We are headed to Cincinnati for Thanksgiving, where I will not be cooking a turkey, but will be providing the infamous sweet potato casserole (I’m making this one, from Cook’s Illustrated, which I made two years ago and thought it fantastic). The sweet potatoes have been roasted and skinned, I just need to put it all together and drive it to my mother-in-law’s refrigerator before it bakes off on Thursday.
So, it’s Thanksgiving. Which means most Americans are about to descend or be descended upon to partake of poultry, pumpkin, and potatoes in various forms. Isn’t it odd, our traditional holiday menu? Is this Thursday the only day of the year where you can have a 75% chance of correctly guessing what most Americans will be eating? And is there another day of the year when previously-stated Americans ever eat turkey (outside of on a sandwich)?
I admit to some relief at not being responsible for this year’s dinner. Though I did get a tiny bit jealous, earlier today, when my friend Kim was talking about her brine. And wondering how to remove the turkey neck from her heritage bird (just the kind of kitchen challenge I oddly covet). How fun is it, that she gets to google “how to remove neck from turkey.” Maybe, if I googled it, I would no longer be jealous.
Wishing all a happy Thanksgiving, I wanted to share a recipe for spiced cider. I’ve been drinking a hot cup of this almost every afternoon for a month — starting way back at my daughter’s late-October birthday party. I buy my apple cider by the gallon, from a local orchard who sells at our farmer’s market (it’s Wild’s Orchard, for anyone in Indianapolis, and they sell at the Winter Farmer’s Market). It’s unpasteurized, and some of the best cider I’ve ever had (good cider will make all the difference in this recipe). Five bucks will get you the gallon, and then you just need an orange, some ginger, and spices you probably already have on hand. I simmer a half-gallon at a time, and then put it in two quart-sized mason jars in the refrigerator. Around 4 o’clock each afternoon, I heat a mug-full for my afternoon treat.
This recipe is adapted from one in Everyday Food, from a fall issue about 4-5 years ago. The original recipe called for more orange and ginger, but I haven’t found it all necessary. This way, one orange will get your whole gallon spiced.
Spiced Cider (adapted from Everyday Food, October 2004)
- 8 cups (half-gallon) apple cider
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1 tsp whole cloves
- 1/2 orange, thinly-sliced
- 1 piece (2″) fresh ginger, scrubbed and thinly sliced)
Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan, and bring to a boil. Cover, and remove from heat. Let steep for half an hour, then pour through a strainer into cups or 2 quart-sized jars. Enjoy immediately, or refrigerate and reheat later.