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Thanksgiving Menus 2002–2011: The Topic


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I need inspiration for Thanksgiving 2009. I have lots of help cooking for 8, have my pasture-raised turkey ordered, but am I the only one tired of the bland color palate of turkey, dressing, gravy, mashed potatoes? I want some zing in this year's meal with interesting vegetables and spices. Any inspirations out there? So far I've come up with anise-flavored butternut squash soup, roasted chanterelles with thyme, and perhaps a root vegetable gratin (to replace the mashed potatoes).

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We just bought our first home, so I'm hosting my first Thanksgiving. 20 people!

I'm making:

A giant turkey, probably flavored with sage and other traditional herbs

Mashed potatoes and turkey giblet gravy

Roasted spiced root veggies

Two apple pies

Two pecan pies

Two pumpkin pies

Two South African Milk Tarts (we're from S.A.)

Others are bringing:

Spinach pie

Broccoli cheese casserole

Green bean casserole

Those sweet potatoes with pecans and MARSHMALLOWS

Various breads

Basic mixed green salad

Now all I have to do is work up the nerve to have lots of people drink alcohol from my delicate wedding crystal.

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Also, my wife is pregnant, so no alcohol in the dishes either.

You do realize that the cooking process removes almost all of the alcohol? If you usually put, for example, a spoonful of bourbon in the sweet potatoes, or a dash of chardonnay in the gravy, or a dollop of port or Grand Marnier in the cranberry sauce, I doubt that'd be enough to cause any problems, even if the alcohol didn't cook out.

Your wife might be wise to eschew a glass of wine with the meal but, if any of your favorite traditional recipes call for a splash of booze, speaking as the mother of three healthy babies carried to full term, my heartfelt advice to you would be to not worry about the relatively minuscule amounts of alcohol in the food.

________________

Edited by Jaymes (log)

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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Crystal is stonger than glass....but, yes in time you will lose some : (

I have been lucky only broke 2 glasses in 8 years, 1 knocked over by a non-drinker even

And what is in a South African Milk tart?

tracey

Edited by rooftop1000 (log)

The great thing about barbeque is that when you get hungry 3 hours later....you can lick your fingers

Maxine

Avoid cutting yourself while slicing vegetables by getting someone else to hold them while you chop away.

"It is the government's fault, they've eaten everything."

My Webpage

garden state motorcyle association

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Now all I have to do is work up the nerve to have lots of people drink alcohol from my delicate wedding crystal.

I felt the same way, years ago, when I first started hosting parties using my Waterford crystal. But then I discovered Replacements (now, of course, it's a "dot com" but back then, just an 800 number). Even my most expensive glasses were about $50 a stem. So they weren't irreplaceable if one did get broken. I relaxed considerably. I mean, I didn't WANT to fork over $50 for essentially something I already had. And there were surely times when I couldn't afford it. But just knowing that I could replace them eased my mind.

And through the years, occasionally a guest has broken one. They always insist on replacing it. I always say that they don't have to - I have the glasses so that my guests can use and enjoy them and I expect an occasional loss.

But without exception, the guest has gone ahead and done it anyway.

So, my advice to you would be to go to Replacements.com and see how much your glasses are.

Perhaps that will put your mind at ease.

Unless, of course, they're $200 a stem. Or not available at any price.

In which case, if I were you, not only would I reconsider using them for guests...

I'd be afraid to touch them myself.

:laugh:

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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for the last several years my family, who are now spread out converge up north at my the summer house in Nantucket. Because my sister is Kosher I am always responsible for bringing the guest of honor-the turkey. At least a few times there have been issues with getting the turkey there. One time I was flying up, and missed my plane due to weather issues, but the turkey flew on without me(who says turkeys don't fly) and I ended up making chile.

Our friends wait to hear the different stories of the traveling turkey. Hopefully this year will be without incident.

Assuming the turkey arrives, my sister and I will do most of the heavy lifting in the kitchen, this year's menu for 7 people:

a large turkey stuffed with herb bread stuffing(leftovers become pot pie the next day)

Herb Roasted root vegetables

Roast Hen of the woods mushrooms

Haricot vert with shallots and champagne vinegar

Sweet potatoes with brown sugar and orange slices

Gravy made with drippings

Cranberry and orange dressing

Apple pie

Sour cherry pie

Pumpkin pie

Lemon tart

Chocolate layer cake (I know, wierd, but it's my mother-in-laws birthday too)

Edited by Jacquester (log)

“I cook with wine, sometimes I even add it to the food.”

