Thanksgiving Wrap-Up

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Are you sick of Thanksgiving yet? You should be! For the past few weeks, every website, every magazine, every food guru has been espousing the merits of dressing vs. stuffing, cajoling you to make your own cranberry sauce and badgering you to brine your turkey. Now that the big day is over, Thanksgiving Talk is as welcome as deconstructing the sex you just had: “I liked it when you put your right hand on my left shoulder.” Not fun. So, for the sake of knowing when to quit, I’m going to keep my Thanksgiving wrap-up short.

[Note, you can find all the corresponding recipes in my Thanksgiving PDF.]

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The Big Hits

– The turkey was a triumph. Brining in cider is a logical, flavor-enhancing technique and it gets even better with the cider glaze. The only thing I did different, based on the advice of Dan Barber and another chef I spoke to, is I started the turkey earlier and cooked at a lower temperature: 275. The meat was incredibly moist–it couldn’t have been moister–and the turkey was a universal hit, across the board.

– The cornbread dressing, which I also made last year, was again a bit hit:

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How could it not be with cornbread, sausage, pecans, cranberries and homemade chicken stock?

– And everyone loved the gingerbread truffles:

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A perfect morsel after dinner for a very full crowd.

The Very Goods

– People really liked the butternut squash soup:

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That’s a dollop of pecan cream spreading in the center. This definitely got raves, but it wasn’t my favorite: I’ve made better before, and next year I’ll do better again.

– The biscuits were a nice touch, and I was glad I did all three flavors:

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Next year I might try a different biscuit recipe; but it was definitely good to have a bready thing to start.

– The pumpkin mousse parfaits were greatly admired and enjoyed:

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But, next year, I might do something lighter. These were a bit heavy and most people went for the other desserts.

The Just OK

– The green beans were fine, no one raved:

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– And the beet salad, which I really enjoyed, left many people indifferent:

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[I took your advice, readers, and roasted the beets myself: I’m glad I did, they were beautiful!]

The Only Mess Up

The only thing I think I really messed up were the mashed sweet potatoes. I didn’t cook the sweet potatoes long enough so they weren’t mushy enough; here’s grandma scraping their insides into a bowl.

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Alas, there was so much other food that it really didn’t matter. And people were so elated by the food, the wine and the company that it became clear that no one really cares that much how lumpy their sweet potatoes are when they’re having a great time.

Extra points go to mom who did a terrific job decorating the table:

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If you any questions for her about how she did it or where she got things, I’m sure she’d be happy to answer them in the comments.

And that, my friends, is the Thanksgiving wrap-up. Hope you had a happy holiday and let’s never talk of Thanksgiving again! Well, until next year.

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