Saturday, November 22, 2008

Thanksgiving is upon us! (Now with linky goodness!)

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
Spiced yams
Buttermilk biscuits
Salted roast turkey with herb gravy**
Spiced cranberry sauce with zinfandel
Sage dressing
Apple tart
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. 


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Bee said...

Wow, you are so organized. I am going to my friend Audrey's for Thanksgiving, and only have to worry about a pecan pie and some brussels sprouts (with Marsala and pancetta). On the other hand, I am planning for my big pre-Xmas dinner on Dec. 13.

I would love to have the recipes for your pumpkin pie, the cranberry sauce, and the cheddar crisps. It sounds like you are busy at the moment . . . but if the odd leisure moment presents itself!

I thought of you yesterday when I was making a double recipe of Christmas chutney. (My family complained bitterly about the vinegary smell.) I now have about 10 jars of chutney "aging" on my counter -- in addition to the fruit for the Black Cake and the pickled shallots.

I hope you have a wonderful day -- and with such food, and your good friends, I'm sure you will. xx, Bee

Anne said...

Bee, I've updated the post with links to the recipes that are online. (I already had a browser window with all of them open in tabs, so they were easy to find.) I'm not sure yet which biscuit recipe I'm going to be using (drop biscuits? rolled biscuits?) but I will add that one when I decide. I will also see about posting recipes for the nuts, yams, and tart.

The cranberry sauce is the one I've made every year since the first Thanksgiving dinner that I cooked for/with friends, back in 2001. Even people who don't usually like cranberry sauce like this one. I made the pumpkin mascarpone pie last year, and it was a hit, so I thought I'd stick with it for this year, though with a different crust (Cook's Illustrated's Foolproof Flaky Pie Dough).

The brussels sprouts sound tasty! I have long avoided them, but I'm starting to think that, done well, I might like them after all. I bet pancetta and Marsala would help.

What is in your Christmas chutney? I can't wait to make that black cake, or the non-alcoholic cousin you posted a few days ago. Or both! I will probably make one of these on Wednesday to get the house smelling cozy for everyone's arrival. It doesn't involve candied fruit, but the spirit of the cake seems somewhat similar to that of black cake.

Hope you have a lovely day with your friends and family!

Brave Sir Robin said...

It sounds like a stunningly good week, and I have no doubt the meal will be divine.

Happy TG, to you the suitor, K.W.I.N.S., and your family.

Bee said...

Anne, Thank you so much for the "linky goodness!" I think that I will make the pumpkin pie tomorrow -- and that apple cake sounds wonderful!

The Christmas Chutney has dates, prunes and apricots in it -- plus some savory things. The recipe can be found in Delia Smith's Christmas cookbook. Do you "know" Delia?

Have fun with your friends and your feast. xx

Bee said...

Oh yes, about the sprouts. I've never liked them much, but English people insist on them during the holidays. Marsala and pancetta really do help them along . . . and even my kids will eat them when doctored this way!

Bee said...

Anne, I made your pumpkin pie on Sunday night . . . and we ate some after we decorated our Xmas tree. It was delicious -- loved by all.

Bee said...

Anne, I hope you can join my virtual Christmas candy exchange!