Thursday, November 26, 2009

Hey, Good Lookin', What you Got Cookin'?

Happy Thanksgiving to all who are celebrating today.

I'm up making cranberry sauce and steaming summer squash (no, this won't be a locavore feast, although I am serving a local turkey and local potatoes, and probably other things that I'm too tired to think of at the moment), and I started to think about my menu and wondered what my friends are cooking up today?

So, first off, despite my love of cooking and my love of all things locavore, for us Thanksgiving is first and foremost a family holiday, and the menu has been constructed of various family members' favorites over the years. So, yes, it's pedestrian, and somewhat commercial, even, but it's our very, very traditional feast.

We're having a very small crowd this year - just me, Dave, Con, my mother and my father-in-law. We're also having an early dinner (probably 1:30 or so), and then we're planning to see THE BLIND SIDE, which is one of the few movies out there which we'd all be happy seeing (my father-in-law basically only likes to see inspirational movies).

So here are our family favorites:

Turkey - I am trying something new this year - I liked the title of this recipe: World's Simplest Thanksgiving Turkey.

Mashed potatoes - with skins partially on. These are from Tantre and I'll make them with sweet butter and some half and half and salt. That's it. Con likes me to try to imitate the Roadhouse mashed potatoes, which are his favorites. He's the mashed potato king in our brood, so he gets dibs on the type. If it were me and Dave, it would be garlic mashed all the way.

Squash pudding. I've talked about this here, before. This is NOT a sweet squash - it's a summer squash pudding that's decadent and savory. My mother started making this in the 60's and it ain't Thanksgiving without the Squash Pudding (this is a bow to me and to Mom and to Dave).

Cranberry Maple Sauce - this is a recipe from the Silver Palate New Basics cookbook. Bowing here to Dave, who likes the maple, and Mom, who likes the orange zest. It's fabulous and simple - 1 bag of cranberries, rinsed, 1 cup of maple syrup, 1 cup of raspberry juice (but we don't drink juice so I used a bottle of pomegranate cherry juice instead) and the zest off one orange. Boil, bring down to medium, cook for 10 minutes, cool. Add a cup of toasted walnut pieces, if you choose to. We probably won't - I'll take a poll. I'd prefer the walnuts, but I bet, I'll be outvoted.

Katherine's Gravy - this is my sister's recipe that's a bastardization of a Craig Claiborne N. Y. Times vegetarian gravy. I still have the recipe card she gave me, and I commune with her a little every time I take it out. We all love this recipe, although we do a non-vegetarian version (I use chicken stock).

Stuffing. Okay... confession time. It. has. to. be. Pepperidge Farm Herb Stuffing. A la the package recipe. With my homemade chicken broth. Then baked out of the turkey. So, um, yeah. But that's the way it rolls on the Shikes side of the family. Dave prefers cornbread stuffing, but he gets outvoted here. ;-)

If there were more people, I'd do Tyler Florence's upscale green bean casserole recipe, but we just don't have enough people, and the food we have are the main faves.

Dessert: Another confession here: Costco Pumpkin Pie. It's better than any of the versions I've made over the years. Sigh. At least according to Con, and he's also the Pumpkin Pie king. Mom just wants pumpkin pie. My father-in-law and Dave love Pumpkin Pie, too. If there were more people, I'd also make my mother-in-law's Sour Cream Apple Pie, but there just aren't. Me - I like Mince Pie, but I'm totally outvoted here.

And finally, you have a choice of Calder vanilla ice cream on that pie or whipped cream.

So, what are you all cooking up today? What are special family faves?

Happy Thanksgiving and happy eating!


Brian Miller said...

i hope you and your family have an amazing thanksgiving! my favorite...turkey sandwiches on the day after! smiles.

anno said...

Sounds lovely.... savory aromas, delicious flavors -- all the best of the season. Wishing you a wonderful day!

Jen said...

Thanks, Brian, and to you! Replied about the sandwiches on your blog. ;-)

And to you, Anno - I hope it's lovely!

Ivy said...

Happy Thanksgiving Jen. Hope you and you family have a wonderful time.

April said...

Happy Thanksgiving, Jen!

Korie said...

I had some slices of lunch meat and I'm about to have some chips. Cause I had no Thanksgiving. Yours sounds awesome though....sigh.

Liz Dwyer said...

Happy Thanksgiving!

That cranberry sauce sounds delish! I've been a fan of Ocean Spray canned since I was a kid, but that sounds really tasty.

We made pumpkin pies and we're taking them over to a friend's house. She's making turkey and a veggie nutloaf. Other folks are bringing the other side dishes so I'm sure we'll have PLENTY of food.

glamah16 said...

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.
I kept is simple this year with a few twists (Turkey, stuffing with sausage, cranberry sauce with brandy, vanilla, cinnamon, etc.). Made Bourbon sweet potatoes and Sticky Toffee Pudding.

Peter G | Souvlaki For The Soul said...

It all sound delicious Jen! I hope you and your family had a lovely Thanksgiving!

Goofball said...

wow what a festive meal. Sounds delicious...just as I imagine a traditional thanksgiving meal :)
That never stops amazing me: that American holidays are so strongly linked to specific dishes. I think in Europe Christmas (we don't have thanksgiving) brings a huge variety of meals on the table, more than in the USA.

Don't worry for not being local all the time, you already put so much effort in being local the rest of the year?

Jen said...

Thanks so much, Ivy and April!

Lilac - sorry to hear it. When I was in Russia, I still "did" Thanksgiving with Russian friends - I made it for them. Maybe next year you can? (It doesn't have to be *on* the day).

Los A - it sounds like you had a lovely time. As you said in your post - it's all about the gathering, really.

Glamah - yours sounds wonderful. Have you put up that sticky toffee pudding recipe? I've always wondered how to make it!

Thanks, Peter, we did. I'm sure your crew ate well, too. ;-)

Goofball, thanks! You know, that's so funny, because I've always felt the opposite - especially in terms of Christmas traditions. It seems like each of my European exchange kids talked about all the specifics they HAD to have for Christmas. It may be that it depends on the country. Thanksgiving is our main meal that is similar, although given our diversity, there's plenty of variation in that, too, from family to family.

Jeanie said...

Your Thanksgiving dinner sounds much like mine -- except I have to click to that pudding link! I love it -- pedestrian, commercial, traditional and wonderful. Interesting, isn't it, how "pedestrian" and "commercial" can still be so darned delicious and wonderful when you throw that "tradition" into it!

Hope your day was wonderful. It's nice to catch up with you!

Jackie at said...

Everything sounds so yummilicious. How was the movie? I haven't seen it yet

Proud Italian Cook said...

Hope you had a great Thanksgiving Jen, I confess, we love Costco's pumpkin pie too!

Linda said...

The reason we do it sort of pot luck is so that everyone can bring an old favorite or a dish that they can't wait to try. We can no longer imagine Thanksgiving without Penny's cheesy baked onions or Mayumi's cranberry sauce with strawberries in it. I make a sweet potato dish that I found in a Junior League cookbook. The rest changes every year. Jaya always takes to muttar panir to her get together in Boston.

Jen said...

Jeanie - that's the thing I guess - folks just love to retain all their favorites. We used to go to Linda's - and I preferred that, actually, both for the company and all the delicious new things to try. ;-)

Jackie - we didn't get to see it because my mother and father-in-law were both too tired. I've heard from friends that it's wonderful, though.

Proud Italian - thanks! And I have to admit, Costco does a darned good job with that particular pie.

Linda, you have no idea how much I missed you guys this year! Maybe soon we can re-join again.