Thanksgiving really began at our house one week before November 24th. Thursday, November 18th to be exact.
The Third Thursday Potluck was that evening & called for something special to take along as it was the last Third Thursday Potluck of 2011. A special cocktail/tonic has become my regular potluck dish. I have made many cocktails to take to this wonderful monthly dinner hosted by my friend and fellow blogger Nancy Vienneau (www.goodfoodmatters.com) and my friend, Gigi Gaskins owner and fabulous hat maker at “HatWRKS” (check it out on Facebook).
I wanted this holiday cocktail to contain ingredients that represent my geographical place as well as a Southern based liquor & be wintry. This recipe, which is a Toast to the Holidays and an Ode to Winter, is one I hope you will try. On warmer fall days like we have been having here in Nashville it was perfect over ice, but as the days become chillier it is very cozy served hot and I am sure it has medicinal properties that will ward off colds & flu during the holidays. I could not think of a name for my concoction….Wouter came up with the perfect name don’t you think?
Ingredients: (for about 2 quarts for a party)
6 cups Pear Cider
2 cups Jack Daniels Tennessee Honey Whiskey
1 cup Pear Liqueur
2 TBSP Ginger Jam or Preserves
Mix all ingredients together in a large container.
Add one or two whole peeled winter pears to a pitcher. Pour cocktail mixture over pears and chill until ready to serve. (Later these pears will make a very nice dessert)
You can make this cocktail ahead of time and keep refrigerated over the holidays to have on hand ready to serve when the moment calls for a relaxing drink with friends. Add a few crispy pear slices and a small teaspoon of ginger jam to each glass whether serving cold or hot.
The remainder of my week between the Third Thursday & the Fourth Thursday of November was a bit of a blur. This was not due to imbibing to much Poire Jacques by the way!
There were calls to work out-of-town, calls to work in town, shoots booked, cancelled and rebooked, recipe development & testing to be done, a food video shoot in my kitchen on Wednesday so by Thanksgiving day I had already cooked & styled 2 pork loins with fruit stuffing, baked some yummy chocolate cookies, Wisconsin cherry scones & cupcakes with a buttercream frosting, pie crusts, pies, roasted red bell peppers and a garden greens saute, and that is just part of the list. We had bid happy holidays to our grown children going to Wisconsin & Knoxville to visit relatives and taken in our grandson’s Jack Russell, Bill to spend a few days with our dog Ella.
Our Thanksgiving was a day of walking dogs in crunchy, colorful fall leaves, watching four “Boardwalk Empire’s” back-to-back, going to see “Descendents” at the movies, stopping by to see the progress on an inn our friends John and Liz are getting ready to open here in Nashville, eating big bowls of Perciatelli with MeatBalls & Red Sauce along with some red wine and being thankful for all of this and more.
“A Quick Sweet/Savory Breakfast Frittata with Pears & Blackberries” (for the folks working on the video at my house to enjoy)
One sheet of puff pastry slightly thawed
4 slices of good sharp white cheddar
2 cups thinly sliced hard pears
1 cup fresh blackberries
4 eggs whisked with 1/2 cup cream, 4 ounces softened cream cheese & 1 tbsp raw or brown sugar
Extra raw sugar for sprinkling on top
Maple syrup for drizzling on top of servings
Turn oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 10 inch cast iron skillet. Line skillet with sheet of puff pastry.
Arrange cheddar slices over bottom of pastry & top with pear slices. Pour egg-cream mixture over pear slices and sprinkle with blackberries & raw sugar.
Bake until puffy & golden brown and until eggs are set in the middle. Remove from oven & let sit for a few minutes before serving. Sprinkle with a bit more sugar. Drizzle with maple syrup.
The crispy-flakiness of the puff pastry along with the naturally sweetness of the fruit, the savory egg & cheddar cheese topped with a bit of sweet maple syrup & the crunch of raw sugar makes for the perfect quick breakfast that is not cloying sweet nor too savory.
“A Little Seasonal Gallery of Fun”