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Thanksgiving Menus 2002–2011: The Topic


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Thanks! That looks terrific. I don't know that I've seen Lara's oats around here. I do have Bob's in the pantry, so maybe I'll just take my chances with it. I love the blog too! (I'm assuming it's you). I hadn't seen it before and will be following you. :smile:

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Other than the usual pumpkin, sweet potato, and apple pies, there's always a cheesecake.

This year's alternative bread stuffing recipe will contain cranberries and italian sausage.

As always, Pennsylvania-Dutch-style potato filling will also be available. I don't mind if they don't eat it all, because it makes great potato cakes the next day.

And last, both sweet and savory kugel. The sweet consists of diced apple, raisin, and cinnamon with cream cheese mixed in. The savory, which is bathed in some of the juice from the turkey, is made with sauteed onions and garlic.

Theresa :smile:

"Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power."

- Abraham Lincoln

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Pumpkin pie without brandy for the munchkin (makes a great T-day breakfast - kicks off the feasting with both tradition and a vegetable at the same time, and relieves the pressure at dessert time.

Pumpkin pie with brandy in the filling for moi.

If any other desserts, my dad's riff on cheesecake - more pie-like & creamier than the standard. Lovely stuff.

I'd do a pecan pie but I'd have to eat the entire thing (and I would too.)

Mince pies are my December splurge.

"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

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My plan is:

- Apple crumble - anyone have a good recipe for this, or suggestions for an alternative apple dessert?

I have a great recipe for Deep Dish Apple Crisp. Let me know if you want me to PM it to you.

There's nothing better than a good friend, except a good friend with CHOCOLATE.
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As always, Pennsylvania-Dutch-style potato filling will also be available. I don't mind if they don't eat it all, because it makes great potato cakes the next day.

There is never, and I mean never, any potato filling left at my house. We usually start with about 10 pounds worth. It is all we have ever had/grown up on, and we are crazy for it.

Apple, pumpkin, and other pies that vary year to year disappear pretty fast; an extra apple or two is made special for next day's breakfast.

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I not only get to cook but have to transport everything up to the in-laws.

Nibbles: shrimp(precooked, frozen) one brother-in-law will contribute.

stuffed mushrooms from Julia

petite sweet pickles

Main: turkey breast in an apple cider brine then roasted; gravy

mother-in-law's sausage stuffing. i'm going to learn how to

make this this year. i seem to remember pork sausage,

chopped celery, bread crumbs and eggs

Sides: mashed potatoes sister-in-law is going to try these

green beans with garlic and lemon olive oil

sweet potatoes with crushed pineapple

brussel sprouts with cranberries

Dessert: 2 kinds of pies from sister-in-law and Cool Whip, Lois

for the sandwiches later Portugese sweet bread. will have to fight the mil about NOT having bread or rolls on the table with both potatoes.

Nothing is better than frying in lard.

Nothing.  Do not quote me on this.


Linda Ellerbee

Take Big Bites

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How do people organize their planning? I've been using a google doc the last few years, and then print everything up for the last two or three days.

One other organizational question for those with big (8 or more?) groups. Do you do family style in bowls that are passed, or do you have a sideboard loaded up with stuff? I'm trying to figure that part out too....

Channeling the inner techie in me, I have been using mind maps recently for dinners parties with great success. It lets me get into as much or as little detail as I need and when taped up to a wall, I can at a quick glance look at anything that is missing when plating or still left to make.

Here is one from a dinner a few weeks ago.

74241_452857499841_564789841_5690416_4419671_n (1).jpg

John Deragon

foodblog 1 / 2


I feel sorry for people that don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day -- Dean Martin

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If my 2 mo. old let's me, I'll be making my first big meal in several months -fairly traditional fare:

Roast Heirloom garlic rubbed Turkey (no not brined, and yes stuffed with chestnut cornbread stuffing)

Giblet gravy

mashed potatoes

oven roasted green beans with shallot, garlic oil and champagne vinegar

candied sweets

orange and cranberry dressing

cheddar biscuits

tangerine sorbet

Coconut layer cake for my Mother in law's birthday

Mile high Apple pie with cinnamon ice cream

alka seltzer

happy holidays!

