Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Many thanks

It has been a while since my last post, so I'll hit the ground running with a big Thanksgiving post.

Driving down a beautifully tree-lined Lake Valley Road.

For the first time in 6 years I traveled home to Northern California for Thanksgiving. My parents were a little sad when they hear, because it meant they wouldn't get to enjoy the 70 degree weather that San Diego tends to provide on Thanksgiving. For me, I was excited to head north for the holiday. Fall leaves and crisp, cool air makes it feel more like the holidays in my eyes.

Even though I was the one traveling this year, I was still charged with making the side dishes to accompany my dad's wonderful bbq'd turkey. This was the first year in a while that I didn't make anything new. My mom requested I make my Pumpkin Muffin Stuffing and to go along with that I decided to make Roasted Asparagus and Gratin Potatoes.

The hardest part about the Pumpkin Muffin Stuffing (or dressing, as we don't stuff it in our turkey) is finding pumpkin muffins pre-made from the store. This year we lucked out by finding some pumpkin muffin mix at Crate & Barrel. So the night before the muffins were made fresh.

Pumpkin Muffin Stuffin ready to go into the oven.

Placing the top layers of potatoes on top of the bacon and cabbage.

I always have a problem with timing when I'm cooking Thanksgiving, so this year I did things a little differently. First thing in the morning I prepped as much as I could. I cooked the bacon for the potatoes, shredded the cabbage and chopped the chives. The only thing I didn't do early for the potatoes was slice the potatoes, because they tend to brown quickly. For the stuffing I chopped all of the vegetables and put them all in a bowl as they would be cooked up at the same time. For the asparagus I chopped the shallots and tarragon.

Grilled asparagus was a nice change from the traditional green bean dish.

When it came time to cook everything came together much easier and my timing was impeccable. All the dishes came out right as the turkey came off the bbq.

The bird was crackling on the bbq. The aroma in the backyard was amazing.

Two thumbs up from the cook. Time to eat!

It was a small Thanksgiving gathering, not kids' table here.

The dinner table was beautifully decorated by my mom and even though I commented on how the plates were too small, I still couldn't finish everything in front of me. All-in-all it was a very delicious dinner and I was very thankful to spend it at home with my family.
Full plate = full belly. Just how I like it.

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