Happy Thanksgiving, and God bless this wonderful country of the free. Here are some favorite Thanksgiving recipes that will be remembered after you’ve made them.

Happy Thanksgiving, and God bless this wonderful country of the free. Here are some favorite Thanksgiving recipes that will be remembered after you’ve made them.

Enjoy!

Hope’s La Louisiana Cocktail

Makes 2 cocktails.

2 ounces rye whiskey

1 ounce sweet vermouth

½ ounce Benedictine Liqueur

2 dashes of Angostura bitters

2 drops of absinthe, if desired (Optional)

Cherries

Orange slices

In a cocktail shaker, half filled with ice cubes, mix together rye, vermouth, Benedictine, bitters, and absinthe, if desired (Optional), shaking to mix well. Pour into chilled martini glasses adding a cherry and a slice of orange on the rim.

Shrimp Appetizer Cakes

Makes 16-20 shrimp cakes.

½ cup mayonnaise, more if needed to keep cakes moist

1 pound shelled and deveined shrimp, chopped

¾ cup flavored panko crumbs

2 large eggs, room temperature

3 scallions, finely chopped

1 teaspoon lemon zest

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

¼- ½ teaspoon paprika

salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste

¼ cup EVOO, olive oil

Lemon wedges for garnish

In a small bowl whisk together mayonnaise with Worcestershire sauce.

In a large bowl, mix together chopped shrimp, panko, eggs, scallions, lemon zest, paprika, salt and pepper, to taste. Form the mixture into 16-20 small ¾ inch thick shrimp cakes.

In a large skillet, heat olive oil in batches, add the shrimp cakes and cook over moderately high heat, turning once, until browned to a golden color and cooked through, about 4 minutes total, shrimp will turn pink. Transfer to a serving plate and serve with lemon wedges.

Baby Lettuce Salad with Cranberries and Pecans

1 head butter lettuce, torn into bite size pieces

2 ounces goat cheese, crumbled, about ½ cup

¼ cup dried cranberries

¼ cup dried apricots, chopped

½ cup pecans or walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped

In a large clear salad bowl toss together lettuce, apricots, and dried cranberries. Drizzle with cranberry vinaigrette. When ready to serve toss in toasted nuts and goat cheese.

Fresh Cranberry Vinaigrette

½ cup fresh cranberries

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon grated orange zest

1 tablespoon orange juice

¼ cup EVOO, olive oil

Salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste

In a blender or food processor, pulse cranberries and sugar until finely chopped. Transfer half the cranberries to a bowl. Add the lemon and orange zests and juices to the processor; pulse to combine. Slowly drizzle in the oil through the top opening. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

 

Pumpkin Bread with Rum Raisins

I won a Blue Ribbon for this bread. It freezes well and is a wonderful gift when invited to dinner. This bread tastes better the next day.

Makes 2 loaves or 6 small loaves.

2 2/3 cups granulated sugar

4 eggs, room temperature, beaten

½ cup canola oil

2 cups pumpkin solid pack or 1- 15-ounce can pumpkin solid pack

3 1/3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon baking powder

2 teaspoons baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon Chinese Five-Spice or ground cinnamon

2/3 cup water

2 cups walnuts or pecans, chopped

1 cup dark raisins

¼ cup rum (Optional)

16 whole walnut or pecan halves

Soak raisins in rum in a bowl for about 20-30 minutes. Stir raisins and rum into batter before pouring into prepared loaf pans.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray two 9 x 5 –inch loaf pans with cooking spray.

In a large bowl beat together pumpkin, eggs, oil, and water.

In another large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and Chinese Five-Spice or cinnamon. Gradually add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture, stirring until blended. Add raisins and rum, mix in evenly. Add nuts and mix in. Pour batter evenly into prepared loaf pans, tap pans on countertop to even out batter. Place nut halves 8 on each side of the middle of the batter so the crack of the bread will be inside both sides of nuts.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 50-55 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Turn out and slice when completely cool.

