Weekly Rewind: Thanksgiving Edition

Hey everyone! I don’t know about you, but I’m already wound up and ready for the onslaught of Thanksgiving feast, so I’ll make this intro short and sweet. If you’re like me, you probably have a million lists and diagrams and other helpful things to do to calm you down before Thursday. (It’s not because we’re insane, it’s because we’re organized.)

I’ve hosted Thanksgiving in my modest little apartment for the past three years. The kitchen is awkwardly shaped and sized, and allows no place for a dining room table (and neither does any room in the rest of the house). So the kitchen counter turns into a bit of a buffet, and then we all pull up chairs in the living room and eat from plates in our laps. It’s pretty funny, but no one seems to mind (not even my parents). At this point, I have the whole day down to a haphazard science, with a few star dishes. To stave off my mid-day psychotic meltdown, my mother prepares some appetizers at home, and J makes stuffing and eggplant parm (the main dish for my vegetarian parents) at his place. But of course, there are many dishes bouncing around on the Internet that have caught my eye and made me think, “hmmmm, maybe I’ll shake things up a bit this year……or next year!”

And so, here is a run-down of Thanksgiving inspiration, beginning with the three dishes that will definitely be making an appearance at our table on the counter and followed by all the tasty bits that piqued my interest in the past week.

1. AB’s Roast Turkey. Brine that bird!

2. This gravy. I’ve tried red wine gravies before, but they’re just not the same. I love that apple cider vinegar tang! (I’m extra psyched for gravy this year, because I was able to buy some fresh, house-made turkey stock at the local market.)

3. A giant appetizer tray of spinach balls. “Spinach balls” sound extremely unappealing, but they’re stupid good (and really easy to make ahead of time). My mom has been making these things for Thanksgiving since I can remember. I never ate them when I was younger because of the onions (except for the one time that someone paid me to eat one — blech). Now, she’s kind enough to make me a separate onion-free batch, and I eat them ALL.

4. If you’re cooking for a vegetarian, a vegan, or someone with other dietary restrictions, you might be freaking out about WTF to make for them. These Shepherd-less Pies look epic-ly awesome, and they’re vegan AND gluten-free.

5. If you’d like to shake things up a bit and do something with potatoes besides mash them, check out these babies. I know there are some “dish-purists” out there that would balk at the idea of a Thanksgiving sans the obligatory mashed potatoes, but c’mon……LOOK at those things!

6. Another way to change things up a bit and add some pizzazz a veggie that often makes people recoil in horror: Brussels Sprouts, Momofuku-Style. Momofuku! (Also a great way to make those brussels sprouts delicious and vegetarian, because you know you really just want to put bacon all the heck over them.)

7. I love this twist on mashed potatoes. Salt & vinegar and kale, and they’re baked into little 2-bite portions in a muffin tin!

8. I’ve never really cared much for green bean casserole, so I’m all about this baked spinach.

9. Forget the pumpkin/apple/pecan desserts and check out this buttermilk pie. Not too sweet. Cornmeal crust. I die.

10. And because it wouldn’t be the holidays without some liquid provisions to ease the tension of stuffing relatives into a confined space, consider these two versions of cider punch: Rum or bourbon? Do I have to choose?

11. And, finally, when it’s all over and you’re up to your ears in leftovers, bake ’em all up into a pot pie or a scalloped turkey bake. (Both of these are so good, I honestly don’t know which one I like better. *fingers crossed* for lots of leftovers.)

Happy Thanksgiving!


    • says

      Heheh, it’s definitely a sauce that requires a light hand for most. I love the flavor it adds to food, but too much without some other things to balance it out can make me nauseous. (Also, there was this one time I bought a giant bottle because it was the only size I could find, and then it just sat on the door of my fridge for months being used in tiny bits. One day I opened the door to my fridge in a hurry and the thing flew out and smashed all over the kitchen floor. The smell……it was horrible.)

      Anyway! It can be kind of hard to find a good substitute for fish sauce, because it really is a unique flavor. But you could try subbing soy sauce or tamari — that will make it nice and salty, and also lend a little bit of an umami flavor. :)

  1. says

    I’m loving your weekly rewinds, by the by. And now I’m tempted to make my mother (who grew up in the South) a buttermilk pie. Ok, so what if I want to try it, too? (I will blame my mother until I try it, and then I will blame you.) Happy Thanksgiving! xoxo

    • says

      Hehe! I was so tempted to make that buttermilk pie this year, but I know my father would probably want nothing to do with it. (At least then I could tell myself it’s because he lacks adventurous tastes, and it’s not my fault. :P) Happy Thanksgiving, Kati!! :)

  2. says

    Wait, your parents are vegetarian? I can see what you mean by bizarro world where they recoil in horror. (well, on top of the fact that they’re parents and are supposed to encourage eating healthy things) Those spinach balls look delicious. Thanks for pointing me to recipes I can make the rest of the year! I’m sure I’ll them… I need all the ideas I can get. Winter food wears on me after awhile. Anyway, happy Thanksgiving Carey! Hope it’s cozy, which it sounds like it is.

    • says

      Right?! I was so thrilled to tell them about how much I liked brussels sprouts when I first tried them, and the fact that they were horrified completely stunned me. And then gave me a little bit of a superiority complex. :)

      Happy Thanksgiving, Linda!!

    • says

      Ha! Yeah, hosting holidays definitely made me feel like I reside in the adult world a little bit more. (Thank god it was just me, my brother, and a good friend at my first Thanksgiving — when I screwed up making butter twice and left the room for a moment only to return and find my cat on the counter licking the raw turkey. Guuhh.) :D

  3. msue says

    I hosted this year for a lovely assortment of friends. It was fun introducing some peeps that I’ve known for years and years, but they’ve never met because they are from different arenas of my life. Happily, everyone got along swimmingly, and brought great side dishes. You said that green bean casserole isn’t your cuppa tea, but I can report that Alton Brown’s GB casserole was a smashing success. As usual, I went into a near panic that there wouldn’t be enough food, and as usual, we have LOADS of leftovers. And, I’m very happy to report that my grandmother’s china and crystal are now safely put away with nary a break.

    Tomorrow will be stock-making day with the turkey carcass. Will smell heavenly :)

    Happy Tday to you!

    • says

      You know, if anyone could get me to like a green bean casserole, it would be Alton Brown! (I fear the onion-y bits on top, and it seems like it’s not a real green bean casserole without them.)

      This is the first year that J and I decided to save the carcass and make stock. (Actually, he convinced me — after struggling all last night and all of today with a 17 lb. turkey [that was originally supposed to be a 10 lb. turkey], I wanted the thing out of my site!) But now that the chaos has subsided, I’m glad we kept it.

      Happy Thanksgiving, Mary! It sounds like you had a lovely one. :)

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