Andy has posted his “Thanksgiving by the Numbers”, which leaves me wondering if he was inspired by the Harper’s Index. But I ought to know better: what would a neocon like Andy be doing reading Harper’s? 🙂
Anyway, his post inspired me to let you know about our Thanksgiving. We had decided several weeks ago to keep it small, since we didn’t know if 1) we would have a brand-new person in the house by then, 2) someone would be in labor that day, or 3) a combination of the above two scenarios. And, as I mentioned in an earlier post, the SmockLady was putting as much in the freezer ahead of time to make the day even easier. Thanksgiving was also going to be just our immediate family, as my dad had to work on Friday, so they had to stay close to home.
Anyway, here’s what we had:
Turkey – The SmockLady roasted it in the oven, and it was wonderful. You can talk about your smoked turkeys, your deep fried turkeys, your turduckens, yadda yadda yadda, but there’s nothing like a really good oven-roasted turkey. I think the reason a lot of people say they don’t like turkey is that they’ve never had one that was really good. They’re almost always overcooked. This one was not. The SmockLady had rubbed sage butter under the skin and had covered the skin with EVOO and a proprietary blend of spices. When I carved slices from the
breast turkey front, that fresh sage from the sage butter would run down over the slices, and it smelled delicious! And the skin was very flavorful and crisp from being between the olive oil and the sage butter. So good!
Dressing – No, we don’t stuff turkeys, and we don’t call it “stuffing”. (BTW the Southern penchant for referring to stuffing as “dressing” is actually a holdover from the Victorian period, when it was considered unseemly to use the word “stuff” in polite company.) A traditional cornbread dressing, made extra special by the presence of lots of fresh sage and fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley, as well as by the super-flavorful turkey stock she had made several days ago (we had bought a package of turkey wings, roasted them, and used them to make a great stock).
Gravy – With all of the wonderful flavors in the pan drippings (thanks to that wonderfully-seasoned turkey) and the rich turkey stock, the gravy was super delicious. Even our non-gravy-eaters in the house (and they are legion) loved it. When you save gravy in the refrigerator to reheat later, that’s a sign that it’s some really special gravy. There were no foreign objects (giblets, pieces of boiled egg, etc.) in the gravy.
Cranberry Sauce – My contribution, already described in an earlier post. The SmockLady has the recipe on her blog, but I departed from it at a few significant points, rendering it a true cranberry sauce rather than a cranberry relish. It’s now gone. I already want to make more.
Sweet Potato Casserole – No Sugary Sams for me, thank you. This was made from fresh sweet potatoes, baked in the oven, mashed, and combined with all sorts of good stuff. Topped with a wonderful pecan/brown sugar/butter/cinnamon streusel topping and baked. (Marshmallows are for campfires.) Buster helped his mom make this one.
Green Bean Casserole – HomeGirl’s contribution. Not fancy, but everyone loves it. The recipe on the inside of the Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup is different from (and, IMO, better than) the one on the can of French’s French Fried Onions. Or, you could just get this book and always have this recipe (as well as the Karo Syrup Pecan Pie recipe, the original Chex Party Mix recipe, etc. etc.) all the time without having to save labels, box tops, etc.
Pumpkin Pie – Two of them, actually. The SmockLady made them, and they soon disappeared. I made a third one yesterday, such is the demand in our house right now for pumpkin pie. She made some whipped heavy cream to go on it, and we also had some of the non-dairy topping for our non-dairy child.
Pecan Pie – The Karo Syrup label recipe, of course. Birdie made this one with me, and Princerella kept us company while we made it.
Needless to say, this was a lot of dinner for seven people! We made about five meals out of it (at last count), and of course before we tucked in, we gave thanks to God not only for the feast, but for each other and for every good and perfect gift of his.