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Thanksgiving Menus 2002–2011: The Topic


awbrig
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We have no room for a buffet, so passing is our only option as well. We are often 12 to 15 people, and the table itself is barely visible. To further advance the cause of chaos, my MIL thinks an unwieldy display of fall branches, leaves and what not is essential, thus eliminating useful square footage. Last year she forgot to bring anything for her centerpiece, so my husband went dumpster diving in the neighbor's green bin and found some lovely trimmings! Okay, not exactly lovely, but no one even noticed.

It's a messy affair since some like to start passing clockwise and others like to go counter, some like to grab and others are more reserved. In addition, there is always a vegetarian entree that is too hot, too heavy and too goopy to pass, so that stays in it's place and if you want some you have to pass down your plate. Sometimes the wrong plate comes back. If all the meat-eaters would sit at one end of the table things might be a little bit simpler, but my FIL, who now eats turkey but didn't used to, anchors the vegetarian end of the table. Inevitable, when the table is being cleared, someone notices a dish they had no idea was on the table. I consider things are going well if the food on my plate is still warm, but usually by the time we all start eating we are pretty well lubricated and my in-laws don't seem to care if their food isn't hot. They are just glad there's plenty of it and the faces still look familiar.

Mmm, those root chips sound yummy! How do you make them, Chris?

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This year I am totally stealing this frikadeller idea. Skål!

Grilled Romanian mititel meatballs may be worth trying as well.

TG 2011 tentative guest list:

Jeff Bridges

My sister

Rick Harrison

Lisa Ling

Louis CK

Trina Lai

The Most Interesting Man in the World

Miss Piggy

Bonjwing Lee

Jimmy Wales

Tina Turner

Dave Eggers

Edited by Baron d'Apcher (log)
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I have to agree with Chris H.-I'm not a big fan of pumpkin in the pie style so I'm doing something different with pumpkin for dessert this year, albeit not a cake. And I'm with Chris A.-I'm planning on using ras el hanout spices. I typically make a Thanksgiving dinner a week after the actual date with the family. Their tastes are not quite as adventurous as mine and I would have a hard time getting them to even try something other than what we've eaten at Thanksgiving for the past 50 years or so.

Oysters on the Half Shell, Fresh Lemon

Roasted Squash Soup, Foie Gras and Black Truffle Mousse, Ras el Hanout Spices, Buttered Croutons

(I'll do a basic roasted squash, cream soup, then I'm going to stir in some foie gras mousse studded with black truffle that I buy from D'Artagnan. The foie gras should melt into the soup. I'll season it with ras el hanout.)

Slow-Roasted Turkey and Gravy

Sage Sausage Dressing with Dried Cranberries and Hazelnuts

Mashed Russet Potatoes

Pureed Yams with Pecan Streusel and Marshmallow

Spiced Ras el Hanout Cranberry and Orange Relish

Haricot Vert with Buttered Almonds and Fried Onions

Pumpkin Panna Cotta, Walnut Shortbread, Huckleberry Compote

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My family Thanksgiving's menu is something of a potluck, with many of us bringing contributions. I generally handle most of the vegetables.

In addition to the usual green beans and root vegetable dishes, this year I'm also doing a stuffed pumpkin à la Dorie Greenspan to give the vegetarians at the table something more like a main dish in addition to the sides. So I'll be leaving out the bacon and adding spinach to the stuffing recipe. It is really, really good.


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NYT this morning had what looked like a great recipe for caramelized turnips. Happens I just bought turnips at the farmers' market yesterday, thinking of roasting them. They may have just made the Thanksgiving Day list.

Don't ask. Eat it.

www.kayatthekeyboard.wordpress.com

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Cynar & maple syrup? Interesting....

The root chips are pretty simple: slice 'em thin, let 'em sit in water overnight, fry 'em up at ~350-275 or so, dust with the salted ras al hanout. They disappear like ice on a hot sidewalk.

Oh, and I'm making up the meatballs as I go along. I'll do my best to document.

Edited by Chris Amirault (log)

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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Wow Baron! That's quite a menu! I think I may play around with a menu as well, but I don't have quite as many courses as you...

Does the frangipane tart actually have almonds in it as well? And turkey rillettes sounds super delicious.

Chris-I'll be following along on the meatballs!

