A belated Happy Thanksgiving to you all!
I meant to shoot up a storm and take pictures of every aspect of our Thanksgiving dinner, but things never go the way you plan when you're cooking like a mad woman and entertaining. Even though the truth of the matter is that my mom did most of the heavy lifting.
That woman is a rock star when it comes to the barbecue and when it comes to turkey. A gorgeous, crispy-brown, barbecued turkey was the centerpiece of our Thanksgiving meal. I'm not going to tell you how to do it, but I have to recommend preparing your bird this way at least once. It tastes smoky and fantastic.
We supped on carrot and cilantro soup, stuffing with dried apricots, giblet gravy, candied sweet potatoes with raisins, sautéed spinach with pine nuts, garlic and currants (one of my contributions) and cranberry sauce.
Of course we had sliced canned cranberry jelly on the table as well, because there are always at least two people in every family who do not want to give it up for anything.
Pumpkin pie -- yes sir! With whipped cream or crème fraîche.
But what I really want to tell you how to make is cheese puffs.
I was the most proud of the ultra-cinchy to make French Cheese Puffs from Canal House Cooking Volume 2. This is one of those recipes that makes you look like a sophisticated pro in the kitchen.
The puffs themselves are the height of sophistication -- airy and light, yet rich and buttery. These cheesy beauties are an elegant start to a fête -- definitely spectacular with a bottle of something bubbly. I see these as a natural for an intimate New Year's Eve dinner party with a bottle of Veuve Cliquot.
I used the exceptional Irish Kerrygold butter and a cave-aged raw milk gruyère. Delicious ingredients always help. You'll need to do a little heating, a fair amount of stirring -- at times vigorously -- and some spooning. Twenty minutes in the oven and that is all.
I actually completely forgot about the penultimate step in this recipe -- brush the dough with milk. I suppose my cheese puffs would have been shinier, but you couldn't tell that anything was missing at all.
Be sure to time things right, so that you are serving these warm, just moments out of the oven. These were a big hit with everyone from my husband and mother-in-law to nearly two-year old Fe.
If for some strange reason you have leftovers, store them in the fridge and heat them up for breakfast the next day. They won't be as amazing, but the warm cheesiness will start your day just right.
Canal House Cooking French Cheese Puffs
8 tablespoons butter
1 1/4 cups milk
2 pinches salt
1 cup flour
4 large eggs
1 cup grated Comté or Gruyère cheese
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Heat the butter and 1 cup of the milk over medium heat in a heavy saucepan until the milk is hot and the butter melted. Add the salt and a couple of grindings of pepper.
Lower the heat to low, and dump in all the flour at once. Stir vigorously, until a dough forms a thick mass and begins to pull away from the sides of the pan.
Remove the pan from the heat and beat in the eggs one at a time, until each egg is completely incorporated into the dough before adding the next. The dough will be smooth and shiny. Stir in the cheese.
Spoon walnut-size spoonfuls of dough onto parchment-lined sheet pans. They should be about an inch apart. Brush the tops of the puffs with the remaining milk to make them nice and shiny.
Bake until puffed up and golden, about 20 minutes. Serve warm.
Makes about 3 dozen.