And so it begins...

Today the Thanksgiving cooking begins in earnest and I've already got a couple things finished and stashed away.  Firstly, I got the cranberry sauce done because that will keep in the fridge for like 30 years. And when it comes to cranberry sauce, I'm a purist.  When it comes to most of this meal, I have to admit to being a purist.  My cranberries must taste like cranberries, just cranberries, with just the right amount of sweet/tart balance.  So I start with a simple syrup that is equal parts water and sugar which I bring to a boil and to which is then added 1 package of cranberries that have been rinsed.

Bring this to a boil and then just let it simmer, uncovered, until the cranberries are cooked down.  I like to still have whole ones mixed in with the ones that are falling apart.  The longer you cook them the more the cranberries will cook down and the thicker they will get.  

So yeah, basically just follow the recipe on the back of the package.  Cranberries, done.

I also made some candied pecans that are going to top one of my pumpkin pies...

...in which pecans are mixed with light corn syrup (I use Lyle's Golden Syrup which is from cane sugar rather than corn), sugar, salt and pepper...

... and then baked until caramelized and ever so yummy.  You'll find my recipe HERE.

And then there's the stuffing...  I've made the croutons for stuffing eleven different ways, but when I found this stuffing from Boudin Bakery at Costco, game over.  I mean this beats all, in my book.

So I made 3 kinds of stuffing for this year.  This here one is a traditional stuffing with the onions, celery, herbs, etc.

This one is the traditional stuffing with cranberries, apples and bacon.

And this one is a cornbread stuffing with sage, thyme and my Tuscan Herb Salt.

For all of them I used homemade chicken stock and the aromas in my kitchen are pretty dang amazing right now.  Of course, they all need to get baked yet, but that won't happen until next Wednesday or Thursday morning.  Here's a link to my stuffing with cranberries, apples and bacon.