Saturday, November 25, 2006

Thanksgiving 2006

I want to start by being clear to those who do not believe it, that one can have 33 annual Thanksgiving meals with the green bean casserole and survive the 34th without it. I am pleased to report not only that I am alive and well, but that I am sated. (And I love the green bean casserole, especially mom's version with the added pound of cheddar, water chestnuts, and worcestershire).

And to say how thankful I am to all the people who cooked Thanksgiving lunch and dinner, to those who hosted, and to those who made the table warm in so many ways.

A very special shout out to T who made so many amazing dishes. It was inspired!

We had 8 for TG with several people contributing dishes. Here's what we ended up with . . .

Cranberry champagne cocktail (cran juice, champagne, sparking apple from Trader Joes)

Griddle cakes with gorgonzola and pears (from Fingerfoods by bay books)

Turkey (organic from Whole Foods, using an under and over the skin rub based on Ina Garten's roasted chicken recipe)
Marsala wine gravy (oh my, how I loved this)
Cranberry sauce (from the bag, but with the juice of one orange)

Parmesan biscuit rolls
Green beans in butter, salt and pepper, and almonds
Wilted spinach with garlic
Corn pudding (Ina Garten)
Two potato gratin
Garlic mashed potatoes
Ciabatta stuffing and dressing

Pear cranberry pear tart with amaretti crumble
Pecan bars (Ina Garten)
Pecan bars (Gourmet)
Pumpkin pie (Cook's Illustrated)
Baklava - Greek version with honey and walnuts (combined recipes from the web)
Baklava - Lebanese version with pistachios, rosewater sugar syrup (several from the web)

What Went Well (really just thinking about what we made):

GRIDDLE CAKES: Great flavor combo and texture dance
TURKEY: I loved, loved, loved the turkey. It was quite flavorful and moist.
GRAVY: Homemade chicken broth, turkey drippings, flour, S&P, and marsala - YUM!
COCKTAIL: Refreshingly tart and light
DRESSING/STUFFING: Peppreidge Farm doctored with more veggies, spices, and egg and some amazing ciabatta
PEAR CRANBERRY TART: As good as it sounds, maybe better.
PECAN BARS (INA GARTEN): Ina Garten's pecan bars were so amazing. Beautiful soft crust with just enough fight in it and very nutty filling

-salad was ignored and unexciting with so much on the table
-we could do without the Gourmet pecan bars given Ina's were representing well
-I had never made baklava before and really wanted to try when I had the time to do so. Both versions turned out wonderfully, but it seems that baklava just didn't fit for the event. In the future, I might make them for a dessert party or something similar.

The good news is, while we were playing around in the kitchen, we discovered a few tastes that will become part of our next menu:

Toasted ciabatta with melted gorgonzola and a brush of orange blossom honey may be the best bite I have had of anything in a long time. The salty cheese, the nuances of the honey, the crispy yet yielding bread. Oh my.

And, after making the baklava, I was eating a juicy pear left over from the tart and griddle cakes. I drizzled a bit of the cardamom honey on the pear and took a bite. Juicy, fruity, spicy, sweet. A stunning new flavor combo for us.

A new tradition as well -- we merged our food with a friend's food for a leftovers party on Friday. It was great to get some face and food time


Stef said...

That all sounds deelish! And I love the idea of a leftovers party. I'm glad you guys had a good holiday!

Barbara (Biscuit Girl) said...

Wow, what an amazing spread! It all sounded wonderful.