Monday, November 22, 2010

Thanksgiving in Detroit

Even in Detroit, it's the most wonderful time of the year. When I pull out my box of November cooking magazines and pore over them, searching for the right mixture of tried-and-true and wtf-are-you-actually-adding-Thai curry-to-that? I burn through about 50 Post-Its and narrow the list by asking which dishes will create the most delight for my guests. I push the envelope of my own skill set, but balance the menu with things I know I can turn out with my eyes closed and one arm tied behind my back.
This year, I am hosting Thanksgiving for 8 family members, 8 recipe muses. I am blessed to be living in a house with a very large, well-equipped kitchen.  Essentially, I'm gonna make it rain Thanksgiving. In fact, the rain started a few days ago.
The recipes I have selected come from myriad sources, and are all available via the links below: 
Saveur Nov 2007, 2009
O! Nov 2008 
Martha Stewart Living Nov 1995, 2007, 2010
Whole Living Dec 2010
Gourmet Nov 2007 (R.I.P.)
Eating Well Nov/Dec 2008

Here's a roll call of what we're making--somewhat traditional with Asian twists, bound together with a theme of sweet + savory. (Think maple syrup glaze that's been steeped in black peppercorn.)

These are already made and in the freezer. They are tasty and fancy...but I doubt I will make them again as their flavor is somewhat flat--similar to a southern cheesy biscuit. I'd rather do something else for an appetizer next time.
I adore lemongrass, and squash soups. This one calls for straining, which should produce a silky, fancy texture. 

This one is hand-picked for my sister, who adores pomegranate and tabouli. Definitely a wild card, but I hope the crisp cool freshness from celery and mint bodes well with a plate full of rich warm and thick.

I was looking for an oyster stuffing and was impressed with the incorporation of deeply flavourful authentic Asian touches (Shaoxing rice vinegar, lotus leaves). I also have a love affair with sticky rice. I'm a bit nervous about this one, the review on the net are mixed. It's probably the biggest risk of the day.
Basic Stuffing, Courtesy of Mom, flecked with andouille from NOLA 

Pan-roasted Balsamic Glazed Pearl Onions and Leeks
This is a repeat performer, now a part of the "Denise, you HAVE to make that" category.  My mom eats it for days on leftover sandwiches, salads, pizzas, etc.
Green Bean Casserole
John requested the casserole, and I found this promising healthy version. I am hopeful for its use of sherry and lowfat buttermilk. 
Mashed Red Curry And Coconut Sweet Potatoes
My sisters-in-law love curry, and, really, who doesn't? I found this dish basically just to get curry on a Thanksgiving table. Using reduced fat coconut milk should work well.

Cranberrry Sauce
Cranberry Orange Jalapeno & Pecan Sauce
This is another repeat performer, a crowd-pleasing sweet/salty/crunchy/bright/wow combo. I skip the celery.  It's no-cook so make it Wednesday and pop it in the fridge already in it's serving bowl. 
 TBD Cranberry Sauce courtesy of my brother, esteemed chutney chef Brian Gass

Maple Glazed Turkey and Gravy
We have a family friend who gifts us with her own home-tapped maple syrup, which should render this decadent. Steeping the syrup with black peppercorn is sure to excite my endlessly-over-peppering father.

Pear Pandowdy
Like a cobbler, but with figs and hazelnuts this is sure to be a stunner. I'll admit, I was sold on this dessert by the mere fact that the picture shows it's recommended pairing with bleu cheese.  Cheese with dessert? Pungent piquant crumbly bleu, warmed slightly by the gooey crispy sweet pandowdy....The stuff dreams are made of.
Pumpkin Fritters
Another hand-picked new recipe for my sister, chosen for her love of pumpkin and home-style donuts.  I'll serve with some Oberweis vanilla ice cream that I've mashed cinnamon sugar into.


KP said...

send emily back with some fritters for me yum yum yum yum

flynn said...

Oooh; let us know how the oyster rice turns out :)

I especially love the soup and onion recipes you have here. We've been making flatbread as a main with arugula, chevre, and roasted grapes and, boy howdy, those roasted balsamic onions would really take it somewhere special.

Hooray food holiday!

Anonymous said...

all dogs sit

jwolk said...

It all sounds amazing. Love to see pics...aha...i can stalk you on the blog now...hehehe.
We opted for the traditional and ever so butt enlarging feast. Mashed potatoes, sausage dressing, roasted turkey and brussels sprouts. (It was just three of us, we decided to stop there)

I have an amazing recipe for sprouts that are glazed in mirin, olive oil and brown sugar (I actually ripped it off from Shin Sei here in Dallas...they are so amazing. Told the waitress I had a horrible food allergy and HAD to know what was in them so I didn't die. Worked. Got the hook up. Sounds like something you would do Gass)

Alice Waters has a recipe for sprouts confit...basically sprouts slow cooked in butter. Will try soon. Makes my mouth water just talkin about it.