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Thanksgiving Menus 2002–2011: The Topic


awbrig
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Strictly traditional here. Baked turkey with butter and herbs, my 1950 Betty Crocker bread/onion/celery stuffing (although I add pecans and sherry-soaked raisins) baked separately with fat/juice poured over. Sweet potatoes with butter and just a smidge of brown sugar (I've tried doing them all kinds of ways, but this is the one everyone likes the best). Brussels sprouts finished in brown butter. An apple/cabbage salad. Cranberry sauce made with cardamom and honey from a recipe from Gourmet years ago. Mashed potatoes and gravy. And for dessert, pumpkin pie with whipped cream.

I save trying new things for other holidays. For us, the tradition of Thanksgiving is an important part of pleasure of the day.

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Does anyone serve their TG meal as separate courses, as opposed to the 'mountain of food on the table smorgasbord'?

Just thinking about something different, we've had lots of 'functional' thanksgiving dinners in the last several years (been traveling quite a bit) and might have some old friends visiting.

I'm not a big sweet potato fan (wife is), so I was thinking a sweet potato soup (or sweet potato and parsnip) as a starter, then some sort of cold green bean salad, then the 'main' with turkey, potatoes, and dual 'gravies' with one traditional and one cranberry. (I can think of artistic designs to plate with those!)

Desserts I'll probably leave to the in-laws (they'll already be offended that I'm cooking, but then they'd complain if we asked them to cook, so lose-lose!)

There's lots of options for roasted veggies along the way, depending on what we can find that looks good around here.

PastaMeshugana

"The roar of the greasepaint, the smell of the crowd."

"What's hunger got to do with anything?" - My Father

My eG Food Blog (2011)

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We're actually having a (singular) guest for Thanksgiving this year, so I feel compelled to actually make a dessert (when it's just us I don't bother). I'm bored silly with pie: does anyone have a good pumpkin cake recipe they could share?

You are BORED with PIE?! There's not enough room in the universe for my envy. Gosh, pie.

I actually have a really good pumpkin cake recipe,a sponge that is rolled around a cream filling...question is, where the heck is it? Very light, pretty and unusual. If I find it, I'll post.

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Put me squarely in the traditionalist camp for Thanksgiving. Brined, roasted turkey, cut-up apple and orange inside, olive oil, s&p outside. Cornbread dressing with giblet gravy. Sweet potato casserole (eggs, sugar, butter, vanilla) topped with a brown sugar-pecan crumble. Cranberry salad, a mainstay at every Thanksgiving and Christmas I can remember -- chopped cranberries, apples, oranges, pecans, in a jello syrup. (Don't be hating on the jello, here; you could actually make it with simple syrup, some stewed cranberries in it for color, and a little gelatin to sort of tie things together. Jello's easier and it's such a minor element you'd never know it was in there.)Another side or two; sometimes it's mashed potatos, sometimes corn pudding, sometimes roasted broccoli, sometimes glazed carrots and/or parsnips, sometimes green beans. I make a pumpkin pie for the pumpkin pie-lovers in the house, a coconut cake for me (fortunately it freezes well) and lemon icebox pie for a couple of the other kids who adore it.

Don't ask. Eat it.

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We're actually having a (singular) guest for Thanksgiving this year, so I feel compelled to actually make a dessert (when it's just us I don't bother). I'm bored silly with pie: does anyone have a good pumpkin cake recipe they could share?

Just really vaguely, what sort of cake did you have in mind (light? dense? have to be round?)? Or doesn't it matter, as long as it incorporates pumpkin?

And, not to pull anyone's tail, but isn't venison (or any game, in fact) at least as traditional as domestic turkey? This is my impression based on various sources, notwithstanding the assertively vegetarian Thanksgivings I endured as a child.

Michaela, aka "Mjx"
Manager, eG Forums
mscioscia@egstaff.org

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Michaela - If you are talking traditional in terms of this century, I think turkey is the primary choice. Other than those who are in locales where hinting takes place, game is not a U.S. "go to" at all.

Chris H - My mom's dead simple pumpkin bread is dense, moist and spicy. We like it with a dollop of pumpkin ice cream. 3 c sugar, 1 c. veg oil. 4 eggs, 2 c pumpkin, 1-1/4 t salt, 1/2 t baking powder, 2 t soda, 1 t each cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon (I often just use lots of cinnamon), and 3-1/2 c flour (use judgement) at 325 for an hour or so.

