hunters in the best way, using every inch of the meat for eating through the winter. They always thank the animal for the abundance it provides and Tom always buries the heart in the place where the animal was taken. Last year, we had venison tenderloin cut right off the deer that was hanging to age on their back porch. This year, Peggy made a venision roast that is probably the best meat I've ever put in my mouth. (Sorry, dad!) This really was the best Thanksgiving as far as the quality and taste of the food that I've had thus far in my life.
I contributed the pecan cheesecake pie shown above, Brussels Sprouts with Apples and Bacon and a big green salad with dried currants, pine nuts, radishes and a homemade balsamic vinagrette. I find if anything is usually missing from a Thanksgiving feast it will be something nice and fresh and green. One of Tom's brothers, Carlo, made some fantastic garlic and herbed mashed potatoes. Peggy roasted sweet potatoes with butter and honey. Tom's mother made a cold green bean salad with beans from their garden and of course, we had turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce.
I'd like to thank Peggy and Tom and Tom's family for being so gracious in sharing their holiday with me and bringing me in just like a member of the family. Holidays can be difficult for single people far from home, but they are so generous and warm that it keeps me from missing my family and friends in Georgia so much.
Now, the recipes.
Pecan Cheesecake Pie
1/2 (15 oz.) package refrigerated pie crusts
1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, softened
4 large eggs, divided
3/4 cup sugar divided
2 tsp. vanilla extract, divided
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/4 cup chopped pecans
1 cup light corn syrup
Fit pie crust into a 9-inch pie plate according to package directions. Fold edges under and crimp. Beat cream cheese, 1 egg, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 tsp. vanilla and salt at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. (What did they ever do without electric mixers?) Pour cream cheese mixture into pie crust; sprinkle evenly with chopped pecans. Whisk together corn syrup, remaining 3 eggs, 1/4 cup sugar and 1 tsp. vanilla; pour mixture over pecans. Place pie on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees on lowest oven rack 50-55 minutes or until pie is set. Cool on a wire rack 1 hour or until completely cool. Serve immediately or cover and chill up to 2 days. You would never know this pie was so easy it comes out so rich and delicious!
Sauteed Brussels Sprouts with Apples
1 1/2 lb. Brussels sprouts, trimmed
4 bacon slices
1 Braeburn apple, peeled and diced (I have no idea what kind of apple I used as Tom's mother gave me some from their tree. It worked fine.)
2 Tbsp. minced shallots
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup dry white wine (I used a chardonnay - gasp!)
1/4 cup low-sodium fat-free chicken broth
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/4 cup freshly shaved parmesan cheese
Cut Brussels sprouts in half, and cut into shreds. Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium heat 8-10 minutes or until crisp; remove bacon, drain on paper towels, reserving 3 Tbsp. drippings in skillet. Crumble bacon. Saute' apple, shallots and garlic in hot drippings over medium-high heat 3 minutes. Stir in wine and next 3 ingredients, stirring to loosen particles from bottom of skillet. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes. Add Brussels sprouts; saute' 8-10 minutes or until sprouts are crisp-tender. Top with shaved parmesan and crumbled bacon. Serve imediately. (I wasn't able to serve immediately so I kept the bacon and parmesan separate and added after heating the Brussels sprouts in the microwave.) They were great!