Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Thanksgiving Part I

Last year was my first year cooking (most of) Thanksgiving dinner for my family. I know a lot of people find The Big Meal stressful, but I really enjoyed carefully selecting the recipes, collecting decorations, and planning out what should be cooked/baked when. This year, my mom and I are roughly splitting the cooking/baking work, and we'll be eating at my place again. For the curious (or those still figuring out their menus!), here's what we'll be having, with as many links to recipes as I could track down.

What is Thanksgiving without a little kitsch?

Turkey Breast with Mushroom Marsala Dressing (courtesy of my mom)
Brussels Sprouts, exact preparation TBD (courtesy of my mom)
Green Beans Marinated in Apple Cider Vinegar Salad Dressing
Cranberry Jelly a la Can
Mexican Chocolate Pumpkin Pie (recipe in November issue of Better Homes & Gardens)
Spiced Parsnip Cake 
A Dessert TBD (courtesy of my mom)

The beginnings of a table setting.
A few notes about the menu:

  • Growing up, my dad's aunt always made Brussels sprouts for Thanksgiving, and he always ate exactly one. This tradition prompted him to call her Aunt B.S. until he learned that b.s. stands for something other than Brussels sprouts. 
  • Three desserts is also a Thanksgiving tradition in my family. If you're really going for it, you finish your meal with a small piece of all three. 
  • We like to add a kitsch factor to our meal by serving cranberry jelly from the can still in the shape of the can, and my parents, my brother, and I all have a special serving platter just for the jelly.
  • Pimiento cheese and Mexican chocolate may not seem very traditional, but they are two of my true food loves. If I find a way to work them into a meal, it's happening.

The Real MVP
As for the subtitle on my Thanksgiving Menu graphic, the universe has decided to up the difficulty level on this year's dinner by putting my oven out of commission. I put in a work order a week ago, and it seemed to be working on a test run, but yesterday I found out that there's a part that needs to be replaced. It currently isn't the safest thing ever to use the oven, but the stove top is fine. I have a gas range, and I don't play around with gas, so the oven is right out. I was having a minor freak-out until I realized that all of the baking dishes that I need fit in my toaster oven. I use my toaster oven All The Time, so, once again, it is stepping up to the proverbial plate as the real (kitchen) MVP.

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