W.C. Fields

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Crystal is stonger than glass....but, yes in time you will lose some : (

I have been lucky only broke 2 glasses in 8 years, 1 knocked over by a non-drinker even

And what is in a South African Milk tart?

tracey

Oh, it's a nice custard tart. Here's my recipe:

* 300 ml sweetened condensed milk

* 1800 ml milk (6 tins, use tin to measure)

* 4 large eggs, separated

* 2 tablespoons margarine

* 1/2 cup cornstarch

* 1/2 cup sugar

* 2 tablespoons custard powder (Birds Custard Powder)

* 2 teaspoons vanilla

* 1 tablespoon cinnamon

Directions

1

Mix sweetened condensed milk, 1 tin (300 ml) milk, egg yolks, corn starch and custard powder in a large microwave proof casserole dish. Whisk together until mixed well. Add the rest of the milk (5 tins or 1500 ml) and mix well again. Cook at high power in microwave for 3 minutes. Stir well and add margarine and vanilla. Cook for 3 minutes, stir well, continue cooking in two or three minute intevals until mixture is thickened and smooth. It takes about 8 minutes total in my microwave. Allow to cool slightly.

2

Beat reserved egg whites until stiffly beaten. Fold in egg whites into cooked milk mixture.

3

Pour into three baked pie crust - use Pat in Pan pie crust as a good pie crust for this pie.

4

Sprinkle cinnamon on top of pie.

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Dan - it's never too early! I'm already planning Christmas! And I've got the cranberry sauce and gravy in the freezer, too! I don't usually host Thanksgiving - Christmas eve is our holiday to have everyone at our house, but I decided to do a small one this year - just the three of us, my FIL and his wife and my mother and dad (eG's Ted Fairhead). I'm planning on turkey, pecan cornbread stuffing, Marlene's cream roasted potatoes, sweet potatoes (with marshmallows, I'm not ashamed to say - what I say is sweet potatoes without marshmallows and brown sugar taste like...sweet potatoes - ick! :raz: ), orange cranberry sauce, slkinsey's brussels sprouts au gratin, some kind of breadstuff and pecan pie with bourbon whipped cream.

Donna - that dessert sounds wonderful! And as far as a do-ahead potato dish, we love twice baked potatoes - with good cheese, chives, sour cream, butter and a little cream cheese. These are a little dowdy, but delicious and everyone always scarfs them down and they freeze really well. You just thaw and heat.

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Not a lot of time to prep this year, so I'm having to cut back a bit. As always, I have to go trad.

root vegetable chips

roasted spiced nuts

some Thanksgiving cocktails using this spiced syrup -- working on those

roast turkey with gravy (again, using the Gourmet Nov 2001 recipe)

pecan sage stuffing

mashed potatoes

rutabaga with browned butter

quick waffle-cut bread n butter cuke & onion pickles

carrots and scallions

bacon & white pepper brussels sprouts

spiced cranberry sauce

I got asked by a local editor for a Thanksgiving side, so I wrote up the cranberry sauce I use. I like a tart sauce to counterpoint the heavier main dishes, so feel free to increase the sugar if you'd prefer, especially if you plan to serve it cold.

Spiced Cranberry Sauce

2 Mutsu apples, peeled and cored*

12 oz bag of cranberries, cleaned and picked over

1/2 c apple cider

3 T sugar

1 cinnamon stick

3 cloves

5 allspice berries

2 poker-chip sized slices of peeled fresh ginger

2 oz aged rum**

2 dashes Angostura bitters**

Cut the apples into large dice, a bit smaller than the cranberries; you should have two heaping cups.

Put the apples, cranberries, cider, sugar, ginger, and whole spices into a non-reactive sauce pan and heat on high until bubbling.

Turn the heat to low and let the sauce simmer gently. When most of the berries have popped and the apples are tender but retain their shape, take the sauce off the heat.

Remove the ginger and whole spices; add the rum and bitters. Serve warm, room temperature, or cold.

*I get my Mutsus from Hill Orchard in Johnston RI. If you substitute the easier-to-find, similarly firm Granny Smiths, add 1 T sugar for the tartness.

**I use homemade pimento dram, which is an allspice liqueur, but the rum & bitters subs in fine.

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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We're hosting a small group at our new place: my boyfriend, Pat, his son, his son's girlfriend, and another friend, but our rule is always "the more, the merrier."

The working menu:

Spritzers made with local Barlett Pear and Cranberry Wines

Nibbles (TBD)

Roasted Chestnut Soup

Rosewater Sorbet

Roasted Suckling Pig (from a local farm, following a recipe from Heston Blumental)

Caramelized Red Onion Stuffing (included in HB's suckling recipe)

Roasted Pear Sauce(?)

