Sunday, November 27, 2011

A Very Reluctant Thanksgiving, Part 2: Dinner

As mentioned previously, my dad prepared the turkey, while I handled the rest.  I am going to break down this entry by dish.

Dad's recipe seemed pretty straightforward, but even so, turkeys are intimidating.  I mean, look at them.  They'd kill you in your sleep if given the chance.

This one lives near my office.  Check out that death glare.

Regardless, the bird was great.  Nice and juicy, but with a crispy skin.  Perfect.

Stove Top.  Don't judge me.  I asked Dad to buy extra.  He brought four boxes.  I would happily forfeit the rest of Thanksgiving dinner and eat a huge bowl of Stove Top with gravy.

Cranberry Sauce
Ocean Spray.  I'm a simple girl.

Pillsbury.  I swear I actually made stuff.  Keep reading!

Sweet Potato Casserole
I hated sweet potatoes as a kid and avoided them well into adulthood.  Joining a CSA in recent years forced me to try them again, and wouldn't you know it, they're really good when they're not soaked in syrup or covered in marshmallows!  I followed this recipe to the letter and it was a huge hit.  I used white sweet potatoes instead of red.  Not sure if it makes a difference tastewise, but just throwing it out there.

We dug in before I remembered to take a picture.

While it was sweet, it wasn't over the top.  The crunchy brown sugar and pecan topping provided a nice change of texture.  The best part is that you can prepare the potatoes the night before.  The next day, add the topping, then pop in the oven with your turkey for the last half hour or so.  This will become a regular dish at future Thanksgivings. 

I chose a roasted winter root vegetable recipe, which was supposed to include carrots, parsnips and rutabaga.  Unfortunately, I grossly underestimated the hardness of rutabaga and/or the dullness of my knives (I'm going with the former).  I got four or five slivers before I tossed the rest off of my deck.  Luckily I bought extra carrots and parsnips.

Now with 95% less rutabaga!

I boiled the veggies the night before, then refrigerated overnight.  I tossed with oil and seasoning the day of then threw into the oven with the sweet potatoes.  The light oil and seasoning didn't mask the taste of the vegetables.  Plus, they looked pretty.  It was a fine dish, but I'm not sure if I'll work it into my regular rotation.  That could be the stuffing-crazed part of me talking, though.

Part 3: Desserts to come later!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

A Very Reluctant Thanksgiving, Part 1

Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday.  I have many fond memories of my grandmother and aunt serving up delicious food amid lively conversation with family and friends.  Over time, each Thanksgiving dinner grew smaller as my family members grew up, moved out, started families, or passed away.  Sad, but that's how life goes.

This Thanksgiving, I hosted my father and brother.  I have never hosted Thanksgiving by myself.  I still haven't, but this is the closest I've come.  

My dad was in charge of the turkey, and I took care of everything else.  I have newfound respect for my grandmother, aunt, and other Thanksgiving-hosts-of-the-past and the countless hours they spent preparing feasts to feed at least a dozen hungry adults and kids.  It took me an entire exhausting day to prepare for just three!

The Menu

Sweet potato casserole
Roasted winter root vegetables
Cranberry sauce
Chocolate truffle pie
Apple pie with salted caramel sauce
Pumpkin cannolis
Chocolate chip cookies

Did I mention there were three of us?  I think I over-prepared.  A lot.  But leftovers are the best part of Thanksgiving, right?  I believe it now, but since neither my dad nor brother took a lot of leftovers home with them, I'm sure I'll be singing a different tune in a few days.

Recipes and commentary coming soon!