Tuesday, December 2, 2008

No, thank you

To start our day, a rainbow appeared in the sky outside. A sign of a good Thanksgiving, indeed.

Another Thanksgiving has come and gone. I have so much fun during this holiday. I take joy in searching for new and interesting ways to spice up traditional dishes. For the fourth year, my parents traveled to San Diego to celebrate the holiday. Unlike previous years, I had a partner to help with the cooking this year (which was a BIG help).

There's our bird. All snug as a bug in a rug and ready to be cooked and served.

At the early hour of 10:35, the bird went in the oven.
My roommate Liz and I sorted through the various recipes we’d pulled aside for Thanksgiving about a week before the big day. Then Liz so generously compiled a shopping list that the two of us would share. We shopped for some items at the Hillcrest Farmers Market the Sunday before Thanksgiving, but found that it was getting pretty expensive. Liz did, however, manage to pull together some gorgeous flowers that she arranged as our table centerpiece. The rest of the shopping was done a breakneck speed Tuesday morning before Liz had to work. We hit Henry’s, Ralph’s and Trader Joe’s in 50 minutes crossing off everything on our list.
The 2 cooks hard at work.
Here is what we served:

Bacon-cheddar butterflies – In EveryDay with Rachel Ray there was a featured article with six different apps to make with puff pastry. The fact that it had bacon in it sold me instantly.
Olive variety & Manchego cheese – self explanatory.
Rosemary pecans – Liz was in charge of these and I’m not exactly sure of the recipe, but they were tasty.

Liz put together a gorgeous floral centerpiece. My mom brought the napkins to match.

Gather 'round, dinner is served.

Main menu
Turkey – stuffed with onions, apples, sage, rosemary, garlic and rubbed down with butter, salt and pepper. We decided to cook the turkey in a bag this year.
Stuffing – I found a delicious looking recipe on Food Network from Emeril Lagasse. For the past two years I’ve made a Rachael Ray recipe using pumpkin muffins instead of bread (which has always been a hit), but the spinach, artichoke and brie combination in this stuffing looked too good to pass up. The recipe was for 10-12 people, since we didn’t have close to that many people at our dinner, I tried to halve the recipe, but not quite in half. It turned out a little dry for my liking, but other people thought it was good.
Potatoes – I made this recipe two years ago and it was a success, but using Manchego cheese isn’t always the cheapest way to go. I returned to this recipe even though my Ultimate Potato Gratin from last Thanksgiving was a success. We were going to use prosciutto in the vegetable dish and bacon in an appetizer and while I’m an advocate for all things bacon, that might have been a little overkill, so I kept the potatoes simple.
Vegetable dish – I am very much against the same-old green bean casserole that shows up at every holiday table (for a reason that is far beyond my knowledge). For the past two years I’ve been searching for a good green bean replacement. Last year I made a more upscale green bean casserole. This year I opted for something a lot lighter.
Fruit side – Liz found a fantastic winter fruit salad on a blog we read called smitten kitchen. I think this was my favorite dish on the table this year.

We don't often eat around the table, so it was a little squishy with all the dishes.
Pumpkin-pie Cheesecake – Martha Stewart, and Liz, outdid themselves on this number. Wow. I didn’t have any Thanksgiving night, but I’ve had a slice every day since. And maybe even some for breakfast. Liz went with her own crust on this cheesecake that included pecans, and it was amazing!
Traditional apple pie – Liz claims that this didn’t turn out too well because it was too runny, but I begged to differ. Thought it was delicious, especially when warmed and served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

All in all dinner (or late lunch) turned out really well. Nobody left the table with an empty stomach. Liz and I were pretty tired after all was said and done, but the effort was well worth the 30 minutes it took the six of us to polish our plates.

Keep an eye out for my Thanksgiving leftover Monday Night Meal.
Oh yeah, in case you were wondering, while the thought did cross my mind because our dining table is fairly small, we did NOT eat this meal in front of the TV. However, lots of Wii was played after and even Kung Fu Panda was seen later in the night.

1 comment:

RedJester said...

Good food, family and friends. Sounds like a recipe for fun times. Our family's meal was much the same except other "traditional" favorites like kitsune zushi ("fox ears" sushi)and australian wine & cheese for appetizers.

Also my young "cousin" who is in that "sandwich phase" of his life had a hand in creating what might be a new Thanksgiving hit:
The Turkey Cranberry Slider
It's pretty much what you think it is. We used the hawaiian rolls, turkey shreds, a bit of cranberry sauce, and some blue brie. Nuked it 'til warm. The kid loved it and they are pretty tasty and snack sized. Could use bacon I think.