Friday, November 23, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

I chopped a lot of veggies on Wed to make prep easier, and somehow still spent a good portion of the day in the kitchen on Thursday. Bummer. We certainly ended up with a crazy amount of food. I was trying to keep it reasonably balanced, but it ended up carb-heavy after all. After we ate, half the mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, stuffing, and turkey went into the freezer for future meals.  Here was our bounty this year:

  • Turkey – baked breast-side down as usual to keep the white meat more moist, rubbed down with a little olive oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper. Yum! Boiling the carcass has generated several gallons of broth for future meals.
  • Stuffing – I cooked a half roll of Italian sausage, then sautéed a skillet full of onions, mushrooms, garlic, chopped carrots, celery, yellow squash, and zucchini. I added all this to a bag of Pepperidge Farm bread chunks. There was enough moisture from the veggies that I did not need to add any moisturizing broth or water. I have never added sausage before, and was surprised how just that little bit really added a lot of flavor.
  • Brussels Sprouts with Cranberries – the sugar and raspberry balsamic vinegar hardened into tooth-breaking crystalline texture (like the red shell of a candied apple), which promptly melted and ran all over the place when added to the sprouts. The result was okay, but I do not expect to make it again.
  • Green beans with mushrooms – I had an idea in mind, and this recipe is fairly close to what I envisioned. I was less than enthused about my results. They were edible, but not exciting.
  • Sweet potatoes – I cut out half the butter and sugar and didn’t miss it at all. Even Alex liked them, and getting him to eat sweet potatoes is usually a challenge.
  • Mashed potatoes – The bag from Costco suggested cooking them in the crock pot. I set the timer to cook them overnight. I doubt I will do that again. The potatoes turned yellow and smelled funny in the morning. I creamed them, added sautéed garlic, and baked to reheat just before serving. They turned out pretty tasty, but the color was still a bit dingy.
  • Mac & Cheese – I used this recipe as a base as usual but added additional seasonings and used a healthy dose of pepper jack for some extra seasoning.
  • Cranberry sauce – I doubled the recipe, reduced the sugar by 1/3, added a grated apple, and included the zest from the orange I juiced. The apple was not grated as much as I thought and I didn’t like the visual appeal when it was done, so I used the immersion blender to puree it. I also made it the day before and then served it chilled. I liked it last year, but I thought it probably the best part of the meal this year.  Alex did not share this opinion.
  • Pumpkin pie – I bought a frozen pre-made one months ago when they were on sale but it’s just been occupying freezer space since so I baked and served it. It was good, but I like the seasoning combo from homemade a little better.
  • Death by Chocolate – I bought the ingredients, but Alex made every bit of it himself. It is layers of double chocolate brownies, chocolate pudding, devil’s food cake, and whipped cream. He found some snack-sized Butterfinger bars left over from Halloween, and he shredded them for a garnish on the top. Isn’t it pretty?
We certainly have much to be thankful for as we reflect on the blessings of the past year. I am not sure just why we choose massive amounts of food to celebrate our thanks, but since I love to cook, it is a vessel I enjoy using.