Well, Thanksgiving was about as successful as we expected it to be…so, not half-bad. 🙂 We had a ridiculous amount of food, as all cooks involved got slightly overzealous. The six of us found ourselves with enough food for at least a dozen guests, if not more. At final count we had the turkey, 2 types of stuffing, cranberry relish, popovers, spinach, gravy, sweet potatoes, roasted potatoes, mashed potatoes, parsnips, brussel sprouts, braised carrots, ratatouille, hummus, crab dig with french bread and brie with cranberry chutney. As I said, ridiculous. Ah well, we’ve reached day four of leftovers and I’m just about done with “Thanksgiving” flavors. That being said, the shredded Turkey barbecue sandwiches, re-fried roasted potato salad, and coleslaw that graced last night’s dinner plater were awesome. Use the strong flavors of regional foods (Asia, Barbecue, Mexican, etc) to jazz up the last of the leftovers languishing in your fridge!
I stayed in my pajamas through the parade and the dog show (and most of the cooking). And started the day off right with one or three of these:
M was (mostly) in charge of the turkey this year. We talked briefly about brining, something neither of us have ever attempted and decided not to try it. Instead, we rubbed the whole turkey with herbed butter (including beneath the skin), tossed an onion, celery, carrots, apple, thyme, and cinnamon into the cavity and let it go. It roasted for about 5.5 hours and we found ourselves with this transformation:
We followed Alton Brown’s tips generally and look at the perfect browning! M and I have agree to try brining next year, simply because we are curious, but the herbed butter added succulence to the crisp skin and help keep this mostly moist. The loose “stuffing” of vegetables shortened the cook time, reduced our risk of undercooked bread dressing, and added a boost of flavor to the turkey.
Meanwhile, I made my Gluten-Free Knockoff Pepperidge Farms Cornbread Stuffing again (and in the crock pot again), and added toasted pine nuts and cooked cranberries (cranberries+1 Tbsp each sugar and water, cooked for 15-20 minutes over medium heat until most berries have burst) as I ladled it into a casserole pan and finished it to crispy in the oven. Unfortunately (again! ughh!) I forgot to take a proper photo of the stuffing. I’ll have to stuff a chicken soon (when we’re ready to face a roasted bird again) and get some proper photos for you all! The addition of pine nuts and cranberries was amazing! I think I’ll try some new flavors (sausage!) next time.
The sweet potato souffle was forgotten amidst the last minute popover baking. But I’d trade souffle for popovers any day.
The paler rolls are made from my French bread recipe. Those were slightly disappointing. I had trouble getting the rise I wanted out of the dough, but I’ll be working with this dough to see what other kinds of bread I can make in the future! The actual loaves of French Bread turned out beautifully:
Picture-perfect next to my bread cubes, pre-stuffing. 🙂
Our downfall this year, aside from the vast quantities of food, was offering very filling appetizers. The family tradition of pickles and olives is just right, enough to nibble on when the smells drifting from the oven become overwhelming. But we also put out crab dip and my mother’s infamous brie with cranberry chutney. Bad choice. My mom was the only one to think to pace herself while I, as usual, inhaled the brie. (There’s a reason I don’t stockpile cranberries in the freezer…the ability to make this chutney outside of Oct-Jan would be deadly). By the time we sat down at the table, my mother was the only one who could finish her first plate!
Really, how could you resist? I’ll be posting this delectable chutney recipe very soon. I’m planning to can up a few jars for Christmas gifts within the week! I have a ton of recipes and posts to share–Punc graduated her Puppy class on the Monday before Thanksgiving, I have several more recipes for Thanksgiving leftovers (in the meantime, check out last year’s Turkey-Broccoli Quiche and Mashed Potato Pancakes). I already mentioned last night’s barbecue dinner. It was simple enough: I shredded up slices of Turkey and added storebought barbecue sauce, hot sauce, and a touch of chicken broth until coated. I modified this Mustard-Dill Vinagrette and poured it over sliced roasted potatoes that I had pan-fried. I cobbled together a poor excuse for coleslaw dressing and shredded some cabbage and a couple carrot. Serve as sandwiches and you’re done! Bet you won’t guess it’s Thanksgiving leftovers!
Hope everyone had a lovely holiday!
Yes, I know, I’m pushing this one a bit close, but it is better than last year. Planning for Thanksgiving this year has been trying, and I’ve hardly started cooking, yet! But I think all is –finally–as settled as it can be. From here on out, I’ll have to cross my fingers and hope that my general time schedule for shuffling dishes in the oven actually works out. Here is this year’s line up:
- Brie with Cranberry Chutney– My mother’s infamous chutney, found years ago in one magazine or another. A delicious compote of cranberries, cider vinegar, and spices, served over warm, melty brie with crackers. The number one “holiday smell” for me, my friends have proclaimed that it “tastes like Christmas” and it earned the coveted space on one friend’s father’s annual cheese-plate with one bite. I will add the recipe after Thanksgiving (because it is perfect for Christmas, I’m just greedy enough to find room for it on Thanksgiving). I’m just waiting for photos!
- Crabdip with Gluten Free French Bread— M’s mum is making their family recipe and I’ll be providing the baguette. Seems like the typical recipe (crab, cream cheese, butter, Worcestershire sauce, etc) as far as I can tell. I’ll get the recipe from her someday
- Pickles and olives, as mentioned last year, are an annual tradition in my family. Not sure how it started, but it stayed. It is so engrained that it was the first thing my sister asked when Thanksgiving discussion began.
- Turkey–is under M’s direction (I think). There was some discussion of cooking it on the grill to free up the oven, but with all of us so unfamiliar with that process, I believe we’re just going to make the oven ‘work’ and do the side dishes around that. Aside from a rub of butter, I don’t think we’re planning to do much else with it. M’s mum will make the gravy with the drippings.
- Cornbread Stuffing–my tried-and-true Knockoff Pepperidge Farms Cornbread Stuffing, Gluten Free. I’ll be making it the crockpot again, and am toying with the idea of adding some other tasty additions. Maybe pine nuts or some apples or cranberries.
- Potatoes–two kinds: mashed, from my mother (mixed with cream, butter, and chive & onion cream cheese) and slow roasted, from M’s mum.
- Green Bean Casserole–by M. We managed to find fried shallots at the asian market that do not contain gluten ingredients, so we’ll have the traditional crispy topping as well.
- Ratatouille–my sister will be bringing that. Don’t know much more about it…
- Cranberry Relish–another recipe of M’s mum, cranberries and oranges and spices whirled in a food processor without any cooking required. I’m a lover of all cranberry sauces (including the can-shaped jelly), but this sounds especially refreshing against the richer flavors of the other dishes.
- Sweet Potato Souffle— I’ve been trying to track down the recipe for the dish I sampled at M’s mum’s friend’s last year, but I’m afraid it might be too late. Emeril’s recipe seems promising. It’ll be my first try at a soufflé, which does make me nervous. Maybe I’ll have Pioneer Woman’s Sweet Soul ‘Taters on standby. They’ll make a delicious breakfast the next day, if we don’t need them.
- Popovers–my go-to, favorite buttery puffs of bread.
- Pecan Pie–M’s mum’s task again.
- I was left to come up with the second dessert. My family is a big fan of pumpkin pie. M’s family is not. I’m hoping that this Spiced Pumpkin Cheesecake might just be the bridge in between. I might even sub in part goat-cheese…I’ll let you know!
So. The plan is set. But between now and then, I have a pile of work that should get started. Most of my recipes are gathered on my planning board. Best of luck as we enter the food Olympics! What are you making for Thankgiving?