma Hedman’s Cranberry Nut Pie

Prepared pastry for 2 crust pie

1-1/2 cups fresh cranberries

1/2 cup raisins (I use mince meat)

1/2 cup chopped nuts (walnuts)

2 large tart sliced apples

1 cup sugar (could be a little less)

2 tablespoons flour

1/2 teaspoon lemon extract

1/2 teaspoon orange extract

1 teaspoon cinnamon

2 tablespoons water

1 tablespoon margarine or butter

Mix raisins (or mince meat), cranberries, nuts and apples in a dish. Mix sugar, flour and cinnamon. Blend lemon and orange extract with water. Mix together, lightly, all ingredients and put in pastry shell. Dot with margarine or butter. Arrange top crust over filling and flute edges. Bake at 400 degrees for 45-60 minutes.

Source: Normajean Hedman, Puyallup

Mabel Moore’s Butterscotch Pie

For the crust:

1-1/3 cups sifted flour

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup cold margarine (one stick)

2 tablespoons ice water

For the filling:

2 cups light brown sugar

2 egg yolk (use yolks for the filling, reserve whites for the meringue)

2 cups whole milk

1/2 cup flour

1/4 cup butter (room temperature)

1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla

Pinch of salt

the meringue topping

2 egg whites (reserved from filling)

Sugar, to taste

For the crust: Sift flour and salt together into a bowl. Cut butter into the flour/salt mixture using a pastry blender. Add water, mix well and place in a ball. Roll out, place in Pyrex pie plate, crimp edges and bake blind until done in a 350-degree oven.

For the filling: Put milk in a double boiler. In a bowl, mix brown sugar, flour, a pinch of salt, egg yolks, vanilla and a little water to stir smooth. Add the mixture to the hot milk and stir over the boiling water until thick. Add butter, stir well, and pour into the baked pie shell.

For the meringue topping: With mixer, whip egg whites and add granulated sugar a teaspoon at a time, to taste, for meringue. Beat until peaks form. For extra high meringue, add another one or two egg whites to the original two you separated for the cream filling. Spoon this over the filled pie shell and brown in the 350-degree oven. Watch frequently. Peaks should be brown, but not burned.

Source: Wendy J. McGowan, Gig Harbor

Corn Pudding

1 can drained whole kernel corn

2 tablespoons flour

2 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons melted butter

1 teaspoon salt

1 small can chopped pimento

1 chopped green pepper

14 pound grated medium cheddar cheese

12 cup milk

2 eggs, beaten

Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl and pour into a buttered 9x9 pan. Bake in 350-degree oven for 35-40 minutes until set and slightly browned.

Source: Volly Grande, Tacoma

Chocolate Chess Pie

1 unbaked pastry shell

2 eggs

1-1/2 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons vanilla

1/2 stick butter

4 tablespoons cocoa

2/3 cup evaporated milk

Beat eggs with sugar, salt and vanilla. Melt butter and cocoa mix thoroughly and fold in with egg mixture and milk, then pour into pastry shell. Bake at 325 degrees for 45 minutes.

Source: Mary Fahnlander, Spanaway

Cranberry Relish

2 bags of fresh cranberries

1/2 cup brown sugar packed (you can add more if you like it sweeter)

Zest of 1 large orange

1 tablespoon fresh orange juice

1 large, or 2 medium, shallots minced

1 garlic clove minced

1 teaspoon of butter

1/2 cup water (only add more if it thickens before the cranberries pop)

1 tablespoon good balsamic vinegar (you can add more to make it more savory)

Sweat minced shallot and garlic in butter in saucepan. Add fresh cranberries, brown sugar and 1/2 cup of water. Let cranberries cook on high heat about 5-8 minutes or until cranberries pop (do not let burn, stir frequently). Add zest of orange and juice. Before serving, stir in vinegar. Serve warm or cold.

Source: Michelle Galaz, Lakewood

Carrot Soup

3 large carrots, grated

1/2 sweet onion

1 leek, sliced, white bottom only

Garlic clove, peeled and minced

1/2 stick butter

1 tablespoon corn oil

1 tablespoon flour

1 box prepared chicken broth

1 cup milk

1 egg

Salt and pepper, to taste

Avocado oil for service

Melt butter and corn oil in medium soup pot. Sauté onions, garlic and carrots. Add one tablespoon of flour to make roux. Add milk and chicken broth. Boil for 20 minutes. Beginning with one cup of soup mixture, whirl in blender, then slowly add remaining soup mixture and continue whirling. If necessary, strain mixture over sieve. To serve, drizzle avocado oil on top.

Source: Liza Morado, Tacoma

Grandma Baker’s Tom and Jerry Batter

1 dozen egg whites (see note)

1 pound powdered sugar

1 tablespoon cream of tartar

1 dozen egg yolks

1 pound powdered sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla

Beat together egg whites, 1 pound powdered sugar, cream of tarter in a large bowl until stiff peaks form. (Warning: eating uncooked eggs could be hazardous for pregnant women or people with compromised immune systems). Beat together egg yolks, the remaining pound of powdered sugar and vanilla until soft peaks form. Fold the egg white mixture and egg yolk mixture together into a large bowl.

Spoon batter into hot mugs. Add whiskey; rum or brandy works as well.

Add hot water until nearly full, stir and top with a dollop of batter. Grate fresh nutmeg on top and enjoy.

Source: Doug Baker, Edgewood

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