10 November 2011

a sufficiency

Yeast Rolls from Last Year's Feast

Yay!  Turkey Day is coming!  Gobble Gobble Gobble.   
I love Thanksgiving.  I'm a food girl [I hear a collective "No scheisse, sweetheart"].  And at Christmas, while there may be great food, it's not the focus.  The focus is you know, a savior's advent, and lots of wrapping paper.  But on Turkey Day, well, it's all about the food. 
For a hot second, we thought we might be out of town for Thanksgiving, and I wouldn't get to perform the sixth consecutive hosting of the Feast this year.  But, no worries.  All taken care of; yay!  

[Proper use of semi colon?  Yay is an interjection, right?  What does one do with an interjection at the end of a sentence?  When we're diagramming at school, we call this one sentence, "Wow! Look at all those frogs!"  However, we punctuate it like it's two, obviously.  I have either entirely turned off or entirely turned on, to being a grammar nerd that is, every single one of my English grammar students this year.  You can see why.]

So, menu is decided upon.  No turning back now.  Still finalizing some specific recipes, but the food-dish-name-cards can be written up without fear.  

First off, the Bird. 

Last year, we had a turkey-off.  We couldn't decide if we would roast or fry.  We tried both in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving.  We ended up going with frying.  It was great, however, a big ol' mess and a lot of trouble, and we'd have to steal a friend's turkey fryer again (thank you, merediths!), or buy our own, and on and on the problems go.  Okay, not problems, but I'm a sucker for something new.  So much of Thanksgiving never changes, so I like to insert variety where I can. 

Well, this year, my sweet friend Anna enthusiastically sent me this gem:  Butterflying A Turkey!  

It makes so much sense, really.  The seasonings combo in this particular recipe is not my favorite, so I'm going to use the method, but not the exact flavors.  This will be  my first Turkey Brining.  I do have a good friend who seems to be a brine expert (talkin' to you, Carolyn), so I'm going to be calling her to pick her brain.  Because I'm weird, I cannot wait to cut the backbone out of the turkey.  Makes me feel so competent.  Amanda Q - You want in?  

If anyone has favorite turkey seasoning combos, I'm all ears.  Or, Anna, I may need to get Flavor Bible back from you for a bit.  I'm always tempted to do what I'd do to a chicken: a very simple garlic/onion/lemon kind of thing.  However, turkeys are so big - and really a bird of a different feather - that they seem to need and deserve something amped-up a bit.  

[Yes, I just worked that in there.  Between that and the grammar, I can tell we're in for a nerdilicious day]

Butterflied, Roasted Turkey:  Decide on exact recipe; use method in above link.  
      Cook:  Roasting Pan
      Serve:  White rectangular platter
      Brine on Tuesday; Roast on Thursday morning.  May put Paul to basting.  

Then for the sides

These are the most important for me.  I'm a sides kind of girl.  And my sides betray that fact.  

We have a dressing recipe we've always used.  I think it was my paternal grandmother's, though she wasn't much of a cook, so maybe not.  I don't know if there's an actual recipe somewhere.  I call my mother every year the week before thanksgiving, and every year, she says, "lots o onion, lots o celery, chicken broth, couple o eggs, one recipe jiffy, one recipe martha white buttermilk cornbread [recipe found on bag o martha white buttermilk corn meal], salt some, pepper until there is no tomorrow, come now, ann lowrey, you know the drill"  
I'm going to call again this year.  I always worry there is one simple ingredient I'm leaving out.  Oh!  I think there is sugar!  See - now I have to get confirmation.  

Anyway, dressing is a giant pain - with the making of the cornbread in advance and all.  But it's my favorite, oh, so favorite.  My extended family all love it. [Ooh!  Collective noun!] Last year, my baby brother was in Scotland for the semester and missed thanksgiving.  He asked that I freeze him some dressing.  I did.  I've not asked the results.  


