Thanksgiving 2011 and other recipes to inspire you

Thanksgiving 2011 has come and gone, even the leftovers have been consumed, repurposed, or frozen. And Christmas is just five days away.

We had a giant group this year and hosted buffet style. Did a couple things differently, including allowing others to help. I refined a few things, added an item or two and of course, we had spreadsheets. It's all about project management skills, and for me, that admission does nothing to diminish my joy. I just love to feed family and friends.

We borrowed tables, chairs and service ware from a restaurant manager friend, Jesse, who cheerfully coordinated and schlepped a half dozen tables, couple dozen chairs, etc. with Nehal's help. We were honored that Zander has spent his first and his second Thanksgiving with us.

We ran tables diagonally through the loft, here you can see the trays of homemade bread cubes drying. Trifle dish and vases repurposed for silverware rolls.

At some point, I'll have some video to load, so you can get a taste of what the night was really like. For now, a few photos that I remembered to take, a recipe or two and the menu.

(I had a timeline, plus diagrams of what went into which ovens, and where, when the turkeys came out to rest. It almost happened the way I imagined it should. Almost.)


The Menu

  • Lisa & Nehal's Red sangria, White sangria
  • Hot apple cider from the Pioneer Valley (Thanks David & Stephanie)




The dinner:

roast turkey






















  • Bob’s Turkeys 2, 16 lb birds this year, Thanksgiving spice-rubbed
  • Kristen’s Ham - (D'Artagnan, too!) & cheddar chive biscuits
  • Kristen's truffled wild mushrooms casserole
  • Butternut Squash Soup (v, gf)
  • Kim’s Chard & Lentil Shepherd’s Pie w/ no bones gravy (v, gf)
  • Madeira gravy made from homemade turkey stock
  • Mushroom-herb-leek stuffing
  • Sausage-apple dressing
  • Killer sweets (Bourbon-orange sweet potatoes) (v)
  • Cranberry Sauce w/pomegranate, orange (v)
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Martha's Sweet & White potato casserole
  • Green beans w/shallots, lemon (v)
  • Roasted root vegetables w/balsamic glaze (v)
  • Shaved fennel, celery, green apple (v, gf)
  • Arugula, Asian Pear, Pomegranate salad
  • Black quinoa with golden beets (v, gf) recipe below
  • Lauren’s squash casserole (v)
  • Butterflake bread, Golden Pumpkin Spice rolls

Kim O'Donnel's Meatless dishes are definitely not old school boring hippie veg. This Shepherd's Pie is proof! Look for Kim's second book in 2012...














One of the two ready to be carved. (See my giant new carving board? Love it!)


  • Pumpkin Pie (one w/lard +soybutter crust; one with soy butter, coconut shortening crust)
  • Apple Crisp
  • Pecan Maple pie (variation on Melissa Clark's hot recipe of the year)
  • Snappy Gingersnaps
  • Chocolate truffles (oops)
  • Maria's dried pineapple & coconut cake
  • Anouschka's vodka spiked gummie bears

The gingersnap-pecan bottom keeps the pie bottom from getting soggy, tastes good, too! BlackQuinoaGoldBeets

Recipe: Black Quinoa with Golden Beets and Caraway

Inspired by a gift of black quinoa from my friend and restaurateur Mary Reilly, I turned to my friend Maria's beautiful Ancient Grains for Modern Meals book. Page 95 Cumin-scented Quinoa with Red Beets is a crunchy salad I'll try soon, loving all the flavors in it as I do. I was smitten with these golden beets at the Dewey Square market so this recipe came together. Beets love caraway. They also pair beautifully with cumin. Sumac is a middle eastern spice that has a beautiful red color and a lemony flavor.


  • 1 C black quinoa (rinse to remove soapy saponin that coats the quinoa, I put them in a fine mesh sieve and run under cold water grabbing with my hand and squeezing, almost as if you're kneading bread)
  • 2 golden beets (steam in microwave or roast in oven while you have it on for holiday baking - wrapped in foil the beets will steam till tender then you can easily slip off the skins)
  • 1/3 C onion
  • parsley
  • lemon juice
  • pomegranate seeds (remember how easily you can seed these)
  • 1/2 tsp sumac
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne (if you don't like spice, cut back to 1/4 tsp or omit altogether if you wish)
  • 1 tsp each cumin seeds and caraway seeds




  1. Rinse quinoa (you may use any quinoa here, but I love the black or red for the dramatic color contrast on the table)
  2. Sauté onion in a little of the olive oil, add cumin seeds and caraway
  3. Add rinsed quinoa and about 1 3/4 C water, let it come to a gentle boil, reduce heat and cover. Liquid will be absorbed in about 15 minutes and you'll see the little germs of the seed unfurl like tiny little flags. That is when your quinoa is done.
  4. Toss scented quinoa with cubes of golden beets, chopped parsley and a handful of pomegranate seeds.
  5. Sprinkle with sumac, cayenne, lemon juice, best quality olive oil. Taste and adjust if needed - salt, lemon juice, more toasted cumin seed or caraway if you like.


As is my tradition, I forgot these in the freezer: