Sunday, November 20, 2011

Thanksgiving Menu 2011

Thanksgiving is my favorite day of the year. Perhaps because I can spread it out for weeks beforehand, and at least a week after.

Finding the recipes and hauling in the groceries, planning the cocktails, and trying new wines, it's all about ceremony.
Traditionally, I pull out my stash of 8 years' November magazines, including the now-discontinued Gourmets, the now-old school Martha Stewarts, and a host of other titles. The stash, combined with $35+ worth of this years' Novembers, a pen, and some Post-Its. Bliss.

What is not tradition this year? 1. More than half of our stuff is in storage. Sadly, the first chance to use most of our amazing wedding serving dishes will be New Years, just a few days after we move into our new house. 2. We are having a VERY small get-together, with just John, his sister, and I. 3. I'm recovering from wisdom teeth being ripped out  extraction, so I'm hoping the pain subsides in time for me to chew. If not, here come the narcotics, which should add an interesting edge to the post-feast coma.

Here's what I'm cooking this year. A Southern menu, by request of John and Elizabeth. I got lucky and found a nearly perfect Cajun menu in Bon Appetit from a legit NOLA-born chef, John Currence, feast pictured above.

Like last year, I'll do a post-feast recap post with photos and reviews of the good, the bad, and the ugly. Head over to last year's results posts if you are looking for other ideas or commentary on recipes I've already road-tested.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

The 2011 Thanksgiving Menu: Yes, this is for three people.

Sweet Potatoes with Spiced Pecans and Bleu Cheese
Sweet potatoes are always a crowd pleaser and this one caught my attention with its use of savory and not sweet. I'm skipping the store-bought candied pecans and made some very simply today with this recipe.  Glad I made extra...  I'm using a smokey blue.

Tomato Gravy
Say what? Never had this or anything like it, but the write up sounded like this could be my new bestfriend. We'll see how it turns out.

Crawfish Gravy
Ok, this is really just Chef Currence's excuse to get etoufee on the Thanksgiving table, but I'm all for playing along with him. We had to succumb to frozen crawfish from the Asian market, but with everything else going on, hopefully the sub-standard seafood goes unnoticable.

Cream Biscuits
This recipe looks like a heart attack waiting to happen.  We looked at a few others, but all the options seemed to be essentially choosing between lard, cream, or butter.  So we went with this one since it's the one the chef recommends for the tomato gravy.  The biscuits look a little dense so I hope we're not being dense here...

Cheddar Grits Dressing/Souffle
Instead of potatoes, we are going for another cardiologist's nightmare.  But, dang, grits. Bacon. Cheddar.  Come on.

Cornbread, Sausage, and Oyster Stuffing
Isn't it weird how we grow to love foods we used to hate? Stuffing is now my favorite part of the Thanksgiving meal, after growing up hating it.  I love experimenting with it every year.  Again, oysters in Detroit...we couldve made things easier on ourselves, but... it's Thanksgiving.

Cajun Spiced Turkey
The turkey is never really the exciting part for me, so this one seems just fine.

Haricot Verts with Bacon and Chestnuts
With all the other heaviness, I needed a green without cream.  The bacon, I know, I know...but at least it's not cream. John bought raw chestnuts and is undertaking the process of roasting these himself.

Roasted Carrots with Thyme and Garlic
Looking forward to another vegetable that is relatively simple, without a gratin or crust or sauce. Carmelized carrots are the best. Not sure why this recipe is not on the web--if I like it, I'll post it after Thanksgiving.

Fig and Cranberry Compote
Not many people recognize that figs are very common in cajun cooking. Though this recipe goes more mediterranean by way of cardamom, I made it today and the result is very amenable to many cuisines. And it's very easy. I love that figs are fruity but earthy and not overly sweet. Oh dang, just now upon looking for the recipe online I found another that might also need to be made...Bourbon Cranberry Compote.

Bourbon Pumpkin Pie
Faced with a choice between this and Lemon Buttermilk Chess Pie as the menu suggests, both John and his sister were enthusiastic about the Bourbon Pumpkin.  I'll also do a fresh bourbon whipped cream to top it, as suggested.


Jemima Surrender said...

Looks great! I wish you were still my neighbor!

flynn said...

I can't wait to have you staying at my kitchen! Ahem ... "house." I'm super curious about the carrots and the fig compote especially. This looks extravagantly lovely.

erin said...

This all sounds amazing! How was it? I love the theme and your unquenchable appetite to try anything! :)