Friday, January 2, 2009

Thanksgiving in January

Brian and I offered to prepare Thanksgiving dinner this past November and I'm just getting around to post the pictures I took of the process. I rarely get the time to really cook so I enjoyed every minute of this.
Here was the menu. Our instructions were to keep it simple since my parents don't like my fussy recipes.
Sage-Parmesan Turkey
Sausage, Cranberry, and Apple Dressing
Arugula and Spinach Salad with Champagne Vinaigrette
Brown Butter Mashed Potatoes
Corn Casserole
Grandma's Rolls
Lattice-Topped Apple Pie
Pecan Tart
Pumpkin Pie with Poached Cranberries
The sweet potato casserole was provided by my aunt and uncle so I didn't include that in my menu.
This was our first casualty. Our pepper grinder broke and we needed to get the peppercorns for the brine so Brian used a screwdriver to rescue the peppercorns from their jail.
So how did we keep the kids occupied? Lily was easy since she wasn't interested in helping. Jamison on the other I just put him on the step stool and "accidentally" left the drawer to the ziplocks open. He may have pulled out 180 ziplock bags, but it took him 30 minutes so it was well worth it.
Honestly, the whole reason we wanted to cook was for the pies. In this shot you can see that our cold butter chunks are too large. They should be about pea size. We also discovered that our food processor is sadly lacking.

Brian was in charge of rolling out the dough. Please note that the only reason he's wearing my apron is because he was teaching Bible class that night and didn't want to change. Jamison was paying close attention with his bla-bla (the ever-present Sooner's blanket).

This is a different piece of dough from the one above. This one didn't turn out as perfect because we didn't cut up our butter small enough. It should look like little white chocolate chips, not huge chunks of whiteness. I post this so that you can learn from my mistakes. Because I care that much for all of you.

This is my pumpkin pie. When I saw the leaf punch outs at Williams-Sonoma it took all my effort to not squeal at their cuteness.

Look at them!!

Look really closely. Or real closely. Or real close. Whichever one. Just look.

And when they're baked they're still cute.

Here is the pecan tart. I think this was the best one.

The pumpkin pie called for a poached cranberry topping. Cranberries are so beautiful. Here they are poaching in sugar and some port.
And then, when they are just at the point of bursting open you take them off the burner and spread them on a jelly roll pan. Aren't they gorgeous? Unfortunately, they didn't end up tasting so good. So while they look oh so pretty that's about all they were good for.

We decided to do a buttermilk brine for the turkey. Our brining spices were the typical ones, including our recently released peppercorns.

Boil and boil toil and trouble...and after it cooled we put the turkey in the brining bag, added 4 quarts of buttermilk, the brine, and sealed the deal for 24 hours.

Roasty toasty.

And Grandma's Rolls. There really was no need for any other item on the menu. These are Reba Reeve's rolls, Brian's maternal grandmother, and they are an art.

They are completely from scratch. They take no less than two days of preparation. Atkins, South Beach, you have no defense against these blessed and precious carbohydrates.

I wanted to make my Mammy's cornbread dressing but there is not a retailer within 150 miles that sells Martha White cornmeal mix. Oh how I wish I could have recorded the conversation between me and my grandmother when she was telling me the recipe. There are no measurements. The ingredients are subjective to a certain extent. (the specifics are the brand names for the ingredients and also to press sliced butter on the top of the dressing, do not mix it). You know you have it right by how it looks.
So here's my unworthy dressing. It was ok. Nothing great but not horrible.

Dinner is done and it's time for pie!

The remains. It all ended too soon.

1 comment:

Matt and Rachel said...

Next year I'll send you some cornbread......I made mammy's dressing this year.....very easy & soooo yummy!!