Thursday, November 26, 2009
I took over hosting Thanksgiving dinner when we moved into our home in 1994. The first year was pretty primitive with a cobbled together mismatched set of chairs and tables in our furniture-less, still shag carpeted, living/dining room. Mostly classic dishes, which I was semi-terrified of preparing, including the turkey and gravy.
I got a little more proficient over the years, but it was still an ordeal consisting of days of prep for a meal that usually consisted of 4 guests: me, my husband, and his parents.
When my husband passed away suddenly in early 2002, his aging parents were still living in their home, but a few months later, after a bout with breast cancer, my mother-in-law was unable to return home, and went to an assisted living facility near their family home. That Thanksgiving I cooked at their home, we brought her home to eat, but I am pretty sure that's the last time she saw the family home.
In subsequent years, the facility hosted a family dinner a few days before the holiday, and I usually skipped the cooking part entirely, The last few years I actually worked and prepared and served dinner to one of my personal chef clients.
I've done a few mini-dinners for my sister and I, but I haven't actually hosted the full blown holiday since my husband died. This year is the first in 8 years.
I've come a long way baby from frozen Butterballs, frozen vegetables, and possibly gluey potatoes and lumpy gravy. And the days ahead prep and panic. I really didn't even know for sure what I was going to actually make until this morning.
The all-natural turkey from Brunty Farms spent the night in a brine with cider, veggies, and garlic in a 5# beverage cooler in the garage fridge. Ahh, garage fridges were invented for Thanksgiving. I was never able to juggle the massive amounts of food in one regular fridge, so the spare, especially when you can take out a shelf and stuff a 5 gallon cooler in it, is priceless.
The farmers market last Saturday at Happy Days Center, yielded some beautiful carrots, including these pretty, Purple Haze. They are getting a pomegranate, honey, balsamic glaze.
Now that I think about it, I don't think the internet played much of a role in my Thanksgiving planning eight years ago. We had dial-up that took forever and there weren't a ton of recipes out there. Wow, that's sure changed.
The mashed potatoes are getting some goat cheese, browned butter and sage, courtesy of Simply Recipes.
The green beans are getting a Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette and Parmesan Breadcrumb treatment using the first Meyer Lemon I am harvesting from my tree.
I am really looking forward to the Celery Salad with Walnuts, Dates and Pecorino.
Sis is bringing classic sage dressing and mom is in charge of pumpkin pie and deviled eggs.
I will be serving some Finger Lakes wines, Pinot Noir from Red Tail Ridge and Riesling from Keuka Lakes Vineyard.