We all know I love to cook…and eat. But I was pretty nervous about making the whole Thanksgiving dinner by myself. This was my first whole turkey.
Because I’ve been mostly vegetarian for so long, the bird was never my focus. For me, it was all about the dressing, gravy and the veggies. When I started making a small Thanksgiving dinner for my boyfriend and myself, a couple years ago, that had to change. He wasn’t gonna let that day pass without a hefty dose of Tryptophan.
In order to conjure some excitement, I pounded out some turkey breast cutlets, filled them with prosciutto, basil and stuffing and rolled ’em up. He LOVED them. I’d made enough to share with a couple friends who might stop by; they loved ’em too! I’d also made extra stuffing, some roasted veggies, greens, cranberry sauce and gravy, but those turkey rolls got such a good review, I had to try them, too…OMG.
That year, I decided that Thanksgiving, being my favorite holiday was special enough I could simply eat whatever felt good that day. It’s only one day!
This year, I’m in a new place, have a much better kitchen and we even had our friend, Jeremy coming for dinner. So, I donned my apron and got to work!
We started with a spread of crackers, nuts, Farmer’s Market fruit, meats and cheeses.
Prosciutto, Cantimpalo Spanish Sausage, Figs, Quince Paste, Girl Scout Honey Peanuts and an assortment of crackers.
More crackers to go with my 3 favorite cheeses (I’m fully prepared for a rash, but so far, so good!); from the top: Drunken Goat, Kerry Gold’s Dubliner and in front, my absolute favorite, Humboldt Fog. I rounded out the offering with Walnuts and a vase full of Clementines.
Bring on the meal!!
Because this was a first-time project, I didn’t want to invest in the kind of bird I really wanted…just in case, but this one (on sale at Ralphs for 29¢ per pound) was just fine! He sat proudly atop a mass of farmer’s market Green Beans that were pan-roasted with some cubed pancetta. The bird was seasoned under the skin with a paste of those Scarborough Faire Herbs (Sing it! Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme), fresh and dried; garlic, citrus zest (orange, lemon and grapefruit) and my secret weapon…
Over the course of the week, my honey enjoyed a few BLT’s. I saved the rendered bacon grease and included it in this seasoning paste. Drool.
Here we have the usual suspects: Sage Brown Butter Dressing with Farmer’s Market Chanterelles, Roasted Market Veggies (Brussels Sprouts, Yukon Golds, Japanese Sweet Potatoes, Purple and Golden Carrots and Acorn Squash), Cranberry Sauce simmered with Rosemary and Orange Zest, Homemade Rolls, and Gravy on the tea warmer.
Even the salad was stellar…Stellar Salad Mix from Maggie’s Farm got tossed with a bag of spinach, toasted pumpkin seeds, Jeremy’s pomegranate seeds and some super-sweet grape tomatoes from the farmer’s market. It was dressed with my homemade vinaigrette.
And For Dessert:
Apple-Persimmon Pie (farmer’s market fruit, Whole Foods spelt crust) and Homemade Flan from my Boyfriend’s co-worker…
We sent Jeremy home with lotsa leftovers…
We even got the whole place cleaned up before he went home!
…that called for a little more bubbly J
I hope you all had the most delicious Thanksgiving! How did you make yours special? Come to the table and post a comment!