Saturday, November 30, 2013

Thanksgiving 2013

Happy Thanksgiving weekend everyone! We made it... we're beyond full of food...but we made it! This was our second year planning and hosting Turkey Day for our families, and this year went so much more smoothly than last year. It's amazing what a good night sleep before having 15 guests in your home will do. Last year I was working night shift the night before, so I was sleep deprived and not very useful in the kitchen. Eric did much of the cooking and I remember crashing out for about an hour after dinner leaving everyone else with my dishes. It was still a fun night, but this year was much more memorable and exciting. 

I loved the prep and planning this year. I got the house ready and decorated, we got food ready ahead of time - cranberry relish was done the day before, potatoes were peeled and cut, green beans washed and trimmed. I pulled out the trays and figured out which was for what dish. It all felt very sophisticated and lovely. And it was. Lovely that is.  And my biscuits were pretty fabulous too! 

Eric is always in charge of the turkey and his yogurt and herb rub always gives the right flavor to the bird. He mixes up a bowl of yogurt with pepper, salt, garlic, Aleppo pepper, and lemon pepper, and then rubs the turkey down with it - inside and out. The inside is filled with coarse chopped apples, celery, carrots and pears, to keep the inside moist. We put the bird in a bag and it always comes out super moist. 

Our green beans were a hit - and super simple. We sauteed up garlic, shallots, and sweet onion, and then cooked the beans stove-top. We had to do them in batches because of the size of our pan, but they were delish all the same. In the end we sauteed upsliced baby bella mushrooms too and topped one batch with those for the mushroom lovers in the room. 

 My dad always brings the ham - Honey Baked - and it's always delicious. I always underestimate the taste of ham with the rest of the meal. It just all goes so well.

I made mashed potatoes for the first time! They're actually a lot easier than I thought, and they came out so good!  To be totally honest - we peeled russet and yukon gold potatoes the night before and they turned gray over night. We had to start all over that morning, but they cooked well and mixed with butter, heavy cream and sour cream, they were fluffy and light. 

My mom makes a delicious salad with mixed greens, cranberries, feta cheese, apples, and topped with Trader Joe's Pear Gorgonzola dressing. So light and tasty and perfect for a flavorful side dish. 

 My mother-in-law made the stuffing (sans giblets for me... I just can't go there!). I love stuffing. Love it.

These babies were my idea. Yam wedges with a little sprinkle of brown sugar and butter as they bake. Then brown butter and pour it over the potatoes when they're ready to come out of the over. They're not super sweet, but that's what makes them so good - they don't overwhelm the rest of the plate.

I can't believe it came and went so quickly. We're still enjoying leftovers and we've got a few jars full of turkey-broth for soup! Now deck the halls, it's officially time to get into the Christmas spirit!  How was your Thanksgiving? What did you cook up? We'd love to hear!