Tuesday, November 20, 2012


I keep getting asked: Mel, what are you cooking for Thanksgiving?

... Okay, so I got asked that like three times, but I thought it would be good reference to write down what my plans were.

I'm cooking for myself, Daniel, our friend Jeanelle, and possibly one to two drop-in's.  Flying to Louisiana is too far for a four-day weekend, and besides, I'm going home in a couple of weeks anyway.

Between the recipe trove that is Serious Eats & my Bon Appetit & Cook's Illustrated iPad subscriptions, I feel ready for anything.

... Oh, and my gym-mates all made fun of me for making a spreadsheet for my grocery list, cross-referenced to what sales various grocery stores in the area were having. BUT ... I got all my shopping done inside of three hours on Saturday morning, so THERE. Engineer OCD wins again.

The first thought was to what dishes I wanted to cook. Daniel enjoys turkey, so that was in.  I decided to roast some turkey parts in lieu of a whole bird, because turkeys just don't appear in small enough amounts, and I don't want to be eating the same turkey defrosted 6 months from now. I just don't like turkey meat enough to justify that.  I did consider buying a heritage breed turkey, but they are usually on the large side, and while I wholeheartedly support eating animals that lived outside as they were intended to eating delicious bugs & whatnot, I didn't want an extra 17 pounds of turkey clogging up the freezer till my next birthday.  So, I compromised with myself and bought a Diestel organic breast (which is almost three pounds and roughly the size of the chickens I buy from the farmer's market) and a couple of legs on Saturday from PCC here in Seattle (PCC is one of our co-ops in Seattle).  I also bought some chicken wings to assist me in making gravy.

I found a raw cranberry / apple relish (read: ground in food processor) recipe via Serious Eats.

For veggie sides, I am doing roasted Brussels sprouts with balsamic vinegar and pancetta (which is available pre-cubed at Trader Joe's), and roasted sweet potatoes with bourbon & maple syrup (the location of the recipe eludes me at the moment, suffice to say it is not topped with marshmallows).  The Brussels sprouts are easy - cut them in half, cut off the little stem if you so choose, toss in olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and any spices (sometimes I add smoked paprika), add your meat if you're doing that, and throw into a 400 degree oven till they're soft & have brown bits all over them.

I am still debating on rolls, but this recipe might have my back.  I'm not a huge bread person, but everyone else is.

Dressing is from the November Bon Appetit issue.  I bought a loaf of "stuffing bread" from Great Harvest bakery in Ballard.

And I am making a homemade pumpkin pie, using a roll-out crust from Trader Joe's that swept a Serious Eats taste test.  The pie recipe is a little fussy, but it's Cooks Illustrated, and they know what they're talking about.

Also, whipped cream in my whipped-cream-dispenser.

As a funny aside, my coworker recently rolled his chair over to my cubicle and asked what in the world green bean casserole was.  He had seen it on a list of suggested dishes for an office Thanksgiving potluck party, and, being Canadian and apparently never having been subject to this American staple, he was intrigued as to what this dish could possibly be.  As I described how people "traditionally" prepare the dish, his face changed from one of mild interest to one of distaste and vague horror. Canned fried onions? Canned soup? Out of season green beans? Yes, yes, double-yes.  I said I was sure a homemade version would be somewhat better, but as I pretty much dislike all the ingredients in a GBC, I told him I couldn't personally recommend making the effort of cooking one unless he was forced into it.


I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving, and can gather 'round with people you want to see for an extended afternoon! :)

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