Thanksgiving comes a week early at our house. A few years ago, I decided to challenge myself and see if I could make a Thanksgiving dinner. All by myself.
Throw in an extra challenge: my mother is allergic to wheat and corn.
Unfortunately, I don’t have many/any photos (probably a good thing.. the dining room had no walls or ceiling..). However, I do have the menu and meal plan still. The timeline was strict and in typical fashion, my shopping list was organized by store and department. This year, I have “decant first bottle of wine” on the schedule. Yes, I am a Virgo.
Since then, my family has insisted that they contribute to the meal and I have since agreed. I believe it was our 2009 dinner, my sister brought a bag of brussels sprouts to cook on the stovetop. I remember looking at the sprouts, then at her, and thinking to myself “why the eff-ewe-cee-kay did you bring that garbage”? Turns out we love brussels sprouts.. so much that we made them for a huge family birthday dinner in December that year.
But I digress. The Hughes family Thanksgiving dinner is something I look forward to every year. My first turkey was a butter, garlic & herb rubbed bird; the second (and third) was a smoky spice brine/rub; recipe from Central Market. That was amazing.
This year, I’m going back to my roots to do a garlic/sage butter rub with citrius brine. At Christmas, I watched my chef cousin baste the turkey with a stick of butter *swoon*, so that’s what I’m going to do this year.
As for mashed potatoes, we may change gears and revisit two past dishes and marry them: caramelized shallots and toasted hazlenuts with browned butter. Recipe here: http://www.sunset.com/food-wine/fast-fresh/quick-side-dishes-for-holidays-00418000073943/page11.html and here: … well I’ll get back to you on that one. I’m pretty sure it was from Sunset but I can’t find it anywhere. D’oh!
Gravy: what to say. I bought some turkey necks from the butcher (Double DD Meats!!) to roast and make turkey stock. I made the gravy for mother in law’s Thanksgiving last year with turkey stock from our Thanksgiving dinner… I want our gravy to taste that good. Use arrowroot and chickpea flour instead of cornstarch and regular wheat flower- it adds good flavor.
Stuffing: not gonna happen this year. Just not feeling it, but I have made artichoke-parmesan-sourdough stuffing a couple of times. Trust me, it tastes a million times better with 1) homemade chicken stock, and 2) gluten free bread; preferably the browwn rice bread from Trader Joe’s. The sourdough was so doughy and goopy it was kinda gross. I’m trying to remember if we put a double batch into a single dish (?? possibly – could explain the soggy mess), but still. Try the rice bread. Recipe here: http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/artichoke-parmesan-sourdough-stuffing-10000001853922/
More Potatoes: I’ve decided I want to have a yam/sweet potato dish this year. Sorry to anyone who has written a recipe for this, but I imagined it so I’m taking credit. Planning on cutting yams and apples into cubes, tossing in some cipollini onions and fresh sage, tossing with olive oil & roasting (and topping with bacon).
Dessert: Pumpkin cheesecake! I’m so excited I found my original recipe last night so I can actually site my source: www.joyofbaking.com. Obviously slight modifications are necessary for a wheat & corn free dish: gluten free/vegan gingersnaps. No graham crackers, just gfv gingersnaps. Recipe here: http://joyofbaking.com/PumpkinCheesecake.html
I think that about sums it up… I think. Come next week, there will be lots of photos of some amazingly good food.