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thanksgiving dinner

i posted some pics on my g+ page, but i never really talked about the whole thanksgiving dinner deal.

basically, since none of my extended family was going to make it to PA for christmas this year, i decided if i could pull it off that i would come home for thanksgiving instead and cook for the family then. So, turkey instead of pot roast.

I've cooked a turkey once before, when i was living with Katie. I don't think it was successful because we didn't quite know what we were doing, but i don't quite recall what we tried to do or what the problem was.

in any case, the menu i decided on before i got here was the following:

  • alton brown's turkey recipe. My mom accidentally got a turkey that was pre-basted and the pot we had for brining wasn't quite big enough, but regardless of that, the turkey turned out fantastic, particularly given that the actual roasting time was only about 3 hours. I don't think i'm going to need to follow any other turkey recipe ever again - maybe different aromatics, but otherwise i think this recipe will be the recipe for life.
  • chorizo and chickpea pasta. Before i settled on the Alton Brown recipe, i was originally going to do a turkey that was stuffed with chorizo because, well, chorizo. Alton Brown is very anti-stuffing, and i still wanted to do chorizo, so i looked up a random chorizo recipe. It turned out okay - it was more like a chorizo-flavored pasta rather than a real chorizo dish mainly due to ratio and i think because of the kind of chorizo i got, but it still tasted pretty good.
  • a random mashed potato recipe. Kim gave me this recipe to try, and it was nice and simple and very successful. It's the sort of thing i'd want to try to vary some, maybe throw in some garlic the next time to give it some character.
  • Alton Brown's glazed carrots. This was pretty simple to make and also pretty simple from a taste perspective. It wasn't bad, but i think next time i'm going to go for an alternative as the secondary vegetable.
  • steamed broccoli. I added some tony's to mine, because, well, tony's.

i also used an alton brown gravy recipe that turned out pretty well, and we had some rustic bread on the table.

the whole thing was a lot of fun. I created a schedule to ensure that everything would come out at very similar times, and we made some adjustments as time went on and when we discovered that the extended family was showing up earlier than expected. I had a lot of random help in the kitchen - my mom and a couple of my cousins asking me if they could help and/or if it was time to do this step or that step. Thankfully all of that was fine, as i was keeping track of everything in my head *fairly* well (i accidentally neglected the carrot dish for an extra five minutes) and their help made it easier for me to think big picture and make sure everything was rolling.

i don't know what's going to happen next year for the holidays - likely i'll come home for christmas but not thanksgiving based on the likely schedule of the family, but if Tulane has another winning season next year and does the whole bowl game thing again, that could put a kink into those plans. It's tempting to maybe do turkey for christmas, but i don't think i'm done experimenting with the whole pot roast thing just yet. Maybe this year is the year i'll buy that dutch oven i've been wanting to buy and i can experiment with pot roast in new orleans.

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Comments

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greenpear
Nov. 30th, 2013 05:16 am (UTC)
I do a lot of recipes that are callbacks to Alton. He is the man who taught me how to cook, and he made is fun to learn.

His gravy recipe is the best I've seen.
cryforthemoon
Dec. 5th, 2013 10:25 pm (UTC)
Sounds delicious :) And from what I learned during my week there, what better place to experiment with food than in NOLA? :D
suerocks
Dec. 6th, 2013 04:04 pm (UTC)
I always find dinner timing difficult. But I'm reading more about letting the turkey rest for about an hour before serving it and how to utilize the oven during that time. I'm making Christmas dinner with a turkey breast and possibly a ham. Turkey is my absolute favorite protein in the world, so pot roast doesn't even come in to play for me. :) I usually do a really nice mashed sweet potato with shallots and brussel sprouts, but this year I may switch up the veggie, maybe to something roasted. Stuffing is necessary but if I try to tart it up, my family will get picky about it...they'd much rather have the stuff out of the box. :(

Congrats on a successful turkey day cooking extravaganza!
lifeofmendel
Dec. 6th, 2013 05:46 pm (UTC)
using stuffing out of a box is a sin. oy.
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