Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Biting Off More Than I Can Stir

I love to cook. This fact has been well-documented on numerous occasions. Also? I'm pretty darn good at it (even though my brand of haute epicurean cuisine seems to sometimes be lost on the locals).

Thanksgiving is pretty much my fantasy holiday and I have a an utterly insane dream to one day cook a multi-course Thanksgiving feast for at least 25. Yes - things like that get me off and if you haven't figured out my brand of crazy by now people, then what are you still doing here? Anyways - where was I?

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?


kyooty said...

I'm thankful you will happily cooking all this yourself. I'm also Thankful I'm in Canada in the land of "bird, clean, salt, pepper, oven" Wait! the Turkey does it's own work. :)

AndreAnna said...

My god, woman. My goal is life is to be at that big dinner you'll cook one day!!

I'm hosting but because our house is small, we're not going crazy.

Shelly Overlook said...

I, too, want to be at that table. & I don't even like Thanksgiving!!!

Heather@WHMB said...

Sounds delicious! I needed you for my house as this year my count went up to 13. A bit nervous about that but wish me luck. I am going really traditional with a 22lb turkey!, ham, green beans with garlic & bacon, mashed potatoes, deviled eggs, cornbread, dinner rolls, cranberry, and a sugar & spice cake. Oh, and WINE. Lots of WINE.

Happy Thanksgiving!