Thanksgiving 2008
I apologize for the poor photos, I didn’t get a chance to take as many as I wanted… and I had poor lighting. Regardless, the food still tasted great! So Garlic Mashed Potatoes… this recipe is incredibly easy to make. It’s your basic mashed potatoes but I’ve gotten some feedback… people don’t know how to make mashed potatoes! Here it is, very simple!

10 potatoes, washed, scrubbed & peeled – in America I would go with russet idaho potatoes, here, I picked some browned ones that looked closest to russet
5 cloves of garlic, chopped fine
6 tablespoons of butter
1 cup of heavy cream
3/4 cup of milk

Step 1: Boil away
After scrubbing and washing the potatoes, make sure they’re peeled and pat dry with a paper towel – this will help to avoid slipping. Personally, I like keeping the skin on and mixing it in with the mash but this time I thought I’d try to make them look creamy and smooth without the brown chunks of skin. It’s Thanksgiving, it’s all about presentation right?! OKAY, cut the potatoes into large chunks – probably around 2 or 3 inches. Throw them into a large pot of boiling water and let that cook for about 15 – 20 minutes or until soft. Poke a fork in a chunk to see if they’re ready, you want them soft but not at the point where they’ve crumbled to the bottom of the pot. Drain and throw them back into the pot.

Step 2: Mash and mix
If you have a masher, great, start mashing! Make sure the heat is down to as low as you can get it. Pour in the heavy cream while you’re mashing and get it all mixed in. Once it’s all mashed, slowly pour in the milk and keep mixing. In a small saucepan, melt the butter and throw in the garlic. Let that simmer and bring out the flavors for about 5 – 8 minutes. I personally like to brown my garlic but most people like the garlic to be an added flavor and not too overpowering so I just let it simmer a little bit. Pour in that garlic and butter mixture into the potatoes and mash away.

Step 3: Serve
So Australians don’t eat their mashed potatoes with sour cream and chives, I guess it’s an American thing. I think only a couple people used the garnish. You can mix in the sour cream and chives right into the mash before plating so it’s all mixed in or you can keep it separate. I like keeping it separate so I can put a heaping spoonful 🙂

Hope this comes in handy! You can vary the recipe as much as you want to taste, that’s the best part about mashed potatoes. Add in bacon bits, cheese, whatever!


Thanksgiving 2008
Unfortunately, I cannot find a decent photo of this dish. I will have to remake and repost the image. For now, this will have to do… it’s blurry I know… deal with it, it tasted delicious! But before I forgot what I did, here’s the recipe!

4 large sweet potatoes or yams (depending on where you live and what they call them)
2/3 cup of brown sugar
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of salt
5 tablespoons of butter
1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg
pinch of ground ginger
fresh ground pepper – to taste
1 – 1 1/2 cup of small marshmallows

preheat oven to 350°F or 170°C

Step 1: pre cook
Scrub and wash the sweet potatoes and then peel them. Cut into about 2-in chunks, make sure you keep them around the same size so they cook evenly. In a large pot, bring some water to boil and throw in the chunks. Boil for about 10 minutes or until soft. Drain and arrange evenly on a baking pan – I used about a 10 x 10 dish.

Step 2: the glaze
In a saucepan, slowly melt the butter at a medium-low heat. Throw in all the spices and sugar and let them melt together. Once the brown sugar is melted and start to thicken, pour on top of the cut potatoes. Make sure the potatoes are covered with the glaze and throw it in the oven for about 45 minutes.

Step 3: the marshmallows
The glaze should be thick and sticky on the potatoes. Evenly spread the marshmallows on top of the glazed potatoes and throw them back in the oven for another 5 minutes. Be careful to not put them in for too long, they will catch on fire if you put it too close to the top (that happened last year!). You want them just turning brown and starting to melt.

Enjoy! This was one of my favorite dishes this year, the glaze really does make it taste amazing.

Thanksgiving 2008
Now to clarify I can’t really claim it’s the perfect recipe for cooking a turkey, but it’s come out nice 2 years in a row without any complaints. Each time, I freak out about how long it’s taking and worry it’s not going to be done in time for dinner, but it always came out okay at the end. There’s a lot of people who don’t cook the turkey with stuffing in it, I like to cook it in because most people prefer the stuffing cooked in the bird.

