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Pumpkin & Acorn Squash Gratin

If our Thanksgiving party last weekend had a mic drop dish, it would be this. It was gone before I could blink, and it has been the most-requested recipe of the party. Something about the sweetness of the squash and pumpkin and the cheesy, creamy, garlic gratin together. Sizzling. It took everything I had in my power not to lick the dish (I might have licked my fingers though).

 

pumpkin gratin 2

 

Pumpkin & Acorn Squash Gratin

 

1 medium size sugar pie pumpkin

1 medium size acorn squash

1 block white cheddar cheese

1 cup shredded asiago cheese

2 cups heavy cream

2 garlic cloves

1 pinch red pepper flakes

1 pinch of salt

 

Peel, core, halve, and slice your pumpkin and squash. Slices should be 1/8″- thin, but not paper thin. Grate cheese. Preheat oven to 350F.

 

In a medium size pot heat cream with garlic, salt, and red pepper flakes. Scald by bringing almost to a boil, and then cutting the heat. In a large casserole dish layer pumpkin, cheese, squash, cheese, repeat, ending with cheese. Top with asiago and a sprinkle of salt.

 

Remove the garlic from the cream and pour the cream into the casserole dish, pouring mainly around the edges so as not to disturb your layers. Bake for 45 minutes or until bubbling, browned, and smelling so good you can barely wait to dig in.

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Smoked Turkey

Guys, over the years we’ve made a lot of turkeys. We’ve roasted turkeys, grilled turkeys, fried turkeys, soaked turkeys in bourbon, and even wrapped them in bacon. We’ve made and eaten a turkey at Fauxgiving, our annual cook-and-serve-for-the-blog fest every year since we started this site (so… 7 years?). That doesn’t even mention the turkeys we’ve made on our own time. That’s all to say, that I think I have a new favorite way to prepare my Thanksgiving turkey, and it’s compliments of our smoker.

 

smoked turkey 5

smoked turkey 4

 

If I had to choose a best investment of the 20teens it would definitely be our smoker. We’ve smoked everything from pork shoulders to oysters, and have loved every single thing that’s come out of it. The turkey was no exception. It was the most beautiful dark brown color on the outside and, thanks to the brine, was juicy and delicious on the inside. The smoke flavor shone through really nicely, and it was a fantastic compliment to everything else on the table (which is turkey’s main job, right? To support the cheesy potatoes?). A testament to its overall quality? By the end of the night it was picked clean. There was not a shred of meat left on that bird. That’s the kind of feedback I’m looking for!

 

smoked turkey 3

smoked turkey 2

 

Smoked Turkey

12-14lb fresh or thawed turkey

2 lemons

Head of garlic

 

for the brine:

3/4 cup kosher salt

1 lemon

1 bay leaf

1 tbsp peppercorn

4 cloves garlic

Water

 

for the baste:

1 cup olive oil

1 tbsp red pepper flakes

1 tbsp cayenne pepper

1 tbsp garlic powder

1 tbsp sea salt

 

Thoroughly rinse your turkey and place in a large pot or container. Cover with water. Mix in salt, halved lemon, bay leaf, peppercorns, and garlic. Cover and let sit overnight, or up to 2 days in a chilled environment.

 

Smoking turkey takes approximately 20 minutes per pound, so for a 14lb bird make sure you schedule yourself about 5 hours of smoking time, plus an hour for the meat to rest. Load your smoker up with the wood of your choice (we went with Jack Daniels barrels chips because the hardware store had them and that seemed fun), and hit your bird with a nice coat of baste. Quarter the lemon and stuff the cavity with the lemon and garlic heads (whole and peeled).

 

Heat your smoker to 200 degrees and get rolling! Baste your turkey once or twice every hour, and after 3.5 hours start checking the temperature when you baste. Your optimal temperature for poultry is 165F in the breast, so once you hit that you want to pull the bird out of the smoker and allow it to rest. Once its rested for an hour and the juices have had the opportunity to redistribute, slice and enjoy!

 

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Lovely Internet 11.15.15

1. Today we mourn for the people of Paris, for the people of Beirut, for the people of Kenya, for the people of Syria, for the people of every terrorized and war torn nation, including our own. We mourn for the people whose lives are taken because of hate, bigotry, and fear. And we remember, above all things, that terror has no religion, or people.

2. The way people eat is changing.

3. Woah.

4. Keeping pork pure in NC.

5. What it means to slaughter an animal you care for.

6. Sex positive parenting.

7. Thanks for modernizing this, Alanis.

8. The real question here is, can I eat this for breakfast?

9. Have you watched Master of None? Everything I hear about it is amazing.

10. Listen to how Civil Rights activists in the 1950s were described and compare it to how Civil Rights activists today are described. Sound familiar?

 

For more tidbits from Elena the person, follow me on twitter (@elenabrent or @biscuitsandsuch), instagrampinterest or facebook. Subscribe to my bloglovin’ feed to make sure you never miss a post. Follow along with MissElenaeous for thoughts on everything other than Southern food.

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