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 So it's Thanksgiving again. And lets say you are wanting for some different recipes to spark up the usual holiday fare.
  Lets say you are having a basic simple Thanksgiving with just the four or six of you. But you want something to serve that's different and memorable. Something in keeping with the season, but beyond a new way of using cranberries. Something that will become a must do for your family.
  Or lets say you are going to the folks house, a sort of pot luck affair with everyone bringing a side and another pumpkin pie. And you want to bring a show stopper.
  I have two recipes, that I just love.
  I hope you have a chance to make at least one of them and tell me what you think.


    If you want to get laid every night for the rest of your life by your significant other, make this soup. If you want to piss off your snarky sister-in-law, even more than you already didn't, make this soup. If you want your family to be pissed off at you for stealing the show, make this soup. If you want your friends to insist you give them the recipe before you leave, make this soup.
   But more importantly if you want to make a soup that says in an instant how much you love to make delicious food for the ones you love, and can say, just by existing, everything you can't say, make this soup.
   Or, if you just want a delicious rewarding lick the bowl clean soup, make this soup.

   Don't make this soup, it will haunt your very existence.

                                      Roasted Chestnut Soup

  Can be made ahead.

  Ingredients For the Soup:

 4 cups raw chestnuts in shell
 1/3 cup carrot, medium dice
 1 shallot, chopped
 1 Tbsp. garlic, chopped
 1 cup onion, medium dice
 1 medium potato diced
 3 tablespoons grape seed oil, divided
 2 tablespoons salt
 ¼ cup brandy
 2 ½ quarts chicken stock
 2 bay leaves
 A sprig of Thyme
 2 to 3 sage leaves
 1/4 tsp. rosemary
 dash of Worcestershire
 Juice of half a lemon  
 ½ cup pears, peeled and small dice
 1/2 cup of parsnips, small dice
 1/2 pint of heavy cream

  For the Garnish:
  The reserved 1/2 cup chestnuts
  4-6 oz of bacon or pancetta
  chopped parsley
  1/2 cup pears
  1/2 cup parsnips
  grape seed oil, or use the bacon fat, or drain the bacon fat but don't clean the pan.
  Dry Sherry or you can use the brandy
  dash of nutmeg


  Preheat oven to 450 degrees. With a paring knife, score a deep cross on the round side of each chestnut. Place scored nuts on a cookie sheet and bake for 20-30 minutes. When done, carefully and quickly remove the shells while the nuts are still warm. The shelling process will be more difficult if the nuts are allowed to cool.
Finely dice ½ cup of the chestnuts and reserve for garnish.

  Note on this procedure:
  I tried this once, I bought raw chestnuts. I found the results to be varied. I was crying at each chestnut I threw out because they were too hard.
I suggest using steamed chestnuts in a vacuum bag, that's what I use. You can heat them up in a warm oven as per the directions on the package. It's not the same but it beats throwing the chestnuts out. Or you can do a mixture of raw and steamed chestnuts.

  Heat 2 tablespoons grape seed oil in a large saucepan over a medium-high heat.
  Add the carrots and onions until they start to brown lightly, about 5-6 minutes.
  Add chestnuts, garlic, shallots and 1 tbsp. butter, and sage.
  Cook for another 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally. When the vegetables and chestnuts are dark brown and caramelized, deglaze with brandy.
  Get all of those brown bits up. I insist.
  Add the stock, bay leaves, potato, and thyme. Bring to a boil and simmer for 1 hour.
  If the potato is very soft it's done.

  Now this is important:

  If you are making this a day ahead what I want you to do is let the soup rest a minute or until it's it not scalding hot, try to remove the sprig of thyme.
  Then Ladle the soup in batches in a blender, or you can use a stick blender if you've got one.
  Then put the soup through a sieve and strain.
  Then refrigerate.
  As you are warming the soup the next day, add the lemon juice and Worcestershire, then proceed to the next step.
  If you are not making it a day ahead proceed on to the next step

  While soup is cooking, prepare the garnish.
  Blanch parsnips in boiling salted water until tender but not soft, about 1 minute.
  Strain and shock in ice water.
  When cool, remove parsnips from water and set aside.
  In a hot pan, saute the bacon, when it's crispy remove, drain the pan but save the fat if you want. You can do what you want fat wise.
  Saute the reserved chestnuts until they begin to caramelize. Season with salt and finish with 1 teaspoon butter. Remove from pan and reserve. Deglaze with the sherry or brandy and add that to the chestnuts or even the soup for that matter.
  In the cleaned pan repeat the procedure with parsnips and pears.
  Add a little sugar to the pears while in the pan if they are under ripe.
  Combine pears, parsnips, chestnuts, bacon together.

  Now for those of you who are making this all in one day, this is where you blend and strain the soup. Put it back in the pot and add the lemon juice and Worcestershire.

  When the soup is back up to temperature add the cream.

To serve:
   Put the desired amount of garnish in the bottom of the bowl and ladle the soup on top. Then top the soup with chopped parsley and nutmeg.

   Don't make this soup.

                                               Recipe Two

    I love marshmallows, but I hate yams with the marshmallow topping, I don't know why but they annoy me. My mom loves them. One year I actually got her to make the yams my way.
    I would babysit my neighbors little boy at one point in my life and one time I visited her after Thanksgiving and she gave me a taste of the yams she made and I instantly fell in love with them.
    And they're really easy to make you get walnuts and graham cracker crumbs and this other stuff, but they're so good. Just kidding.

                                            Candied Yams

    This recipe is for one 29 oz. can of yams.

    1 29 oz. can of yams (drained)
    1 20 oz.can of pineapple chunks (drain the juice in a small saucepan)
    Butter, about 4 tbsps.
    Light Brown Sugar at least a 1/4 cup

    Optional ingredient
    Dried Cherries re-constituted, or even Maraschino Cherries (drained on a paper towel)

   Put the drained yams, the pineapple chunks, and the cherries if using in a glass baking dish. Maybe the dish you use to make brownies in, it depends on how much you want to make. But I suggest using a glass dish.

   In a small sauce pan heat the pineapple juice, butter, and brown sugar. Heat just enough to melt the butter and brown sugar.
   Pour this mixture in with the yams and pineapple.
   Bake covered at 350.

   Notes on baking this:
   If I am making the turkey I put it in the oven with the turkey after I have heated the turkey at high temperature then turned the oven down.
   You almost can't over bake this until you do and it becomes just too sweet like pure candy, but if that happens you will know because it looks too brown, even black.
   When it looks like it just needs a few more minutes take the tin foil off and bake it uncovered. This is not a soupy dish, but it should be moist. If you're afraid it is getting too done, just take it out of the oven and leave covered. You can always put it back in to warm it up after you've taken the turkey out.
   At it's heart it is a worry free dish.

   If you are using the maraschino cherries add them after they come out of the oven. Or else everything will turn red.

   This is my favorite yam recipe, except for sweet potato pie. Isn't that weird, I love sweet potato pie but hate pumpkin pie. We always have apple pie for Thanksgiving. Home made apple pie. In my opinion award winning apple pie.

   I hope you have a chance to try one or both of these. Whatever you do have a great Thanksgiving.
   And at some time during the day I'll save myself some moments in thinking about you guys and raising a glass to toast us in what we were able to accomplish this year.

   I do do the Princess Bride, The Christmas Story movies on Thanksgiving. So if you do it too think of me, and us.

   Drink your Ovaltine.
   No more rhymes now, I mean it.
   It's Fra-geel-lay.


Do you guys like the marshmallow topping on yams?

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