Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Thanksgiving Menu

If you listen to the good people of Food Network, one of the best pieces of advice they can give you as Thanksgiving approaches is to make lists, make time lines, and be prepared. You don't need luck. You need preparation and science.
So in following said advice, I am now writing out my formal menu.

1. The bird - a 14 pound turkey has been purchased from Misty Knoll Farms in Vermont. It is busy working some dry brining magic right now. 1 tablespoon of salt for every five tablespoons of turkey four days ahead of time with pepper and other spices, stored in a sealed plastic bag in the fridge, turned twice per day.
2. Mashed potatoes - This will be brought by my mother in law, who makes SPECTACULAR mashed potatoes. Her secret? There is a ratio of turnip to fluffy russet that makes them creamier and more buttery.
3. Cornbread sausage stuffing - We will not actually be stuffing our turkey and therefore I suppose I should refer to this as a dressing. The bigger half has made the executive decision to go cornbread/sausage this year, because we have some beautiful pork sausage from Jen and Pete's Backyard Birds. This is a little bit of a departure from our greatest hits oyster stuffing which we normally stand behind.
4. Maple-glazed carrots - Fresh carrots from Kimball Fruit Farms and maple syrup from Fadden's Sugar House in New Hampshire, plus some butter, and you have one hell of a side dish.
5. Pickled beets - Goddamn I love pickled beets. They are currently simmering on my stove, waiting for the rest of the process. See entry Refrigerator Pickled Beets.
6. Brussels sprouts - Again, these will come from Kimball Fruit Farms. I make an effort to purchase my veggies from the farmers, especially at this time of the year when I'll soon be devoid of my farmers market fun. Keeping it simple here, we'll roast the brussels with olive oil, balsalmic vinegar, and salt and pepper.
7. Cranberry sauce - I love homemade cranberry sauce. So easy, and since it's one burner, stove only, you've got a fantastic and simple way to wow people, even if you've got little experience in the kitchen. (Note: Don't know how to cook? Going over someone's house for turkey day? Bring cranberry sauce.) 3-4 cups cranberries, plus 1 cup sugar, plus 1 cup water. No brainer.
8. ::sigh:: A pie... bitch's always gotta make a pie. Fine. I'll make pumpkin, because it's my favorite. Wednesday night is going to be a bitchin time.

The timing will be as follows: Pickled beets and pie will be done by Wednesday night. Carrots and cranberry sauce are on the stove while the turkey is baking. Brussels and cornbread stuffing goes in after the turkey is resting. Mashed potatoes are being brought. I think the greatest spinach dip of all time is also coming by way of the in-laws (seriously, it should be its own food group...I'll see if I can extract a recipe and post). I'll also probably rustle up some candied nuts, and perhaps some shrimp cocktail or hummus, we'll see how I feel on the previous day after the pie is finished.

I'll keep you all posted.

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