December 1, 2008

Thanksgiving Recap

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:

The turkey
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.
Mashed potatoes
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.


Anonymous said...


I have that same problem with frozen veggies and berries. Seems like when you freeze them, the cells change too much to cook as your normally would.

I've got to try those cookies...

meag said...

supurb! i love the idea of replacing some of the traditional sides, but i wanted to go as authentic as possible (aka green bean casserole) for my first (fake) thanksgiving. it nearly killed me - next year i'll change it up! i had a problem with my parmesan mashed potatoes not tasting cheesy enough, but making them with veg stock (in addition to a little milk) increased the flavor.

Julia said...

meag - how fun that you made thanksgiving there! if you can believe it, i've actually never had a traditional green bean casserole in my life. i miss chatting with you throughout the work day :-(

Elaine said...

Julia-great job on your thanksgiving feast! It sounded great, I'm going to make those rustic wheat crackers, was it easy? I have done thanksgiving for the past 2 years actually and I am in love with acorn squash with bits of gorgonzola cheese and a balsamic vinagrette "reduction" I also make green beans with toasted pine nuts and olive oil...

Julia said...

Elaine - the crackers are easy, they get better with practice. It just takes time to roll them all out, and making sure you take them out of the oven at just the right time - not soft, but not dark/burned. The squash with gorgonzola sounds amazing, as does the green beans with pine nuts! Hope you're well!

Mara (the coffee lover) said...

looks sooo yummy!

Julia said...

thanks Mara, I hope your Thanksgiving was yummy too!

Globetrottingbride said...

Wow! Your feast looks sooo fabulous!

DD said...

I'm sorry but I LOVE beets and I would have helped with those. And pumpkin snickerdoodles? I'm ashamed that I didn't think of that myself.

Jessica@Foodmayhem said...

I would've gobbled up the beets. Great colors!