T-minus 2 days to T-day

The line-up:

Thai-curry pumpkin soup
Brie with watermelon rind pickles
Goat gouda (with what? any ideas?)
Creamed spinach with blue cheese
Roasted brussels sprouts with bacon and toasted garlic chips
Sourdough and corn bread stuffing with mushrooms and walnuts
Fresh corn pudding
Roasted sweet potatoes with cinnamon-walnut crumble topping
Mashed Yukon gold potatoes with andouille gravy
Cranberry-ginger chutney
Smoked turkey (no, I am not making it….moving on….)

Dessert:
Apple crisp with walnut-oat topping
Rhubarb crisp with spiced crumble topping
Eggnog ice cream with caramel sauce

I have tried my best to get ahead of the game for T-day this year. My mom has very clearly explained that she does not want to cook, but I know that she also cannot help but lend a hand – so, I need to get as much of it done in advance, before she gets here.

I’ve roasted the sweet potatoes (whole, in their skins, never boiled – I just don’t think the flavor is the same). After peeling them and giving them a course mash, I mixed in grated nutmeg, cinnamon, salt, pepper, and a few tablespoons of butter and molasses. I’ll add a few eggs, make the topping, and bake it just before dinner.

I also made the creamed spinach and froze it. This is not my preference, but I had a huge bag of spinach that needed to be cooked up, and I happened to be making some blue cheese mac and cheese for my neighbors, so I used a little of the sauce, mixed it into the wilted spinach and added some parmesan. Although I’d never use pre-frozen, packaged spinach in this recipe, I have found in the past that cooking and freezing your own spinach is a whole different animal, and quite passable (but then again, when you put cheese sauce on it, anything is passable).

I have prepped the mirepoix for the stuffing, at the same time enriching some store-bought chicken broth with the same mix, along with mushrooms and apples, which I’ll use for both the stuffing and the gravy.

I tore up a loaf of sourdough to dry out, and my mom is bringing the corn bread (her only cooking task!) to mix in for the stuffing. I cooked a bag of cranberries with some fresh ginger, sugar, honey and spices to make a simple chutney. Of course the pumpkin soup was left over from the party a couple weeks ago, and is sitting patiently in the freezer. My mom is also bringing up a smoked turkey, and I have to admit that I am glad to not have that on my “to do” list (plus, it seriously would not fit in my fridge right now).

My partner/angel in an apron has been cleaning the house and doing round after round of dishes through this all, so I’ve got to give a shout out to him. I surprised him by hunting down fresh corn (a hard thing to do in November in DC) for corn pudding – his one request for thanksgiving, which I thought I was not going to be able to do), and I also found a lovely (and enormous) fresh brussels sprout stalk. I’ll quarter those and brown them in bacon fat along with some thin garlic slices, finishing with a sprinkle of pepper and white wine vinegar.

I think I am most excited for the stuffing, and also the leftover turkey sandwiches….I’ve got a friend bringing a loaf of pecan-raisin and a loaf of rye for that very purpose. I plan on adding some horseradish to the cranberry chutney for some brie-turkey sandwiches…mmmm….

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2 thoughts on “T-minus 2 days to T-day

  1. Bravo! If I wasn’t committed to my Mom’s and her usual awesome decadent spread I’d be in the car driving to your place in a heartbeat “what? oh, I was just in the neighborhood. Hi, have you met kids?”)

    “mirepoix” — has someone been reading Ruhlman? 🙂

    Goat gouda brings either crostinis to mind, or the delicious gluten-free crunchmaster crackers we’ve been getting from Costco since Susan went gluten-free about a year ago. A nice warm baguette would do nicely, too — I see no other bread product in your menu, not including stuffing, and could go w/ the brie, too.

    So many goodies here, a fabulous menu. I am making apple pie, which I haven’t done many times before but my Mom decided to bail on making this year for the first time in forever and I decided I needed to step into the void. I have augmented in the past with key lime pie, pumpkin cheesecake, hazelnut cheesecake, among others — but I saw an opportunity to finally kick the tires on Cook’s Illustrated’s “foolproof pie crust” from Nov. 2007, where they use vodka as the liquid (!). I went to the NC farmer’s market in Raleigh today and bought some NC apples from Candor (east of Pinehurst) — Gold Rush and Pink Lady — tried them both and they were superb. You can just smell them and they are amazing. I’m using a recipe from a pastry/dessert book I got for my 40th birthday (not saying how long ago that was 🙂 ) and I’m sure it’ll be fantastic.

    Have a great day and do follow up on how it goes w/ your menu!

    –Gary

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