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We're actually having a (singular) guest for Thanksgiving this year, so I feel compelled to actually make a dessert (when it's just us I don't bother). I'm bored silly with pie: does anyone have a good pumpkin cake recipe they could share?

Are you bored with all pie or just with pumpkin pie? I hate pumpkin anything, so I like sweet potato or apple pie or pecan pie, if it isn't too sickeningly sweet. I've seen some interesting pecan pie recipes lately that involve bourbon and/or espresso. Even one with bacon!

If you are the opposite of me, and don't want pie but want something with pumpkin, one alternative to cake is pumpkin creme brulee. I've heard people say it's good. Or ice cream with caramel sauce and toasted salted pepitos.

This will be my 32nd consecutive year having Thanksgiving with my husband's family. That will mean, OMG, that Thanksgiving of 2012 will put me in the class of doing it MORE than half my entire life. You can do the math. That's 32 years of my FIL's same cranberry mold from 1950 Sunset Magazine. My husband and I acquired the job of turkey and stuffing about 20 years ago. This is a family that doesn't much like change. And half of them don't like/won't eat the turkey or any stuffing that's cooked inside of it, although that is slowly changing as some of my SIL's encounter menopause and the need for some protein and the sons of vegetarian parents have become lovers of all things meat.

The one thing that has thankfully bitten the dust is my BIL's vegetarian gravy. God only knows what was in it, but it involved several cans of something. My best guess: cream of mushroom soup, vegetarian canned broth and some obscure form of tofu or other soy protein. It was one of the worst things I've ever tasted. Yes, he's the relative with that greatest of all distinctions: doesn't make any food for the meal and doesn't do any clean-up. Bring on Thanksgiving!

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I suggest tracking down the November issue of Saveur. There's an article in there for a meatless Thanksgiving. Some imaginative dishes from the article: autumn veggie patties (sweet potatoes, white beans, spinach, spices); cranberry-ginger chutney; honey-herb biscuits; peas w/ orange & mint; potato rutabaga gratin; spiced wheatberry pilaf; winter squash & apple soup; apple cider & cinnamon ice cream; pumpkin cheesecake. When I read the article, I thought, "This would be a great meal... with turkey." :laugh:

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I'm going to do a turkey breast sous vide with garlic, butter, and shallots in the bag...I ALWAYS overcook my turkey breast when I do it in the oven. My family doesn't really like dark meat turkey (but chicken thighs are really popular, go figure!) and there aren't enough of us to do a whole turkey anyways.

Mashed potatoes with roasted garlic, chives, cream cheese, and lots of butter and half and half

Sauteed swiss chard with tomatoes

Green Beans (simple steamed)

Apple compote (not a big cranberry fan)

Standard bread and onion stuffing with sage

Buttermilk Biscuits

Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Pumpkin Pie, Pecan Pie

I'm in the traditionalist camp for Thanksgiving. No fancy stuff, just the classics, although I do feel like the sous vide will help the turkey breast. I might make some turkey skin crackers as well, since the crispy skin component will be missing.

If you ate pasta and antipasto, would you still be hungry? ~Author Unknown

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I might make some turkey skin crackers as well, since the crispy skin component will be missing.

whaaaaa? turkey skin crackers??? TELL ME MORE.

"Laughter is brightest where food is best."

www.chezcherie.com

Author of The I Love Trader Joe's Cookbook ,The I Love Trader Joe's Party Cookbook and The I Love Trader Joe's Around the World Cookbook

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And, not to pull anyone's tail, but isn't venison (or any game, in fact) at least as traditional as domestic turkey? This is my impression based on various sources, notwithstanding the assertively vegetarian Thanksgivings I endured as a child.

Venison would be very "authentic" for a Thanksgiving meal, just not traditional. :)

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Michaela - If you are talking traditional in terms of this century, I think turkey is the primary choice. Other than those who are in locales where hinting takes place, game is not a U.S. "go to" at all. . . .

And, not to pull anyone's tail, but isn't venison (or any game, in fact) at least as traditional as domestic turkey? This is my impression based on various sources, notwithstanding the assertively vegetarian Thanksgivings I endured as a child.

