How’s the holiday coming? Stressed yet?
I hope not.
We have it easy. Our collective family is scattered across three time zones, with the reunion in the summer, so it’s just us for thanksgiving.
Believe it or not, I have cooked the Turkey for the clan before. Turkey is the easy part, especially if you get it far enough ahead to slow-defrost and brine it. The real trick is conning everyone else into bringing the sides and desserts.
For the small, just-us version, the de-stress strategy is easy…I only fix our absolute must-have favorites. Who says you have to have fifty-umpteen different things instead of all you want of just your favorites? What would Dracula do? Stress over a meal, or cook what he wants, traditional or not?
- Turkey: It HAS to be the Alton Brown recipe! It’s become tradition – http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/good-eats-roast-turkey-recipe/index.html
- Classic Green Bean Casserole – forget the “healthy request” low fat nonsense on the Campbells website this year. It’s Thanksgiving for crying out loud. Just drain three cans of green beans (we like the french style) in a baking dish, stir in one can of golden cream of mushroom with roasted garlic condensed soup (THAT’s the Campbell’s soup for this stuff, to my taste anyway). Stir in some diced, butter-sauteed portobello mushrooms, sprinkle those crunchy onion thingy-s on top, and bake 20 minutes. I usually saute the mushrooms and put the casserole together during the last half hour of turkey baking time, then bake it while the turkey rests.
- Mashed potatoes: Yeah, I use a mix. If not I peel and cook them during the first half of turkey baking time, then mash them while the turkey rests and the beans bake, which re-heats them. Can’t live without sweet potatoes? Why not beat a can of them into the regular mash instead of that gooey sweet casserole that everyody traditionally makes but nobody seems to like (kinda like Christmas fruit cake). That trick works both with home-made potatoes and with mix. Got the idea from Nadia G’s shepherds pie.
- A big bowl of ripe olives – name one other food you can eat off your fingertips like that.
- Pumpkin Pie for dessert – the classic Libby’s recipe of course. If you want to make your own crust go right ahead…I’m making mine a day ahead with a store crust. Crust is not my forte, so theirs is actually better. I’m happy to let the experts do their thing, even on the holidays.