Since I like to share, I thought I'd give you a taste of our Thanksgiving menu. Maybe you'll get some ideas for your own meal!
So...I totally dug through my old stuff and found markers that still work to draw a turkey. You're welcome.
- Turkeys- Yes, plural. We do a fried turkey and a roasted turkey. Fried turkey is a special treat around the holidays. Crispy skin, juicy meat, what else do you want? I do think roasted turkeys make a better sandwich the day after though. As much as I love the fried turkey, it is a little risky. If you want to fry a turkey, and I wouldn't blame you if you did, be sure to take the proper precautions. Don't fry it on a wooden deck. That's asking to burn your house down. You're much better off on concrete and with proper ventilation. Also, don't forget to account for oil displacement when you add the turkey. An easy way to calculate the oil you'll need is to do a run through with the turkey and water. Alton Brown has a lovely video for this on The Food Network. You want to fry the turkey, not be a fried turkey. *cue groans*
- Dressing- I've already talked about stuffing vs. dressing. In the South, it's all about the cornbread dressing. My grandmother always makes it from scratch. There's no Stouffer's hanging around.
- Gravy- More specifically, giblet gravy. It's the one time of year I eat anything close to offal. Whatevs, giblets make for bangin' gravy.
- Macaroni and cheese- My mom usually makes this dish, but this year it's going to Roddy, my cousin's boyfriend. He's a wonderful cook, so I have full confidence in his macaroni-making abilities.
- Mashed potatoes- April makes these, and she makes them gooood. I have a sneaking suspicion there's a boatload of butter involved.
- Green bean casserole- My mom and I are freestyling this one. We're not following a recipe exactly, just using the elements we're familiar with. We're going to blanch fresh green beans to keep them from getting totally mushy, make a cream sauce with baby portobellos, and top with fried shallots and Parmesan breadcrumbs. It's not super-traditional, but the flavor profile will be there.
- Squash casserole- Seriously, squash and cheddar cheese just go together.
- Sweet potato casserole- Casseroles are a staple in the South. Some years we top it with marshmallows, some years it has a crunchy brown sugar topping. One year the marshmallows went haywire and tripled in size while they were in the oven.
- Pineapple Soufflé- This is a family recipe with measurements like "a handful of flour." I'll do a post on making this because it'll be perfect to take to any holiday potluck this season.
- Fruit salad- Well there had to be something without butter and cheese. This will have honeycrisp apples, comice pears, orange segments, clementines, and bananas. One year we had seven different kinds of salads, including two fruit salads: one with mayonnaise and one without. We might also have marshmallow salad, but that's a horse of a different color.
- Jello mold- Each holiday has its own mold. Thanksgiving it's a turkey, Easter it's a bunny.
- Cranberry sauce from Southern Living over cream cheese- It's a classic appetizer with a Thanksgiving twist. This sauce has port and orange liqueur to liven up the cranberries and will be perfect draped over cream cheese and spread on a cracker.
- Pecan pie- I've made different pecan pies over the years, and this year I'm going with a recipe that won the Texas State fair in 1996.
- Pumpkin pie- What would Thanksgiving be without pumpkin pie? Bobby Flay has a recipe for pumpkin pie he developed for Throwdown that knocked my socks off last year. It was without a doubt the best I've made to date.
- Pumpkin Cheesecake- My grandmother asked for it, so she shall receive it. It's another Southern Living gem. I'm making it with a gingersnap crust and toasted pecans.
I think we might also have a ham on the way, but don't quote me on that. Lord, I've probably forgotten other things. We're never short on food, that's for sure. Anyhow, my one big tip for Thanksgiving is to do as much the day before as you can. It'll cut down on your worries tomorrow and give you more time to watch the parade! And if something doesn't turn out like you planned, don't sweat it. Pick up something ready-made from the grocery store, or better yet, a big ol' bottle of wine. Thanksgiving, as much as it's about food, is a day of graciousness and love.
Happy Thanksgiving, y'all!