Leftovers

I missed my chance at the main thread and was too busy to comment, so am posting separately.
I remember my first Thanksgiving away from home. I was a student at a college in St. Paul, Minnesota and my family lived in Pocatello, Idaho. I was NOT going to be going home for Thanksgiving. The food service had a special Thanksgiving meal planned for students who weren’t going home. Unfortunately, I hadn’t paid attention and didn’t realize it was an early meal. So, when I showed up for my meal, the place was dark and closed. Sigh… I wandered northwards and eventually found a bowling alley that was open. My first Thanksgiving away from home consisted of a polish sausage.
The next memorable Thanksgiving for me was in 2005. Keen was pregnant with twins and I mean PREGNANT. They were at 38 weeks and we would be going to the hospital the following Monday for a scheduled Caesarian. They missed sharing their grandfather’s birthday by one day (which was a Sunday). Friends of ours were gathering at a place near Georgetown. As someone who was beginning to develop a reputation for cooking, I was tasked with roasting the turkey.
I’d never roasted a turkey before. I bought the bird the day before and consulted my trusty collection of Cooks Illustrated. I’m supposed to brine the bird? Holy shit, I didn’t know that! A few years later, I realize that most supermarket birds are prebrined and so it’s not a good idea. Good thing that I didn’t have enough time to do much brining. So, I cook the roast beast and make decent gravy. Then we head out into the night. It was a cold night with wind that was howling. Also, my wife has not one, but two butterballs in her belly. We manage to get up to our friends’ place (even finding parking within a block!) and have a grand time with friends. Keen even had a glass of wine (take that, pregnazis!)
After that experience, I decided that I enjoyed the experience, but was not traveling with the bird. We’ve hosted a Thanksgiving meal every year since but one. I’ve done a lot more cooking since then and am a much better cook. Much of it is scheduling. Sweet potatoes can be done in the slow cooker. Mashed potatoes can be finished early and tossed into our rice cooker that has a warming function.
So, what is Thanksgiving to me? It’s a meal to celebrate family and friendship. I spend the entire day cooking and love it. I also have noticed an interest in cooking of one of my sons and hope to do a Blade & Son affair in the future. Here’s our Thanksgiving menu:
Turkey
Lobster in Makhani Sauce (NB: leftover turkey in the sauce is amazing)
Stuffing I: Stuffing with caramelized onion and apples (vegetarian option)
Stuffing II: Made with turkey stock
Mashed potatoes
Sweet potatoes braised in coconut milk
Green beans with almonds (brought by a friend)
Gravy I: Traditional
Gravy II: Roasted garlic, coconut milk, and curry spices
Roasted beets
Sweet potato pie (made by Keen)
Apple pie (brought by a friend)
I’ll wish a retrospective Happy Thanksgiving to all ATiMmers!
BB

2 Responses

  1. I didn't get a chance to comment on T-Day before, but I think FB's post is a good place to start. Thanksgiving to us is the quintessential American holiday and has become my favorite day of the year. Since I stopped going home every Thanksgiving sometime in grad school, it has been an opportunity to share a day of football and great food (and beer) with friends, basically all the good stuff in life. In science, many of your friends and colleagues end up coming from different countries and have not experienced Thanksgiving. So, like Scott's experience abroad, it has also been a chance to get people from other countries to experience this day of gluttony, er, thanks. Every year now, we smoke a turkey, make a bunch of sides, and have as many people over as we can. We've had as many as 25 (having to rent tables and chairs to accommodate everyone) and as few as 4. This year was only 10. Usually, I get some cooking help from my wife, but this year she got preoccupied with entertaining the guests, including a beautiful Bernese Mountain Dog and a 9 week old baby. So, cooking was all on me. The good thing is I really like cooking. The better thing is that after cooking a huge meal, I'm totally not hungry so I don't overeat.Our menu:Mesquite smoked turkeyGarlic mashed potatoesChipotle yams (prepared a little differently, but s/o to Michi for the idea!)Traditional bread stuffingChorizo cornbread stuffingBrussels sprouts with bacon (mmm, bacon.)Wilted spinach salad with bacon fat and balsamic dressing (did I mention bacon? MMM!)Cranberry-blackberry sauceTurkey gravyRoasted squash and leek soup (with bacon bits)Pumpkin cheesecakePecan pie (with chocolate chips and bourbon. Mmm, bourbon)And an Edible Arrangement fruit array, sent by a sister-in-law.Luckily, we managed to get our guests to take most of the leftovers home. Today's job: turkey stock — and beer drinking and football watching.

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  2. Heh. I made the turkey stock yeseterday and so we'll be having turkey soup today. The 12 lb. bird produced about the right amount of leftovers–plentiful without being overwhelming.Our sweet potatoes also have some chipotle going into them. Well, if we hadn't forgotten.BB

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