Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanksgiving Part II - The execution


We celebrated with two couples and their babies. One couple moved her from France and the other couple never really celebrated Thanksgiving in their families, so this was everyone's first "big" Thanksgiving. It was fun sharing the tradition with them!

I'm going to review the dinner for myself so that I know what to do (and what not to do) next year:

Appetizers:
Crackers
Brie with lingonberry sauce
Gouda
Sharp Cheddar
Goat cheese
Red grapes
Mixed nuts

This was way too much (obviously). I knew that going in, but what cheese do you cut? Maybe the cheddar and goat cheese. Who can choose with cheese? It's like picking a favorite photo of Joseph - Impossible! I don't think anyone ate nuts. Nix them.

Dinner:

Turkey: T.J. reports that the bird seemed more tough this year (though he managed to put this into a question that reflected that it must be Butterball's fault, not my skillz. Good man!). I douse mine with gravy so I couldn't tell. I thought it was good for the meal, but seemed dry when I was deboning and today. Regardless, it looked SO beautiful!

Note to self: Fill bottom of pan with about 2 quarts of water before baking at 500 to control the smoke!

Dressing: The dressing was weird this year. I followed the recipe except added 1c of stock instead of 3/4 cup (and no liver), but I put it in the crockpot this year for 2.5 hours and it was soggy and mushy. Luckily I had time so I threw it in the oven uncovered for an hour and that seemed to revive it. I think I must usually put a lot more bread in there. Also I will make room in the oven for it from now on. Maybe I'll try putting the mashed potatoes in the crock instead.

Gravy: The gravy was tough - the first try didn't come together, so I did it a second time with butter instead of drippings. Even then I had to add cornstarch to thicken. Not sure what happened there. ::shrug:: Tasted fine, though. Next year I'm going to boil the turkey parts with some carrots, celery, onion, and a bay leaf while the turkey is cooking to use as the liquid instead of my precious chicken stock.

Green bean casserole: The green bean casserole... It sat out after cooking too long and was not as awesome as usual. I also tried doing the onions on the stove this year, but they still weren't that great. I give up. I'm buying a can next year to put in the green beans and homemade cream sauce.

Asparagus and avocado salad: I tossed everything but the avocado in dressing a few hours before dinner, then did the avocado about 30 minutes before dinner. I think I should have waited till the absolute last minute. Also, I blanched the asparagus for 3 minutes, which was too long. They were too soft. Besides that, I think this would be better for a different celebration (like in the summer). You don't really need a cold side at Thanksgiving!


Mashed Potatoes: The mashed potatoes were awesome. No changes needed, though I may use the crock pot for this next year.

Cranberry Sauce I loved the new cranberry sauce recipe. I forgot the orange, but next year I might add it and cut the sugar by half. I used dried apricots, cherries, and raisins for the dried fruit portion.

Sweet Potato Souffle: Came out great. Very sweet... but delicious!

Dessert:

Apple crisp (doubled the topping recipe) with vanilla ice cream: Was not bad. Lots of topping... maybe 1.5x is the solution. Great apple flavor. I cut the apples quite thin, and had to cook it an extra 10 minutes or so to get the top to brown - probably because there was so much of it.

Pumpkin pie with homemade crust and homemade whipped cream - Tasted a little funny... I subbed all spice for clove, and maybe it was just a lot of "spice". Still good, though. The crust - not so much. I suck at making pie crust. Will buy a crust (or maybe a whole pie) next year from Whole Foods or Trader Joe's.

All in all, I was very happy with dinner! Pictures up next!

1 comments:

Sara & Mike November 30, 2009 at 10:56 PM  

omg that is sooooo much food

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