Thinking turkey

October 28, 2010

I’ m contemplating Thanksgiving menus. Partly because I feel like hell, and it’s easier to contemplate cooking than it is to get up and do it. Partly because I have committed to sharing a week of my “food life” with the eGullet food forum community, a decision which is scaring the living hell out of me.

I mean, a bunch of these people cook for a living. In GOOD restaurants. They write with great knowledge about tools, techniques and ingredients I have never seen or experienced. And I’m going to write, for them, about Mama ‘n ’em’s turkey and dressing and green beans and cranberry salad?

Because, you see, they gave me a choice of four weeks. One is next week. Ain’t happening. One is Christmas week; ditto; one is the week after Christmas; ditto again. And the fourth was Thanksgiving week.

As I plan to be (a) home, and (b) cooking for Thanksgiving, I gulped, hard, and chose that one. And we will have us a good old-fashioned West Tennessee Thanksgiving dinner, with the addition of a few bits and bites here and there I’ve added over the years, and it will at least be something different. So I’m contemplating not just my Thanksgiving menu, but what else I might cook for that week that would be something a bit off the beaten path.

With the week starting on a Sunday, I can start out on a good note with some good breakfast stuff and some muffins and such for the week. I yield to no woman in my ability to make bran muffins. I may do some baked eggs (in a terrine dish, with a layer of grits on the bottom, the egg, some meat, some spice, topped off with a cream sauce, baked just long enough to make the egg nice and runny). And I will likely make some kind of braised something that will take a good portion of the day to cook, and provide the base for something else later in the week.

One day will be a slow-cooker day, with something like red beans and rice, or chili. Probably red beans and rice. That might be Friday, if I decide to get out and brave the Black Friday sales. In between, I’ll do a chicken something, and maybe meatball sandwiches one evening.Wednesday will be this-n-that night, as I’ll be pre-cooking for the next day.

And what will the Big Day’s menu be?

Turkey. Dressing. Cranberry salad. Those are givens. Depending on who is here, perhaps the canonical green bean casserole with mushroom soup and the french fried onions on top. I suspect I could make that without the canned ingredients, making my own mushroom sauce and my own french fried onions. Sweet potato casserole with the pecan topping, always.  I’ll probably add some mashed potatos for NS, as he is fond of same and not fond of some of the other stuff. Maybe a corn pudding, in a nod to the Native American tradition? Maybe polenta with roasted sweet corn kernels and bacon and smoked Gouda cheese stirred in? Ummm. That sounds good.

And turkey spaghetti to round out the week.

Maybe I can get through this.

Elsewhere in the wide world:

Was in Little Rock today and took the opportunity to stop by Whole Foods and pick up cheese, as my friend Len is coming to visit this weekend and he’ll happily sample cheeses with me. We’re partaking of Uniekaas Robusto gouda, Comte, Kerry Dubliner cheddar, a couple others I don’t recall, and a smoked gouda that I got to go in the shrimp and grits for Friday night. Well, in the grits, anyway. And I have smoked salmon, courtesy of my friend Lisa, who caught it in Alaska and smoked it herownself. That will go with cream cheese — or I may splurge on mascarpone — and some dill and chives to make a fine spread for some bagels Saturday or Sunday morning. Or both. Also on the weekend menu, PJF prime rib steaks on the grill, sides yet to be determined, and probably moussaka on Sunday.

That being that, I believe I’m going to curl up here on the couch with this wine and a book, and take it easy tonight. It’s been a long week. And it ain’t over. If you and y’mama ‘n ’em were planning on coming for dinner tonight, it’s leftovers and sandwiches.

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