Today I cut up all the bread cubes for stuffing, bought knishes, went to my in-laws' house and
stole borrowed all their baking pans while they're in Jordan (of all places!), and washed out the big brining pot, roasting pan, V-rack, and carving board. I also cleaned up some of the clutter in the kitchen and dining room. And did three loads of laundry.
Then I made a very basic cranberry sauce:
3/4 cup water
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon grated orange zest
12 oz. bag cranberries, picked over
Combine first four ingredients in a medium pot and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Stir in cranberries; return to boil. Reduce heat to medium; simmer until slightly thickened and about two-thirds of cranberries have popped open, about 5 minutes for fresh cranberries or 7 minutes for frozen cranberries. Cool and serve or refrigerate for up to a week.
Mom also makes a yummy cranberry Jello mold, so this will be enough for all of us.
Then I tried out a new appetizer:
2 cups blanched sliced almonds
1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 cup grated aged Gouda
1 pound frozen puff pastry (2 sheets), thawed
1 large egg, beaten
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Combine the almonds and cheeses in a large bowl.
Lightly roll out each sheet of pastry to smooth it out and eliminate creases. Put one pastry sheet on each baking sheet. Brush pastry all over with beaten egg. Sprinkle the almond-cheese mixture evenly all over the pastry and press down lightly so it will stick.
Cut the pastry crosswise into three sections. Cut each section into 1/2" strips. Don't bother cutting all the way through the pastry; you'll need to cut it again at the end anyhow—and it'll be easier to flip the pastry if it's not already breaking into pieces. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Heat oven to 325°. Bake pastry for 20–25 minutes, or until golden brown.
Reduce heat to 275°. Place an empty baking sheet over one of the filled baking sheets and quickly flip it over (yay, Orkas!). Peel off the parchment and discard it. Do the same with the other sheet (you can use the now-empty first sheet). Put them back in the oven and bake for another 20–25 minutes. Be sure the almonds don't burn.
Flip pastry again, onto wire racks, flinging loose almonds in your hair and all over the floor. Cool completely, then use a serrated knife to separate into straws. Store in an airtight container.