Tuesday, November 27

Thanksgiving 2007

It was a success!

I sort of followed the menu and cooking schedule in the Nov 2007 issue of Fine Cooking, with a few adaptations and simplifications. It spread the cooking and shopping out so that everything was produced without sweat or heartache and with enough room in the fridge. Plus, the results were terrific.

What was missing, could have been better?

I need my own carving knives. I borrowed Irene’s, which worked quite well too, but having my own would, of course, have been better.

November 22, 2007, originally uploaded by loralia.

The decor could have used improvement. I used a simple runner and everyday placemats with a vase of flowers with cranberries (thanks to Heather’s innovation) and a few mini pumpkins left out from Halloween. It still looked good and our new table was a huge improvement over what we would have been able to do otherwise. Unfortunately, I was unable to find holiday linen which I found attractive and at a price I was willing to pay. I am hoping to catch something on post season clearance to use for next year.

The sweet potatoes au gratin could really have used some improvement. I used ½ and ½, instead of heavy cream (I’m not sure why. Probably, to cut out some fat) and I soaked the sweet potatoes overnight because I was getting ahead of myself. This just made it too watery and not creamy and it never gratined properly. Plus, I added too many sweet potatoes for the liquid. Sometimes, less is more. It was the slowest moving dish on the table and in the leftovers. It was still tasty though and I’d make it again, but follow the recipe . Honestly, if I were to have made something else I’d like it to be something that is easier to pass around the table. My thoughts at the moment are mashed sweet potatoes with a bit of a cayenne kick and some pineapple chunks or something along those lines.

The rest of the food was fabulous. No really!

I will brine the turkey again, although I think I will be a little more stingy in how much I pay for the herbs to brine it in. I haven’t actually calculated it, but between the $5 brining bag and the fistfuls of fresh herbs I know the brining cost far more then it would have to use a fresh organic instead of the frozen unorganic turkey that I bought.

Making my own stock was great, but if I were crunched on time I would find this the best thing to skip. I wouldn't call it vital.

The herb butter was a wonderful move and I plan to do this again even it I don’t brine. It was cheaper and easier the brining, added flavor, sealed in moisturer and helped create a wonderfully browned skin.

The stuffing was terrific and, as always, the first of the leftovers to go. I made 1 and a half bags of cornbread stuffing for a 12 lb bird and 5 of us. I made Irene’s recipe using hot sausage and added a little fennel. I honestly can’t say the fennel added as much as I expected, but it wasn’t very fresh and Irene calls for more celery leaves then I used. Next time I may just make 2 bags.

November 22, 2007, originally uploaded by loralia.

My broccoli was yummy. I made the broiled broccoli which I frequently make and we always enjoy.

The cranberry sauce was great, but simple to make. I just added a generous amount of ground cloves, perhaps a little too generous, actually, and fresh orange zest. It looked fabulous in the glass dish Mom got me last Christmas.

Lyn even raved about my gravy, which I'm not very experienced with making. I little oversight from Irene and a good sized splash of sherry in it helped make it a success.

Fred and Irene brought some Toasted Head Pinot Grigio and a pumpkin pie from Sweetish Hill Bakery.

The pie was tasty and very attractive, despite not being homemade and it was made clear that both Fred and Lyn would have preferred pecan pie, but I thing my fresh whip cream made up for it. I had wanted Liam to be able to have pie with us, so asked her to bring pumpkin. Honestly, these men are so particular about having pecan pie on every single holiday that it almost makes me want to intentionally not serve what they demand, but then I am a difficult one.

I have no doubt that I will be asked to make the turkey again someday and I look forward to it.

If I host next year I’d like to invite a couple more people. I did reach out to others this year, trying to include others that I thought might not have family to spend it with, but they all had other plans. I guess I’ve reached a point in life where most of the people I spend time with have enough of a social network that I don’t have to save anybody, what a concept! I did manage to get a brief acknowledgement that it is thanksgiving from everybody before we began eating. Next year I’d like to have somebody who I can get to lead a short message of thanks or perhaps I’ll get brave enough to do so myself. Heck, I could always one of my fire and brimstone relatives, that would certainly liven things up.

November 22, 2007, originally uploaded by loralia.
Liam was a ham. He seemed to enjoy the specialness of the occasion and all the yummy food, except the turkey. He never even tried the turkey, but asked for more of the stuffing and the cranberries, as well as, the whip cream.

He was on very good behavior, but distant with his Mimi and Fred Fred. We timed dinner late at 3:30 so that we could serve it after he had had a full nap. That also allowed me time to set the table, shower, and run out to the store for those emergency items. Lyn was helpful, especially with getting the house cleaned up for company. I managed to not have to ask him to watch Liam for more then short bits throughout the day and still spent plenty of time playing with him, which I think added to his angelicness.

Of course, the mysterious stomach bug that knocked us out one by one over the next few days is another story and had nothing to do with my cooking.


Sue said...

Hey, Lora! Great to see you posting again. I'm glad it all worked out so well for you. What great pictures of Liam - he's getting so big!

Anonymous said...

Hi Lora! I am so glad you are posting again. I enjoyed your rundown of Thanksgiving. It all looks so yummy. I also love your new table and the green walls. And, of course, Liam is a doll. He is getting so big.

Bearette said...

Well, I stopped by on a whim and here you are! Nice to see you and Liam again. I'm 13 1/2 weeks pregnant now, so any advice is welcome :)

Mike said...

Looks like it was great meal and time! Good to hear from you again!

Anonymous said...

Oh what beautiful pictures! Your son is growing so fast, quite huggable and snuggable I'm sure! Give him hugs for me. Your table looked beautiful. I love using cranberries in decorating! Love, Jules

utenzi said...

Hey Lora. One holiday down and another coming at us fast. I hope you stick around and keep your blog updated. *hint, hint* I want to see Christmas pictures!