6-7 kilo/13-15 lbs thawed turkey (if you buy frozen, make sure you thaw it in the fridge for a few days)
5 sprigs of rosemary – leaves only, chopped fine
5-7 cloves of garlic – chopped fine
5 tablespoons sea salt – kosher would be better but I can’t find any so I went with pink sea salt flakes
5-6 tablespoons nice course ground pepper – fresh ground would be the best
6 tablespoons of olive oil
6 tablespoons of soft butter
4 cups of chicken or turkey stock – I couldn’t find turkey stock here, chicken works just fine
2 1/2 – 3 cups of stuffing (made and cooled to room temp)

preheat oven to 400°F or 200°C

Step 1: Prep the turkey
Unpack and wash the turkey in the kitchen sink. Take out the inside packet with all the giblets if yours comes with any. Apparently in Australia, they don’t come with guts. Place turkey on a rack in a roasting pan and pat the turkey dry with paper towels. OKAY, now we’re ready to get dirty. Turn the bird breast side down first – rub the entire area with butter, garlic, rosemary, sea salt, pepper and drizzle some olive oil once you’re done. Make sure to get it in the little pockets. Now flip over and do the same with the breast side up. I try to tuck some butter underneath the skin on the breast. Make sure to season the inside of the turkey with heaps of sea salt, butter (yes rub it in!), pepper, garlic and rosemary. NOW, make sure you tuck the wings back so they don’t stick out and burn. Just use some muscle and tuck it behind the body. Put some butter in the pockets and folds around the leg and wings and we’re ready to stuff! Carefully spoon in the cooled stuffing in the cavity of the bird – do not over stuff – it will expand. Just enough to fill the bird loosely. Now take some cooking twine and tie the legs together – I like to tie the legs down to the butt as much as possible to get it nice and closed. Put one last drizzle of olive oil and you’re ready for the roasting. Should look a bit like this:
Thanksgiving 2008

Step 2: The roasting
Cover the legs with foil. Pour about 2 cups of turkey or chicken broth onto the pan – we’ll need this for basting. In it goes for about 20 minutes at 400°F or 200°C. It’ll start looking a little brown, now we turn the oven down to about 325°F or 180°C. Baste the turkey with the stock in the tray all on top, just a couple times and try to not let the heat escape the oven. Baste every 30 minutes and rotate the tray every hour. My oven is a bit uneven, even with the fan-forced on so make sure to rotate the bird to get it cooking evenly. At around the 3 1/2 hour mark, make a tent for the bird and continue roasting. It should be looking pretty good by now and we don’t want to burn the top. Make sure to check the bird with a thermometer in the breast, stuffing and armpit area. It should read around 180°F or around 80°C for the thickest part of the thigh. Stuffing should be around 150°F or around 70°C. It doesn’t have to be exact – if you have a trustworthy thermometer that tells you what’s best for poultry, go with that! You’ll be able to tell that it’s done when the juices runs clear when you cut into it.

Step 3: You wait
Once the bird is done, take it out of the oven and let it sit for a while before carving. Best to take out the roasting tray and turkey and put it on a cutting board so you can start on the gravy. But if you’re not serving for a while, it’s okay to let it sit in the tray, make sure you keep basting to keep it moist and cover with foil.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving 2008

I didn’t get a chance to take a picture of the bird before it was cut! This is the one shot I snuck in before it was carved entirely. Thanksgiving this year was fantastic. It was my second Thanksgiving, learned a lot from last year, still repeated some mistakes – I always underestimate the time it takes to cook the bird. Before I forget, I need to write down what I made and some notes. I didn’t get very many good photos – lighting issue! – so I don’t know if I’m going to post the recipes just yet.

The Turkey – rosemary, garlic, pepper rub – roasted for about 6 hours.
The Stuffing – carrots, celery, onion + stovetop box
Garlic Mashed Potatoes – Garlic butter, cream, milk, potatoes – this was the easiest to make
Glazed Sweet Potatoes with Marshmallows – aka YAMS! the glaze was perfect
Roasted Veggies – carrots, zucchini, pumpkin, onion, rosemary, olive oil
Green Bean Casserole – came out perfect this time – 3/4 cup milk is perfect
Mac n Cheese – Smoked Gouda, Cheddar, Colby, Pepper Cheddar, bell peppers & jalapenos
Cornbread & Jalapeno Cornbread Muffins – Jalapeno Cornbread was DELISH!
Cranberry Sauce
Spinach Ricotta Salad
AND Pumpkin Pie!

Thanksgiving 2008

4 Bean Avocado Salad

So I couldn’t help myself – I had to post this great light bean salad before I forget and get lost in Thanksgiving-land. This one is really quick, simple and incredibly healthy.

1 can of cooked 4 bean mix (contains small kidney beans, garbanzo beans, lima beans, haricot/white bean)
(*note* you can just cook individual beans but who has the time to soak beans over night, then boil them, then drain them, then cool them and have them ready for a salad?)
1 small can of sweet corn kernels (you can use fresh here as well)
1 avocado – diced
1 small yellow onion – diced
1 teaspoon of habanero sauce (adjust to your own spice tastes)
2 tablespoons of chopped cilantro
Juice of 1/2 a lime
dash of tabasco (for a different type of spice flavor)
fresh ground pepper
garlic salt

Step 1: Mix it up!
Make sure to drain and rinse the beans first. Throw beans, chopped onions and cilantro in a bowl. Mix thoroughly while sprinkling garlic salt and fresh ground pepper to taste. I like more pepper than salt so I put heaps in! Mix well with a large spoon. Now add in the avocado, squeeze the lime juice over the avocado thoroughly – salt and pepper. Mix very loosely so you don’t smash the avocado.

Step 2: Eat!
That’s it! Eat up!

4 Bean Avocado Salad


I am generally not a fan of sugar cookies. The ones I usually come across are smothered with frosting or look too cakey. The only sugar cookies I do like are from Diddy Riese in LA, and only because I get the snickerdoodles with cookies and cream ice cream in it.

These came pretty good, more cookie than biscuit and with a nice flavor. I put cinnamon and sugar on top of some to make snickerdoodles.

3 cups of flour – I used pastry flour this time
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 cups of granulated sugar
1/4 cup of packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon of lemon zest
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
1 cup of soft (but not melted) butter
2 eggs
raw sugar for topping (you can use rough colorful ones or just regular sugar as well)
ground cinnamon (optional)

preheat oven to 350°F or 170°C

Step 1: the mixing
mix together the flour, baking soda, and salt and set aside. in a separate bowl mix together the granulated sugar, brown sugar and lemon zest. Then add in the lemon juice. Then add in the butter. Mix the butter in really well with the sugar – you shouldn’t be able to see yellow chunks. now add in 1 egg, mix, then add in the other and mix. Once you’ve got the eggs mixed in thoroughly – slowly add in the flour mixture from before. Add in only about a cup at a time, mix, then add in some more. Don’t over mix either!! Just enough to combine everything.

Step 2: dollop and bake
Use two spoons to make a 1 1/2 inch ball. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Use the spoon to flatten the top so it ends up being around 2 1/2 to 3 inches in diameter. Sprinkle some cinnamon and sugar on top. (You can skip the cinnamon, it’ll be just as good!) Repeat until you have enough to fill the sheet leaving enough room for the cookies to expand. Place in the oven – middle rack – for about 10 minutes or until a light golden brown.

Step 3: milk, plate and serve
Let the cookies cool on a cooling rack for approximately 10 minutes before pouring yourself a glass of milk to go with your cookies 🙂

Hope you enjoy this recipe! More on Thanksgiving recipes coming up this week!

Sugar Cookies

Hey everyone,

Sorry for the lack of posts lately. I’ve been really busy preparing for Thanksgiving and lots of freelance work to catch up on. And… there’s been some drama at the house. Last year’s Thanksgiving drama was that my dining room table that I had ordered just in time arrived without legs. We ended up having thanksgiving dinner on my patio outdoor table. This year, my neighbors upstairs decided to flood their appartment. Leaving me with a hole in my ceiling and a wet carpet. Needless to say, I was furious. Carpet has been tended to, steam cleaned and back to normal. Ceiling is waiting for a repair man but should be fine… but this was definitely not needed!

I’ve been a little stressed about Thanksgiving, only because I’m just so excited for it! So much so that I have written out my groceries list twice, planned my to-do list for both the day before and the day of. And today, I planned out my oven timeline:

Thanksgiving oven timeline

So far my Thanksgiving menu will be:

Garlic & Rosemary Roast Turkey w/stuffing
Vegetarian Stuffing
Garlic Creamy Mashed Potatoes
Chef Barnaby’s Mac N Cheese – with my own twist of course
Green Bean Casserole
Brown Sugar Glazed Yams with Marshmallows
Cranberry Sauce
Spinach Salad with Ricotta and Balsamic Glaze
Cornbread & Jalepeno Cornbread with Honey Butter
Roasted Vegetables
Pumpkin Pie

I will post recipes after the big day so I can include pictures.

Hope everyone has a happy turkey day!