Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Friendsgiving 2013- Recap, Recipes and Infusions

Friendsgiving 2013 was a a complete success and better than EVER! I wanted to share with you a few pictures, a couple of my recipes and the recipes of the amazing bloggers and chefs that inspire me. They may inspire you as well!

Excuse the less than stellar photos, I had hungry people waiting for me to snap a pic.

The Menu


Beer Brined Turkey- Inspired by The Beeroness, a female food blogger that makes recipes exclusively with craft beer. Follower her recipe pretty much as is except I used Southern Tier’s 2X Mas: an Ale brewed with Figs, Orange peels, and spices, 2 varieties of hops and 4 types of malts. I sacrificed 2 whole bottles of this beer for the Turkey, but it was worth it as it was so beautifully spiced and juicy! Recipe in the link.

ItalianStuffing- Recipe by Fabio Viviani, from Top Chef. He creates great food with fresh ingredients and an Italian spin. This stuffing had some spicy Italian Sausage, Provolone and Pecorino Romano cheese, sooooo good and sooooo moist! Recipe in the link.

ThanksgivingNachos- Inspired by Half Baked Harvest, a food blogger that is only 20 years old. I have tried a few of her recipes and they are ALL good! Her blog is filled with creative comfort food recipes and this was my spin on a comfort classic with the theme for Thanksgiving. Tortilla chips topped with diced sweet potatoes, caramelized onions, apple wood smoked bacon, homemade bourbon cranberry sauce, fontina and brie. Recipe below.

MaplePumpkin Cheesecake with a Biscoff Crust Drizzled with Caramel- Inspired by Baker’s Royale, a food blog with the most beautifully sensual photos of food. I'm always going by her blog for some inspiration. I did make some adjustments... I didn't have a torch so I drizzled with caramel. I also had a dream of making a biscoff (Speculoos) cookie crust, so yeah that happened. Lastly you know I did my thing and trimmed out some of the fat from her recipe. Instead of regular butter, I opted light butter, used light cream cheese and some nonfat Greek yogurt in place of the last pack of cream cheese.

Lastly, I created my own Infusions: Roasted Cranberry Vanilla Vodka with local LIV vodka and Roasted Cranberry Infused Bourbon.

All I did to infuse is roast some cranberries, add them into a jar with the bourbon and vodka and let it sit for a week! I also added vanilla bean to the vodka. Right before you are ready to serve, remove all solids with a slotted spoon. So easy and fun! 

Here are a  couple of the amazing recipes I made up, Thanksgiving Nachos inspired by Half Baked Harvest and the Cranberry Sauce is all me!

Bourbon and Vanilla Infused Cranberry Sauce

1 bag of fresh cranberries, or 1 lb.
2 tablespoons light butter
1/3 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons water
Juice of 1 orange
seeds of 1 vanilla bean
3 tablespoons bourbon
Zest of 1/2 orange

1- Melt 2 tablespoons light butter in a nonstick frying pan om medium heat
2- Toss in 1 lb. fresh cranberries
3- Add the 1/3 cup of brown sugar, Juice of 1 orange and 3 tablespoons of water.
4- Cut a vanilla bean in half lengthwise and scrape out seeds carefully and add them in as well.
5- Simmer until cranberries pop open and liquid becomes syrupy in texture. About 10 minutes.
6- Remove from heat and add in 3 tablespoons bourbon and zest of 1/2 orange.

Thanksgiving Nachos

2 tablespoons Olive Oil
1 large sweet potato, diced
1 tablespoon brown sugar (optional: for added sweetness)
1 medium onion, diced
1 bag tortilla chips
1/2 cup bourbon and vanilla infused cranberry sauce (or you can use canned whole cranberry sauce, but homemade is MUCH better)
1 cup fontina cheese
5 oz brie with rind removed

Preheat oven to 350ยบ
1- Microwave 1 large sweet potato, diced for about 4 minutes to get it soft. (cooks in less time this way)
2- In a large frying pan add 2 tablespoons of olive oil on medium-high heat and add in the sweet potato and 1 medium onion, diced and cook until onions are translucent. Add optional 1 tablespoon brown sugar.
3- Toss 1 bag of tortilla chips on a lipped cookie sheet and cover with 1/2 cup bourbon and vanilla infused cranberry sauce, 1 cup fontina cheese and 5 oz brie with rind removed.
4- Heat in oven for 10-15 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly.