Wednesday, November 27, 2013

On The Thanksgiving Menu

I’m hosting Thanksgiving this year. Although Christmas is my favorite holiday, I often draw the Thanksgiving card in the holiday dinner rotation because my sis-in-law goes shopping on Black Friday and she needs to be ready (see this post on how to get prepped).  I never go shopping on Black Friday. Well, one year I did go to Toys R’ Us at midnight, not really sure what I was going for, but just to see what all the excitement was about. Plus, I’m much more likely to stay up and go shopping at midnight, rather than get up and go out on Friday morning.  Anyway. I’m hosting Thanksgiving.  So, that leaves a lot of the cooking to me.

Every time I host dinner, I go through the menu like its brain surgery, as if it doesn’t change and I’m forgetting some major important thing. Hubby asks about the turkey about a dozen times, so I won’t forget that.  Here’s our menu – you let me know if I’m missing something important (I’m sure I am):

  • Turkey 
  • Ham
  • Fish (probably salmon, maybe catfish, depends how I feel)
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Macaroni & cheese
  • Sauerkraut (I once heard that this was a Baltimore thing, anyone outside of the city have sauerkraut for Thanksgiving?)
  • Collard greens
  • String beans
  • Deviled eggs (what’s a family gathering without deviled eggs)
  • Cranberry sauce. Funny thing, I never ever ate cranberry sauce from the can, then one year, I saw a recipe for fresh cranberry sauce. This sounds crazy, but I was shocked – I had no idea there was such a thing. I made it to see if perhaps I liked it better than the canned option. Ta-da – I did! And now it’s a holiday staple.  See below for a quick recipe if you’ve never made it before.
  • Rolls

Most of this I will do early Thursday morning.  But the baking (the best part of the menu) I’ve already started.  For the dessert table I’ve got these sugary options:

  • Red velvet cake
  • Pecan pie
  • Sweet potato pie
  • Carrot cake
  • Apple pie – mainly because I want to try the lattice pie crust from
  • Banana pudding - which my father-in-law will make, nobody else would dare to
A mix of apples for the pie
I also made Red Velvet Bottom cupcakes – they’re like Black Bottoms, but with Red Velvet cake.  Their great because you don't have to worry about the frosting. I bake 'em, set them on the table and distract the family from my cake.  I’ll be referring to my notes from the bakery to make it pretty.

I may make Latkes for breakfast because it’s Hannakkuh. Although I’m not Jewish, it seems like a good excuse to make them.  And I saw a yummy suggestion to have chocolate drizzled popcorn as the pre-meal snack. 

Okay, I think that’s everything.  What are you having for dinner?

1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries
1 cup sugar (feel free to reduce, per your taste)
1 cup juice – apple, cranberry, cran-apple, cran-orange, orange juice diluted with water – whatever

Place all ingredients in a saucepan over low heat. Stirring occasionally, let boil until cranberries burst. Simmer for a few more minutes, then turn off the heat.  Let sit a few more minutes.  Pour into a cooling dish – this can be the bowl you want to serve it in (one less dish to wash) or another bowl if you aren’t going to serve it all at once.  Put in refrigerator to cool and set, at least an hour.

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