I got my chance to take the lead in cooking Thanksgiving dinner for my family this year. I spread the cooking out over a few days and it was surprisingly unstressful. Thank you to Lisa, my sous chef and my Mom for supervising. Here's the run down:
My mom always gets a free turkey from Shoprite and I wasn't about to rain on her parade. I also wasn't about to bring a Greenmarket turkey on a 3 hour public transportation ride along with the rest of the food I needed to bring. Better luck going heritage and free range next year. Mom supervised the turkey, I just did what she told me to do.
Roasted butternut squash with parmesan and thyme
Replaced the traditional baked sweet potatoes that I never liked. These were devoured. Although I thought there was too much thyme and too mushy from too much cooking time.
Lisa's single-rise yeast biscuits with lemon, rosemary, and sage (before baking)
Replaced the traditional Shoprite from-a-can-slice-and-bake rolls. Couldn't taste the lemon. Didn't rise as well as in her test run. Surprisingly similar to the usual rolls = I still liked them.
My parents' remodeled wet bar
Replaced the old wet bar where alcohol was unwelcome and looked like a stereo closet crammed with science fiction paperbacks
Appetizers, including homemade rustic wheat crackers, roasted garlic and herb white bean dip, and hummus
Balsamic marinated roasted beets
My family is afraid of beets so these were not a hit, but at least Jesse ate up the leftovers.
I tried to infuse roasted garlic flavor, but didn't use enough garlic
Steamed broccoli with balsamic-mustard sauce
To replace the plain traditional steamed broccoli. Could have used a little more tang.
Roasted green beans with lemon juice, dill, toasted almonds, and caramelized onions
I finally figured out why my mom serves green beans on Thanksgiving even though it's out of season - because she has a ton in the freezer from her garden and wants to use them. Defrosted green beans don't roast well. The dish also could have used more than one onion for a better green bean-to-onion ratio.
Pumpkin snickerdoodle cookies (before baking)
Not pictured: Stuffing with baguette, celery, apples, and onions (replacing the traditional Pepperidge Farm/Stouffers/whatever it is stuffing from a bag); two gravy dishes, one made with real turkey drippings and one made from a Shoprite gravy packet; Mom's cranberry-cider sauce (replacing the traditional canned cranberry); and most of the desserts: Mom's apple pie, Mom's pumpkin pie, Lisa's real pumpkin pie with whole wheat crust, storebought sweet potato pie, tiramasu, truffles, blueberry muffins, and banana bread
The best part about Thanksgiving: The leftovers
The worst part: My fat belly from sitting around eating and headaches from playing Minesweeper all week.