Here’s a peek at our 2007 Thanksgiving gameplan.
• Before-dinner snacks: homemade spicy candied pecans; an assortment of olives from the Whole Foods olive bar; some TLC crackers with herbed goat cheese spread, a sage Darby cheese, a bit of pretty Mimolette, and our first sample of Brillat-Savarin cheese (a triple cream brie-style); Blue Moon ale and homemade-cranberry-sauce daquiris (I tried to find some Satsuma Mandarins, but they just aren’t here yet, whaaa! But I do have some Granny Smiths, tangerines, pears and bananas to make do with). Also some of those wicked WF truffles in case the cook needs fortification during her grueling kitchen ordeal.
• Two butternut squash soups (one vegan, one non)
• Yeast rolls (I must admit, 2006in2006, my resident amateur pastry chef, will take these on)
• Steamed green beans tossed with margarine and toasted sliced almonds (I wish I had some beautiful fractalled broccoli Romanesco, but I think maybe that’s a CA thing because I don’t remember seeing it here)
• Mixed baby greens with edible flowers and a homemade dressing
• Baked sweet potatoes (these were gonna be orange-glazed but I’m now wavering towards maple-pecan)
• Mashed potatoes (one vegan, one not)
• Stuffing (one vegan, one not, both with fresh herbs, some i even grew myself! the carnivorous version will feature sausage somehow. I roasted and peeled a pound of chestnuts thinking I’d do a chestnut dressing, but these don’t taste all that great… maybe a third of them were either rotten or moldy. So back to the original sausage-apple plan. I’m not baking the stuffing in the bird, because I don’t want to have to bake the bird for six hours. The vegan version will be my MIL’s recipe, which my oldest son adores)
• Gravy (one vegan: brewer’s yeast style, one not: made from pan drippings)
• Homemade cranberry sauce, with orange zest (gotta remember to make extra for the daquiris!)
• A Tofurkey (sadly, this year Whole Foods only offered the Tofurkey by itself, no gravy or drumettes or wishbone or anything. A Complaint was Registered on behalf of the vegetarians in the household.)
• A Heritage American Bronze turkey, 14lbs from Whole Foods, brined in herbs for 12 hrs, dried overnight, roasted under a cheesecloth soaked in olive oil and with a layer of bacon over the breast (to help keep it moist and from overcooking) using the Cook’s Illustrated turkey roasting guidelines (has produced a perfect bird for me several years in a row now… don’t mess with success!)
• Wine and beer (German Reisling and a Cab), and organic sparkling cider for the kids (lemonade and apple)
• Egg nog (my husband makes a wicked homemade version, but I think we’ll save that for Christmas… so we’ll just suffer with the Shatto version)… maybe with a tot of brandy if we’re still feeling festive
• PIE! The pastry chef will probably do a classic pumpkin pie, along with a small pumpkin tart for the vegan, and homemade whipped cream, flavored with rum (if there’s any left over from the daquiries)
Ladies and gentlemen, start your ovens!