24 November 2012

A Thanksgiving Day Recap

There are so very many things I am thankful for this year.  First is the turkey of our little family, our fabulous pup Zoe.  A quick romp in the big dog park (no wimpy small dog park, thank you very much) and a bowl of kibble filled with bird bits after dinner make for her perfect puppy holiday.  Thank you, Second Chance Rescue, for helping us adopt this little snaggle-tooth bundle of joy!

Though our pups wins the category of furriest four-legged friend for which I am most thankful, my wonderful husband is the hands-down winner of the human category.  This is our third Thanksgiving in Ohio, and I am happier than ever because he's by my side.  Except for races...he kinda leaves me in the dust for those. 

Our annual tradition is the Miamisburg Turkey Trot.  What better way to build up an appetite than a 5 mile race?  And yes, though it looks like we're celebrating St. Patrick's Day, this was indeed a picture taken on Thanksgiving.  Though plagued by knee injuries and a nasty sinus infection, we were able to finish with decent times, under our averages.  And I was not passed by a man in a turkey suit this year, which I consider a substantial step up.

To make a proper recap, we'll start with the Thanksgiving Eve cooking - the pies!  Dessert is usually saved until last, but in our home we believe it's the best way to start a day.  First, we have a delicious Apple Cranberry pie, complete with a blackbird.  I was not able to find four-and-twenty, but one was more than enough.

Per request from our fostered Californian dinner guest, we have a traditional pumpkin.  I find that a fun shape in the middle is a great way to cover the mark left when checking to see if the pie is done.  

And may I also, for your consideration, bring you our new favorite pie, courtesy of Food & Wine Magazine - the Salted Caramel Pie.  Graham cracker crust, two ingredient baked caramel and whipped cream is one of the easiest, most delicious pies you will ever try.  My mormor always made caramel with sweetened condensed milk too, and this milky caramel was a flashback to childhood.  Delicious.

For dinner, we had all of the classic dishes.  Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and candied sweet potatoes.  However, a straight-forward dinner is not nearly as much fun to make as a foodies interpretation of the classics into something new and yummy.  So that is precisely what we did.   (Except with Grandma's candied sweet potatoes....those puppies are sacred.)

We started with a fabulous little cocktail creation - a Caramel Appletini.  One part vanilla vodka, two parts apple cider shaken together with a squeeze of honey, topped with a few apple slices and a dash of cinnamon.  Deliciously easy, this is a perfect fall cocktail when you have a more intricate dinner on your hands.  

First of all, the turkey.  Roasted breast side down for a juicier bird.  Sure, your crispy skin ends up on the underside rather than the top, but the meat is absolutely fabulous.  

 Second, we have my all-time favorite gravy.  This year it reached a new celebrity status after one of our guests informed us that she had been told of our gravy and was looking forward to trying it.  How do you make this amazing stuff?  Easy.  Throw an halved onion, halved Gala apple (unpeeled and cored) three celery stalks and three carrots into the bottom of your roasting pan before your bird goes into the oven.  Start with two cups of broth in the bottom of the pan and add more every time the pan becomes dry.  Transfer the roasted vegetables and apple to a blender or food processor with all the liquid in the bottom of the pan and process until smooth.  You can add more broth to reach the desired consistency.  No flour, no gluten, no roux, no whisking for an eternity.  Just 5 minute gravy that will knock your socks off.  Also fabulous with chicken and duck.

Next, we have the stuffing.  I have never been into stuffing my bird as I like to use those fabulous drippings in my gravy.  And I always found that the crusty edges of the baked stuffing were my favorite parts.  That's why a few years ago, I started doing stuffing balls.  Basically, you add an egg to your favorite stuffing recipe and mold them into little balls about 3-4 inches in diameter.  Every ball provides you with the perfect crunch to squish ratio.  Baked edges, moist chewy insides.  Fabulous.  Our stuffing balls this year were Apple Walnut Sage, a fabulous flavor trio, with whole grain bread.  A little apple juice added just the right amount of sweetness, and the walnut crunch is lovely.  These also freeze up awesome if you have extras.  Just reheat in the oven to get your crunchy edges back and boom, Thanksgiving in March (or whenever).  

Then of course, the mashed potatoes.  I personally can't stand the texture of Russets, so we used Red Potatoes this year.  Boiled with several cloves of garlic, the special delicious pop of this dish is the butter sauteed leeks.  They add just the right amount of flavor to the potatoes to take them from bland gravy vessel to something special.

So from our family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving (recap), and we look forward to seeing you next year!

1 comment:

  1. Awww - What a wonderful day you had - love you both! Love Mom