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

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Appetizers

  • Grissini
  • Toasted baguette slices
  • Olives (kalamata, marinated mix)
  • Cheese and salume platter w/mustard and cornichons
  • Toasted, spiced nuts

Dinner

  • Roasted Turkey (herb/butter mixture under the skin)
  • Bread/Cornbread, sausage and sage dressing with a few dried cranberries in the mix
  • Gravy
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Raw Brussels Sprout/Apple salad with a red wine/Dijon mustard vinaigrette
  • Roasted cranberry sauce
  • Green beans with a shiro miso butter sauce garnished with toasted almonds

Dessert

  • Roasted Caramel Pears topped with crème fraîche and toasted pistachios

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Menu is finalized. The only thing missing is what wines we will be having with the actual meal, since I have a guest bringing them. Here it is:

menu.jpg

If anyone has any suggestions, don't tell me! I've already bought everything and am about 50% prepped :laugh:...

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

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You guys are so inspiring me! I am thinking of doing two seperate dinners a week apart, mostly because on Thanksgiving i am bound by tradition. My extended family is completely devoted to the same menu we have been eating for 30 years. You should hear the uproar when i suggest something differrent. I usually stick something new in anyway. Anyone else

trapped by tradition?

We are having

Brined roasted turkey AND a deep fried

stuffing

Mashed potatoes

Gravy

Bourbon sweet potatoes

Corn pudding

Cranberry sauce

The dreaded green been casserole

Gruyere rutabagas

the jello mold that is made every single year and no one eats

Lefse (pretty much a norwegian tortilla made from mashed potatoes)

Cheesecake

Pumpkin pie

Lemon merengue

And fruit salad

It is total midwest traditional and im chomping at the bit to try new things, but gotta keep the grand parents happy

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Goatjunky- I laughed at "the dreaded green bean casserole." I was told, in no uncertain terms, that it was a must on our table too, so I opted to make it from scratch, sans the canned glop, and bake it into a pie instead. Hopefully that will be a win/win. What do you do with the lefse? Make turkey burritos? Or just butter and jam?

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

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What are your thoughts on improving that green bean stuff? I swear they eat two spoonfuls but its a must.

Lefse is eaten with butter, butter and sugar, turkey, turkey cranberry, something to wipe the gravy up with.. you name it

Iwill post some pictures

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I smoke a turkey every year. Various brines and rubs. Last year I ventured into mole, specifically Rick Bayless's black mole. This year I will make a mole poblano..

Icing the breasts while the rest of the bird comes to room temp does help keep the breast from overlooking. I've even put an ice pack on the breasts in the smoker. I have boil in the bag vacuum bags, so this will be the approach for this year.

Rest of the meal is pretty traditional, including the pumpkin pie.

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What are your thoughts on improving that green bean stuff? I swear they eat two spoonfuls but its a must.

I suppose the question is "Even if they only eat two spoonfuls, would they have a cardiac incident if the taste was not 'classic'??" We discussed the issue here. A minor tweak would be to use fresh crimini mushrooms (perhaps I am deceived by the darker color but I think they have more flavor then white buttons) and some haricot verts or other thin young green beans (Trader Joe's has excellent frozen ones) and using a simple white sauce as the binder. I snuck some fried shallots (from Asian market) over the top of the last one my step mom made and it was a flavor boost without being shocking - more of an enhanced familiar taste.

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I'm going to go out on a limb here and just say it: I love green bean casserole. Ok, maybe not the canned green beans. But fresh steamed green beans... yum! And my husband will snack on fried onion topping by itself.

This year I'm making a ton of food. Ok, every year I host thanksgiving I make a ton of food. I'm genetically programmed to cook too much food.

I figure we'll have to start before noon to eat it all.

Starting with:

hot cider with a choice of alcohol

cheese olives

Savory sour cream apple and brie tarts with bacon and chestnut crumble, and whisky whipped cream.

Walnut and pear soup.

Then main event:

Roasted turkey with citrus and rosemary butter

gravy

green beans with brown butter and hazelnuts

sweet potato casserole

challah stuffing

cranberry and citrus jam (also the canned kind, because my father in law loves it)

braised Brussels sprouts

pear, pistachio and blue cheese salad

mashed potatoes

and for dessert:

Jefferson Davis Pie

Pumpkin custards

maple pecan pie

lemon supreme parfaits

and

bitter caramel chocolates...

ok, now that I type it, it sure does seem obscene.

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What are your thoughts on improving that green bean stuff? I swear they eat two spoonfuls but its a must.

I suppose the question is "Even if they only eat two spoonfuls, would they have a cardiac incident if the taste was not 'classic'??" We discussed the issue here. A minor tweak would be to use fresh crimini mushrooms (perhaps I am deceived by the darker color but I think they have more flavor then white buttons) and some haricot verts or other thin young green beans (Trader Joe's has excellent frozen ones) and using a simple white sauce as the binder. I snuck some fried shallots (from Asian market) over the top of the last one my step mom made and it was a flavor boost without being shocking - more of an enhanced familiar taste.

