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Nov 16, 2012

A Thanksgiving Meal...

When you work with people that you just seem to effortlessly understand and get along with it can be so much fun, even if you are hundreds of miles apart like Kiersten and I. I've had such an amazing time photographing Kiersten's Thanksgiving meal. To me, her food is just so beautiful. She knows not only what tastes good but what looks good. What an incredible talent that is to be able to develop a whole entire Thanksgiving meal from scratch. I've made every single one of these recipes and they are all over the top amazing. Not only that, but take a look at the colors! Presenting and styling this meal was so much fun...a photographers dream.

To wrap everything up, here are all 8 of Kiersten's recipes and my photographs that we have each posted on our blogs this week. I hope you've enjoyed our collaboration as much as we have and that you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving next week!


Quinoa-Stuffed Acorn Squash Rings  

olive oil mister or cooking spray

1/2 c. quinoa, rinsed thoroughly

1 c. vegetable broth

1 tbsp. olive oil

1 medium onion, diced

1 apple, cored and diced

1/2 c. shredded sharp or smoked cheddar cheese

1/4 c. dried cranberries

2 tbsp. chopped sage

2 tbsp. chopped walnuts

salt + pepper to taste

1 egg, whisked

3 small acorn or sweet dumpling squash, cut into 1/2-inch slices (remove seeds & guts)

1 tbsp. butter, melted

1 tbsp. maple syrup

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray two rimmed baking sheets with cooking spray or oil and place squash rings on sheets.

Cook quinoa in broth according to package directions. Cool slightly.

Heat olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add onion. Cook about 10 minutes, or until onion is just beginning to brown. Add apple and cook about 5 minutes more, until apple is softened. Allow to cool slightly.

Combine quinoa, apple and onion mixture, cheese, cranberries, sage, and walnuts in a large bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir in egg.

In a small bowl, combine butter and maple syrup. Brush tops and insides of squash rings with butter mixture; season with salt and pepper.

Stuff quinoa filling into the center of each squash ring, pressing down to fit as much stuffing as possible without overflowing. Spray tops of squash with oil or cooking spray. Bake 30-40 minutes, or until tops are golden brown and squash is tender.


Green Beans & Caramelized Shallots

3 tbsp. olive oil, divided

8 shallots, halved and thinly sliced

2 lbs. fresh green beans, trimmed

salt + pepper to taste

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over low heat. Add shallots and a pinch of salt. Cook until caramelized, stirring occasionally at first and more frequently as shallots begin to brown. Depending on your stove, this could take between a half an hour to a little over an hour.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss green beans with olive oil, salt, and pepper on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until tender and just beginning to brown. Transfer to serving dish and top with shallots.


Mashed Potatoes & Oyster Mushroom Gravy

1 tbsp. olive oil

1/2 c. chopped onion

1 tsp. dried thyme

1/4 tsp. salt

8 oz. oyster mushrooms, sliced

1/4 c. dry sherry

3 c. mushroom stock or vegetable broth

1 1/2 tbsp. all-purpose flour

2 tbsp. water

2 tbsp. butter

1/8 tsp. black pepper

Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and saute 1 minute. Add thyme, salt, and mushrooms and saute about 8 minutes, or until mushrooms are browned. Add sherry and cook until liquid evaporates. Stir in broth. Bring to a boil and cook until gravy is reduced to about 2 cups (about 14 minutes).

Whisk together flour and water in a small bowl. Add mixture to skillet; return to boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in butter 1 tablespoon at a time and pepper.


French Bread Stuffing with Swiss Chard & Caramelized Red Onions

2 tbsp. olive oil

2 large red onions, halved and thinly sliced

1 bunch Swiss chard (about 1 pound), stems removed and leaves torn into bite-sized pieces

1 (8 ounce) stale baguette, cut into 3/4 inch cubes

1 large egg, beaten

2 oz. shredded fontina or Italian blend cheese

salt + pepper to taste

1 1/2 c. vegetable broth

oil mister or cooking spray

Heat oil in a large skillet over low heat.  Add onions and a pinch of salt. Cook until caramelized, stirring occasionally at first and more frequently as onions begin to brown. Depending on your stove, this could take between a half an hour to a little over an hour.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add chard and cook 5 minutes. Remove and rinse with cold water. Drain thoroughly and set aside.

Place bread cubes in large bowl. Add egg; toss to coat. Stir in onions, chard, cheese, salt and pepper, and broth. Transfer to 3 quart baking dish that's been coated in cooking spray. Bake covered for 30 minutes. Remove cover, spray top with oil or cooking spray, and bake 15-20 minutes more until stuffing is golden brown.


Rosemary Roasted Carrots

2 bunches of small carrots (about 24), peeled

1 tbsp. olive oil

1 tbsp. minced rosemary

salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss carrots with olive oil on a rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle with rosemary, salt & pepper. Bake 20-25 minutes or until tender.


Whipped Sweet Potatoes

4 large sweet potatoes (about 4 pounds)

3 tbsp. maple syrup

2 tsp. vanilla extract

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

salt to taste

chopped candied pecans (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 

Pierce sweet potatoes several times with a fork. Place on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until tender and starting to caramelize. The time depends on the size and shape of potato you're using, but it's usually between an hour and an hour and a half. Allow to cool slightly.

Once potatoes have cooled, remove skin. Place potatoes in bowl and whip with a hand mixer at medium speed. Add maple syrup, vanilla extract, and cinnamon and mix until combined. Stir in salt to taste. Transfer to serving bowl and top with pecans, if desired.


Ginger Orange Cranberry Sauce

8 oz. fresh or frozen cranberries

1/2 c. granulated sugar

1/2 c. ginger ale

1/4 c. freshly-squeezed orange juice

1 tbsp. orange zest

Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer 10 minutes, stirring often and using the back of a wooden spoon to smash cranberries against side of bowl. Sauce will thicken as it cools.


Slow Cooker Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Creme Anglaise

6 c. stale bread cubes (I used French bread)

1/4 c. raisins (dried cranberries or dark chocolate chips would work too!)

1/4 c. chopped pecans

2 eggs, beaten

3 c. milk (I used 2%)

1-14.5 oz. can pumpkin

3/4 c. brown sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

Grease slow cooker with butter. Transfer bread cubes, raisins, and pecans to slow cooker. Stir to combine.

Combine eggs, milk, pumpkin, brown sugar, vanilla, and pumpkin pie spice in a large bowl. Pour over bread cubes. Cover and heat at low for 3-4 hours, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Serve with creme anglaise.

2 c. half and half

4 large egg yolks

1/2 c. granulated sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

To make the creme anglaise, heat half-and-half in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook until just simmering, about 5 minutes.

In a medium bowl, whisk together sugar and egg yolks. Slowly add half of half-and-half mixture to the egg yolk mixture, whisking constantly. Pour half-and-half and egg mixture back into saucepan and raise heat to medium. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon until sauce has thickened and coats back of spoon, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat immediately and stir in vanilla extract; pour through strainer into a heat-proof bowl. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Recipes by Kiersten, Photos by me.