Cornbread Dressing:   Family Recipe - Call Ma
      Cook:  Large White Baker
      Serve:  Same
      Cook all Cornbread (Ada Brooks) and chop onions and celery (AL) on Wednesday;
            Assemble and Bake on Thursday morning 

[This brings me to an important point.  I'm proud to announce, in a way eerily similar to what other parents must feel when their daughters walk the debutante walk, that Ada Brooks will have a list of jobs to get us ready for thanksgiving this year.  And they'll involve real live cooking jobs.  Like: Make two batches of cornbread.  Recipes on bag/box.  Holler with questions.  I'm excited for the help!  No, really.  Eason will move into the small kid jobs this year.  Like:  Crumble corn bread in plastic baggie once it's cooled. No, no.  Be careful.  Don't let the baggie open.  Don't mash it.  Just crumble it.  Here, let me give it a try.]

On to spuds:  

Sweet Potato Casserole is a must around here.  Ada Bee also insists on Marshmallows as the topping.  I love a good marshmallow topping, but some other grown ups have been quietly murmuring about a pecan option.  So, we're going with:  

Wait for it. 


I just make up the sweet potato recipe every year.  You know - butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, half and half, dessert disguised in a casseroled dish. 

Does anyone have a good candied pecan topping recipe?  I'll avail myself of google, but I always prefer to use a friend's tried-and-true. 

Sweet Potatoes:  No need for a recipe.  Do need one for the candied pecan topping.  
      Cook:  Oval Pyrex
      Serve: Oval Pyrex in copper stand. 
      Make pecan topping on Wednesday morning.  
      Paul to peel and chop  sweet  potatoes on Wednesday evening; go ahead  and 
      put together casserole.  Refrigerate.   Top and Bake on Thursday morning. 

I didn't grow up with white potatoes at Turkey day, but why the hell not?  For the second year in a row, my food-apathetic husband has observed me menu planning and, without a preface, has said, "Those scalloped potatoes, please."  I figure the poor man can pick one dish. And, actually, this year, at a separate time, Ada Brooks said, "oh, and can we have those potatoes that Daddy and I like so much?"  So, it's settled.  They've lemon pepper, cayenne pepper, swiss cheese, baked in homemade-chicken-broth-goodness. 

Scalloped Potatoes:  Come On In Recipe with Swiss - double.   
      Cook:  White Square Baker
      Serve:  Same
      Make on Tuesday; reheat with final cheese topping added on Thursday morning.  

I require a bad-for-me-green-vegetable at Thanksgiving.  It's usually been asparagus casserole, but, like I said, I like variety.  I'm making up the recipe from various research.  There will be bacon, shallots, cream, Gruyere.  Other than that, I haven't gotten far yet.  

Brussels Sprouts Au Gratin:  Make up recipe based on some research 
      Cook:  Green Baker
      Serve:  Same
      Cook bacon, roast brussels sprouts, saute shallots on Tuesday.  
      Assemble cream/topping and bake on Thursday morning.

A last minute (if two weeks out counts as last minute in any sense of the phrase) addition by Ada Brooks.  It's sugary, vinegary, and yummiest 3-days-old, which is handy the week of Thanksgiving.  If the child wants to whip up some three bean salad, go for it, kiddo. 

Three Bean Salad:   Family Recipe - need to find 
      Assemble:  Green tupperware
      Serve:  Gold Annie Glass Bowl
      Ada Bee to make [AL: chop onion and bell peppers] on Tuesday and   
      refrigerate until serving time. 

We all love pasta!  

Butternut Mac & Cheese:  Make up a recipe based on some research
      Cook:  Red Baker
      Serve:  Red Baker with stand
      Make entire thing, other than final topping, on Tuesday, refrigerate,
            reheat / top / brown on Thursday morning.

Mustard Broccoli:  Brought by Forsters 

I think carrots are a must.  Last year, they were packed with spicy flavor and cooked into babyfood softness.  I think I want something a little less obtrusive this year.   
Adding the parsnips for fun. 

