Thursday, December 1, 2011

I'll never be hungry again...

Happy December everybody! After a week + of incredible weather, Boston has finally realized that it is supposed to be winter, and so I put away my 3/4-length sleeves and pull out my ugly socks. But you don't care about that-- you want to see what we had for dinner last Thursday, don't you?


here's a reminder of our menu:

baked brie appetizer

turkey with lemon sage butter
(aka Kevin)

mashed potatoes w thyme gravy

apple sage stuffing

roasted parsnips & butternut squash
w raisins & maple syrup

broccoli casserole w shallots

cranberry tangerine compote

pumpkin cheesecake
w gingersnap crust

peanut butter pie

apple & cheddar crostata

The day began with another quick-thaw bath for our turkey, who we affectionately named Kevin. I was nervous that I didn't start thawing in time, and he'd be a little icy in the middle. But it was fine. This year I decided to keep things simple, turkey-wise. So I used the Lemon-sage butter recipe in November's Bon Appetit.

lemon sage-butter turkey:
mix together:
1/4c butter, room temperature
2T lemon zest
2T chopped sage leaves

veiny hands, a dominant family trait, apparently

rub that under the turkey's skin, and then jam a few quartered lemons up its booty. Since my award-winning turkey-violating sister Katie didn't make it this year, I put Kyle in charge of the turkey.


he did mighty fine work 

Once the turkey started cooking (or so I thought... more on that in a bit), we had to come up with a game plan for the rest. When side dishes to be baked are plentiful and oven real estate is limited, a plan is necessary.

I made the same baked brie from last year, but used blackberries instead of raspberries. 

I also used a stuffed mushroom recipe I found on smitten kitchen, and adapted it to use the ingredients I already had on hand.

So then we snacked on these appetizers, sipped some wine, watched some funny videos, realized the turkey had been sitting in a cold oven for about an hour, turned on the oven, snacked some more and napped until it was go-time.

Sanne and I like to be creative, which you may have noticed from our menu. But I have realized that my sisters like to have at least one traditional Thanksgiving food (and so do I, actually), so we decided to have some good ol' fashioned mashed potatoes to go with my gravy. Sanne took over those, as well as the apple-sausage-sage stuffing, and a roasted root vegetable creation all of her own. My friend Kasia and I made a broccoli casserole by the seat of our pants. We also had the cranberry compote that we had last year. If it aint broke.

mashed potatoes:
Boil potatoes until fork tender. Drain, return to pot and mash. We like to keep the skins on, it makes us feel better about what we did next. Next, add heavy cream and butter until you get the consistency you want. Season with alt and pepper. Mix in any add-ins like bacon, rosemary, etc. We kept this batch plain-ol'.

roasted autumn vegetables:
Sanne made a delicious roasted root vegetable medely. She chopped butternut squash, garnet yams, and parsnips. She then added some fresh thyme, white wine, chicken stock, raisins, and this Harvest Grains Blend from Trader Joe's, which was a perfect touch. Bake until vegetables are tender, about an hour, at 400. This is a great savory alternative to the usual sweet, sweet potato casserole. 

Tim Burton Yam 

broccoli casserole:
What is it with Thanksgiving and drenching everything in cream of mushroom soup? That grosses me out a lot. But have you ever tried to find a casserole recipe without it? It's difficult. I finally found a recipe that I could play with, because it had very few ingredients and, believe it or not, it was Miss Paula Dean. She only called for a couple tablespoons of butter, too, which I thought was a Thanksgiving miracle in itself. Anyway, I more or less followed this recipe, substituting greek yogurt and skim milk for the mushroom soup and mayonaise (ew), and shallots instead of onions. As with the potatoes, we eye-balled it until it looked like a good consistency. Season with salt and pepper and added homemade breadcrumbs during the last 10 minutes or so of baking. Also, we used white sharp cheddar cheese. This baked for about an hour at 350.

oh yes I did 

cranberry sauce:
Heat cranberries in a sauce pan. Add 1c sugar, citrus juice and sliced tangerine (or orange, clemintine, etc.). Cook until saucy.

the cranberry sauce got a call-back for a photo shoot

Make a roux: in a large-ish pan, whisk 1/4c flour into 4T butter. Slowly whisk in 4c homemade turkey stock(or store-bought, no judgment). For extra flavor, add a sprig or two of thyme, or any other herb. Remove sprigs when heated. Transfer to heated gravy bowl.

Everything was reeeeally incredible. I was pleasantly surprised with the broccoli casserole, and very impressed with our pretty root vegetables. Our non-fruit pies were delicious as well.
As much as I love big parties, there's nothing quite like spending the day cooking, laughing and sharing a meal with just a few of your favorite people.

broccoli beauty shot

Kyle & Kelly

Sanne & Kasia

Kelly sets a pretty table

wishbone winner

And now, Deep Thoughts by Jack Handey...

When you die, if you get a choice between regular Heaven and Pie Heaven, choose Pie Heaven. It might be a trick. But if it's not-- mmmmmm boy!

How was your holiday? Please, tell us what you ate! Bonus points if you send pictures!
Also... if you have any great ideas as to what to do with Thanksgiving leftovers, let us know! I'd love to feature your recipes in a guest post! Email a write-ups and pictures to:
m & a (&k&k&k)


  1. mmmmm it was sooo good i want more!!!!!

  2. Congrats to the wishbone winner- hoping it was fair and square! Ok, I made my mashed taters w heavy cream rather than milk n it was really good (rich tasting). Looking forward to the root veggies- great recipe. The table was so pretty and the menu even better! Great job.

  3. Are you implying that Kelly cheated?!

  4. ooo everything looks so good! i cant wait to make that brie and other good stuff when you come!

  5. We can make it for our party, Katie