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

W.C. Fields

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Final menu, with a lot of prep done this weekend:

ras al hanout spiced nuts

curried root chips

smoked roasted turkey with oranges and red onions

turkey leg & thigh confit with thyme

pecan, pancetta, and dried cherry stuffing

cranberry sauce with orange, pineapple and ginger

pickled mustard seeds

mashed potatoes

butternut squash purée

Macomber turnip and parsnip batons with browned butter and pimento dram

carrots with ginger, garlic, and preserved lemon

brussel sprouts with white pepper, bacon, and sage

fennel, parsley, lemon, and parmigiano reggiano salad

corn bread rolls

parker house rolls

John, your mind map is inspiring; reminds me of my old StorySpace days.... I now use a big google doc with the whole mess (menu, lists, schedule) on it, plus Evernote for shopping lists (easier to negotiate than google docs on my Droid at the store).

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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Nordic theme.


Glögg with Nedrod's pear wine

Salt cured salmon

Herring pickled in my red wine vinegar

Danish liver and anchovy pâté

Pickles (romanesco, cheddar broccoli, purple cauliflower)

Nordic rye bread


Cod's head soup

Jansson's temptation

Turkey leg frikadeller with Brussels sprouts, cranberries and golden beets

Roast turkey breast with apples and prunes

Barley stuffing



Rice pudding

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I never heard of Jansson's Temptation, but I looked it up and it sounds fantastic. If it were up to me, and it isn't, I would banish mashed potatoes forever in favor of this casserole. However, my husband's family is very attached to the cold mortar-like substance produced by a teenager hung over from a party the night before. I think good mashed potatoes are hardest to pull off at Thanksgiving than any other time.

How do you make barley stuffing? That sounds yummy.

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Will make the frikadeller with the legs from a heritage turkey (don’t care much for the tendons. Made kofte for Turkish themed TG08). Some pork, 5% bread panade, juniper, orange zest, rosemary and such. Meatballs will be roasted in a 450F degree oven and simmered in fortified turkey stock until tender. Stock will be reduced to a thick glaze and supplemented with ¼’ed Brussels sprouts, golden beet wedges and a few dried cranberries here and there. The liver (depending on the size/quality) will either be incorporated into the frikadeller or cooked into the sauce in the “saupiquet” manner to thicken it.

Stuffing is more conceptual than traditional. Handsomely whittled root vegetables (rutabaga, turnip, parsnip, carrot), pearl onions, butter, pearl barley cooked in water/stock, a fine dice of dried rye bread soaked in milk and wintry herbs.

Jansson’s Temptation drifts slightly from the regional authentic prescribed by the Swedish matriarch; thinly sliced potatoes soaked in milk/cream and assembled like a gratin Dauphinois with a middle layer of caramelized onions, anchovy (couldn’t find the tin of sprats) and capers deglazed with red wine vinegar rather than the standard potato batons of Southwester Sweden..

Full documentation will follow. Last year’s Old World meets New World wasn’t too shabby.

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We're taking a few hints from the NYT this Thanksgiving...and Susan Goin. There is only going to be four of us this year. I arranged to get a heritage turkey from a farmer up in Everett that I'll be picking up on Wednesday and will break it down and brine it up ala http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/10/dining/10chefrex1.html?ref=dining. I will also cook the other parts of the turkey :)

Other than that, We will do the fatty cue brussel sprouts, roasted chestnut/pancetta stuffing from the Sunday Supper at Lucques cookbook. In addition, an earlier poster gave me the idea to do the blood orange/beet salad which would be a nice way to cut the fat.

The next day I plan on making buttermilk biscuits to help with the leftover turkey.

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Here's my plan for 6 adults -


Shrimp Remoulade

Sriracha Devilled Eggs

Cream Cheese with Pepper Jelly

Main Course:

Red wine/port braised dark meat

Sous Vide Roulade of Breast with Truffle Turkey Mousse (both turkey dishes shamelessly stolen from Sam Kinsey)

Honeybaked Ham (wife insists)


Robuchon Pomme Puree

Glazed Carrots

Green Bean Casserole (with homemade cream of mushroom knockoff and frizzled onions)

Dorie Greenspan Brioche Rolls

Macaroni and Cheese

Bacon wrapped cornbread dressing roll (also stolen from slk), featuring Fifi's cornbread recipe and some Ruhlman breakfast sausage in the dressing

Cranberry sauce


Apple crisp (sister bringing)

Cooks Illustrated Pumpkin Cheesecake


Regent's Punch with appetizers

Siduri Pinot with the meal (not sure which)

We are hosting thanksgiving at our place with our 5 week old baby, so trying to do as much as possible in advance. Hopefully on thanksgiving day itself it will just be throw rolls in the oven, throw roulade and dressing in circulator, glaze off the carrots, and finish off the mac and cheese and green bean casseroles in the oven.

