Monday, November 28, 2011

Thanksgiving Debriefing

The table is cleared and the dishes are done. A battalion of plastic containers stand ready in the frig, along with a ziplock bag of sliced turkey. We're all in a food coma semi-snoring through one football game after another. The fatigue from overeating is shifting into a pleasant state of culinary satisfaction. And I'm reviewing this year's Thanksgiving menu in my head.
Manchego Cheese with Prosciutto and Mixed Olives
Brined Fresh Herb Turkey Breast Roasted on Root Vegetables
Italian Sausage and Mushroom Dressing
Cream Turkey and Roasted Root Vegetable Gravy
Mashed Yukon Gold Potatoes
Fresh Collard Greens
Buttered Turnips
Fresh Cranberry and Pear Compote
Yeast Rolls
Warm Sweet Potato Pie with Whipped Cream

How did it rate compared to years past?
The turkey was moist and delicious--no complaints there. And nobody seemed to miss the dark meat. The dressing was only so-so. The recipe still sounds good, but the taste didn't live up to the billing. Gravy-delicious thanks to the pan drippings from the turkey and vegetables. Mashed Potatoes--maybe the best we've ever had!?? Not really any different than last year. Perhaps someone has been craving mashed potatoes. Collard Greens--for those of us who like collards, these were superb--freshly picked and cooked with a nice ham hock and plenty of black pepper. But collards aren't for everyone. Turnips, also fresh from a local garden, were really delicious, but again, not for everyone. Mama cooked them with a little salt, sugar and butter. They were perfectly seasoned. Next, the cranberries and pears cooked with some brown sugar, butter and orange marmalade--they won an overwhelming thumbs up from everyone with a request to please remember how I made them so we could repeat. Rolls were rolls. Nothing exceptional. And finally, dessert, Sweet Potato Pie from a recipe I found in a new North Carolina cookbook. Mama and I thought this pie was absolutely delicious, however, Doug was not so enthusiastic. A pie made from a vegetable? Well, yes, and better than pumpkin. He didn't agree.

Looking forward, we'll have a similar meal for Christmas, with a few changes: a soup starter (Italian Dumpling), a better dressing (cornbread this time), and I'll add a Rum Cake to the dessert list, but the Sweet Potato Pie will remain!

I'm making my lists and checking them twice! It's that time of year.

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