This Thanksgiving, I put my cooking chops to work and put together the feast! Lots of comfort foods and snacks, so take a gander and see if there is anything you'd like to try next year!
Wait, before you lock yourself in the kitchen. Come up with a fun way to set the table. I used pumpkins, gourds, tea lights, and I also pressed leaves that I found outside and just placed them on the table as well. Get creative!
My sickly self was not drinking alcohol this Thanksgiving (blasphemy!) so I made this Mulled Cider to help make me feel special while everyone else got toasted.
What's a party without a cheese plate. This is actually a great thing to have someone else bring. Not only does it save you time from chopping cheese when you've got other things happening in the kitchen, but it's always fun to see what cool cheeses and spreads your guests come up with.
No Fail Crostini:
There are a million crostini recipes out there, but this one beats them all. I tasted a similar dish at one of my favorite wine bars (Cavatapo) and always make it now.
1 Baguette (cut into 1 inch thick pieces and toasted in oven until crispy)
1/2 large cylinder of goat cheese (save the other half for my next recipe)
Kalamata olives (pitted and halved, to top each crostini)
Truffle Oil (Get yourself a big bottle of this stuff and consider it an investment!)
Salt and Pepper to taste
After you've toasted all of the little crostinis, spread each piece with some goat cheese. Top with 1 olive half, then drizzle some truffle oil on top. Season with a little salt and pepper to taste.
Cheese Stuffed Dates with Prosciutto: This recipe is another crowd pleaser!
White Bean Dip with Pita Chips: This recipe is great, but you can also buy your own bag of pita chips instead of making them. Go with 1 garlic clove if you have sensitive guests.
Turkey and the Trimming's (sounds like a band!)
I'm no expert on cooking meat so I will say right now that you should research how long you should cook your bird yourself... that being said, here are some other tips to help.
-Brine the turkey the night before. If you can, stick your turkey (cavity side up) in a bucket. On the stove prepare a mixture of water, salt, sugar, crushed garlic cloves, honey, and fresh herbs. Just eye ball this. I only had a 5 pound turkey breast, so I filled a large pot with water. Added 1 cut salt. 1 cup brown sugar, a few big glugs of honey, 5 garlic cloves, and bunches of sage, rosemary, thyme, and a bay leaf. VERY IMPORTANT: Let this mixture cool all the way to room temperature before putting in the bucket. Let the turkey sit in this tub all night and/or until you need to cook it.
-Pat the turkey dry before placing in roasting pan. I only stuck some lemon wedges in the cavity because it was very flavored already.
-The Dry Rub: I used Brown Sugar, Paprika, Herbes De Provence, Salt, and Pepper. Rub these spices all over the bird. I also drop some pats of butter on the bird.
-Once you get any vegetables that you'd like to cook along with the meat in the pan, add 2 cups chicken (or Turkey) stock to the pan. This will help with keeping the turkey moist and will provide enough basting liquid!
Mesclun Salad with my dressing: You pick the veggies, here is my dressing recipe. I also added a Parmesan crisp. Super easy. Just drop handfuls of grated Parmesan cheese onto a baking sheet and cook up individual crisps. Just bake under broiler until they are super crispy. Lay out on some paper towel to cool.
Vegetables around the meat: Simple. Carrots, Parsnips, Butternut Squash and Yellow Onion. A little salt and a little pepper. be sure to stir/baste the vegetables as well!
Stuffing: I actually don't eat or make stuffing (nothing personal), so this is was a great dish to have a family member make. Especially if they do it well! I don't have the recipe...
Cheesy Mashed Potatoes: These were O-M-G- Delicious! Recipe found here, however, when I boiled the potatoes, I threw in a bay leaf and a bunch of fresh thyme. I added 1 minced clove garlic. And I did not use Pancetta or bread crumbs. I also kept the potatoes cooking in a slow cooker because I did not have a big enough oven.
Cranberry Sauce: I love the orange flavor in this recipe here.
Roasted Corn with Lime, Scallion, and Cilantro: This was a nice palette exciter. Not your traditional Thanksgiving corn, but that's what made it special. And... it's yet another crowd pleaser. I only fed 5 people, but I just broke up 2 boxes frozen corn in a Pyrex dish. Added 2 tablespoons butter, salt and pepper. Then I cooked the corn in the oven on 350 until the corn was cooked through (10-15 minutes). When the corn is cooked, I added the zest and juice of 2 limes, 4 chopped scallions, and 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro.
There was also pumpkin bread (recipe featured here), pumpkin pie, and apple pie... and don't forget the wine! (unfortunately I couldn't drink...) How was your Thanksgiving?