11/26/11

A Very Bon Appétempt Thanksgiving

Last week, I watched Dirty Dancing on back-to-back nights. And by watched, I mean, watched, sans computers and folding laundry, simply gripped by the story of this unlikely romance at Kellerman’s resort in the summer of 1963, as if I hadn’t grown up watching it a million times. I could talk about all the reasons I love it—Don’t put your heel down! blah, blah, blah. Baby? Is that your name? blah, blah, blah, but there’s a good chance you already know these reasons, and if you don’t by now, you’re likely not to care.

Having said that, on this newly rekindled Dirty-Dancing high, I found myself repeating those lines that Johnny says to the little boss-man (I believe that’s his official title?) when the little boss-man approaches Johnny on the dance floor, and brusquely asks him where Penny is. With his back turned from his dancing partner—that creepy older woman deemed a “bungalow bunny” by the equally creepy owner of Kellerman’s—Johnny puts his hands in his pockets and shouts back: “Whaddya mean, ‘Where’s Penny’? She’s taking a break. She NEEDS a break!”

I just love the hyper-dramatic indignity with which Johnny responds to his boss. How dare he ask Johnny, one of his employees, where another one of his employees is! And so, slowly but surely, these lines became a kind of mantra for me this week. Because of work, Matt and I couldn’t go home for the holidays and because we both had work specifically on Friday (Matt left for his office before 7am Friday morning), we felt we needed the day to ourselves to fully recover and so, opted out of our friends’ potluck gathering. The fact that it was basically our choice to spend the holidays alone didn’t stop me, however, from spending the beginning of the week in different stages of pouting. I didn’t want to go grocery shopping. I didn’t want to plan a menu. I wanted what I couldn’t have: to travel someplace where snow was a possibility; to be able to request multiple hugs from my toddler-aged niece and nephew, to just show up at some relative’s house where my laptop (and pending work) was not invited and have someone I knew mainly through such holiday gatherings flop turkey meat on my outstretched plate. I wanted a break. I NEEDED a break!

But then, I turned a corner. I believe it started with the idea of mulled wine. If I could just get some mulled wine simmering on the stovetop… And then, I found the recipe for mashed potatoes with parsley and cream in—you guessed it—Tender. And then, the night before, Matt and I tackled Martha Stewart’s Sky-High Apple-Cranberry Pie followed by a viewing of a Mt. Everest documentary, which just might be required viewing for humans stuck in a rut. In the morning, Matt agreed to handle the chicken, which was our stand-in for turkey. And what do you know? Come Thanksgiving, after a jog through my neighborhood, a few musical acts from the Macy’s day parade and a large mug of mulled wine at 1pm, I didn’t have to fake my gratitude.
It ended up being a delicious meal and a beautiful afternoon well spent. Many thanks to Matt who, as usual, took all of the photos and served up one of the best roast chickens I’ve ever eaten. Also many thanks to the camera crews who have lugged their equipment to the top of Mt. Everest so that people like me can watch in complete amazement as those wonderful fools traverse the death zone. Oh, and while I’m at it, thanks to those who contributed to the Mt. Everest Wikipedia page—I read it in its entirety before falling asleep on Thanksgiving night. (Fun Fact: Early in our relationship, Matt read Into Thin Air aloud to me, in its entirety.) But most of all, I want to thank you, reader, for whom I doctored up this photo last year as a portrayal of my gratitude. I should really update it though, as my complaining has really paid off, and I can happily report that my mother now reads the blog regularly. In other words, hurrah and happy holidays, friends! YOU’RE WILD!!
Sky-High Apple Cranberry Pie via Martha Stewart
For the Crusts
1 large disk plus 1 small disk Pate Brisee (If you don't use all 10 apples the recipe calls for (Matt and I used 6.), you could probably get away with using two small disks of pate brisee and save yourself the trouble of making two separate batches of dough, as Martha warns against doubling the recipe.)
All-purpose flour, for surface

For the Filling
5 pounds (about 10) heirloom baking apples, such as Arkansas Black, Carpentin, Jonathan, Knobbed Russet, or Northern Spy (We used Granny Smith!)
1 1/2 cups fresh or thawed frozen cranberries
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Salt
2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 large egg yolk lightly beaten with 2 tablespoons heavy cream, for egg wash
2 tablespoons sanding sugar

Directions
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Make the crusts: Roll out small pate brisee disk to a 1/8-inch thickness on a floured surface. Fit dough into a 9-inch pie plate. Trim edges, leaving a 1-inch overhang. Repeat rolling with large pate brisee disk, and cut out a 12-inch circle; transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Refrigerate crusts until firm, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the filling: Peel and core apples. Cut each into 1/2- to 1-inch-thick wedges, and transfer to a bowl. Toss in cranberries, granulated sugar, flour, lemon juice, cinnamon, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.

Transfer filling to bottom crust; dot with butter. Cover with top crust. Fold edges under; crimp. Cut eight 2 1/2-inch vents into dough to let steam escape. Freeze until firm, about 30 minutes.

Gently brush top crust with egg wash; sprinkle with sanding sugar. Bake pie set on a rimmed baking sheet for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees. Bake until crust is golden and juices are bubbling, 1 hour 20 minutes more. (Tent with foil if crust is browning too quickly.) Let pie cool completely in plate set on a wire rack.
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31 comments:

  1. Even though we missed being with family this year, this was a great, super fun Thanksgiving! Also... you're wild.

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  2. This post warmed my heart SO MUCH that I might need an ice pack. Thank you for sharing your day with us!! It sounds fabulous. I am so thankful for you!!!!!

