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Food, giving thanks and our families

Kerri Buckley is a certified chef and food columnist. She has worked for Westin and Omni Hotels and other fine establishments in Philadelphia, New Orleans, Virginia and Kansas City, and has also taught cooking for programs sponsored by t...

Thanksgiving gratitude

Thanksgiving is all about thankfulness and gratitude. Specifically, it is about counting our FOOD blessings, something we largely take for granted in these days of plenty. This is worth remembering and teaching to our children!

Roast Turkey recipe

Roasting a turkey is very easy to do. I have had many students in the past who were afraid of roasting turkeys, chickens or roasts. With the basic rules down, turkey roasting couldn't be easier. The first thing to consider is fresh or frozen. A fresh turkey does not have to be defrosted. It can just be brought home and roasted.

Frozen turkeys are the most common, however, you must defrost it properly. You must defrost it in cold water, in the refrigerator or in the microwave. If you defrost it in cold water, the water must be changed every hour, and it will take a 25 pound turkey 12 hours to defrost in water. For the refrigerator the rule is- 24 hours for every 5 pounds of frozen turkey. That, my friends, means five days if your turkey is over 20 pounds. The reason for this is that bacteria multiplies faster than you can imagine once a turkey starts to thaw.

I never recommend stuffing a turkey for this reason. Bake your stuffing in a beautiful casserole dish and refuse to take chances with your loved ones' safety. Buy a food thermometer if you don't already have one. It is impossible to be safe by guessing. They are inexpensive and once you get used to using it you'll wonder how you ever got along without it.

Place the defrosted turkey in a large roasting pan. Brush the turkey with either butter or olive oil. Sprinkle salt and pepper along with sage and thyme over the turkey. Place in a 350 degree F oven and let brown to golden. Then cover the top with foil. Roast until the center of the thigh reaches 180 degrees F. The juices will run clear and the joints will be loose -- let the thermometer be your guide. Check the temperature every half hour until done.

5-10 lbs-..........11/2 to 21/2 hours

11-15 lbs..........2 1/2 to 31/2 hours

16-20 lbs...........31/2 to 4 hours

20-25 lbs...........4 to 51/2 hours

Blue Cranberry Sauce

Ingredients

1 package of cranberries
3/4 cups brown sugar
1 cup of blueberries
Fresh zest of one orange
2 cups orange juice
Fresh orange segments from one orange
4 oz butter
2 teaspoon cinnamon

Directions

Melt butter in a saucepan. On low heat add cranberries, juice, sugar, zest, orange segments and cinnamon. Cook until berries pop and mixture is saucy. Cool, slightly, then add blueberries.

Pumpkin Bread Baked Custard

Essentially a bread pudding, serve warm with fresh whipped cream.

Ingredients

One loaf of pumpkin bread, cut into 2-inch cubes
1 1/2 cup of heavy cream or half and half
2 eggs, well beaten
1 teaspon vanilla
1 teaspooon pumpkin pie spice
1 oz. freshly grated knob of ginger
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup walnuts or pecans

Directions

Grease well a nine inch casserole or baking pan. Place the pumpkin bread cubes in the pan. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well. Pour over bread cubes and let bake in a 400 degree F oven for 30 minutes. Let cool and set up for at least 15 minutes then serve.

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