Recipes from Elaine Gay's kitchen
2 packages orange gelatin
2 cups boiling water
1 package raw cranberries
1 12 cup sugar
1. Dissolve the orange gelatin in boiling water.
2. Grind raw cranberries and two oranges in a food processor with a fine blade (peel the oranges except for half of one; grind everything together, including the half orange rind).
3. Add sugar to ground cranberry mixture and let stand for at least 15 minutes.
4. Fold into gelatin, chill until set.
1 14 cups flour
12 tsp salt
12 cup Crisco
4 tbsp cold water (about)
1. Mix ingredients, adding cold water as needed to make a workable dough.
2. Roll thin, place in a pie pan and flute edges.
1 14 cups pumpkin (canned or cooked)
1 cup evaporated milk
1 tsp cinnamon
14 tsp allspice
1 tsp vanilla
12 cup sugar
2 eggs, slightly beaten
14 tsp salt
12 tsp nutmeg
14 tsp ginger
1. Mix pumpkin, sugar and spices well
2. Add beaten eggs, stir until well blended.
3. Add milk and mix thoroughly.
4. Pour into unbaked pie crust. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes, then turn oven down to 350 and finish baking.
5. When done, a knife inserted near the edge of the pie will come out clean.
6. Let cool. Serve with whipped topping.
Steamboat Springs On Friday afternoon, like most afternoons in longtime Routt County resident Elaine Gay's kitchen, something's cooking.
There's made-from-scratch pumpkin pie on the table, fresh-baked loaves of French bread on the counter, pasta in a strainer and meat browning on the stove.
With less than a week until Thanksgiving, Gay - whose family owns Green Creek Ranch near Lake Catamount - has taken time out of her afternoon to share some of her recipes and traditions.
"I've cooked so long - I'll be 90 before too long, and I have cooked since I was 12 years old," Gay said.
She has recipes, probably thousands of them, stored in a cookbook she published in 1995, in folders filling a drawer in the kitchen and on cards that take up a cardboard box on her porch.
"I can't find anything when I want it, but I do have a lot of recipes," Gay said.
For some of her Thanksgiving dishes, though, those recipes are more like approximations.
"I can't give you the measurements because I just don't know," she said about a favorite family casserole made with creamed corn, oysters, cracker crumbs, milk and butter.
"After I cook a recipe a couple of times, I just don't always use it."
Gay doesn't plan to cook a Thanksgiving meal this year, but in her six decades of living on her Pleasant Valley ranch, she has fed family, friends and neighbors with her tried-and-true recipes.
Like Gay, Hayden resident Sam Haslem doesn't have exact recipes for his family's traditions.
"We always had homemade mincemeat, and mother's old recipe didn't say a teaspoon of this and a tablespoon of that, it was on a proportion," he said.
"It would say so many bowls or so many measures of apple, so many measures of currants and so many measure of raisins."
Haslem's family Thanksgiving tradition starts in the morning.
"At our house over the years, Thanksgiving breakfast was a pie breakfast," he said. "We'd start out with chicken pot pie and then there were the four fall pies: apple, cranberry, pumpkin and mince."
Haslem traces pie-for-breakfast to his mother's family in New Hampshire, near the Plymouth colony.
"Mom always claimed that the first Thanksgiving, those women cooked and cooked for a day or two - and those houses out at the Plymouth colony were all very close together," he said.
"Anyway, those gals worked real hard, and on Thanksgiving morning the kids woke up and said, 'what are we having for breakfast,' and they'd say, 'just have a piece of pie,' because there'd be all these pies.
"That was the kind of historical different breakfast than having Corn Flakes and milk," Haslem said.
For morning mincemeat pie, Haslem's family recipe takes fruit - which can include apples, raisins, currants, peaches or apricots - and adds a little wild game neck meat that has been rendered and ground. Everything gets cooked together and bottled for a year's supply.
Even the crust has a special touch: "Shortening then was not hydrogenated cottonseed oil, either. Most of the shortening back in those days was all animal lard. And you know lard makes the best pie crusts," he said.
"It's an old, old family recipe. I really have no idea how old it was," he said, adding that his mother got it from her mother.
Haslem's mother was born in 1895, so these pie instructions - like family holiday traditions - have been around for a while.
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