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  3. this looks amazing! brad and i went to some korean pizza place and i hated it.

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  4. We missed you guys, but this is a great post and your Thanksgiving spread looks great. HUGSIES!

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  5. That is a damn good spread. That pie looks amazing.

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  6. What a delicious looking pie and such a cozy photo of your table.

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  7. "Some relative" missed passing you the sweet guerkins!

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  8. that looks like the perfect thanksgiving meal

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  9. this looks like a wonderful thanksgiving! i've also read Into Thin Air before. don't know why, but i got really to see that book mentioned in this post :)

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  10. I spent the week grumbling because I DID have to go to somebody's house for Thanksgiving. Somebody who is not the best cook, who does things like cook turkeys to a chewy crisp, and undercook potatoes so that they're still crunchy on the inside and overcook asparagus till its brown and serve it all with no gravy so you have to drink SO MUCH WINE to get it down and then hang around until it's safe to drive home. So, like, grumble high five, man.

    The pie, by the way, looks delicious... and now I want mulled wine too.

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  11. everything looks amazing. happy thanksgiving!

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  12. Everything on that table looks delicious! Pass the mulled wine please!
    -Jess

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  13. A++

    (You had me at "mulled wine," but you really had me way earlier than that.)

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  14. Yes to mulled wine and dirty dancing. Love it!

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  15. All I can say is YUMMMMM!!!!! We had a very nice Thanksgiving but I have to say I will be using some of your recipes next year. Thanks for sharing, :-), Susan Cooper

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  16. You make the solo Thanksgiving look so fun we just might have to try it sometime. Maybe.

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  17. So beautiful, so warm, so yummy!

    Sandy

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  18. LOVE the picture of pie on the bright pink napkin.

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  19. Where is that super cozy sweater from??

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  20. OK, here goes, in no particular order!
    @Mary Anne: THANK YOU. you are so sweeeet.

    @jeanasohn Awww you guys should have come over!! next year?

    @Jodi - thanks! i'm sure yours was off the charts. photos?

    @Rebecca - that's hilarious. grumble high five indeed!

    @katie - J.Crew sale rack! I couldn't find it online or I would've sent you the link as I know they are having a big online sale today. Alsooo, it's actually a sweatshirt! major bonus, I know.

    @Meister- I love your grading system.

    @Anne Z. - I still want your snow-filled experience!

    @Dan Brown - hahahhahaa. next year!!

    OK, y'all make my heartbeat. bye for now!

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  21. Love your candor, as usual. Looks like you both had a beautiful, cozy spread. Cheers to Dirty Dancing, Mulled Wine, and another Tender win. :)

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  22. I haven't watched Dirty Dancing in the longest time - perhaps I shall pop it on this evening?!

    Your Thanksgiving spread looks delicious :)

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  23. This is so special, Amelia! I'm very impressed with your meal!

    Darryl and I found a Mexican Dirty Dancing record at an antique store in Mexico yesterday! It was hilarious.

    ERES SALVAJE! (That's Spanish for YOU'RE WILD! but I'm sure you already knew that!) : )

    xo

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  24. I love the photo of the brussel sprouts! They look like little toddlers playing hide & seek, about ready to peek their heads above the bowl to see if you found them. Also, love that you had to work to get your Mom to read your blog. For so many other bloggers, their Mom's the only reader! Your cup runneth over.

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  25. Amelia!!! You are my hero! How much do you love the scene in the movie when the women are trying on wigs??? Was that a thing??? xo

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  26. Amelia, you are so funny. I'm glad the deciding factor was getting some hot mulled wine going on the stove. Loved your Thanksgiving story and your meals looks delicious. I want to make that pie!

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  27. is it sick that the lemon peeping out of the chicken made me laugh out loud? ;) Found you from Juls' Kitchen!

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  28. Ah, Dirty Dancing. A lifelong favorite. I also watched it recently, and totally realized for the first time that Kellerman's is a Jewish resort, and the Housemans are Jewish...and Johnny is a goy. It was a revelation. Also, I could totally be wrong about that.

    I just discovered your blog and so far I am loving it.

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  29. AMY!!!
    HI!!!! OM goodness I love your website. It is so YOU! Bridgit W sent it to me. I saw her at Andrew's wedding. I also saw Tim W and Rob G. It was so fun and guess who officiated at the wedding...NO, NOT Mr. VG!
    I also love that you married the adorable Matt B...that is so sweet.
    We now live in NJ. Luke and his LOVELY wife are moving here soon...fun!
    I have a very vivid memory of you coming over and heading straight to the refrig for...CRUNCHERS...your word for baby carrots! I also remember your laugh...very infectious!
    Kiss Matt for me and best wishes on your cool foodie stuff.
    Love,Franny VG

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  30. Franny VG!!! Crunchers!! hahahahahaha. Thanks for stopping by! Did Luke tell you we met up in Los Angeles? It was great to see him!! Would love to get the whole gang together again someday!!

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  31. Wow really the most fantastic thanksgiving...I just love the texture and presentation of this dish so much...you have had best time being together indeed..!!

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