Even though it is only the three of us today – me, my husband, Larry, and my daughter, Ariel, I still have been cooking up a storm. A small storm this year. I cut back on the number of sides and am making smaller amounts of everything. So stuffing, of course, mashed potatoes (I love Ree Drummond’s recipe) roasted Brussels sprouts with a balsamic drizzle. and dinner rolls. This year I am trying a couple of new recipes since why the hell not.
I tried to get a small turkey but wasn’t too successful. I’ve been getting organic turkeys for years but the smallest I could find was about 16 pounds and that was just ridiculous for 3 people. I finally found a 12 pound Butterball after going through a long refrigerated case and settled. I’ve been brining the turkey using an Alton Brown recipe for more years than I care to think about, but even he is dissing his own recipe in favor of dry brining, so I’m trying that this year. Just salt and pepper, I started it Tuesday and left it covered until Wednesday, then uncovered until it was time to go in the oven.
We love turkey around here, and especially leftovers: turkey & cranberry sauce sandwiches, turkey salad with dried apricots and pecans, turkey pot pie, Tex-Mex turkey casserole topped with cornbread, and turkey soup made from the frame. Then no more turkey until next year!
I’m also trying a new dinner roll recipe. Every year I try a different one because I haven’t found one that I really love. They’ve all been good, just not good enough to stop looking. This year I am making Fluffy Dinner Rolls from Cooks Illustrated. It uses an interesting technique where you make a flour paste with water, then microwave it for a minute or so before blending into the rest of the recipe.
I got one of the last few 25# bags of King Arthur all purpose flour from Costco last week and I’m putting it to good use! I normally make stuffing from a good white bread, so I ordered a loaf from Whole Foods that I had delivered. Except it came sliced. Thinly sliced. So that was a no go for stuffing. To add insult to injury, I was going to make grilled cheese sandwiches with a big salad for dinner the other night, and the bread had gone moldy! Luckily, my sourdough starter is insanely strong so I made a loaf of that and will use it for the stuffing.
I’m also trying a new dessert. Usually, I make apple pie from Rose Levy Beranbaum’s The Pie & Pastry Bible (Kindle version is only $2.99 today!) It is the most incredible apple pie. The crust is made with cream cheese and butter, which makes it so flaky and tender and gives it great flavor. The apples are thinly sliced so no empty, gaping holes anywhere, and they macerate for a good hour with the spices before even going into the pie shell. Then the juices are cooked down until syrupy before pouring over the apples. It is a long and complicated recipe, and worth every single step. I even did a lattice top once. Only once.
I also usually make pumpkin pie. I never had pumpkin pie until I met my husband, and now I love it. I make a gingersnap crust (I know, not traditional!) and there’s a bit of cream cheese in the pie filling, making it extra creamy. Best of all the recipe makes two 9″ pies. But this year, that’s not especially helpful. So I found a recipe from Smitten Kitchen for Marbled Pumpkin Gingersnap Tart, which I’ll make as a pie. I looked for the recipe on her site and see that she only has Cheesecake-Marbled Pumpkin Slab Pie which leads me to believe that the original recipe is in one of her cookbooks. But no worries, if it appeals to you just Google it, it is all over the web. I’ll just say that slab pie is not a great choice for three people! Then my boss mentioned she is making peanut butter cookies, which reminded me I have a big jar of super chunky peanut butter that really needs to be used up so adding that to the menu. Sugar-free though, I’ll sub erythritol for the sugar so Larry can have some, too.
I love having some appetizers and a cocktail an hour or so before I have to finish everything up. Every year I try a new Thanksgiving-themed cocktail. I’ve made Cranberry Friendsgiving Cocktail, which takes a week of soaking fresh cranberries in vodka (it is gorgeous!), adding a dash of simple syrup, then finishing with prosecco. I also roll a few cranberries in sugar and freeze them, then drop them in. Served in champagne flutes, it’s a beautiful drink. I’ve made a bourbon-apple cider cocktail that was pretty good but my husband, a bourbon purist, found it wasteful of good bourbon. This year I’m making Frozen Apple Pie Margaritas, which I saw on The Kitchen. I checked out the recipe and decided to switch out the cinnamon schnapps which can easily take over for just a pinch of cinnamon instead, or maybe even pie spice. I’ll see. It looks like a fun drink and a nice reward for days of cooking.
My son and daughter-in-law have been quarantining and this past Saturday, jumped in a car with his sister- & brother-in-law for a five hour drive upstate to western New York. His in-laws rented an Airbnb, and are driving in from Chicago so they can all spend the week together. I am so envious! And nervous, even though they’ve all been so careful. The Covid numbers are absolutely horrifying. I haven’t seen Daniel and Miriam since last Thanksgiving. It is the longest I have ever gone without seeing my son and it really hurts my heart. I miss him, and Miriam, and it is my most fervent hope that we can see them sometime in 2021.
As always, thanks for reading and stay safe! Wishing you all a very happy and safe Thanksgiving!