Roasted Carrots & Parsnips: 
      Cook:  9x13
      Serve:  Gold Annie Glass Oval Platter
      Peel and chop on Wednesday.  Toss/Roast on Thursday morning. 

My mother raised me with the believe that no meal is complete without a salad.  I may have taken it to heart a bit much.  
Crunchy Romaine Toss
      Serve:  square dark wooden bowl
      Brown ramen noodles / wash and tear broccoli and lettuce / make up
            dressing / chop green onions on Wednesday.  Assemble and toss all
            together on Thursday morning. 


Condiments are different than sides.  They are left on the table to pass rather than served buffet style like the rest of the things [I don't like a crowded table, and passing large, heavy dishes when every other person is has pretty short arms is really frustrating, so we go buffet with the big sides].  Also, condiments are something you might eat no more than a tablespoon-sized portion of.  And you even put some of these on things, which is the real definition of a condiment? 

Pickles  - Our Spicy, Sweet homemade Pickle Recipe
      Serve:  find a small pottery bowl
      Make Saturday November 12th.  

We've always done just basic cranberries, sugar, water cranberry sauce.  Last year, my friend Via recommended this recipe.   
I couldn't find kumquats in the greater jackson metro area.  My friend Calen found them on Wednesday before thanksgiving or some such, but 'twas too late.   I had scratched it and went with plain ol'.  I'm hoping this year to be able to try the fancier version.

Cranberry Kumquat Sauce - recipe in above link
      Cook:  Medium Saucepan
      Serve:  White Gravy boat 
      Make Tuesday; get out of fridge first thing Thursday morning. 

I mean, we haven't used any alcohol so far!  'Twon't do.  [Double contractions?  Allowed? I claim artistic license in this situation]
Bourbon Gravy  -
      Cook:  Medium Saucepan
      Serve:  Red Vietri Gravy Boat? 
      Last thing to make before sitting down.  Get roux ready before Turkey comes out of oven 

Canned Spiced Peaches - 
      I kid you not.  Every year.  Wouldn't be thanksgiving without them.
      Cook:  Can Opener
      Serve:  granannie's plain glass bowl


Also served on table.  We want to be able to get to them quickly.  

Biscuit Bread - Oswalt Recipe
      Cook:  Cast Iron Skillet
      Serve:  Shallow Wooden Bowl with Pretty Cloth
      Make on Thursday morning - Ada entirely in charge.  Put in oven at 12:00

No Knead Onion Rolls - Recipe (Test First)   
      Cook:  Glass Pyrex
      Serve:  Shallow Wooden Bowl with Pretty Cloth
      Make on Wednesday, cover tightly on counter, then reheat for 10 minutes on 
      Thursday morning. 
(If this doesn't test well, use Via's or grandmother's yeast roll recipe)  


Carrie's Famous Chocolate Pie - Brought By Easons

Pumpkin Pie:  Either the sweet Beans' recipe or Paula Deen's which has great reviews.   
      Cook:  Pie Plate
      Serve:  just from pie plate
      Make on Tuesday, cover tightly, Paul to whip cream for top on Thursday at 12:30.  
      Add a bit of cinnamon to the whipped cream. 

Caramel Apple Cheesecake:  Make up recipe... ;) 
      Cook:  springform pan
      Serve:  Annieglass Charger
      Make on Tuesday or Wednesday (Tuesday if time, Wednesday if not)

Pecan Pie:  Find a recipe that Ada Bee can make all alone.  
     Cook:  Pie Plate
     Serve:  just from pie plate
     Put Ada to making on Tuesday, cover tightly, serve with amaretto whipped cream, 

As my daddy says, I believe this will be a sufficiency. 

(next thursday:  The Thanksgiving Grocery List)  


  1. The ultimate grammar-nerd diagram I had to face as a youngster: The Preamble to the Constitution. I've been hooked on phonics ever since...

  2. excited to read your menu! I never thought about getting to have multiple kinds of bread-WONDERFUL IDEA. I am cooking Thanksgiving dinner for 10-15 people for the first time! I will message you what we actually end up having!