Monday, November 25, 2013

Thanksgiving 2013 - Greatest Hits

As you probably know, Thanksgiving has forever been my favorite holiday. (Perhaps it's slipped to #2 behind Augie's birthday and Christmas...but only because they happen to be the SAME day...)

Speaking of Augie, since being pregnant and a new mom, and due to the advent of other easier social media channels, (ahem, instagram, Pinterest, et al...) I have had less time to document my cooking adventures. I even let last Thanksgiving go without posting at all!  Bad blogger, Denise.

Re-reading my past Thanksgiving posts, and having more than two siblings already ask me for recipe help,  I realized I really need to document this year's feast, for posterity, tradition, and organization if nothing else. Reviewing the Grand Two-Day Feast of 2010, and the not-so-basic Meal For Four of 2011, I've decided this Thanksgiving should be CLASSICS. I've hosted 3 Thanksgivings in row, so at this point, I have enough tested and true recipes to pull from.

Can you believe this is our fourth Thanksgiving in Detroit?  I can only hope your 2013 Thanksgiving, and Augie's first, is as memorable and tasty as all the rest have been!

For Snacking and Lunch
Butternut Squash, Apple, and Onion Galette with Stilton
This is a crowd pleaser! Comes together in a snap and boasts a perfect marriage of fall flavors.

Vegetables
Pan-roasted Balsamic Glazed Pearl Onions and Leeks
This is a repeat performer since my college days, now a part of the "Denise, you HAVE to make that" category.  My mom eats it for days on leftover sandwiches, salads, pizzas, etc.


Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Miso Scallion Butter
Make the compound butter ahead of  time, and stick the potatoes in the oven in between pans. What could be easier? This is a new, but stupid simple recipe.

Haricot Vert with Sherry Thyme Vinaigrette
I love sherry, and thyme. This is simple and will dress up plain blanched haricot vert. And we have some left over from last week when we tossed it on roasted squash.  Yes, I realize this represents an enormous departure from my cooking ways of the past.

Starches
Potato and Cauliflower Gratin
I have been super into cauliflower lately. Augie loves it, and it reminds me of him for another reason...I made cauliflower gratin on Christmas Eve last year, and it was the last thing I made and ate before I went into labor with him.  This mashed version includes potatoes to make Grandpa Pete happy.  Another new recipe, but so familiar it's bound to work.

Gruyere and Chive Popovers
Another Augie memory...the day we came home from the hospital with Augie, 12/26, my mom made a fantastic make-up-Christmas meal. The gin martini was the best I'd ever had, and these popovers were the greatest thing I'd ever eaten. I'm sure there were a few variables that will never be recreated :), but we have since made these popovers and they are still incredible, and easy, too.

Sausage, Challah, and Dried Cherry Stuffing
Our friends introduced us to this last year, and at the risk of repeating a theme, it was the night Augie was born. And it is fantastic...the bread is spongy on the inside, crispy on the outside, the sausage with sage is loaded with flavor, and the celery and dried cherries provide zing. INCREDIBLE on sandwiches the next day(s).

Turkey!
Perfect Roast Turkey
As you know, I've never lived for the turkey. This year we are trying Alton Brown's apparently fool-proof recipe. Our friend Jeffrey has been making this for more than 10 years, so we'll give it a go. It's also the most visited page on the Food Network site.

Gravy
John is excellent at whipping up sauces and gravies, so we will just have him work some magic with the pan drippings and whatever is lying around.

Garnishes
Fresh Cranberry Sauce with Oranges and Pecans
This is another multi-Thanksgiving 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. 

Dessert
Pear Pandowdy with Figs and a Hazelnut Crust
I had never heard of a "pandowdy" until I read about this one in Martha Stewart. I'll admit, I tried it out only because it had a cheese pairing recommended. Hazelnuts are a tasty, if pricey, component of the topping--which is almost like a shortbread/pie crust hybrid. Amazingly, the crust stays crisp and flaky even in leftovers! As for the filling, bits of fig and pecan adorn perfectly in-tact pear wedges--not mushy like a cobbler, not overly sweet like a pie. Not gelatinous and oozy like pie, more like a really nice, simple baked or poached fruit, but with a luxurious crispy topping. Pungent, piquant, crumbly Spanish bleu, warmed slightly by the golden pandowdy....yes, the stuff dreams are made of. 




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flynn said...

Yay! I'm doing Hugh Acheson's fennel (and absolutely mayo-less ) slaw and the mac & cheese from The Vegetarian Epicure, which is absolutely the only one worth making and whose recipe can now be found online. Add annatto if you're making it for picky eaters to make it Kraft colore