Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving Day Menu

one heck of a spread !!

Had an absolutely wonderful Thanksgiving with my family. Most people would assume that as crazy as I am, I'd take over in the kitchen and do the whole thing. Surprisingly, that's not the case. For years, we had a tradition of going to my sister's Wednesday night, making pie and ordering takeout, then the three of us cooking the meal together the next day. Since she's moved out of state we don't do it as often, but this year we didn't have much going on at home, so we decided to pack up the kitchen and head on up. I am so, so glad we did....I almost forgot how much fun this was :). We're pretty casual about the meal itself (this year a few of us were in Pats shirts, and the meal was served at halftime). As long as there's seriously good food, we're happy.

I think this year was our best yet :)

Here for posterity, the menu...with links to some items and recipes. Will post a few more (well, mine at least) at some point...for now, I'm just impressed looking at it all together :)

Brined Turkey (we basically used this brine - the one from Alex's wild turkey - but used maple syrup instead of brown sugar)  - with plenty of gravy of course ! Mark and I did the brine earlier in the week, and Mark took charge of turkey maintenance this year. Best. Turkey. Ever.

Cornbread-Sausage Stuffing - usually we add pecans, but had to leave them out this year for health reasons...still an amazing stuffing though!! Truly the three of us together on this one.

Mashed Potatoes - pretty stock, says little sister, but she did use heavy cream instead of milk. Yum !!

Spinach Provencal - I have made this for every Thanksgiving I have ever cooked was from the very first cookbook anyone ever bought for me, the original Vegetarian Epicure. I was...eleven, I think. (Thank you LG...I still use this book constantly. As you can see :) ). This will convince even spinach haters to give it a try...I up the cheese a bit (maybe 1 1/3 cups, max), and I use baby spinach so I don't have to de-stem it.

Baked Acorn Squash - this is something my sister and I make all the mother taught us years ago. Halve and gut acorn squash, microwave 10 minutes cut side down and 5 cut side up (more if you're doing multiple...upside down until squishable, right side up until soft). When you flip them, add a generous pat of butter and seasonings...sister did them this year : brown sugar, maple syrup, cinnamon. I usually do maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Ginger, allspice, cardamom would work...go forth and spice it up !

Cranberry Sauces - we have to do both kinds. Most of us like my homemade, but some people - who shall remain nameless - insist on the canned kind - with lines, no lumps. So, we go both ways :)

Crescent Rolls - yup, the tacky refrigerated kind. I do make homemade bread and rolls quite often, but we end up doing these for Thanksgiving. Guilty pleasure, I guess...damn things really are addictive.

Corn - our youngest diner is a bit picky, so some plain corn for him. At least it looked Thanksgiving-y

Desserts were Maple Pumpkin Pie (mine) and apple pie (Mark's) - both using my crust - and a butterscotch Kaluha pudding pie, courtesy of my sister. Did plain whipped cream along with cinnamon...both tasty and delicious.

A note about wine...we had a serious amount of wine. For reds, Beaujolais Nouveau is perfect - comes out only at this time of year, and matches up beautifully with the typical Thanksgiving menus. We also did some Zinfandel and Shiraz....always fun to mix it up. For whites, we mostly had Rieslings - a nod to our German heritage that happens to go really, really well with turkey - but we also finally cracked open the perry (pear cider) from the Russell Orchards road trip. We were right, it goes perfectly with turkey as well.

Happy, happy Thanksgiving to you and yours...will leave you with some pictures. Thanks to all of you for reading along !!


spinach Provencal
apple pie

looks well done because of the sugar in the brine...really perfect though !!

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