Just for you, I finally managed to take a photo of our turkey pre-carving. Because that’s how thankful I am for you; I’ll risk Mr. Table dropping a turkey on the floor in transit – twice – just so I can get a pretty photo on something other than the rack or the carving board.
So how was your Thanksgiving? I saw this morning that there were actually people reading this blog, which means you were either a) having a normal Thursday because you don’t go all Thanksgiving crazy like here in the States or b) you were looking at (or for) recipes. If you picked something from here to make for your holiday, I’m honored, and I would love to hear how things turned out for you. Because guess what: I made some of your recipes too! I did. I submitted my paperwork to the family, received approval, and some new recipes were on the table this year. Here’s a little peek at our day.
Obviously at Thanksgiving, I consider the main “decoration” to be the food itself, so not much else was needed to spruce up the room. I did a little stick arrangement with my repurposed Halloween branches) in a big pewter vase, and hung some knit mushroom Christmas ornaments from it. Just because.
We began with what I call The Family Crumb Cake. It’s a little different every time, depending on who makes it (me or my mom), but it’s always a classic New York crumb cake. No fillings, nothing fancy, just crumbs and cake, and it couldn’t be more perfect if it tried. It’s a must when we’re all together.
Also, there was a little raw turkey prep. We pre-order ours from Whole Foods, and may I say that it’s a fabulous way to go about a holiday meal. The ordering was easy, the employees helpful (as always; the nicest people work there), and the turkey outstanding. And hey, they brine it for you, so it’s almost no work save for the oven prep. We made my sister hold the skin up to get the sage leaves between it and the meat, and it was easily the worst part of her day.
She recovered by hanging out at the window with the Wee One, who regaled her with stories of what normally happens in our backyard (rabbits, squirrels, the occasional pear falling from our inedible pear tree.)
Meanwhile, I constructed my dream – to someday host a Thanksgiving feast in a giant, immaculate, well-lit, miraculously un-smelly horse barn, which i will someday just happen to have on my property, a la Martha Stewart – out of the Wee One’s stable and some Little People. It’s likely this will be the closest I ever get to actually having a stable on my property, but a girl can dream, right?
Next, we set out some things to munch on. Thanksgiving, when cooking, starts to smell really good right about the time everyone starts to get really hungry. “So…when are we eating?” is the holiday equivalent to “Are we there yet?”, so it’s best to give guests something to do with their mouths. We did some store-bought crackers alongside my own version of a classic cheddar-pecan cracker (coming soon to the blog), the roasted grapes I made for you last week, some fresh Clementines, and a few cheeses I picked up at Whole Foods while we were “adopting” our turkey. We chose a nice aged Gruyère and a Wensleydale with cranberries – one of my new favorites, and perfect with the grapes.
Finally, the feast was ready. I wouldn’t be here to type this had I attempted to take photos of each item, because my family would have tied me to a chair and thrown me in the closet so they could eat. I would say this is all of our food, but it’s not. Someday I will have a large enough table, but for now, this is most of our food. We had to put desserts and appetizers on the island nearer to the kitchen. Our meal consisted of:
- mashed potatoes
- vanilla bean sweet potatoes
- green beans with bacon and onion
- a relish tray
- jellied cranberry sauce (yes.)
- lemony Brussels sprout slaw from a recipe I saw in Food & Wine this month. It’s a different way to have sprouts, and a nice one; sort of a cool, crunchy break in the hot and heavy action that is Thanksgiving.
Did you see those rolls on the table? They originally looked like this, because I made them all by myself. Jennie at The Messy Baker took pity on my yeast frustrations and sent me her grandmother’s recipe for rolls. And they actually worked, even in my cursed hands. And look at them; they’re gigantic! Everyone loved them, I was enormously happy with them, and I need to find a way to appropriately thank Jennie for making our Thanksgiving even better than usual. And for making me feel better about my abilities with bread. Thanks, Jennie.
Oh; and my feast? Lest you be confused by the photos, let me clarify; all this food is for four people. Four point two five, if you count the Wee One and her wee appetite. Needless to say, all that joking about having you all over for the holidays would have been fine, because we cook for 30 anyway. We had an epiphany this year that we do precisely the same amount of work for the four of us as we would for forty guests, which is both invigorating and exhausting to know. So, next year, you may get an invitation because someone needs to eat all this food we have left over.
Next, we arrive at the desserts portion of the evening. We made:
- pecan pie tart (coming soon to the blog, because mom starts asking for this one in August, it’s that good)
- homemade vanilla bean ice cream – a Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream recipe (also coming soon), and easily the best vanilla ice cream I’ve ever experienced
- pumpkin pie – not just any pumpkin pie, but Natalie from Wee Eats‘ recipe for the creamiest pumpkin pie in the world. I can attest to the accuracy of that title; it really is the creamiest pumpkin pie in the world, and although everyone was slightly apprehensive about me changing up our pumpkin pie, all of us were thrilled with the result. Truly a fantastic way to make a very classic dessert without freaking everyone out with unfamiliar flavors. Thanks, Natalie; I know you were freaked out that I was switching my pie recipe up last minute, but it’s safe to say your recipe went over wonderfully.
Some dishes were done.
Lottie supervised the cleanup and got a little sauced on the sparkling grape juice. That’s her in her Popemobile-like structure I purchased so she could be my kitchen muse without getting dirty or dusty. She likes it quite a bit.
And that was that. We took a walk in the late afternoon sun, as it was a delightful 70-degree day (I’m fine with that if I need to take a stroll), played a pretty competitive few games of Wii bowling, and generally had a ton of fun. Today, we begin decorating the Christmas tree, maybe make some gingerbread houses, and start wading through leftovers. I hope your day is equal parts relaxation and fun, just like ours will be.
See you in a day or two, and we can all start getting Christmas crazy together. And don’t act like you’re not going to, either.