An image-less Thanksgiving

November 25, 2012

Well. It was Thanksgiving. I cooked. We all ate a lot. It was good. The end.

OK, OK, not really. Not really the end, I mean. But it’s just a shame to cook a great, traditional Thanksgiving meal, and not have a single stinkin’ photo of it. I’m not sure why I don’t; it was just that every time I started to fetch the camera, I got busy with something else.

As usual, my Thanksgiving was strictly along traditional lines. I cook this dinner once a year. I’ve got it down to a pretty fine science, and it’s all the stuff we like, and I don’t see much need in messing about with the menu.

The Bird. This year, I just got a turkey breast, or as I dubbed it, an “amputee turkey,” because it always seems like no one eats the dark meat. Of course, future son-in-law and NS, who was home on a weekend pass, promptly informed me they love dark meat. Tough. Anyway, this was an eight-pound Butterball, and I stuffed the cavity with a half an apple, half an orange, and a handful of rosemary and sage before I gave it a rubdown with olive oil and salted and peppered it liberally inside and out. And I baked it upside down; the breast meat stays more moist that way.

The Dressing. I do minimalist dressing. It’s all cornbread, a 12-inch skillet of it. A quart and a half of chicken broth. Two of the guests don’t care for onion, so I used onion powder. I don’t like celery, so there is no celery. And about a tablespoon of poultry seasoning, and at least a quarter cup of dried sage, and lots of black pepper. I mix it and keep adding sage and tasting until it tastes right. It needs to be almous soupy, because the cornbread will drink up that broth. It fills my 9 x 13 casserole dish nicely. I bake it until it’s nice and golden brown on top.

The Cranberry Salad. This one, I have written of before. Children A and B, who with me are the big cranberry salad fans, weren’t here, so I was the solitary eater of cranberry salad, a dish which has been on every Thanksgiving and Christmas table I can remember. It’s chopped fresh cranberries, apples, oranges and pecans, sweetened with a simple syrup to which a package of raspberry Jell-O has been added. It’s one of the two things that come from my kitchen which require Jell-O (the other being my pralines, which have butterscotch pudding mix in them). For some reason, I bought a big honkin’ bag of cranberries at Sam’s, and made a triple recipe of the stuff. I will be eating cranberry salad until New Year’s. Fortunately, it keeps well.

The Sweet Potatos. These are NOT the sweet potatos I grew up with, which were candied. Sweet potatos are boiled and peeled and mashed with butter, sugar, vanilla and an egg. The puree is smoothed into the bottom of a casserole dish and topped with a streusel topping of brown sugar, pecans, flour and melted butter before being baked. They are the sweet potatos my former mother-in-law  used to make every holiday, and they are marvelous. I’m a little nostalgic for the sticky-sweet candied version, but I’ve become a big fan of these, too.

The Mashed Potatos. OK, seriously. They’re mashed potatos. Nothing special about them. To make quality mashed potatos, one must use redskin potatos, butter, heavy cream and sour cream. I did all that. They were excellent. I didn’t eat them because, well, I’d rather eat the other stuff and there’s limited room on the plate and in my stomach. I’ve read, somewhere, that one should never use a mixer, but rather a potato ricer. I don’t have such a creature. My mixer works Just Fine.

The Mac and Cheese. Like the mashed potatos, this is not canonical on my Thanksgiving table, but the kids do love it. And if I do say so myownself, I make some kickass mac and cheese. Elbow macaroni, butter, half-and-half, Velveeta, sharp cheddar. Yes, it’s a cholesterol nightmare. They’re kids. They’ll be fine. I don’t eat the stuff.

The Carrots. As I was serving nothing green, I added the carrots kinda last minute, as a general stab in the direction of healthy. Boiled them with a little sugar and some cardamon. Drained the water, added butter, salt and pepper. They were good. I may have been the only one who ate them.

The Rolls. Another holiday tradition. These are Miss Mary Lloyd Young’s Methodist Church yeast rolls, and they are To Die For. I think the recipe’s in my recipe index here. If not, I’ll post it separately. The recipe makes two dozen rolls, or a dozen with enough dough left over for the next morning’s cinnamon rolls.

The desserts. The kids fell into the chocolate chip pound cake. The lemon icebox pies went untouched. No one likes pumpkin pie except Child A, and she wasn’t here, so I didn’t make one.

The aftermath: Some of the leftover turkey has gone into a Mexican Turkey casserole (a processed-food nightmare that involves cream of onion soup, taco seasoning, grated cheese, Ro-Tel and crushed Doritos) for NS, who specifically requested it. I also made some curry dip/spread (mayo, curry powder, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, onion powder, garlic powder) because a Facebook friend mentioned it and I thought it sounded good and she sent me the recipe, and that makes a kickass spread for a turkey sandwich on a leftover dinner roll, I am here to tell you. I am still eating dressing and cranberry salad and sweet potatos; this may be the last night for that, though I’ll save some dressing, crumble it, add some chopped turkey and more broth, put it in a foil pan and freeze it for future dinners. I’m looking at some Thai coconut curry soup for some of the turkey, and carrot fritters with Indian seasonings.

All in all, it was a Thanksgivin’ dinner that couldn’t be beat. Wish you ‘n y’mama ‘n ’em could’ve been here.




One Response to “An image-less Thanksgiving”

  1. cleavelin Says:

    OK, OK, not really. Not really the end, I mean. But it’s just a shame to cook a great, traditional Thanksgiving meal, and not have a single stinkin’ photo of it. I’m not sure why I don’t; it was just that every time I started to fetch the camera, I got busy with something else.

    The good news is that your post isn’t imageless because your camera isn’t working, or was lost or stolen. Something to be thankful for. 🙂

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