Thursday, November 29, 2007

Anatomy of a Thanksgiving Dinner (or, I STILL have leftovers)

I know this is kind of late, but I've been so busy this last week, and only just had a lull today (don't worry, it'll pass). Since I didn't really share my Thanksgiving like so many of y'all did, I thought I'd take this time to post about some of the stuff that wound up on my and my family's plates (except, my niece, who has autism and will not eat anything but pizza. **SIGH**).

Let's go clockwise, shall we?

1. My fork - inedible.

2. Eastern Shore Cornbread - Not quite a Southern cornbread, not quite a Yankee cornbread, but a "light cornbread" because it is not savory and crumbly (Southern) and not sweet and cakelike (Northern). Nope, this one's kind of in the middle - a little sweet like a Northern one, a bit crumbly like a Southern one (apparently this is popular in the Upper South and Civil War border states, such as Maryland). I adapted this from the book Explore the Tastes of Maryland (Maryland Dietetic Association, 2002), with one big change - I replaced the milk with buttermilk, awww yeah!

3. Your standard pop-tube biscuit - I hardly finished it. But here's some advice: get one of those pop-tube croissants and wrap it around a piece of smoked salmon and a small slice of brie, then bake it for 10 minutes. Yummmm...

4. Balsamic Veggies and Portabellos - My sister made these and brought them along. I liked them. Very balsamic-y

5. Pomodori al gratin (baked tomatoes) - an antipasto that I made for the family. About a quarter of my ancestors are from Naples, where this recipe originates (I Googled it and all the recipes are in Italian; I linked above to one that I translated through Google). I felt the need to honor the ancestors. From one of my favorite cookbooks, Naples at Table by Arthur Schwartz (1998), which I originally bought for $25; I recently found it in Books-A-Million or Daedalus Books (one of those places) for about $8.

6. Louisiana Sweet Potato slice with brown sugar - I put it in too late, so it wasn't nearly as done as I wanted it. It should have stayed in a good hour and a half, minimum.

7. Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes - I got this recipe from Paula Deen's Lady & Sons Savannah Country Cookbook (1998), with some constant accessing of the internet. Ah, so lucky to have internet access while cooking. I originally screwed them up and whipped them until they were stringy and gooey (um, ick). So I gave up and took out of the trash the bag of Yukon Golds with the occasional green spot (cut off, yes), and did them right this time. Of course, a potato ricer or masher would be a good solution to that. I just bought the latter, used, with lots of other kitchen utensils, at at Ryan's Relics on Belair Road (love that place - they have a working upright Victrola for $50; you just have to find a head for it).

8. Jellied Cranberry Sauce, out of a can - Hey, I like it, alright? Though I did slow cook some with red wine, cinnamon, and oranges studded with cloves (recipe from Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Cookbook by Beth Hensperger and Julie Kaufmann, 2005). It's going very well with the salmon that I bought for Thanksgiving but never used because we already had too goddamn much food as it was! (Oh, here's how I wound up preparing that salmon.) This is the first year I have even considered making a cranberry sauce. It's very tasty, but I still prefer the jellied kind a wee bit more.

9. Freshly steamed broccoli, next to a hunk of Classic Green Bean Casserole - Mom brought that. Again, I like it.

10. Another pomodoro al gratin (see #5), next to my grandmother's dressing, which we make every year. Very simple and tasty. I like it a lot because it's traditional and reminds me of her. We don't stuff our birds - nothing against it; we just don't. (To give credit where it's due - my sister made this, too)

11. French bread that I cut up to eat with #5 and 10, as well as some of that salami I got from Molinari's in Frisco and some cheese I got from the Wine Source (no, I wasn't also serving my damn finger).

12. Emeril's Funky Turkey - a little drier than in year's past, but everybody liked the flavor. The rest of it is becoming turkey soup at my parents' house, while a bit rests in my freezer waiting to be turned into something weird. For turkey instead of just turkey breast, I doubled the amount of brine, and substituted Emeril's Essence with Old Bay (duh). I also ran out of chili powder, so I had to use more Old Bay - oh well, I gladly made the sacrifice.

And that's about it. I must've made ten trips to the supermarket last week. This week? One. I no longer had the time, the money, the energy or the need to go.


Fairfax said...

HOLY COW!!!! That's a lotta food.

Gotta go find ryans.

John said...

We just don't know when to stop. So we all made a pact - half that amount. But it is being eaten, so at least it's not going to waste.

Ryan's is at the intersection of Belair (US-1) and Putty Hill Ave/Ridge Rd, a block northesat of the US-1/Rossville Blvd intersection.

A fucking Victrola!!!

anonymouscoworker said...

Turkey Vatapa is a tasty way to use turkey leftovers.

We make it every year!

Patty said...

Yum! and Paula Deen's mashed Potatoes - double yum! I love her and really want her cooking basket!!