Wednesday, November 16, 2011

thanksgiving 2011

writing about food is hard for me because i am inexperienced with describing it as anything other than "good" or "not good." well, cilantro is "the grossest thing on earth aka soapy baby spit" but other than that i am limited in my descriptors. i think this shortcoming makes me less confident in posting more often. how many times do you want to read that such and such was "delicious?"

anyway here are my plans for thanksgiving, which we are hosting both thursday and friday for two different crowds, and this list does not include the couple of dishes i am making for the thanksgiving at david's mother's house on wednesday (turkey, gravy, and also corn and clam chowder from my The New England Table cookbook):

the turkey recipe i'm using for all THREE turkeys i'm preparing is from martha stewart only i'm going to add more of the herbs and vegetables called for and i will also brine it in half the time especially since the turkeys will "only" be around 10-12lbs each. i just reserved some fresh free-range turkeys from sprouts online. i practiced this recipe on a chicken last week and thought it was delicious despite david saying it tasted too much like butter (the butter wine mixture was the only thing i didn't scale down for the size of the chicken because i thought i needed the full amount to soak the cheesecloth. i think i was right in keeping it at a full stick of butter so neener.)

i'm going to make gravy ahead of time using bon appetit's guide since i don't care for gravy personally, it's important that i use a good recipe for it because i know other people like it. i'll also make a mushroom gravy with vegetable broth and wild mushrooms as another option, especially since some vegetarians and one person who's allergic to poultry might be joining us.

last year i made Bacon and Rosemary Sauteed Brussels Sprouts and Baby Bellas and it got a lot of people to eat brussels sprouts. i'm making it again this year because i really liked it. it's from my Fast, Fresh, and Green cookbook:

serves 5

1 lb brussels sprouts
8 oz cremini/baby bella mushrooms wiped clean
1/4 c extra virgin olive oil
2 oz bacon cut into 1 inch pieces
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
1 tsp kosher salt
2 Tblsp unsalted butter cut into pieces
1/4 lemon

trim the stem ends of the brussels sprouts. cut the smallest sprouts into quarters. cut the largest sprouts in half and then cut each half into thirds. in both cases, cut lengthwise through the stem so that a piece of the core holds the leaves together. cut the mushrooms in similar fashion.

in a 10-inch straight sided saute pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. add the sprouts, mushrooms, bacon, and rosemary. season with the salt and, using tongs, stir well to combine everything. the pan will be very crowded and that's okay.

turn the heat down to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally at first and then more frequently when the vegetables begin to brown, until the vegetables are well browned and the brussels sprouts are tender (the stems may still be a bit firm), 28 to 30 mins. the bottom of the pan will be quite brown. remove the pan from the heat, discard the rosemary, and add the butter pieces. stir gently with a silicone spatula until all of the butter has melted. give a generous squeeze of lemon over all and stir again. taste and season with more lemon, if needed. serve warm.

another brussels sprouts recipe i almost considered is brussels sprouts gratin but i already had decided on Baked Penne with Farmhouse Cheddar and Leeks only subbing chopped raw cauliflower for the penne (it should cook while it bakes). i love vegetable dishes and i say this even though i don't consider cauliflower a vegetable, it's a non-food (like tofu) in my opinion. how does white have any nutrients in it? plus the cauliflower-instead-of-pasta should help it keep better since i plan to make it a day ahead instead of just two hours (who calls that "make ahead?")

i plan to make brioche rolls from my River Cottage Bread Handbook and will also try to make sweet potato biscuits from martha stewart's recipe ( i am not normally a martha stewart person but in my googling sweet potato biscuits hers was the only picture that didn't look like rock hard lumps). the brioche dough can be refrigerated, the biscuits will be tricky since they supposedly become rock hard after a day.

another thing i don't really like to eat but will still be making for the enjoyment of others is cranberry relish/sauce. david likes ocean spray's canned cranberry sauce so i've usually just bought a can for him and call it good. why waste time making foodstuffs that i don't like to eat? BECAUSE I LOVE HIM! he will probably still prefer the canned stuff but maybe other people will like it. i don't really have a recipe and i am trying to decide between cooked and uncooked but basically i'm going to make it with fresh cranberries, some clementines, cinnamon and cloves, triple sec, and maybe honey instead of granulated sugar. i should probably stick with regular sugar since i don't even know how it's supposed to taste in the first place but i'm all about EXTRA FLAVOR!! so maybe i will do a test batch and feed some to the neighbors for feedback.

now the fun stuff: desserts. i am a sugar fiend and the holidays are my biggest excuse to both make and eat a million and one sweet things. it's called "getting in the spirit of things" and any other time of the year it just makes me a fatty. for sure i am making this sticky spiced double apple cake from the kitchn and for semi-traditionalists i'll make my low carb pumpkin pie with a pecan crust using the back of the trader joes canned pumpkin recipe and the special pumpkin pie spice i have that has anise or fennel or whatever in it you wouldn't normally expect. for something fun to snack on and if there's time, pumpkin rice krispie treats. since i am about 80 years old at heart and i love love love bread pudding (when done right meaning when it's totally eggy and custardy not dry) i will try to sneak this pecan burbon and butterscotch bread pudding in somewhere. also i have visions of pumpkin tiramisu and concocting my own version of a blondie brownie filled with pumpkin stuffs (this is still in the early stages of dreaming).

of course we have to provide drinks for thanksgiving so in addition to wine and champagne and eggnog and apple cider and milk and pumpkin spiced flavored coffee (from green mountain) i will be making Southern Spiced Cider since for some strange reason we've acquired several bottles of southern comfort and i know i don't usually drink it (i kind of have an aversion to largely-known name brand alcohols). I'd link the recipe but it makes me put my birthday in every single time i visit it but basically it's spiced apple cider, brewed tea (??), southern comfort, and ginger ale (but i'm going to let guests add their own and give them the option of adding champagne too, instead).

so yeah. other people are welcome/supposed to bring dishes as well so i hope "essentials" like stuffing (more stuff i don't particularly care for!) and some sort of sweet potato/yam/squash/spinach/green bean dish also come along or else i'll be looking at recipes for that stuff too. i just can't disappoint on a large gathering dinner.

Edited to add: i have to make an update and say that i didn't get a chance to make all the other awesome goodies i had my eye on, only the sticky apple cake and pumpkin pie which were so delicious, and i did attempt the pumpkin rice krispie treats but they were awful and i even tried twice. they didn't have enough pumpkin flavor and they sogged up terribly. everything else though was great success.

No comments:

Post a Comment