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Thought I'd share the prep list I have been maintaining on google docs, a more linear approach than John's above:


Initial grocery shop

make cranberry sauce

toast bread cubes

make pineapple syrup and punch base

make ice mold for punch

blanche & shock brussel sprouts


turkey pickup & additional item shop

break down turkey

blanche carrots & shock

make & reduce poultry stock

prepare turkey brine and cure for confit


get seville orange

cure legs, brine breast

make ice mold

defrost duck fat for turkey confit

make browned butter

mince preserved lemon

prep bacon and pancetta (preserve fat)


prep rutabaga & parsnip batons

blanche/SV all remaining vegetables

macerate cherries in applejack bounce

prepare stuffing

wipe off brine and dry breast in fridge

wipe off cure and cook legs in duck fat at 80-82C overnight for 10 hours

make nuts

make chips

defrost butter & additional stock


8a: remove turkey confit from SVS and ice down

9a: prep Bradley smoker

prep oranges & onions for roast

10a: cold apple smoke turkey breast

prep potatoes all other vegetable sides

11a: prep oven

bring all vegetables to room temp

12n: move turkey breast to oven

1p: prep and label serving bowls and utensils

make fennel salad dressing

1:30p: prepare fennel salad

make punch

1:45p: cook potatoes

prep sage for brussel sprouts

prep ginger & garlic for carrots

2p: remove turkey breast from oven

put stuffing in oven

put rolls in oven

put turnip & parsnip batons in oven

prep all other sides

2:30p: sauté brussel sprouts

reheat confit

2:45p: rice potatoes and dry

sauté carrots

final preparation of potatoes, squash

dress turnip & parsnips with brown butter & pimento dram

crisp confit skin

remove white wine & ales from fridge

3:00p: service

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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For the past two years, I've been getting together with friends in TriBeCa for a decidedly non-traditional Thanksgiving dinner.

Last year's menu was:

Rancho Gordo Mayacoba and Rio Zape beans, posole,... and wild rice, plus brown rice and onions caramelized in bacon fat;

Sautéed squid (marinated with olive oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes);

Baked delicata squash rings with butter, Rancho Gordo New Mexico chile powder, and maple sugar;

Green chard sautéed in duck fat;

Spicy mac ‘n’ cheese (1/2 pound of habanero cheddar, 1/4 pound of extra sharp, plus many other cheeses all added to the white sauce base, which began with almost a whole large onion sweated in the butter and seasoned with nutmeg, Old Bay, and dry mustard, and topped with cheese/cheese cracker crumbs);

Sliced avocado and homemade pickled onion;

Homemade salsa verde;

Salsa roja/pico de gallo of canned and soft-dried tomatoes, onion, jalapeño, garlic, cilantro, fish sauce, rice vinegar;

Mixed lettuce, cucumber, grape tomato, red bell pepper salad with olive oil and homemade tarragon vinegar;

Sachertorte (my contribution);

Chocolate cinnamon ice cream;

Almond butter cookies

Coffee, tea and too many wines to remember.

This year's menu is still being worked on. I'm making a quick tomato confit the night before (my contribution to the dinner). Will report back after the feasting.

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I've scaled way back from my legendary (or notorious, depending on your perspective) ten-to-twelve course Thanksgiving dinners. Once I really nailed it, I sort of lost interest in keeping it up. It's a lot of work. I still, however, prefer to do multiple plated courses rather than the "platter everything and throw it on the table at the same time" tradition that holds sway in many homes.

This year it's something like this:

1. Admiral Russell's Punch & assorted nibbles

2. Sunchoke soup with arugula pudding and pickled vegetables

3. Composed salad of quick-pickled cucumber and citrus-cured scallop "carpaccio"

4. turkey breast with black truffle (62C sv), cornbread dressing, sauteed savoy cabbage

5. turkey leg meat with foie gras and chestnuts (80C sv), potato galette, wild mushroom

6. caramel bread pudding


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I'm going to take it all off the bone. Clean out all the scraps of tendon, etc. I'll take the larger and more attractive pieces and chunk them up into thumb-sized pieces. The rest of the dark meat will be triple-ground on the fine disk. I'll fold some egg and seasonings into the ground turkey. Then I'll mix that with the chunked dark meat, some chunked foie and some chestnuts with the forcemeat, pack it into a mold and cook it sv, then chill and reserve. For service, I'll slice out pieces, brown in butter and plate alongside a punched-out circle of potato galette and a few sauteed wild mushrooms. Drizzle of herb puree.