Twice Baked Sweet potatoes

6 slices of cooked smoked bacon, cut in half

2 medium to large sweet potatoes

4 tablespoons butter

½ cup heavy cream or half-and-half

3 tablespoons brown sugar, divided

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste

2 tablespoons brown sugar

Bake sweet potatoes in a 350 degree oven for 40-50 minutes.

Cut tips off each end of sweet potatoes about ½-inch. Cut each sweet potato in half crosswise. Carefully scoop out cooked sweet potato, not going through to the bottom, leave at least ½-inch potato in place., and put into a bowl.

Place sweet potato shells on a baking dish making sure they stand up, adjust cutting of bottom end to make them stand up.

In a bowl mix together sweet potatoes, butter, cream, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt and pepper, to taste. Divide evenly and stuff back into potato shells. Top each potato with one piece of bacon and sprinkle with brown sugar. Broil for 4-6 minutes or until bacon is toasty brown. Serve hot.

Cranberry-Orange Relish with Grand Marnier

May be made the day before. Great to give as a gift.

1 1-pound bag of whole cranberries

2 oranges or Clementines, peeled with pith removed and broken into segments then cut into small pieces

½ cup cranberry cocktail juice

1 cup apple cider or apple juice

¼ teaspoon Chinese Five-Spice or ground cinnamon

¼ - ½ cup brown sugar to taste

¼ cup Grand Marnier liqueur

In a medium saucepan, stir together cranberries, orange pieces, cranberry juice, and cider. Heat over low stirring occasionally, for 20 to 30 minutes. Add brown sugar and cinnamon, stir, and taste, it should be somewhat tart. Add Grand Marnier and stir, continue cooking over low heat for 20-30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes until reduced to a relish consistency. Great served warm or cold.

Pumpkin-Coconut Rum Pudding Pie

1 ¼ cups graham cracker crumbs

¼ cup butter, melted

¾ cup sweet flaked coconut, divided, ½ cup chopped

1 package vanilla flavor instant pudding

½ cup cold milk

1 15-ounce can pumpkin

2 tablespoons rum (Optional)

1 teaspoon Chinese Five-Spice or ground cinnamon

2 cups thawed whipped topping, divided

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a bowl mix together graham cracker crumbs, butter, and ½ cup chopped coconut; press onto bottom and up the side of a 9-inch pie plate. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned; cool completely.

In another bowl with an electric mixer beat together pudding mix, milk, pumpkin, rum, and Chinese Five-Spice for 2 minutes. Whisk in 1-cup whipped topping. Pour into baked crust, spread evenly, and top with remaining whipped topping. Refrigerate for 4-5 hours or until firm.

Toast remaining coconut; cool. When ready to serve sprinkle top of pie with toasted coconut.

To toast coconut do by spreading coconut in a shallow pan. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 5-6 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring occasionally.

Pumpkin-Cheesecake Layered Pie

1 9-inch prepared pie crust

2 8-ounce packages of cream cheese, softened

½ cup granulated sugar

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

2 large eggs, room temperature

1 cup canned pumpkin, not pumpkin pie mix

½ teaspoon Chinese Five-Spice or cinnamon

Whipped topping, if desired

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

In a bowl, with an electric mixer beat cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla until smooth. Blend in eggs one at a time.

Spread one cup of batter into bottom of crust.

Add pumpkin, Chinese Five-Spice to remaining batter in bowl, and stir gently until well blended. Carefully and evenly spread over batter in crust.

Bake 35 to 45 minutes or more until center is almost set. Cool, then refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight. Serve with whipped topping if desired.

Hope Cusick has won awards at the North Carolina Strawberry Festival in 2012; The North Carolina Blueberry Festival, winning first place for her Blueberry Cheese Danish Pastry in 2012, and placing on her blueberry spinach salad and dressing, and second place for her Sweet Blueberry Pepper Jelly in 2015; and has won various other contest awards for her blueberry cheesecake, breads, cookies, brownies and jams. She resides in Hampstead.