Believe it or not, real life besides books has been going on too. Last week the CEO at the company where I work said he was not opening the office on Friday, so everyone would be “working from home” (his quotation marks, not mine). I was pretty excited to have a whole Thanksgiving weekend with the family.
Our Thanksgiving menu for this year was a little less ambitious than last year’s Thanksgiving menu, considering the fact that I work full time and Tony, while he is more organized than I ever was about everyday meals, has no interest in presiding over an elaborate, three-day cooking project. So yes, instead of, for instance, making my own graham crackers for graham cracker crust (true story), I consented to comb the cookie aisle for something premade with a minimum of objectionable ingredients. Among other things.
Instead of putting things in order of consumption, like last year, I’ve decided to put them in the order that we made them.
This year, I offered to let each member of the family be in charge of a dish. Axa quickly claimed the pie. She made her Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake with some help from me. Unfortunately, it turned out she was somewhat more interesting in licking bowls, spoons, beaters, and any other sugar-coated cooking implement than she actually was in making pies. She still did a great job, but it took somewhere between three and four times as long as I had anticipated. As always, she made sure to save a little of everything to make a tiny pie too.
I always like to try a new cranberry sauce recipe, and this year I went really adventurous with Cranberry Orange Chutney with Cumin, Fennel, and Mustard Seeds. It smelled like I was making exotic Indian food, and I momentarily wished I had thought a little more about how everything would harmonize, and perhaps done a tandoori turkey. I didn’t end up liking the result very much, but Tony loved it, and has eaten it as jam on toast for the past week.
Raj ambitiously claimed responsibility for our Thanksgiving turkey! On Wednesday night, with Tony’s help, he brined the turkey as the first step to Herb Roasted Turkey with Apple Cider Gravy. On Thursday morning, we rubbed the turkey all over in herb butter, stuffed it loosely with apples and onions, and popped it in the oven. I was privately skeptical that brining it was worth the extra work, but it turned out absolutely delicious–moist and flavorful all the way through, even though we never get around to buying an oven thermometer, and ended up overcooking it, as usual.
To keep the turkey company in the oven, Tony made our usual roasted winter vegetables, our longest-running Thanksgiving recipe. They were delicious, especially with the new additions of beets, parsnips, and sweet dumpling squash.
Since Axa and Raj don’t like stuffing and detest mushrooms, Tony and I decided to go whole hog and make Leek and Wild Mushroom Stuffing. The only alteration I made to the recipe was substituting in sourdough bread, which we loved last year in the apple and Italian sausage stuffing. We ended up cooking the stuffing outside the turkey for once, since we were warned by epicurious that roasting stuffing in a brined turkey would make it too salty.
We finished it all off with the Barbara Parker’s rolls (The rolls my mom always makes for Thanksgiving, named after a friend who brought them to her after she’d had a baby), and I am now wondering why I ever departed from her recipe. They were light and fluffy and delicious, so I was happy the recipe makes two entire 9×13 pans. We still finished them off in just a couple of days.
Dinner was delicious, and it was so much fun to make it all together as a family.