Thanksgiving Menu(s)

Yesterday I decided I will not need to eat again.  Ever.

Iteration number one:

Paige’s excellent turkey, classic preparation, unstuffed

Whipped potatoes, richly buttered

Turkey Gravy with a twist (Paige adds a bit of garlic and turkey bits from the carving)

Stuffing Balls (classic stuffing prepared in muffin tins so each serving has crusty bits with a tender interior)

Then I brought:

a spiral-sliced ham, baked covered at 325 for 80 minutes then glazed for the last ten minutes with dijon and brown sugar (a TBLS of dijon and half a cup of brown sugar to make a thick paste– if it’s too dry add a tsp of water, not more mustard)

Classic mac and cheese, recipe in a future post

Intensely Garlicky Green Beans.  The jury is still out.  WAY too much garlic, but as I made them Shar and I could not stop eating them, they were that good.  The night before, I roasted the green beans at 450, tossed with barely any olive oil and a pinch of salt, until they were just starting to wilt and brown.  They sat in the fridge over night while I tried to figure out what to do with them. I had toasted almonds to top them with but that seemed boring, tame.  Paige had mentioned garlic; I had parmesan cheese… hmm.  So I melted half a stick of butter in a skillet, crushed three cloves of garlic and sauteed over medium heat in the butter til fragrant, then added half a sleeve of crushed Ritz crackers and a pinch of salt because it was wanting.  Tossed all that with the cold beans in a big pot over medium high heat until the beans were warmed through, put them in a casserole, and grated fresh parmesan cheese on top.  Brilliant– or ridiculous, you decide.  {(I-will-not-talk-about-eggs) Then for lunch today I sauteed the cold garlic beans in a skilled, topped them with two whisked eggs, cooked until nearly set, then sprinkled all with more rasped parmesan cheese.  Unreal.}.

Paige made pumpkin pies, of which I’m not a fan, and a stunning peach/raspberry crumble, using summer peaches she’d frozen.  I brought a couple chocolate/peanut butter pies, embarrassingly simple and candy-like:

(For one pie):  1.5 cups chocolate graham crumbs, 5 TBLS melted butter, 2 TBLS sugar, pressed into 10 inch pie pan, refrigerated

8oz cream cheese, 1 cup peanut butter (I used half peanut butter and half Jif chocolate peanut butter), 3/4 cup sifted powdered sugar, a couple TBLS milk, and half a tub of whipped topping (whip each ingredient in a mixer, adding each successive ingredient slowly until incorporated, until adding the whipped topping which you should be able to fold in).  Pour into the prepared pan, cover and chill until firmish.  Then cover with one cup whipped cream (heavy cream whipped with two TBLS sifted powdered sugar and a tsp of vanilla til firm peaks form), and garnish (I used chocolate shavings and Reese’s pieces).

This turned out to be better the second day, when the crust had softened a bit.

I realize that the type of cooking I like to do involves zero risk.  Things can be changed, the margins for error are immense.  Paige cooked the turkey, which could be dry or overcooked– it’s risky (hers was awesome).  A ham is not risky– cooked at low temperature, it’s just heating through, no seat belt required.  Macaroni and cheese can be adjusted as I make the sauce– very little risk of failure.  And the desserts– Paige took on baked desserts which leave no room for mistakes, whereas mine, the no-bake option, was no-fail, too.  There’s a metaphor in there that is making me uncomfortable and it’ll have to wait to be explored another time, preferably with an open bottle of wine.

Iteration number two is coming on Sunday; I’m still working out the menu, which I think may include a pumpkin cheesecake (oooh, without a net upon the wire).