Friday, November 28, 2008

A Happy Thanksgiving

We hosted Thanksgiving this year since leading up to it no one could seem to decide what to do. I think it came off excellent.

Our dining room is a little undersized for seating more than six but we had eight adults and three kids. It worked out. I wouldn't want to do that every day though.

I baked two pumpkin pies (pungkin as Rose says) the night before. I have made the real deal before with real cooked pumpkin but the can really is the way to go if you want to be sure that the pumpkin itself is going to taste good. But you have to buy the canned pumpkin not the canned pumpkin pie, big difference. I used store bought pie crust too. I wasn't in the mood to go homemade on that. I still got rave reviews. My secret? Mace and nutmeg.

I picked up the smoked turkey on Wednesday. This worked out great. We just needed to reheat the bird for two hours in the oven. Since our target was 11:00AM, this sure beat getting up at 4:00AM to pop it in the oven, not to mention the labor saved in not having to prep and season the turkey. It came out perfect. I let it rest for about 30 minutes before cutting into it and the legs just tore off. I barely had to use a knife. We got a 13 pound turkey and I carved half for serving and the other half for leftovers for people to take home.

Our bread was a combination of yeast rolls I picked up when I got the turkey and frozen biscuits I got when my coffee shop closed. The yeast rolls went over better than the biscuits but I preferred the biscuits.

Dinah's mom brought the traditional squash casserole and baked sweet potatoes. I don't like yellow squash but this casserole is quite good. I attribute it to the crushed crackers. Rose normally likes it but not yesterday. I'm not a sweet potato fan, especially the traditional pan with marshmallow on top. I was grateful that Dinah's mom's version has brown sugar and pecans instead of marshmallow. It was very good. Rose had three helpings. I thought it was adorable that she spit out a "seed." I had missed a pecan in serving her. Good girl.

Dinah's dad brought scalloped potatoes. They were out of a box and I LOVED them. Always have. The funny thing was he had never made them before and bought a bag of potatoes with the two boxes. Apparently Debra teased him about the potatoes already being in the box. And they were!

Deana brought the dressing and gravy. I grew up with stuffing, My Mom makes a traditional oyster stuffing with wild rice and croutons. She leaves out the oysters though. Every year half was stuffed in the turkey and half was cooked in a casserole. And every year we sobbed when the stuffing from the bird was gone because is always tasted better than that made in the casserole. Don't let anyone tell you they are the same. I LOVE stuffing. I'm still not up on the dressing thing which is made in a pan and cut and served like brownies. It's dry and needs gravy (graby as Rose says). I know this was an old family recipe. I like it but it just isn't the same. There was very little left though.

Rose didn't seem to care for any turkey at the beginning of the meal. I think the sweet potatoes preoccupied her. But near the end she asked me for "chicken." She had two helpings of white meat. Good girl. The turkey really was excellent. I think because it was smoked and only reheated it was much juicer than any I've had before. It barely had any smoke flavor and they must have brined it because every now and then you'd get a taste of something sweet or a bit of spice. And best of all was the crispy skin because I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE turkey skin and I'm the only one who eats it. It was mine, mine, mine.

So who knows what's missing?


WTF? Apparently there was a communication break down and we ended up with none. I had planned on making them in my super-duper-can't-live without-anymore stand mixer, even looking forward to it, but I pulled off since I was told they were being brought. If there is anything close to being sacrilegious with Thanksgiving it is no mashed potatoes. I sobbed but we all survived fine.

And the best part? Aside form the food and family, we got to leave Rose with Grandma and the two of us went to the movies! Four Christmases was HYSTERICAL!


I forgot about the cranberry issue. I grew up with real cranberry dressing. A bag of cranberries cooked down with sugar and spices until the berries start to pop. My wife's family eats the cranberry equivalent of spam. I'm not sure what this gelatinous red bile in a can is but there is no way I can eat. I've tried, it's not happening. It was nice to know that Debra was equally revolted, so I was not alone for once.


Craig said...

Happy Thanksgiving to you!

You're in my RSS reader now. You've hit the big time!

And even though that dressing isn't your favorite, I need to hit you up for the recipe...


Brook said...

Hey, we didn't have mashed poatoes or green beans either! Only I did it on purpose because we have those at EVERY family gathering withmy in-laws and well, the thrill is gone ya know? Anyway the butterflied turkey was wonderful eventually-the rest of story is on my blog-but what really made it excellent was the brining overnight. Is Rose(I wanted to name our girl that but husband was vehemently opposed, I still wish I had and she's almost 4 now. Rose is a cutie btw)allergic to nuts? Glad you had a good Thanksgiving.

Huff Daddy said...

Hey Craig , Happy Thanksgiving!

I'll add the cornbread dressing recipe to this post. It is from an old family friend of Dinah's family. He was our best man at our wedding but sadly died shortly after. I've edited the recipe for some clarity but the notes and instructions are all his.

Huff Daddy said...

Hi Brook,

I can't wait to hear about your butterflied turkey. I think that is the way to go. I'm not aware of Rose having any nut allergies. But then, she's really never had any nuts because she's only 2 1/2. Ok, maybe once she shared some cashews with me but no one knows about it.

Rose was my great-great grandmother's name and also my wife's grandmother's name so it was an easy pick. And she certainly lives up to it.