Maple Glazed Salmon (for Pat's son's girlfriend who can't eat pork)

Mashed Squash Dish (brought by a friend)

Broccolini with Smoked Paprika, Almonds and Garlic (from November issue of Bon Appetit)

Fennel dish- possibly braised, possibly a gratin, maybe a salad- still thinking

Baby Spinach & Arugula Salad with Roasted Pears, Spiced Walnuts & Balsamic Vinagrette

(Possible Alternate, if I make the pear sauce: Baby Spinach, Roasted Beets, local Chevre and Spiced Nuts, maybe pistachios)

Rolls/Bread of some sort

Local (Finger Lakes) Riesling (Dry or off-dry)

Spanish Tempranillo

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Apple Gingerbread Cobbler

Brownies (Pat's contribution)

Some sort of fresh juice gelatin mold (tangerine/clementine?)

This is all a pretty new experience for me, but I'm excited to have the opportunity. Luckily I have some time to prepare, and eGullet is a great resource for that. Any thoughts, advice, guidance will be very much appreciated :biggrin:

Edited to fix typow, and to add possible variations.

Edited by Corinna (log)

Corinna Heinz, aka Corinna

Check out my adventures, culinary and otherwise at http://corinnawith2ns.blogspot.com/

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We were at Costco the other day and purchased 9 lbs of cranberries and a 1 lbs of chanterelle mushrooms. The chanterelles look okay, but are not the greatest ones I have ever seen, but at $10/lbs, it is worth buying for use in stuffing or other mushroom dishes. I am going to give them a try tonight to see if they are worth buying for thanksgiving.

Dan

"Salt is born of the purest of parents: the sun and the sea." --Pythagoras.

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Roasted Suckling Pig (from a local farm, following a recipe from Heston Blumental)

Caramelized Red Onion Stuffing (included in HB's suckling recipe)

By Heston Blumenthal, of course I meant Fergus Henderson. Methinks I rushed myself when posting this, sorry.

Corinna Heinz, aka Corinna

Check out my adventures, culinary and otherwise at http://corinnawith2ns.blogspot.com/

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Is everyone getting ready? Here are a couple of videos of one of my favorite chefs preparing a turkey. I hope it is inspirational for everyone.

Dan :biggrin:

"Salt is born of the purest of parents: the sun and the sea." --Pythagoras.

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Apple Cider Cocktail

Pellegrino

Salmon canapes

Belgian endive leaves with parm and white beans

Turkey

Traditional herb dressing

Gravy

Sweet potatoes

Roasted beets with pearl onions and sage

Spinach salad with orange and citrus vinagrette

Cranberry sauce

Pumpkin pie

Dates with cream cheese

Amaretti

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So what is everyone eating for Thanksgiving? I'll go first:

Starters

  • Crudités with romesco sauce
  • Boiled shrimp with remoullade sauce (Creole style)
  • Grilled oysters with champagne cream sauce

Main course

  • Turkey (letting grocery store make it, because I hate turkey)
  • Sweet potatoes and apples (tradition of my wife's family)
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Dressing (a chef friend is making it, so I don't know what kind)
  • Mashed potatoes (also by chef friend)
  • Green salad (another friend is making)

Desserts

  • Pumpkin pie
  • French silk pie
  • Lemon bars
  • Sweet potato tarte tatin

And on Friday there will be turkey gumbo.

Todd A. Price aka "TAPrice"

Homepage and writings; A Frolic of My Own (personal blog)

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Olives, picked and cured by my FIL (excellent)

Hummus and babaganouj

Tortilla chips (probably stale) and salsa (remember we're in CA)

Roast turkey with chestnut bread dressing (made by me and my husband)

Jus/gravy

plain baked yams (mmm, butter and salt)

mashed potatoes (made by tipsy preoccupied teens at the last minute)

spinach salad

green beans and beets

wild rice with wine casserole

vegetarian entree (usually a cholesterol festival)

Cranberries #1: jello mold Sunset magazine 1955

Cranberries #2: minimalist fresh cranberry orange relish (made by me)

Very nice red wine made by my BIL

apple pie

pumpkin pie

pecan pie

crimson pie (cranberry/blueberry)

sweet potato pie (my filling; all other pies and all crusts made by my talented SIL)

whipped cream

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Trying to keep it down to earth this year. I've delegated a couple of dishes so there will be time to sleep in and screw off on the internet (like now!)

-crudite (someone else will make!)

