A special Thanksgiving Message from Joe Briscoe and Viva La Foodies

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So, have we all noticed how we’ve all been so busy with ourselves? We have our over stuffed schedules, and our outrageous agendas that lead us to our lists to cross-off and daily chores to complete. Before you know it you find yourself asking… “ What happened to 2008?” Now we’ve come to that time once again, when we scratch our schedules and plan a glorious gathering around a plate. Oh, and we all know this wonderful plate… This plate has no vacant real estate. As we plan to not eat as much this year, we pile our plate high with heaps of comfort food that we’ve all grown to love. From casseroles galore, endless samples of stuffings, to corn pudding (yes, corn pudding), potatoes prepared in more ways than one can fathom, and the list is longer than the day is (well at least this time of year).

Upon this day of great thanks, we gather together with friends and family, and we prep, cook, stir, preheat, snack, cook, sample, drink, cook, eat, (football), cook, eat, slumber, drink, slumber… and then prepare our palettes for dessert. Oh yes, we are all thankful for our favorite items on the post dinner menu. Even though you may seem more stuffed than the turkey was, your senses of sight and smell will convince your stomach that you will need to sample each sweet treat. Some things that I’m thankful for… I’m thankful for gooey pecan pie, rich chocolate brownies, crispy fruit cobblers, fresh baked cookies, spiced pumpkin cheesecake (yep), and well this list is endless as well.

All of these wonderful features that we dress our tables with, invoke splendid memories and emotions. So from roasted corn shuckin’ to the overly plump turducken (TUR-DU-KEN), I would have to say that this holiday is a worthy celebrated day in itself to be thankful for. So from all of us here at Viva La Foodies we wish you a Happy Thanksgiving!

PS: as a personal treat I’ve added two recipes for you to impress your thanksgiving guests with. Enjoy!

Spiced Pumpkin Cheesecake with caramel-bourbon sauce:
(Make this one day in advance)

CRUST: (pre-made crust optional)
1½ -cups of pecans, toasted, cooled
3 -table spoons of golden brown sugar
3 -table spoons of unsalted butter, melted
¼ -teaspoon of ground cinnamon

FILLING:
3 –eight ounce packages of cream cheese, room temperature
1¼ -cups of sugar
1 –teaspoon finely grated lemon peel
4 –large eggs
1 –fifteen ounce can of pure pumpkin
½ -cup of plain whole-milk yogurt
2 –table spoons of all-purpose flour
1 –teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 –teaspoon of ground cinnamon
¾ -teaspoon of ground ginger
¼ -teaspoon of ground nutmeg
¼ -teaspoon of ground cloves
1 -large pinch of salt (…or a punch of salt)

SAUCE:
1 –cup (packed) dark brown sugar
½ -cup of whipping cream
6 –tablespoons (3/4 of a stick) unsalted butter
¼ -cup of light corn syrup
½ -teaspoon of salt
3or4 –tablespoons of bourbon (use your best judgement)
1 ½ -cups of pecans, toasted, cooled

FOR CRUST: Preheat oven to 350F. Butter 9-inch springform pan with 2_-inch-high sides. Grind first four ingredients in processor until nut mixture sticks together. Press evenly onto bottom of pan. Bake curst until golden, about 15 minutes. Cool completely. Wrap outside of pan in triple layer of heavy-duty foil.

FOR FILLING: Using mixer, beat cream cheese, sugar, and lemon peel in large bowl until smooth. Beat in eggs one at a time, then pumpkin, yogurt, flour, vanilla, spices, and salt.
Pour into pan.

Set springform pan in roasting pan. Pour enough hot water into roasting pan to come halfway up sides of cheesecake. Place in oven. Bake until outer three inches puff slightly and center is softly set, about one hour 15 minutes. Cool in water bath 30 minutes. Remove from water. Cut around sides of cake to loosen. Refrigerate in pan until cold, about four hours. Cover and chill overnight.

FOR SAUCE: Bring sugar, cream, butter, corn syrup, and salt to a boil in medium saucepan, whisking until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to medium; boil one minute with out stirring. Remove from heat. Stir in bourbon, (drink some bourbon to make sure its not spoiled), then stir in pecans. Cool stirring occasionally.

Remove foil. Cut around pan sides. Cut cheesecake into wedges; spoon sauce over.

NOTES: make sure all ingredients are room temperature. To make clean cut pieces, dip knife blade into a glass of very hot water and wipe warm blade between each wedge cut.

Corn Pudding:
Ingredients
* 2 pounds frozen corn kernels, thawed
* Whole milk as needed (about 1 cup)
* 6 eggs, separated
* 1/2 cup sugar
* 6 tablespoons butter, softened
* 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
* 1 teaspoon sea salt
* 1 teaspoon baking powder
* 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Chihuahua,* Monterey Jack, or Cheddar cheese
* 1 poblano chile, roasted, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/4-inch strips
* Half of a red bell pepper, cut into strips

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 13-by-9-inch baking dish and set aside. In a food processor fitted with a steel blade, puree the corn with only enough milk to make a smooth puree, not to exceed 1 cup. With the machine running, add egg yolks, one at a time, and process 30 seconds after each addition. With the machine running, add the sugar a little at a time and continue processing until mixture is lighter in color and sugar is dissolved, about 3 minutes. Add butter and process until smooth. Transfer to a large bowl. In a separate bowl, combine flour, salt, and baking powder; fold into corn mixture. Beat egg whites until soft peaks form and fold into corn mixture, alternating with the shredded cheese. Pour into the prepared baking dish and garnish with strips of chile and red bell pepper. Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Article/Photography by Joseph Briscoe(www.briscoephoto.com)

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