Wednesday, December 3, 2014

::gobble gobble::

this year thanksgiving involved a little more planning. i'd still do all the cooking, but dinner would take place at my mom's. i did my usual menu planning, food shopping, and kitchen prep lists (with a couple additional packing lists since i'd be transporting everything to connecticut).

the menu
* arugula hazelnut salad with fig balsamic
* cranberry sauce
* lemony green beans with almond breadcrumbs
* roasted brussels sprouts
* butter sautéed corn
* ultra fluffy mashed potatoes
* mom's sticky rice
* spatchcocked turkey with gravy
* snack: goat cheese stuffed dates wrapped in prosciutto
* drinks: southern tier pumking, martinelli's sparkling apple cider
* dessert: pumpkin milk chocolate pie with gingersnap crust
* take-home: mini pumpkin loaf & pumpkin caramel thumbprint cookies

with the menu in place, here's what the week looked like:
 - cranberry sauce
   (it's so easy i don't understand why anyone needs to buy the canned stuff. seriously, people)
 - almond breadcrumbs
 - toast hazelnuts
 - fig balsamic dressing
 - pumpkin caramel
   (needed to chill at least 4 hours before filling cookies)
 - milk chocolate pumpkin pie
 - thumbprint cookies
 - trim green beans and brussels sprouts
 - pack up kitchen
   (forgot to take a picture of the suitcase, duffle bag, and granny cart used to move everything)
 - drive to connecticut before the impending snow/rainstorm
 - mashed potatoes
   (left the milk out until thursday to heat up)
 - air dry turkey
 - chop aromatics for gravy and turkey
 - giblet gravy
 - defrost pumpkin loaves and corn

thoughts and takeaways:
  • i tried spatchcocking the turkey (instead of my usual upside-down roasting), and i have to admit i was a little underwhelmed. first, it was difficult to cut the backbone out and squish down the bird (even with kavin's help). then, it was hard to judge the doneness; i'm used to jiggling the leg and checking the juices, but with a flattened bird i was wary to jostle it. and finally, even though this technique is supposed to provide even cooking etc, i found that the white meat was a little dry while some of the meat closer to the bone was slightly undercooked :T i think i'll stick with my tried-and-true roasting method going forward.
  • green beans are boring.
  • more corn. always.

  • i really liked the arugula salad. the fig balsamic was the perfect balance of sweet and acidity. the parmesan added a nice saltiness, and the hazelnuts were toasty and provided crunch. i thought this was a beautifully composed (and simple) salad. bonus: i got to use my homemade fig jam from the end of summer!
  • cranberry sauce: make your own. for reals.
  • a gingersnap crust smells a lot like a graham cracker crust.
  • lists are your friend: excel spreadsheets, wunderlist, paper and pen. use any and all.

holiday meals are always a lot of work but also not. i'll take any excuse to make massive amounts of food ;) it's fun--and at times stressful--to get everything ready and see it all come together, but in the end it's really about spending time with people you love.

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