-roasted butternut squash and garlic soup

-poached and roasted turkey (a free range, half-heritage bird from bo bo)

-stuffing with duck, wild mushrooms, almonds, and dried cherries

-madeira sauce made with duck coulis

-celeriac and sunchoke purée

-a green vegetable (someone else will make!)

-apple "mille feuille" tart with cardamom

-cognac vanilla ice cream

-mystery dessert (someone else will make!)

Notes from the underbelly

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This thanksgiving I am in charge of making the bird and the gravy.

So far the menu is:

Cheese, Charcuterie & Pate Plate

Smoked Herb Butter Turkey

Turkey Gravy

Spiced Cranberry Sauce

Crab Stuffed Mushrooms

Mashed Potatoes with Pancetta Bits

Honey Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Scallop Potatoes (can you tell we like potatoes)

Green Beans & Bacon

Baby Spinach & Arugula Salad

Roasted Fennel Salad

Tiramisu

Some other cake that I can not remember

Cheers

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It's just my wife and me this year, so nothing terribly elaborate, though naturally I will be overcomplicating things as much as possible :smile: : we're having quail with a bacon-sherry glaze, some kind of challah-based "stuffing" that will not be stuffed, and mashed potatoes with as much butter in them as I can get them to hold. So maybe it's more like potato-scented butter.

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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We've already done our Thanksgiving dinner. We did it on last Sunday. We had 25 guests including (a new high for us) 5 Americans. Everybody else was French or British. Since Thanksgiving isn't a holiday in France we celebrated early so as to not disturb the working week.

You can see a pictorial of much of the meal preparation over on my blog (www.frenchfoodfocus.com) but here's the menu.

- Nibbles. crisps, nuts, olives, corn nuts and home dried figs.

- Curried pumpkin soup with coconut milk.

- De-constructed turkey a la Julia Child. I managed to get a 25 pounder from a local winery.

- Baked ham in the English manner. (that is brined in cider, salt, sugar and herbs for two weeks before roasting.)

- Roast potatoes, Brussels sprouts, pureed sweet potato.

- homemade cranberry sauce and forecemeat stuffing. And, of course, lots of gravy made from turkey stock.

- For dessert we had pumpkin pie and carrot cake.

With all that available we skipped the cheese, but over indulged on the wine.

A good time was had by all. The French aren't quite sure of the occasion, but are always up for a good meal.

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It's just my wife and me this year, so nothing terribly elaborate, though naturally I will be overcomplicating things as much as possible :smile: : we're having quail with a bacon-sherry glaze, some kind of challah-based "stuffing" that will not be stuffed, and mashed potatoes with as much butter in them as I can get them to hold. So maybe it's more like potato-scented butter.

Is that the Robuchon recipe for the potatoes? (pardon me if I name the wrong chef; I'm visiting relatives, and don't have all my references...)It sounds wonderful!

"Commit random acts of senseless kindness"

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Just two of us as well, though my kids will be coming over for hors d'oeurves and a drink before they head off to have dinner with their mom and her sister. We'll be giving them:

  • Chile shrimp bites -- chopped shrimps and flecks of poblano, bound with shrimp mousse flavored with scallion and a little pepper sauce
  • Chicken satay
  • Bouchees with Wild Mushroom and Brie
  • Cocktails TBD, but something using sparkling wine and another, non-alcoholic, option

Tomorrow:
  • Corn soup with seared scallop
  • Turkey breast, boned and rolled with mushrooms and roasted garlic, then cooked sous vide. Some sort of reduction sauce, which we'll figure out as we go, but will be based on turkey stock.
  • Two-tone potatoes Anna -- white and sweet potatoes layered in a cast-iron skillet.
  • Wilted autumn slaw -- shredded Brussels sprouts cooked gently in rendered bacon fat. Corn and red bell pepper are added for color and sweetness, finishing with a jalapeno dressing and the bacon bits that gave up their fat.
  • Poached pear salad with candied walnuts and Cougar Gold cheddar.

Yeah, that sounds like two salads, and it sort of is, but the pears will sit in as dessert.

Dave Scantland
Executive director
dscantland@eGstaff.org
eG Ethics signatory

Eat more chicken skin.

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I'm in charge of bringing Thanksgiving cocktails, two different cranberry sauces and a lower fat healthy dessert for those of us on prescribed diets.

Cranberry Orange Sauce with Grand Marnier

Cranberry Jalapeno relish with tequila

Peach Blackberry Clafouti made with lowfat yogurt and served with fat free whipped topping

Peach-Apricot Tea infused bourbon - to be had on the rocks, as juleps, as Manhattans or mixed with Ginger ale as anyone wishes.

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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