I've had a more-or-less finalized Thanksgiving menu for a few days now, but things have been so busy that I haven't had time to post on it. Fortunately I've received a stay of execution with respect to a deadline at work, so now I have more time and energy to focus on Thanksgiving.
Spiced mixed nuts
Assorted cheddar crisps (and maybe parmesan crisps)
Crisp haricots verts* with pine nuts
Salted roast turkey with herb gravy**
Spiced cranberry sauce with zinfandel
Pumpkin mascarpone pie
I'm cooking for at least seven, possibly eight or nine if some unlikely-but-tentatives show up. I plan to be in the kitchen from just after breakfast right up until dinner, aided by Katie and probably the Suitor's sister. (The rest of the crew will be in the park all day.) We'll see if I actually manage to do any delegating. Fortunately Katie is already in charge of two dishes, the yams and the apple tart, so no one will need to pry them from my grasp. With enough planning and ahead-of-time work, I don't think handling the rest will be too much trouble.
The cooking and baking start this weekend with turkey stock, the gravy base, the dough for the cheddar crisps, whole wheat bread and cornbread for the dressing, and the pie crust. I made the cranberry sauce last night, and as soon as I finish up here at work, I'll go home to start on the turkey stock. First the roasting, then the long simmering. I expect the cats to go nuts during the roasting phase: turkey is their very favorite food. Procurement of non-perishable items took place last night, and tomorrow morning I'll stop by the farmer's market for some apple cider, maybe a few vegetables, and (hopefully) knife sharpening.
We'll drive down to LA on Tuesday and spend the night chez Suitor's brother. Wednesday morning I'll get up bright and early to pick up the turkey and shop for perishables like eggs and butter. Katie and I, and perhaps the Suitor, will drive out to Joshua Tree that morning (hopefully without too much traffic), unload all the food into the kitchen of the house we're renting, and get to work. That afternoon I'll assemble the dressing, start the turkey salting, and maybe bake the pie. By the time Thursday arrives, all that will be left is baking the crisps, roasting the turkey, making the biscuits, doing the vegetables, baking the dressing, and maybe whipping some cream to spoon over the desserts. All of that feels so manageable that I might also put together some baked French toast and a frittata for breakfast. No promises, though.
* I doubt I'll be able to get proper haricots verts at this time of year, so this will probably be downgraded to green beans with pine nuts.
** When making the gravy base I used homemade turkey stock instead of chicken stock.