Sunday, November 22, 2009

Intern Thanksgiving

Wow... been gone a while (out of town last week on a business trip)

Last night, I gathered with some friends from a summer 08 internship in Minneapolis, and we had our own version of Thanksgiving. It was an entirely delicious ordeal, with enough food to feed all six of us twice and then some, and we're already planning for Christmas.

I volunteered to make a chocolate pudding pie - not fancy in the slightest, but one of my childhood favorites, brussel sprouts and garlic mashed potatoes.

 Proof I smashed my own graham crackers to make the graham cracker crust.

The homemade, and extremely crumbly crust

Whisk the pudding like crazy!!

The finished product cooling. We stuck it in the freezer during dinner when we got to the hostess' place. It was perfect by the time we pulled it out later, and topped with homemade whipped cream.

Chocolate pudding pie with graham cracker crust and whipped cream:

1 large packet (or 2 small) chocolate pudding - the kind you have to cook
3 cups milk or half and half
* cook pudding according to directions on the package, cool

2 c of crumbled graham crackers (plus more if needed -- I used about 1 1/2 packets of grahams, or half the box)
4-6 TBS of butter (I ran out of butter, and subbed in a little water and Pam spray)
1/4 c. sugar
pinch of cinnamon

*grease or spray a pie plate or cake tin
*pour in the measured graham cracker crumbs, mix with the sugar and butter
*use your fingers to press down, and build up the sides of the crust. You may need to add up to half a cup more crumbs/butter mix
*bake in a preheated oven at 300F for about 5 mins (check to ensure it isn't burning), but up to 8-10 mins.
*Cool, then fill with pudding
*allow to sit 2-4 hours until pudding is firm. In the event you have to dash out the door, pop it in the freezer during dinner (about 1 hr to 90 mins)

Top with homemade whipped cream (1 pint cream, 3 TBS sugar -- beat or whisk in a cold bowl until fluffy and forms stiff peaks)

OK onto the sides -- Brussel Sprouts

I grossly over estimated how much of a side dish would be needed for 6 individuals, but here's the general idea of proportions:

Combine the following in  greased/sprayed 9x13 roasting dish
5 handfuls large brussel sprouts, trimmed of stems and sliced (I halved them, then chopped each half into 3 parts) -- it was enough to more than fill a 9x13 pan - - but keep in mind they shrink down quite a lot when roasted
1 c chopped walnuts
about 1 scant cup (or a good sized handful) thinly sliced and halved onions
(about 4-5 pieces of bacon or pancetta chopped is a nice addition to this dish - but we had vegetarians/non-pork eaters, so I omitted it, and it tasted delicious)
Salt and Pepper generously

sprinkle about 3-4 TBS brown sugar over the dish and drizzle with balsamic vinegar to your tasting.

Roast at 325 F for 20-30 mins, checking around the 20 min mark. You want some parts to be crispy, but the largest pieces to be soft. In the last 5 mins, mix in about 1/3 c water

And finally, the mashed potatoes:

Again, we made WAY too many of these - so this would probably serve about 10 people or more.

Boil (about 15-20 mins)
about 15 red potatoes, cut into chunks, skin still on in a pot with salted water. mix in about 2 tsp garlic powder

Drain the potatoes and return to pot, allow to sit over medium heat, stirring occasionally, to allow the steam and moisture to leave the potatoes.

Allow 3/4 stick of butter to melt into the potatoes, then mash gently with a large spoon or ricer, mix in 2 TBS garlic salt, about 1/3 c buttermilk, and 3 TBS parm cheese (optional). You may need to add up to half a cup of buttermilk, depending on your potatoes.

I finish mine with a few minutes being blended with an electric mixer, so they are light and fluffy.

In addition to the above,  our intern dinner featured cranberry honey wheat rolls (watch for an attempted re-make of these soon), vegetarian chili, brie-stuff mushroom caps, chicken piccata, macaroni and cheese, and was followed by peppermint ice cream pie, apple dessert on more ice cream, and the aforementioned chocolate pudding pie. It was intense. :-)

Dreaming? of Intern Christmas.... hopefully we'll be a little more sane about the number of dishes we all bring! :-)

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