Sunday, December 1, 2013

Mostly Home Cooked Thanksgiving in Another Home


It’s a long story about how it happened, but Will and I packed up almost our entire kitchen and our dog Katie and went down state to cook Thanksgiving dinner in someone else’s home.  It was a well-stocked kitchen—and amazingly organized and clutter-free too!—so the experience was a fairly smooth one.  We couldn’t find only a few items, and it turned out that we could have left at home some spices and other ingredients. 

But, cooking Thanksgiving dinner in someone else’s kitchen 6 hours away from your favorite grocery stores is a bit chancy, so we decided to make the process more streamlined by purchasing some foods.  That way, we would minimize the stress of wondering whether their oven or the grill cooks at higher or a lower temperature than our own for the main meat course.  It also saved us having to gather together scraps of paper to follow obscure recipes since we were cooking mostly items we knew by experience. 


I’ll admit right off that I’ve never been a successful roaster of turkeys.  Partly I blame it on the fact that I actually do not like turkey that much.  I enjoy the occasional turkey breast sandwich and I adore roast chicken, but not so much a whole turkey.  Well, Greenberg’s smoked turkey (an Oprah favorite, no less!) changed my mind about turkeys.  We ordered an 8-10 lb turkey which arrived in plenty of time for Thanksgiving.  We froze it and brought it down.  It was fabulous—tasted exactly like you’d expect campfire to taste, and it smelled of the best smoked bacon.  Yum.  We’ll try that again when we want to serve a whole turkey for Thanksgiving.


The other item we decided to forego cooking ourselves was the soup course.  I found an organic soup brand called Imagine, and we brought down both a Butternut Squash and an Acorn Squash with Mango soups.  After a careful taste test, we decided to go with the Acorn Squash with Mango.  Emily (our hostess-cum-helper) called it more “festive.”  Feeling guilty that I did not actually make the soup, I garnished the soup with some toasted hazelnuts and chiffonaded sage to make it a little extra special.


Will’s buttermilk rolls, whipped sweet potatoes, mushroom risotto, pan-roasted mini sweet peppers with sea salt flakes, and a warm and creamy Brussels sprouts slaw were our sides.  The last two items were particular hits.   


The peppers were so simple and so deliciously tender and roasted—and people even asked about the sea salt flakes (Maldon).  The warm Brussels sprouts are julienned and then sautéed in a bit of butter along with a tiny bit of minced garlic and chopped onion.  Then the magic ingredients step in: cream and grated parmesan cheese.  This is one of my favorite ways of having Brussels sprouts!


Then we finished off with our favorite apple pie with some maple whipped cream.  The next day, we baked a pumpkin pie as well since my favorite recipe was easily accessed through this blog!


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