16 November 2016

You Can't Fuss With Your Mouth Full

AB's Sweet Potatoes from a couple of years ago. We'll see how the rebels do this weekend before we decide if we want to repeat this design..  ;) 

This year is mine and Paul's eleventh Thanksgiving to be married and the eleventh year we'll gather around our dinner table for a meal full of good things with people who make our hearts sing.  Paul is not a cook, but he's a smashing good conversationalist, and I'm proud to play cohost with him year after year, weekend after weekend, moment after moment.

In the midst of the insanity that has been public American life for 2016, I think it's especially important that we pause and give thanks. That we make a pretty table, and prepare enough food to feed an army, and then gather the army, and then laugh.  We should remember that thanks is nonsensical without an object - and that object is the Creator God of the universe.  We can all sit around and lament America, but, friends, I live in a world in which the question, "Which Microplane makes the most sense to grate the fresh nutmeg?" is actually being pondered. There are a multitude of cheeses, fresh fruits, meats, and chocolate.  And did I mention the cheese?  It is all ridiculous, prodigal, absurd.  And when we let it pass by, or sully it with a lack of gratitude, well, we've entered absurdity from a whole different angle.  We've problems a plenty, but last I checked, our blessings outweighed our problems.  And that's not the case for many in the world today.  So, eat.  You can't fuss with your mouth full.

We're traveling to visit dear friends for Turkey Day proper, but we'd not feel we'd done our filial duty if we didn't host a spread here, so a bunch of extended family are all coming on Sunday Afternoon for a 4:00 meal of epic proportions.

Last year, I ruffled everyone's feathers by having no turkey and none of the traditional sides.  There was some embracing, but mostly the people were displeased.  The men especially fussed - you don't realize how a man likes his traditions until you alter things.  And, then the, "But where are the sweet potatoes?" will cut you to the quick. 

You can view last year's menu, as well as back to 2009, if you, you know, you are in desperate need of Thanksgiving inspiration and have a bunch of time on your hands.  


To Twenty Sixteen:

Pick Up Food 
Prosciutto Cups with Ricotta and Fig filling
Roasted Spiced Pecans
Crostini with Caramelized Onions, Braised Pears, and Whipped Blue Cheese

Cauliflower and Roasted Garlic

Main Dish
Turkey... ;)  I'm still debating what to do.  We've done grilled and liked it.  We've done slow roasted over night in the oven and liked it.  We've done traditional in the oven and liked it.  We've done fried and loved it but hated the mess.

The Side Board

The two standards return and the six in rotation continue...

Cornbread Dressing - My Mama is bringing the dressing. Thank heavens. This is *the* dressing, and we won't ever do anything else, I don't imagine.  It came, I believe, from my paternal grandmother - neither of my grandmothers was  a very good cook (funny isn't it?), though I think both of their mothers were great, and they taught their daughters some things.  Including this dressing.  I think Mama messed with it some when I was growing up, but, it hasn't changed much for sure.  Celery, Onion, Two different cornbreads, pepper out the wazoo, as they say.  Or at least as Mama says.

Sweet Potato Casserole - I'm bringing it back.  Sticking with the half marshmallow, half pecan topping. It reconciles all different view points, and goodness knows we can use some reconciliation.
1) Scalloped Swiss Potato Gratin - I still can't spell it right.  How many p's?  How many l's?  One never knows.  This recipe is a standard in the rotation (not every year but most), and it is one of Paul's and Ma's favorites.

2) Spinach Gratin - My Stepmother is bringing this, and she's simply thrilling in the kitchen, so go team.

3) Salad - Arugula, pears, candied walnuts, goat cheese.  Yes, we're repeating a featured ingredient from an appetizer - pears - but, today in the mail came eight picture perfect Harry and David Pears... and who doesn't obey Harry and David?  If they're still firm on Saturday evening, I"ll poach them a bit.  I did a cider vinaigrette recently for a dinner party that was one of my favorite dressings I've ever made... and I'm certainly using it again.

4) Glazed Carrots - Honey, Butter, Simple Goodness

5) Proper Corn Pudding - The nytimes doesn't win some journalistic prizes, but it does have a great article on Thanksgiving food from each state from a couple of years ago.  I wasn't excited about the Mississippi recipe, but I've never done a proper corn pudding, and the one they published as the recipe from Virginia looks like the real deal.  So, I'm trying it - water bath and all.

6) Butternut, Burrata, Hazelnut Orzo - I'm making this up.  As I go.  But, what the hey - if it flops, we won't be low on food.  And we need a little adventure.  And how cold it flop?  And on and on I go - where I stop, nobody knows.

On The Table

Gravy - Every year, I ask my stepmother for her gravy recipe.  And every year, she dutifully sends it to me.  And every year, hers is better than mine. I'm plotting -I'm going to have all the ingredients ready and require her to make it when she walks in.  Don't tell.

Cranberry Sauce - You know - I've messed with it over the years - ginger, cayenne, kumquats - and its never been bad.  But, I've never thought, "Oh my!  We must never go back to regular ol' cranberry sauce again!"  So, this year, we're doing regular ol' cranberry sauce.  Cranberries, sugar, water, maybe some salt and pepper?

Eason Homemade Pickles - Sweet, Spicy, All The Time

Canned Spiced Peaches - I dare you to make me stop.  Double dog dare you.  I open one can all week... and it will remain this one.

Bread Basket - Rosemary Biscuit Muffins (me) and Sourdough Bread (Stepmother)

Dessert Cart

Honeyed, Salted Chocolate Pie - I saw it somewhere and decided it needed a try.  I'll let you know.

Cheesecake - Stepmother.  Can't wait.

Apple Pie - I've never made an apple pie in my life.  Horrors.  Or, as we Southern women say, Horrahs.  I think it's likely time.  If anyone has a must do, send it on!

Plum Spice Cake - An old family favorite.  I haven't made it in years and years.

It should be a sufficiency, as my dear grandfather used to say.  And hopefully larrupin, as he also used to say.  Regardless, it will be a blessing.

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