Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday in the world. I started helping my Dad cook Thxgiving dinner at the tender age of three and progressed to basically cooking the whole meal by the time I was twelve.
Our meal traditionally includes the tried and true dishes – turkey, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, stuffing, green bean casserole, butternut squash, red cabbage, and cranberry jelly. But in my family we do two stuffings – one plain bread and butter and one with sausage, onion and celery.
This year, my Dad is away and this is my first Thanksgiving that I will cook by myself. We have some family (and friends) coming over- including my baby brother who I hadn’t seen in ages! I have been planning this weeks in advance.
Thanksgiving is all about tradition, and by that I mean, food traditions. But, I don’t go all crazy during thanksgiving. It may be a lot of food but it’s all pretty basic. I mean we are eating cranberry sauce from a can, here people. But that’s how Thanksgiving should be right? A chance to make a delicious meal, but to not be stressed about the cooking for the entire day (which actually despite the simplicity of my dishes, I was super stressed all day).
By the way, for anyone interested I found this funny essay by Sam Sifton of the 10 Laws of Thanksgiving!
Plus, every Thanksgiving while the turkey is in the oven, we see a movie! This year, it was Skyfall, which I have been dying to see. It was so good!
The biggest question of this thanksgiving was about the turkey. My brother and I decided to use Michael Symon’s technique of draping it with butter soaked cheesecloth. I think we cooked the turkey too long though, because it was a little dry…. My dad has never cooked a dry turkey. We should have just followed his advice all along.
The night before we seasoned the turkey inside and out, wrapped it in saran wrap and refrigerated it.
Next morning (Thanksgiving) we stuffed it and draped the cheesecloth over it.
And then after the movie, and about 3 hours cooking, this beauty came out of the oven (albeit a bit dry).
And now to the sides. It was a full effort from everyone involved – my aunt Rebecca was an awesome help along with Debbi Rizzo and my brother and I didn’t kill each other. To make things interesting, our microwave decided to never work again the morning of so reheating everything was a hassle #strugs!
Cut in half and then lengthwise. Put into dish with water, cover with plastic wrap and microwave until tender. Scoop out flesh (ideally when the squash is no longer too hot to touch… my problem every year), mash and mix in some butter and salt and pepper.
Sweet Potatoes – we might have made s’mores by accident as the marshmallows were under the broiler.
Cranberry a la can.
Fisher stuffing is my favorite thing in the world though. Sauté equal parts onion and celery. Add one package of Jimmy Dean’s sausage to mixture and cook through. Add mixture to bowl with one bag of breadcrumbs. Add chicken stock until the stuffing is moist but not too wet. Either put into casserole dish and bake for one hour or stuff into turkey and cook with the bird.
And Davenport stuffing (breadcrumbs, stock and butter, plain and simple).
Green Bean Casserole (made by the lovely Debra Rizzo)
And finally Red Cabbage (with apple sauce and brown sugar).