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We're going with the traditional/classic Thanksgiving dinner this year. I suppose some would call it "pedestrian, "boring" or "lacking in imagination" but we've DONE all kinds of adventuresome, cutting edge and even bizarre menus in the past and they were never as completely gratifying as sticking to the basics (here's a link to my recent blog post about one meal in particular). They were always memorable, but more in a "gimmicky" way than in a deeply satisfying one.

Anyway, late lunch/ early supper will be around 2pm and here's what we'll be having...

  • Assorted Black Mesa Ranch goat cheeses (duh, we are a cheese dairy here so this was a given!) with "sour doe" toasts.
  • Twin Roast Baby Turkeys*
  • Bread Stuffing w/ Apricots & local pecans ("inside" and "outside" versions)
  • Giblet Gravy
  • Buttery Mashed Potatoes
  • Fresh Yams with cinnamon and chipotle
  • Winter Vegetable Medley (carrots, parsnips, turnips, rutebegas etc)
  • Brussel Sprouts w/ Mushrooms in Goats' Milk Sauce with nutmeg
  • Cranberry Sauce (2 kinds)
  • Deep dish Apple pie w/ home made vanilla bean ice cream
  • Pumpkin pie, Bourbon whipped cream

* OK, these are not technically "baby turkeys". I've never cooked a turkey smaller than 22 lbs for Thanksgiving before (even if it was just the two of us) but the grocery store in town apparently got severely shorted on their bird order this year and the biggest ones they had were all under 14 lbs. So I got two. They look like big chickens to me but I was lucky to get any at all.

We're celebrating an exceptional year for the Ranch and Dairy business in addition to a bumper harvest from the gardens this year so we're going with a couple bottles of a domestic "champagne" as the main accompanying beverage to this menu.

The Big Cheese


My Blog: "The Kitchen Chronicles"

BMR on FaceBook

"The Flavor of the White Mountains"

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We've had a spell of cold, snowy weather and I hope that it doesn't prevent guests from getting here.

But this year I'm getting a turkey from the CO-OP so it should be extra good. I discovered a recipe a few years ago for a rub made of olive oil, herbs, etc that makes it good. I use the simple bread stuffing from Good Housekeeping cookbook. I'm making a cranberry sauce from Better Homes and Gardens. It has port wine and raspberries that give it bright crimson color. I'm trying a mashed potato recipe I found on allrecipes.com. I make buttermilk rolls from a recipe in Fannie Farmer. I make giblet gravy. For the vegetable I'm having brussels sprouts with some lemon pepper on them. I'll probably be the only who will eat them. I make pumpkin pie from the Libby's recipe and serve it with real whipped cream. I got some cheap wine at Trader Joe's (no, not Charles Shaw, but almost that cheap. This one has surfboard and woodie drawing on the label, not very Thanksgivingy, but very Traders Joes-ey.)I will probably be the only one to drink that too. The others are pretty much teetotallers.

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Until last night, I wasn't sure how many we'd have -- numbers ranged from two to twelve. But now the guest list is confirmed and the menu is set. Probably.

We'll be doing it on Friday, as my ex-brother-in-law hosts a big dinner on the actual day, and my kids attend with their mom and cousins. And since he serves a traditional sort of meal, we have to mix it up a bit so as to avoid boredom on the kids' part but maintain the essential component of a Thanksgiving dinner. I speak, of course, of leftover turkey sandwiches.

Openers, made and consumed standing around in the kitchen: ham and gruyere in phyllo; sweet and spicy walnuts, andouille deviled eggs. Beer, sparkling wine cocktails.

App: crabcakes with roasted asparagus, Creole meuniere sauce, toasted pecans

Mains: breast of turkey, rolled and stuffed with a duxelle-type mixture, wine reduction, turkey-skin tuile; broccoli with garlic chips and lemon; French fries (why not?)

Dessert: individual tarte tatins with dulce de leche ice cream

I'm off to dig out a football helmet and bicycle horn, then head for the madness of the market.

Dave Scantland
Executive director
eG Ethics signatory

Eat more chicken skin.

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