Venison would be very "authentic" for a Thanksgiving meal, just not traditional. :)

I was thinking 'traditional', in terms of what was eaten at the earliest Thanksgivings, and through the early part of C20.

When my family first returned to the US, I can remember teachers saying that turkey was traditional at Thanksgiving, because 'that was what the pilgrims ate'. This was reiterated over and over, and I never gave it any thought, until I eventually came across various things pointing that game might actually have been the only available meat (depending on whether or not any livestock were brought across the ocean and survived). I'm probably mostly looking at any cheap excuse to avoid eating turkey, which I don't like that much.

Anyone else considering a pumpkin-based tiramisù for dessert?

Michaela, aka "Mjx"
Manager, eG Forums
mscioscia@egstaff.org

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We're actually having a (singular) guest for Thanksgiving this year, so I feel compelled to actually make a dessert (when it's just us I don't bother). I'm bored silly with pie: does anyone have a good pumpkin cake recipe they could share?

My husband's classic T-giving dessert is pumpkin cheesecake. I also like Dorie Greenspan's All-In-One Holiday Bundt Cake.

MelissaH

MelissaH

Oswego, NY

Chemist, writer, hired gun

Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

foodblog1 | kitchen reno | foodblog2

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  • 4 weeks later...

Bumping this....hoping others are in the planning stage

I'm making Thanksgiving this year in Italy for a bunch of expats. I'm really worried about my turkey. The turkeys in Italy are very dry and tough. I really need to find a way to cook it in an oven that doesn't produce crap. IS there such thing as low and slow with turkey? Like you do with pork? (Sorry, I'm a turkey novice. Brining isn't an option for me since I don't have fridge space for that.

As for my menu, the whole point of doing this is to remind friends of home, so the menu is going to be super traditional, although nothing wierd.

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Bumping this....hoping others are in the planning stage

I'm making Thanksgiving this year in Italy for a bunch of expats. I'm really worried about my turkey. The turkeys in Italy are very dry and tough. I really need to find a way to cook it in an oven that doesn't produce crap. IS there such thing as low and slow with turkey? Like you do with pork? (Sorry, I'm a turkey novice. Brining isn't an option for me since I don't have fridge space for that.

As for my menu, the whole point of doing this is to remind friends of home, so the menu is going to be super traditional, although nothing wierd.

ambra -

You might take a look at Abra's blog post here where she discusses cooking with a French turkey and poaching it first.

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I actually have a really good pumpkin cake recipe,a sponge that is rolled around a cream filling...question is, where the heck is it? Very light, pretty and unusual. If I find it, I'll post.

I made that cake roll last year. Hadn't made it in years. Everybody loved it.

But, my most favorite T'giving dessert of recent years is the Pumpkin Sticky Pudding with Caramel Sauce from Epicurious. Easy and so good! I just made a big batch of the caramel sauce yesterday, just because we like it on lots of things. http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/member/views/PUMPKIN-STICKY-PUDDING-1246680

I usually just make a half recipe of the pudding and a whole of the sauce. The sauce keeps a long time in the fridge. Oh, and I usually sprinkle toasted pecans over each serving.

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Oh, funny, I had 'just' found it too through google. Thank you, thank you!

Had you tried it then Heidi? did you like it?

No I never did the turkey that way, but as mentioned in the topic, I have done cornish hens that way and they came out well. I particularly loved the way the flesh absorbed the flavors from the poaching liquid. I tend to like my fowl falling apart tender, but super moist - the method yielded such a result.

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A fairly traditional thanksgiving for 8 or 9 here:

nuts and various relish items to start

cream of carrot soup

brined, roasted turkey with stuffing and dressing

mashed potatoes and giblet gravy

orange-cranberry relish

brussel sprouts, either roasted or braised and glazed

peas with lemon and shallots

for the vegetarians, either ratatouille or vegetable stew roasted in a pumpkin

for dessert, a pear tart, fruitcake, and 3 or 4 pies (probably, coconut cream, sour cherry, chocolate and maybe pecan)

I'll make the gravy a night or two before after roasting another turkey. For some reason, I always think of this earlier turkey as the second turkey.

"What's more, I believe it's a cook's moral obligation to add more butter given the chance."

Michael Ruhlman,
Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind Everyday Cooking

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