Thanksgiving 2009

This year we had a small crew, Mom, Celine and Albert, me and Doc and a 20 lb turkey from Bob's.

I'm allowed one new addition to the traditional menu and this year it was the salad. At a recent media dinner at CLINK which I thoroughly enjoyed, I was struck by the salad. A wonderful autumnal mix of apples, celery, bitter greens and creamy burrata, one bite of which immediately recalled the Waldorf Salad of our childhoods. But, a Waldorf Salad all grown up and sexy. I thought of Thanksgiving and knew it had to be on my menu.

So our menu was mostly traditional with a few additions and, as always, one omission. I'm sure this happens in someone else's kitchen, too. The meal is over you're puttering around, cleaning up and "Doh!" there's the toasted almonds that were meant to adorn those perfect green beans.
Oh well, the green beans were good enough to be nearly finished and politely requested to go with the leftovers being packed.

What was on the Menu:

Starters

  • Assorted Beemster cheeses
  • Smoked fish spread
  • Piquillo peppers stuffed with brandade

First Course

  • Stone Crab claws
  • Turkey with herb & mushroom stuffing and dressing
  • Orange-Bourbon Sweet Potatoes
  • Mashed potatoes and gravy
  • Green beans
  • Salad with burrata, heirloom apples, shaved celery and toasted pistachios, apple balsamic from German farm
  • Cranberry sauce

Dessert

  • Pumpkin pie
  • Apple pie
  • Chocolate truffles
  • Quady Vineyards Essencia

 

The turkey was a 20 lb behemoth from Bob's - a beauty. I really love stuffing and decided to try out the magic "roasting wand." Since we're never, ever supposed to stuff our poultry anymore, we are all gettin ourselves used to "dressing" or stuffing made outside the bird. But I love stuffing. We've used the roasting wand on smaller birds but never on a turkey, and never on a turkey of this size. The question was how long to cook the bird.

Normally you can go by size of turkey and stuffed or unstuffed. But add the wand and the convection oven ...well, we're in uncharted territory. I calculated 4 hours. I was off.

So...we were still minus two guests and the piquillo peppers were already made... we skipped the claws and went from those to turkey and trimmings.

One of the best things was having family here and checking in with friends near and far on the phone. The food? Highlights included the pie crusts made with leaf lard and butter. Rendering leaf lard myself was something I wasn't sure I'd ever do but with the help of on Homesick Texan, it was a cinch.

Making a rich, dark turkey stock the day before gave us a delicious gravy, and basting sauce.

The pomegranate molasses added to the cranberries on a whim last year is a keeper.

The roasting wand, also a keeper.

Tomorrow's leftovers day menu will include a fantastic first course of stone crab, some smoked fish, and some great leftovers.