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.)