Friday, November 19, 2010

The Menu

We have officially finalized our menu. Turkey, of course, using the Alton Brown Method. I have followed this plan for at least 3 years now. Prior to that I followed his cooking method but skipped the brine. I was afraid it was too...much. Too much time, too much effort, too much space used, too much to deal with. In reality it is super easy. I have used a cooler, putting the turkey and ingredients inside a trash bag inside the cooler with the ice between the cooler and the bag. I have also used William Sonoma brine bags. These are the way to go. I thaw my previously frozen bird in a disposable aluminum baking tin. Then I just use the same tin to hold the bird inside the brine bag in my fridge. It's easy to maneuver this way without spilling. Once we use up the W&S bags I'll be hunting for a cheaper option, because as with anything W&S you pay for the wonderfulness. But if I don't find anything cheaper I think I will dub these worth the price.
I will be serving a new addition to our menu, another Alton Brown recipe, Chipotle Smashed Sweet Potatoes . Of course, we will also have the traditional mashed potatoes and gravy. I've been using red potatoes. I like to buy the mesh bag of really small golf ball sized reds. You can just boil these whole, saving not only preparation time, but also a cutting board and knife doesn't get dirty. No worries about potatoes turning brown because you cut them too early to save time. I mash mine with unsalted butter and sour cream. We have recently stopped buying low fat sour cream. We made the switch to Tillamook all natural sour cream. It has no extra ingredients, just the Grade A cream, milk and enzymes. Low-fat versions have chemical additives to make up for the lost fat. We don't eat sour cream by the bowl full, so I prefer getting a tablespoon or 2 of the full fat (which let's face it is was less than in our desserts) than gross chemicals. I have not pinpointed exactly what stuffing recipe I'll be using this year. I did buy some pepperidge farm cubes because last year they were sold out early. I have just not gotten on board with making my own from an actual loaf of bread. I guess I need some inspiration to try that.

For the veggies we will have the traditional
green bean casserole. I use frozen or fresh green beans because I just can't do canned veggies...yuck. I am considering making my own cream of mushroom soup. I'm thinking this might give it a more mushroomy flavor and eliminate a lot of sodium...important for all the old folks at our table (wink, wink). A new addition will be my and Kyle's new favorite Brussels Sprouts Gratin. Initially Reese thought it was "mmm, mmmm, deeee-licious." Now he eats it only grudgingly. Gus eats one bite, the subsequent bites are quickly spit out. For grown ups, though, YUM! Another new addition to the Thanksgiving line up is Curried Cauliflower. This is a recipe Kyle's mom makes that we really like. I've never taken a picture of it or posted the recipe before. It's worth jotting down.
Curried Caulifower
1 head of cauliflower
3 TBLS butter
1/2 cup chopped onion
3 TBLS flour
1 1/2 cups milk1/4 tsp each thyme, basil, curry
1/2 cup grated cheese (I use cheddar)
juice of one lemon, divided
1/4 cup parsley
sprinkle of bread crumbs

Cook cauliflower in salted water until soft. Add juice of half lemon, drain and set aside. In a skillet melt butter, saute onion. Add flour, stir until smooth. Gradually add milk, seasoning, cheese, stirring until melted. Squeeze the other half lemon and stir to combine, add 1/4 cup parsley. Put cauliflower in casserole dish, cover with sauce, sprinkle bread crumbs on top and dot with butter. Bake UNCOVERED at 375 for 30 minutes.

I am quite pleased all my side dished are to be baked uncovered. I can use any dish that's available and no need to worry about clearance in the oven for the lid knobs. All 3 of these will be baked in oven to table casserole dishes, leaving my china serving dishes for the potato dishes and stuffing.

I am debating about the cranberry sauce. Most cranberry sauce lovers are happy to eat it from the can and even look for the familiar can ridged lump of jellied cranberry sauce. I just don't like how it looks on the table. I've been using the recipe on the bag of berries. I was thinking of shaking things up this year. I saw a recipe with little mandarin oranges that seemed kind of good, but I can't recollect where. I may hunt down some recipes because I think the orange might make it taste better to me. Or I might make Pioneer Woman's recipe. At any rate, it's up for grabs still.
We will have the always expected pumpkin pie (I finally found organic puree in a can after lots of searching) and apple pie (made with apple pie filling I canned with my friends using apples from a local tree) as well as hawaiian buns. These are probably chock full of chemical nasties, but I don't care! I love them in all their non-organic glory.

Yummy yummy...I can't wait for the calorie fest!


JessieLeigh said...

Sounds like a wonderful plan! Sadly, I really don't like Thanksgiving fare... We eat the "big meal" about 2pm and I'm the one sitting around STARVING around 6:30 or so while everyone else dozes in a food coma. I know... I'm weird. :)

Our Homeschool Fun said...

OK, so are you making ALL of this yourself?! I made everything for our dinner except the mac and cheese--farmed that out to my mom. I just don't like making it. She used my recipe though:)--well, it's actually Paula Deen's!

Thank you so much for including all the recipes and/or links for your menu. I like to use the red potatoes too for mashed potatoes. The cauliflower sounds so good. That's way too bad about Reese not liking the brussels sprouts anymore!

I am going to post our menu tonight, but don't get your hopes up--it is nothing like yours! Your dinner is awesome!