Happy Belated Thanksgiving! I hope you had some fun cooking and/or eating, hanging with family and friends, feeling grateful for a good life. We sure did our best on this end, on many (!) fronts, and had a great time.
We’ve actually been celebrating for days, ever since I started meal prep on Monday (despite the muscle I pulled in my back hoisting the 16-lb. turkey in its two gallons of brine into the garage fridge on Tuesday, damn, but after some quick icing seem to have squeaked by without serious pain. Thank you turkey gods!) John’s parents John & Dot arrived from NYC late-afternoon Tuesday. I made dinner here – steaks, wild mushroom sauce, mashed potatoes, sauteed spinach – and we all hit the hay pretty early.
Wednesday Dot and I set the tables, John and his dad went wine shopping, Rudy Maxa and Ana Scofield stopped by for a drink, and the fam enjoyed a lovely Frenchy dinner at Cave Vin – frogs legs, escargot, pommes frites, calamari, chicken, (more) steak. Delicious.
And then yesterday, of course, the big day. My aunts Marge & Mary, their husbands Jim & Bruce, and my cousin Kim drove in from western Minnesota. My cousin Craig flew in from DC. And my mom, Bowen & Cooper, our friend Harry, and both Nathan and Sasha were here to celebrate as well. Full house, full table(s), full plates, full tummies. Here’s the menu:
pickled vegetables, cheeses, nuts
herb-roasted turkey & gravy
simple savory stuffing (this year I added chestnuts, leeks, and mild Italian sausage)
do-ahead sour cream mashed potatoes
savory sweet potato casserole (Mary)
spiced cranberry mold (Mom)
brussels sprouts with pancetta and cranberries (a new recipe this year – absolutely delicious, it’s a keeper)
black-eyed pea salad (I made this up, used diced pickled vegetables with a mustard vinaigrette; nice)
pumpkin cheesecake and pecan pie (Marge)
John and his dad chose fruity pinot noirs to drink with the meal – good choice. Before dinner, since we ate on the early side (2 pm), John’s dad made killer Bloody Mary’s (both virgin and er, experienced) for the group. Tasted mighty fine with pickled vegetables and salty nuts, yum.
After pie(s) and coffee, everyone rolled away from the table for the usual digestive activities – walk, (watch) football, dishes, take your pick.
Today we’ll put the kitchen back together, snack on leftovers (I already had brussels for breakfast – delicious), see a movie. Kitchen life returns to normal for at least a few weeks and I’m glad. Sure I love to cook, but 90% of the time it’s the simplest fare, the everyday healthy no-recipe dishes. Which is what makes the holidays so fun – big cooking projects to plan and bury myself in, mwahahaha! But even I tire of all-cooking, all-the-time, and today, I am tired.
In a good way.
Mary & me
John & Harry
Bruce, John, Craig (Dot & Harry)
Marge & Kim
Black-eyed pea salad
At the table
Mom, Marge, & Mary
Thank you! The brussels were fantastic, my favorite dish. The leaves are pulled apart (which took awhile; halving then coring them made the process faster) so they only require a quick braise to wilt. Dried cranberries and good balsamic add a bit of sweetness, which won over brussels un-lovers. I predict they'll show up next Thanksgiving as well.
This is very impressive! The brussel sprouts look outstanding.