My recipe is basically the same as Heidi's. I use haricot verts sauteed in butter then garnished with some toasted, slivered almonds. Now you can use the canned french-fried onions, but I'm going to use some fried shallots that I can get at the local Asian Market. They are tiny little deep-fried nuggets bursting with flavor and I can buy a 16oz. jar for about 2 bucks. Mind you, it doesn't have the soy sauce or cream soup called for in the recipe on the onion can from the supermarket.

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David, I love those fried shallots that come in the plastic jar. Excellent idea to dress up green beans--I'm going to do that at my first opportunity. (Somehow my own childhood Thanksgiving escaped the green bean casserole, but I have indeed been served it as a guest at various holidays.) One of my favorite uses for fried shallots is as a mix-in or topping for an Asian-style coleslaw, added right before serving.

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I'm hosting since my house is midway between my parents and my sister. We don't go wild with a million dishes since it's usually a small group, this year we have 8 total. My sister's new mother-in-law, who is Sicilian, is very excited to be invited and every other day I get an email from sis with some other delicacy that her MIL wants to bring...Italian chestnuts, chocolates, and now she wants to bring her special fried artichoke dish.

It should be an interesting melange!

All I know for sure is that I'm making turkey, gravy, mushroom herb stuffing, and cranberry relish (plus the canned stuff for the "purists"). Mom is bringing twice-baked potatoes, and a butternut squash/baby spinach/cranberry side dish (inspired by Wegmans market). Sis is bringing dessert, she claims she found a recipe for some kind of pumpkin mousse pie simple enough to not screw up. Her husband will make some kind of fresh fruit thing. And I have a funny feeling her MIL won't be able to resist a stop at the bakery, too.

Edited by BeeZee (log)

"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast" - Oscar Wilde

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What are your thoughts on improving that green bean stuff? I swear they eat two spoonfuls but its a must.

I suppose the question is "Even if they only eat two spoonfuls, would they have a cardiac incident if the taste was not 'classic'??" We discussed the issue here. A minor tweak would be to use fresh crimini mushrooms (perhaps I am deceived by the darker color but I think they have more flavor then white buttons) and some haricot verts or other thin young green beans (Trader Joe's has excellent frozen ones) and using a simple white sauce as the binder. I snuck some fried shallots (from Asian market) over the top of the last one my step mom made and it was a flavor boost without being shocking - more of an enhanced familiar taste.

My recipe is basically the same as Heidi's. I use haricot verts sauteed in butter then garnished with some toasted, slivered almonds. Now you can use the canned french-fried onions, but I'm going to use some fried shallots that I can get at the local Asian Market. They are tiny little deep-fried nuggets bursting with flavor and I can buy a 16oz. jar for about 2 bucks. Mind you, it doesn't have the soy sauce or cream soup called for in the recipe on the onion can from the supermarket.

We threw this together because we realized we needed something green for a class promoting twists on Thanksgiving classics. The aforementioned fried shallots, or even toasted almonds, would work just as well for the topping. You could also use frozen green beans; just thaw them thoroughly and add for the last two minutes.

Not a green bean casserole

Serves 6

1 pound green beans, trimmed

1 pound Cremini or white button mushrooms, sliced or chopped (into 4 pieces if small, 6 if large)

2 leeks, trimmed (white and pale green sections), or

1/2 cup canned fried onions

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup dry sherry

Oil for frying (if using leeks)

Salt and pepper

If using leeks: cut the trimmed sections into 1-1/2" logs. Cut the logs in half lengthwise, then slice each log into 1/8"–wide strips and separate the layers. Using a strainer and a large bowl of water, wash the strips. Drain and spread on paper towels; pat dry. Heat oil to 360˚F. Fry the leek strips in small batches until brown at the edges, about 2 minutes. Drain on paper towels. They will crisp as they sit.

Put the mushrooms in a large sauté pan and cover with water. Add the butter and about a teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the water has evaporated and the mushrooms are browned, about 15 minutes. Add the sherry and scrape with a wooden spoon to dissolve any brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Cook until the sherry is almost evaporated. Set aside.

Steam or boil the beans in salted water until almost tender, 4 to 6 minutes. Drain the beans and set aside. Add the cream to the pan, bring to a boil, and cook over medium heat to reduce to a sauce-like consistency, about five minutes. Put the beans back in to finish cooking, about two minutes. Check seasoning.

To serve: plate the beans, top with mushrooms, and sprinkle leeks or fried onions over.

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

Eat more chicken skin.

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