thanksgiving

Anyone who participates in Thanksgiving preparations will tell you it’s akin to running a marathon, not to say I’ve ever knowingly participated in a marathon. Lists have to be made, grocery shopping done, turkeys thawed and for the love of God, if you can prep it the day ahead – prep it the day ahead. This year, I admittedly bit off more than I can chew (my mother says it’s a bad habit of mine) and, so, I was spotted leaning against the radiator, head back, mouth gaping and dangerously close to snoring at the tender hour of 10pm.

I’m not going to bore you with a sentimental monologue or give you a recipe rundown of all the dishes created. Hell, I don’t even have half the recipes involved. So, let’s get to it.

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If there’s anything my aunt is insistent upon, it’s an elegant and well-executed table setting. She’s got a knack for it.

20121203-012449.jpgSorry, bird, I know this isn’t your best side, but I was just too excited to be bothered to let you do the sorority squat or cheerleader arm. I took responsibility for the turkey last Thanksgiving and have yet to give it back. I like the idea of brining my bird, and, this year, I adapted this recipe from Food & Wine. Bacon was eliminated, although the idea was interesting. I only used 32oz of Guiness, not 72 – with a turkey seeping in brine overnight, I was a bit concerned of an overly stout-flavored main course. And the gravy? Here’s the recipe for that bad boy. I’ve never made a gravy before, but you say porcini and chanterelles, and this girl goes weak in the knees.

20121203-013100.jpgIn the course of discussing our Thanksgiving menu, Paula had excitedly mentioned Daniel Boulud’s Gruyère popovers she had read about. Cheese? Baked? All over it! The recipe I used is here and this video demonstration of Boulud on the Martha Stewart Show helped. I made my gougères golf ball sized for optimal shoving-into-gob action.

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As you can see, this is a family that focuses on appetizers. I’ve never made latkes before, and these were a exercise in pure love. I used an adaption of this recipe from the lovely folks at White On Rice, eliminating the garlic cloves and using a minimal amount of salt. The crème fraîche was loaded with horseradish, and no one likes conflicting strong flavors. Add a little smoked salmon and chives, and that’s a happy plate.

20121203-013121.jpgIf dinner at the Nomad hotel taught me anything, it’s that I really, really, like turnips dipped in butter with a sprinkling of fleur de sel. In the future, I would definitely use a higher quality of butter and not double dip in the tempered dairy. Duly noted, self.

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An early evening cocktail of vodka, prosecco, grapefruit juice and a little fresh lavender.

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Stuffed grapeleaves, a staple at any Egyptian feast.

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And the same goes for this amazing macaroni bechamel.

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Roast vegetables of any variety are a favorite for me. I was never too keen on brussel sprouts, but halved, roasted, and crisped on the edges have resulted in some dinnertime fights.

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Have we ever discussed my feelings on caramel? No? Because I freakin’ love caramel. One of the guests at our dinnertable has a gift for dessert creations. These chocolate and original caramels were such a treat.

20121203-013144.jpg Ahem. As were these. Man, do I love dessert. I wish I could have shared this chocolate pudding pie, with a toasted meringue topping and slightly salted crust.

Just kidding, no I don’t.

Let’s keep on enjoying this holiday season.

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One Response to thanksgiving

  1. Ronald Mark says:

    Looks like getting ready for such a feast and all the good stuff made you forget one of my favorites on the table of desserts: sweets from “Sweet Chocolate Sensations”. So good that it has to be a sin to taste it more than once.

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