Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Turkey Day!

Everybody claims that their family Thanksgiving meal is the best and that all others pale in comparison. That ubiquitous comment may in fact be a truism in the case of the feast and a half I consumed last week chez ma mere at her farmhouse in upstate New York. It was cold and snowy with about an inch or so of fresh powder lining the walk to the front door on Wednesday and the cooking was already in high gear. The kitchen and those permanently installed in it for the preparation were amid a whirlwind of slicing, dicing, sautéing, and pureeing all things turkey and side dish related.

This post is a bit different from others because I in fact
did very little cooking, content to be a spectator with a healthy appetite and volunteer dishwasher. Our Thanksgiving dinner is always traditional in the sense of the dishes served, the usual suspects always make it to the table though variations of the classics show up as well with hints of Asian and European flavors.

We started Thursday morning with a round of Bloody Mary’s. My good friend Beau makes them strong, spicy, and limey, a perfect compliment to the lazy day. My mother made a terrine served with country bread and a batch of 1950’s deviled eggs that ran the risk of ruining everyone’s appetite. For the past two years my mother and her friend Claudia have been avid supporters of the brine, lauding the moist and flavorful turkey the result of a 24 hour dip in a witches brew of cider, chopped apples, garlic, and tons of other things. It was really a delicious bird especially nice and crispy, which is how every slice should be if well carved, with hints of apple flavor running throughout.

Our side dishes included Brussels sprouts with parmesan, sweet and sour pearl onions, two types of smashed sweet potatoes, green beans cooked with soy sauce, sesame oil, and garlic, corn and wheat bread stuffing, and two types of homemade cranberry sauce to compliment the bird. Every single element was delicious on its own but the gastronomic unity was completed by a full plate housing a taste of each as evidenced by the picture of Beau’s plate…I am still impressed by that smorgasbord of Thanksgiving goodness. Though I must admit that I think the pearl onions are my favorite, besides the turkey of course. I also love a crisp Brussels sprout here and there especially if bacon is involved but that is another story.

For dessert we had a Bosc pear and Bing cherry cobbler with cornbread biscuits made lovingly by Claudia and two pies, pumpkin and pecan, made by my mother. They are two classics that are always welcome at my table no matter the season or holiday. It was really a fun, memorable, and tasty repast that was shared by all and my mouth is already watering as I look at these photos. I hope you all had a lovely Thanksgiving with friends and family and as always, I encourage you to enjoy and share delicious food and home cooked meals with yourself and others!