I will admit that the traditional menu doesn't really send me. It just seems a bit too – I don't know – traditional? But I can't imagine changing it up much; I think there would be a riot at the table. So every year, I make the usual: turkey, dressing (two kinds), mashed turnips/potatoes, sweet potatoes, green beans, homemade gravy, some kind of green salad, and pies. The more pies, the better.
And every year, I offer something new -- just to keep me on my game and keep my family in a state of wonder.
This year found three new things on/at our table.
First, I made a batch of cranberry shrub, based on David Lebovitz's recipe, and turned it into a festive cocktail with the addition of a jigger of vodka, a few shakes of orange bitters, a splash of orange liquor, topped with some ice and seltzer water. The shrub – even without alcohol – was lovely when mixed with some bubble water. The cider vinegar taste comes through strongly; I found it refreshing, and sipped on it all afternoon while putting the finishing touches on our meal.
The second new thing: A couple of hours before we sat down to our feast, I served up small cups of creamy chestnut soup with cheese crackers. The chestnuts were foraged from our Chinese Chestnut trees, four of which line the drive up near the house. I roasted them in my oven, but just as easily could have roasted them – as the song says – over an open fire. If you don't happen to have any chestnut trees handy, you can buy a bag of fresh chestnuts at Whole Foods in the produce section or, you can skip the whole roasting and peeling experience and buy a jar of steamed chestnuts.
Once roasted and peeled, the soup easily comes together. It features shiitake mushrooms (in addition to the chestnuts), lending it a sweet and earthy flavor. So good, I'm planning a repeat appearance at Christmastime.
And the final new thing at our table this year was: Hazel! Technically, she was here last year, but she was only two weeks old. We spent the entire meal passing her around, barely noticing the turkey and all the fixings.
|One year ago...|
So very thankful.
Just so I have a record of the recipes that I used this year, here's the menu and some links.
Parmesan and Thyme Crackers
Cranberry Shrub Cocktail
Mains and Sides
Dry-brined Turkey with Roasted Onions
Chipotle Smashed Sweet Potatoes
Lee Davis' Mashed Turnips and Potatoes
Herb and Apple Bread Pudding
Sauteed French Green Beans
Brussels Sprouts, Apple and Pomegranate Salad
Pumpkin Pie (featuring Farm Dover Pumpkin Butter)
Apple and Cherry Slab Pie