Thanksgiving is pretty much my fantasy holiday and I have a
Oh yeah - me, many courses, a week sweating my ass off in the kitchen and a minimum of 25 well-fed, happily sated guests at the end of the day. And while I'm not quite ready to live out my actual fantasy, Thanksgiving 2009 is most definitely a mini trial run.
Number of guests: We're only going to be 6 and 1 of us is just about to turn 4. And while my adorable little nephew has a very sophisticated palette, he doesn't exactly eat a whole lot quantity wise.
Number of days in the kitchen: One and a half to 2 - depending on what you count. I plan to start this morning and get as much done in advance as possible. I expect to be in the kitchen much of tomorrow as well until whatever time we sit down to eat which is I Have No Idea When. Of course, I have promised my mother that at some point I will emerge and spend time with the family and not hide behind the food processor for the entire trip...
The menu. Ahhhhh the menu. I am calling this "Sarah's Ultimate Thanksgiving Menu" also known as "I Can Plan This Any Damn Way I Want and Don't Have To Compromise With Another Living Soul (Sorta) Menu." And lest ye feel compelled to call me selfish - check out what my non-compromising ass is serving up.
Mid-Day Nibblies: I figure we will be eating at some odd time because holiday meals are always at odd times. By the way - why is that? Why is it that during holidays we're all - let's eat at 3:30pm or 4pm instead of sticking to either lunch or dinner?
Anyways, during the day we'll be munching on pimento cheese & bacon crostini and red pepper, garlic and pecorino gougeres. Probably not the best choices for those who might be lactose intolerant...but OMG YUM!!!! I am particularly drooling over those crostini.
Whenever we do actually sit down, we'll be starting with creamy carrot soup with scallions and poppy seeds. I'm not much of a soup girl during big meals but 1) as previously stated, I really want to blow it out and 2) OMG how good does that recipe look?
I also plan to serve some mixed baby greens with a classic vinaigrette. If my family were more sophisticated I'd plan to serve it AFTER the meal all European style but that's really not our speed yo. Not to mention - I called Dad before I packed and asked him if I could spend the week in flannel shirts and cords or if I had to bring, you know - a dress. Dad promptly fainted and when he came to he asked who I was and what had I done with his daughter. Dude - it's the winter uniform. Also? I think I've gained 10 sympathy pounds in anticipation of "The Holiday Season" and some of the dresses are well, a wee bit snug. My whole point with the salad by the way was simply to have something clean and light amidst the rest of this gluttonous gorge-fest.
We have a 12-lb. organic turkey sitting in the fridge which I plan to roast with lemon and chives.
My brother had one request: as close to plain mashed potatoes as I was willing to make i.e. don't muck them up with too much roasted garlic or goat cheese. I'm calling my to-be-created version Country Girl's Anything But Ordinary Plain Jane Mashed Potatoes and they will involve epic quantities of butter, milk, cream and salt and will be served with a side of Lipitor.
As much as I love my Four Seasons Stuffing, this year I had a vision. Seriously - it was like an angel or Mario Batali came down and touched my 3rd eye and suddenly: I SAW THE LIGHT. Actually, I saw a recipe for a rye bread stuffing with salami, apples and leeks so that's what I'm going to make. Frankly - Dad is skeptical (and annoyed I am not using sourdough bread because he prefers that to rye) but I am feeling like there might be a Feed Me Friday somewhere in all of this!
I can not STAND green bean casserole. I abhor it. I've suffered through it in years past because, well because I live in the south. Anyways, I wanted to make my Brussels Slaw but Brussels sprouts are off the menu (long story) so I am offering my interpretation of green bean casserole which is sautéed green beans with baby portabellas, caramelized onions and Parmesan. I am pretty sure it's going to ROCK.
And of course I am making my spiced cranberry & dried fruit compote because this is the 1 time a year I make it and it's that good.
We're not big pumpkin pie folks so this year I am baking a caramel cream pie with crispy rice topping. Dad tried to talk me out of it and suggested we pick up a locally baked pie in town. I shot him a death glare and promptly snarled through gritted teeth: "It's my fantasy - leave me alone." He's promised to make himself scarce til we sit down tomorrow.
Oh and how could I forget the wine. It was a no brainer - I called my girl the Wine Diva at Gun Bun and we are expecting a mixed case of Pinot Noir (the 2006 - very important to note), Gewirtz and Chard.
Seriously - have you ever heard of a more delicious and awesometastic Thanksgiving menu? I certainly haven't. Of course I've got about 36 hours to get it all done and sometimes I wonder if I bite off more than I can stir. Then again - I live for a challenge!
So darling loves - what's on your Thanksgiving table (and in your Thanksgiving glass) this year?