Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thanksgiving in Jordan

We take our Thanksgiving feasting seriously here in Amman, with some of our international friends celebrating with more than one feast! I can only manage one celebration but it is The Feast of the year, celebrated through the years with many of the same people and always the same food. Lots of tradition.

We've always managed to find a turkey, though we've sometimes had to pay dearly for it; our best ever was a 36 pound local turkey, brined before roasting. We still talk about that one. I've adapted my pumpkin pie by substituting sweet potatoes and I still bring some pecans and dried cranberries from the States for the beloved pecan pies and cranberry relish. Below is our traditional menu-- it doesn't vary much any more--and a few favorite recipes.

This year I will miss the presence of Older Daughter, not to mention her baking assistance--she baked all seven pies last year-- and her artistic table decorations. Tayta informs me she is ready to learn how to bake pies and decorate the tables so this will be a training year.

Our Traditional Thanksgiving Menu
Amman, Jordan

Roasted Turkey
Mashed Potatoes
Southern Sweet Potato Casserole (recipe below)
Cranberry Relish (receipe below)
White Flour (only on Thanksgiving!) Yeast Rolls
Homemade preserves (apricot and fig this year)
Homemade applesauce
Sauted Vegetables (carrots, green beens, mushrooms)
Relish Plate (usually overkill as everyone is full from everything else, but it looks so nice)

Apple Pies
Sweet Potato Pies (recipe below)
Pecan Pies

Southern Sweet Potato Casserole
I've been making this annually since my mother-in-law made this casserole one Christmas and then, kindly gave me the recipe. Assessing the ingredients, this dish could probably be classified as dessert, but, hey, it's Thanksgiving! I make this once a year, only.

6 cups mashed sweet potatoes
1 cup sugar
4 eggs
3/4 stick butter, melted
1 cup milk
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. cinnamon

Mix ingredients together and put in a greased baking dish. Bake covered at 400 degrees F for about 20 minutes--is is assuming that you begin with hot mashed potatoes.

*Topping (and this, is what makes the dish)
3/4 cup crushed corn flakes
1/2 cup chopped nuts (walnuts of pecans)
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 stick butter, melted

Combine the topping ingredients, sprinkle over the top of the baked casserole and bake an additional 10 minutes, uncovered, at 400 degrees F.

My solution to kids trying to taking more topping than potatoes is to make this in a larger, shallower baking dish and increasing the topping recipe by 50 percent so that I can distribute it over a larger surface.

Cranberry Relish
I love cranberry and orange together so I was very thankful to receive this recipe from a fellow overseas American. Maybe not quite as good as fresh cranberries, but much better than canned!

2 cups dried cranberries
1 unpeeled orange (no seeds)
1 apple, cored (I use a Granny Smith)
4 slices pineapple (canned works fine)
1/2-1 cup sugar (start with 1/2)

Chop (I use the pulse setting on my food processor) cranberries, orange and pineapple and combine. Chop apple finely by hand and add the apple and the sugar to the other mixture. Refrigerate overnight. Optional: add 1/4 cup nuts (walnuts or pecans)

Easy Sweet Potato Pie
You can easily substitute mashed sweet potatoes for pumpkin pack/mashed pumpkin in all pumpkin recipes.

1 9 inch unbaked pastry shell/crust
2 cups mashed sweet potatoes
1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk (NOT evaporated milk)
2 eggs
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt

In a larger mixing bowl combine all ingredients except pastry shell, mix well. Pour into pastry shell and bake at 425 degrees F for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F and continue baking 35-40 minutes or until knife inserted 1 inch from edge comes out clean. Cool before serving.

No comments: