November 18, 2011

game time

Guys! Thanksgiving is in less than a week. Let's talk about it. Here's our menu.
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Pre-meal Snacks:
Spicy potato chips and vegetables with caramelized onion dip (Ina Garten
Spice brined pecans (Food52)*

Mains:
Dry brined turkey with onion/herb/applejack gravy (aka the Judy Bird)
Cornbread and sausage stuffing (Mark's mom's recipe)
Gratin Dauphinois (Julia Child)
Minimalist cranberry sauce (Mark's mom's recipe)
Mashed sweet potatoes flavored with maple syrup and bourbon
Green beans sauteed with onions and Hungarian paprika
Greens with apple/celery root/pecan/caramelized apple vinaigrette (Food52)*
Southern yeast rolls (adapted from the Fresh Loaf)

Dessert:
Maple pecan pie with star anise (Melissa Clark)
Black bottom chiffon pie (Jyoti's friend's Ariel's recipe)

Why the starred dishes? Because we still don't know how many people are coming this year. (This stresses me out a bit, but I'm rolling with it.) I'm prepared to make a few extra dishes, if need be, but the menu will be easy to execute either way.

I also want to talk about leftovers. Mark can eat turkey-and-mayo sandwiches for days, but I can't. Here are my ideas.

  • Turkey banh mi, with pickled carrots, cilantro, jalapeno slices, chile/garlic sauce, mayo spiked with a little soy on a toasted baguette
  • Sweet potato biscuits (here)
  • Turkey gumbo with rice, using leftover turkey and stock from the carcass (here
  • Shredded turkey in a spicy, tart tomatillo sauce, with warm tortillas (here)
  • Turkey, arugula, apple, pecan salad with caramelized apple vinaigrette (Food52)
  • Crisp salmon and mashed potato croquettes with herbed yogurt sauce (this Melissa Clark recipe, which I make all the time)
  • Vietnamese cabbage/cucumber/onion/mint salad with shredded turkey (here)
  • Spicy King Ranch casserole (fancied up, recipe via Homesick Texan)  
To end on a recipe note, I'm leaving you with Mark's mom's cranberry sauce recipe. Last Thanksgiving, we engaged in a Cranberry Duel -- my entry was a chunky, orange flavored one and her entry was a simple, smooth, gelee. Mine was nothing special, and a little bitter to boot. Hers, strained of all the chunks and flavored with nothing but sugar, won the day. Its pure, tangy but sweet cranberry flavor is my new sauce this year.

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Minimalist cranberry sauce

12 ounces raw cranberries
1 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

Combine cranberries and water in a medium sized saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer, over medium heat, until cranberries have burst and are very soft, about 20 minutes. Set a mesh strainer over a bowl and strain cranberries. Discard cranberry pulp or use it for something else. Return the cranberry liquid to the stove and add the sugar. Bring to a boil and cook for 4-5 minutes, until the liquid becomes a thick syrup. Taste and add additional liquid as necessary, being sure to fully dissolve any additional sugar added.

Cool, and pour into serving bowl. Let cool completely, then cover, and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

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By the way, I'd love to hear what you guys are making this year. Anything inspiring? Good ideas for leftovers? Please share.

10 comments:

Amy said...

Your menu sounds sooo good. Especially that maple pecan pie business. I don't know how I feel about star anise in pie, but I'd be willing to eat a slice or three to find out.

My favorite Thanksgiving leftover is soup the next day -- we do it up Southwestern style, with tortilla strips and avocado and lime, and it's really good! I like the banh mi idea a lot, too.

Anonymous said...

My dad's family in Louisiana makes turkey gumbo every year and he says it is better than actual Thanksgiving. Their turkey stuffing is dirty rice, so they eat the gumbo over leftover dirty rice. And my husband's family always serves turkey/potato hash and pancakes with cranberry sauce for brunch the next day. I made the cranberry sauce last year, and my recipe is very similar to the one you posted, only I add maple syrup in addition to sugar. It is AWESOME on pancakes!

Laura J. said...

Oops, didn't mean to be anonymous :)

Liz in DC said...

Some menu! I'm still trying to figure out what dish to bring to my family's dinner (which is awesome!!! I'm most excited about the pumpkin bread pudding my mom makes). I've been asked to bring a vegetarian main dish (my brother's new girlfriend doesn't eat meat and we want to be welcoming). I've been googlin forever but it's v. tricky since she won't eat pasta, soup, tofu, squash, or any greens.

In less frustrating news, my fave leftover is turkey salad -- cubed turkey breast, halved grapes, toasted walnuts and mayo. So damn good.

p.s. glad you're posting again!!

Kim said...

Amy - I know, I love Melissa Clark's recipes so much. This one is from her new book, which I don't have (yet). And your family's soup sounds fantastic.

Laura - great suggestions. I like the sound of your day-after-Thanksgiving brunch.

Liz - oh man. that's tough. what about roasted cauliflower gratin? The Wednesday Chef has a recipe that I like a lot. Or a puff pastry tart with goat cheese and roasted vegetables/mushrooms? Do you have any idea of what she DOES like?

Anna said...

To Liz in DC -- I have some advice, as a vegetarian whose parents are from Berkeley! Personally I do not think it's worth it to make a veggie main (like a Quorn roast) for just 1 person. Most people are happy with a plate ful of sides, like mashed potatoes, green beans, etc. So if your family's table is light on vegetables, I'd bring another veggie side and also the one thing that's missing from most traditionalThanksgiving dinners... VEGETARIAN GRAVY! Gravy makes everything better. Mushroom gravy with vegetable stock is very very good. This recipe is a good place to start. http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=97137098 GOOD LUCK!

Kim said...

Anna -- I'd never thought about that, but good point about vegetarian-friendly gravy. Liz in DC, are you listening? Try this recipe from Food52, maybe -- http://www.food52.com/recipes/7483_vegetarian_mushroom_thyme_gravy

Jess said...

Woo! I love Thanksgiving but am particularly stoked about it this year. My friends and I do a Friendsgiving on Sunday night since we all spend turkey day with our families. So Thanksgiving is traditional food (sweet potato casserole with marshmallows anyone?) and Friendsgiving is not. Last year we did make-your-own-pizza night but this year I convinced everyone we should do a full on porchetta, Thomas Keller's leek bread pudding, David Chang's roasted brussels sprouts with tons of bacon, Old Fashioneds flavored with maple syrup, and my friend is bringing a cake. It's going to be epic! Your post did convince me we need one more appetizer, though, so I might steal your idea of caramelized onion dip.

JDog said...

That looks like an awesome spread. I like the look of your mil's rendition of cranberry sauce, but don't you miss the chunks? I feel like that's one of the great parts of cranberry sauce. Thoughts?

This year I'm headed to Thanksgiving with those from the motherland. Last time I had Thanksgiving with them we had two meals. First we had a bunch of Russian stuff, most of which was foreign to me (get it?) and which I can't even give you a name for because I didn't understand what it was at the time that I ate it. Basically a lot of stuff with mayonnaise and fish. Ha. And def some cabbage stuff, beet salad, peirogies, etc. And then we had a whole traditional Thanksgiving meal with a turkey, stuffing, potatoes, etc. Hopefully there will not be that much food this year because that year I threw up. I guess the other option is to not stuff my face so much...

Anyway, my favorite thing that my mom makes is caramelized sweet potatoes, for which there is no recipe. Basically add butter and brown sugar until you think they're ready. Leftover-wise, I realize that I am so not a foodie cause I can just pile Thanksgiving stuff onto a plate, heat it up, and be happy to eat it without alteration.

Happy Thanksgiving, y'all!

Kim said...

Jess - I hope you're prepared for a Friendsgiving crasher, because your menu sounds incredible. We also recently started using maple syrup and whiskey together -- what a great combination, right? And please do steal Ina's onion dip. It's not fancy but people can't get enough.

Julia - Haha I was reading reading reading, passed over the part where you mentioned throwing up last year, and then did a double take/laugh/rewind. That is a real commitment to Thanksgiving excess. I think Ron Swanson would approve.

Re: cranberry sauce, it's a trade-off, for sure. I like chunky texture, but the tannins in the skins make the sauce bitter, which requires more sugar and other stuff to cover up the cranberry flavor. Honestly, I'd have continued making my own sauce every year if I hadn't tasted mine next to Betty's and realized I wanted to eat more of hers, and none of mine.

AND your mom's sweet potatoes are intriguing -- are they roasted or cooked on the stove? cut into chunks? I'm still waffling about our sweet potatoes.

Also, can I just say how much I love all the comments? :)