Here’s the thing about serving a beet salad as your first course at Thanksgiving: it’s nutritious enough (beets are healthy!) to justify all of the hedonism that’s to come AND you can serve it with good cheese which, when you think about it, rarely makes an appearance at Thanksgiving. Where else would you serve cheese? With the turkey? With the pecan pie? So starting with a beet salad makes good sense, especially if you buy a cheese like Humboldt Fog (like I did for this salad) or something even bolder like Roquefort.
Very Last Minute Thanksgiving Recipes: Butterhorns, Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Port Wine Cranberry Sauce & Food Processor Apple Pie
There are crafty food bloggers out there (one might call them “smart” food bloggers, or “food bloggers who actually know what they’re doing”) who see a holiday coming and WHAM BLAM they have 1,000 holiday recipes posted weeks ahead of time so by the time the holiday rolls around you’re saturated with great holiday content. As you may have noticed (except for this post) I’m not such a “smart” food blogger. I did all my Thanksgiving post cooking so last minute that now it’s a day before the big holiday and here I am sharing with you a bunch of recipes that are probably coming 48 hours too late. But for those of you who are last minute planners (and I hope there are at least SOME of you), perhaps this will come as some sort of Thanksgiving lifeline? And even if not, these recipes are delicious even when it’s not Thanksgiving. So come with me and look at these Thanksgiving recipes, even if they’re a little tardy.
Several followers felt I deserved a medal (“Don’t cave! It’s a welcome respite from the ‘holiday spirit,'” wrote @laujk; “Please no Thanksgiving stuff. I haven’t bought a food magazine all month. Super boring. (especially for us Canadians,” wrote @emmawaverman.”) Ultimately, though, enough people DID want Thanksgiving content (“Embrace the festivities,” wrote @5_minutespeace; “Cave–it’s fun to see everyone’s take/ideas,” wrote @FreshTartSteph) that I decided to do a round-up of all the recipes from my blog’s archives that’d be perfect at your Thanksgiving table.
Here’s an appropriate video for those of you preparing to feast tomorrow; it’s a montage of scenes from great food movies (“Big Night,” “Like Water For Chocolate,” “Goodfellas,” etc) created by Matt Zoller Seitz:
That Thanksgiving scene from “Avalon” fueled a running punchline in my family; every Thanksgiving my dad would say, in a thick Yiddish accent, “You cut the toikey?” My mom would say it too. And thus I hope you all have fun cutting your toikeys tomorrow.
In case you haven’t noticed, food blogs, food magazines, food networks and the like love Thanksgiving. They love it because, for once, the nation is intent on cooking dinner. For 364 days out of the year, that’s mostly not the case–what with fast food and frozen dinners and all the other instant options at our fingertips. But Thanksgiving? Thanksgiving is something you’ve gotta cook. That is, unless you’re me.
For those of you desperate to see my Thanksgiving plate, here she is in all her glory. We were at a fancy buffet in Boca Raton and most parties agreed that as fancy as a Thanksgiving buffet might be, it’s still not quite as good as a home-cooked meal–it just doesn’t taste like Thanksgiving.
That said: I enjoyed the Brussels sprouts and the cornbread stuffing and sweet potatoes mashed with lots of butter and served in a tiny pumpkin. The turkey was a bit dry but that was saved by copious amounts of cranberry sauce, my favorite Thanksgiving condiment (I’m not a huge fan of gravy.)
Thoughts turned to Regina Schrambling’s funny Slate column about Thanksgiving when it became clear that all the Thanksgiving classics on the buffet–the butternut squash soup, the stuffing, the turkey, the mashed sweet potatoes–were the only dishes people wanted; the less conventional stuff (a wild mushroom casserole with Parmesan, for example) went untouched. It’s a good Thanksgiving lesson: give the people what they want.
And thus ends all Thanksgiving coverage on the blog for 2008. Hope yours was a happy day stuffed with stuffing and not too much indigestion. I bet those of you who read lots of food blogs are glad that Thanksgiving’s over–what a relief to stop talking turkey. Onward and upward, as they say: comforting cold weather food awaits.
Either you’re prepping your turkeys or you’re prepping your stomachs or you’re prepping your turkey stomachs (Thanksgiving offal!), but no matter what you’re prepping: I wish you and yours a Happy Thanksgiving. Don’t forget to share your Thanksgiving pictures in The A.G. Photo Pool. Even if you don’t, though, happy cooking and, more importantly: happy eating.
[Note: The turkey you see above is the turkey I cooked last year and it was a huge hit. The secrets? I brined it in apple cider and cooked at at a very low 275. For all the info, click here. It’s not too late to brine!]
The plan was to roast a chicken the way I normally roast chicken (which is to say, the best way in the world!) on a cold winter’s night in November. And then, flipping through the channels, I stopped on the Food Network (surprise, surprise) and there was Rachael Ray making a stuffing.
Normally, I wouldn’t care to watch Rachael Ray make a stuffing but there she was chopping apples and onions and celery and I thought to myself: “I have apples and onions and celery.” Then she tore up pumpkin muffins and added the vegetable mixture and put it in a pan with some chicken stock and baked it. I thought: “I don’t have pumpkin muffins, but I do have bread and a pan.”
So I decided to improvise some stuffing to go with the chicken.