Thanksgiving 2016!

Just realized that Thanksgiving is early this year, just over two weeks away! With all the election excitement, I haven’t even started planning a menu. What is going to be on your table this year, HOs? New dishes, old favorites? I generally stick with the tried and true, but I do like to do one new vegetable preparation each year. No one at my house is married to a vegetable standard like green bean casserole or the like, so there’s no complaining that the vegetable dish isn’t traditional enough. If I changed the stuffing, though, there would be mutiny.

Hit me with your best ideas and menus!

This seems to be a boom year for Brussels sprouts. Supermarkets have had sales on them for a couple of months and Trader Joe’s has piles of the “clubs”, as I call the sprouts sold on the stalk. (I picture Alley Oop, the cartoon caveman, clobbering a smilodon.) Last year they had none, explaining that there was a mildew problem with most of their growers’ 2015 harvest. There are loads of variations on roasted or shredded-and-sauteed Brussels sprouts. Oil and balsamic do well for caramelization.

Oddly, they haven’t been great from Costco, but I bought some from Restaurant Depot last week that were AMAZING. They are one of my favorites in any case, and often grace the Thanksgiving table here.

I saw a huge pile of those huge stalks the other day! I swear the srouts just taste better from them. This brussel sprout kale salad is one of my favorites but you have to get the sprouts paper thin- and the recipe is wonky because you really have to mix the kale and sprouts with the dressing and let sit a few hours (or overnight) so that it softens a bit. I skip the cheese and add a few Tb if nutritional yeast instead

I just got my invite for this year- every year is with a different group of close friends for me. The host always does the turkey and stuffing and then everyone else contributes additional dishes. Apparently i have a reputation for my salads, hahaha, because the hostess asked i bring “one of my famous salads” and maybe another veg if i feel like it.
So I’ll definitely make my salad- thinking i’ll go with a mix of arugala/radicchio/nappa cabbage , i always do paper thin raw fennel in there, and we’ll see what else. I like to use the fennel fronds and some black pepper toasted pumkin seeds for garnish.
Since I’m usually the only vegetarian (and some years everything seems to have bacon!) i’ll bring a hearty veggie dish to share as well. Still brainstorming- maybe a whole roasted cauliflower with romesco sauce, or little stuffed delicata squash halves.

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I attend Thanksgiving at a house with two ovens, so it’s easy to make roasted celery root or butternut squash, cooked with olive oil, salt, and pepper, that can be served warm and which doesn’t interfere with heating other dishes or cooking the Turkey.

@Ttrockwood , that kale and brussels sprout recipe looks great. I like that the salad needs to sit overnight— less work to do on Thanksgiving!

The salad sounds delicious, although I find that anything raw gets little love among my guests! A stuffed delicata squash sounds like a nice vegetarian main course, although I have to admit that I’m in the “bacon in everything” camp usually. :smile: One year a friend brought a surprise vegetarian to Thanksgiving and through sheer luck there was something for him to eat - I had made a butternut squash, leek and goat cheese gratin that year, using cream (not broth) as the liquid. It was literally the ONLY thing I had for him, though, aside from bread/rolls, as everything else had broth or another meat product in it. Even my pie crusts had lard in them that year. I think he ate ice cream for dessert!

I was actually shocked when my very picky mother (her idea of veggies include baby carrots with hidden valley ranch, broccoli salad with mayo and bacon… think what a 5yr old would eat) she tried a few bites and loved it and went back for more! Never has she eaten brussel sprouts and she diligently avoids kale, so i’m going to say this is a good crowd pleaser style salad. (Of course i didn’t tell her there was nutritional yeast in it until she wanted the recipe ;))

Haha, yeah that was me one year- plate with the salad i brought, a roll, and olives from the cheese plate… (and too much wine for such a light meal!)

I’m totally obsessed with jerusalem artichokes, i’m thinking i’ll use a version of this recipe using very thin slices and olive oil to make a chip style garnish for my salad- i’ll also probably swap the sage for crushed fennel seeds and smoked salt.

I love to add them to mixed roasted root veggies too, the outer skin gets a nice crisp texture

I felt terrible but I literally had ZERO notice - my friend called as she was getting on the subway to ask if she could bring a guest, and didn’t even mention then that he was veg! I’m not quite sure what she was thinking, since she knows my cooking style, lol. Thankfully he loved the gratin, but still. You’re very smart to bring something you know of can enjoy!

The Jerusalem artichokes look interesting - I have never cooked them myself but I like them when I get them in a restaurant. Do they really get crispy like a chip in the oven?

Haha, veggies are used to just making do!

Jerusalem artichokes aka sunchokes are just now in season, for making the first time just roast in the oven with olive oil and salt and whatever herbs. Best if they’re the small whole ones uniform in size so they cook same rate. The outer skin gets crisp and the innards are soft and delicious! Give them a bit longer than you think they need because not quite done in the middle isn’t yummy.

I haven’t made them into crispy chips yet but like any other root veg i figure if i cut thin they will work out well that way

Don’t know where you are, but I got a bag from Costco in San Francisco a couple of weeks ago and they were great. Tight firm heads. No browning.

Costco? That is an awesome tip, thanks!

I remember reading that they were one of the native plants that would’ve been eaten at the first Thanksgiving. They’re tasty as hell, but avoid eating more than half a pound per person per meal – – not unless you want to re-create the campfire scene in blazing saddles

NYC. I haven’t bought any from Costco in a couple of weeks, though, so perhaps they’ve improved.

How is there no turkey day talk here yet…?!?
So.
Whatcha doing? Any new and exciting menu additions or sticking to family tradition? Cooking for company or bringing a dish to a gathering?
I will be celebrating with close friends as I do every year, depends on the year who is hosting and how many attend, always some new to me variations on favorite menu items.

This year is a first for me, i’ll be attending and bringing a dish to two celebrations for a Thanksgivathon. Early afternoon i’ll bring david lebovitz’s mushroom walnut pate as an appetizer with drinks downtown, then stop by my place to assemble my salad with fennel, celery, pumpkin seeds, dried figs,and jerusalem artichoke chips to take to celebration number two nearby.

I’m going to be solo this year ’ it’s been a while . No biggie I’m headed up to Mount Shasta for three weeks two days after Thanksgiving . My home away from home . Been thinking , Since crab season is on it’s going to be what’s for Thanksgiving , plus some nice bread and wine . Don’t want to have leftovers in the fridge .:crab:

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This year it is just going to Hubby, Small Girl Child, and me. Yesterday Hubby asked if we could have rack of lamb instead of turkey. I thought that sounded like a fabulous idea, along with dressing, mashed combo of potaoes/califlower, oven roasted Brussel sprouts and pie for dessert. Not sure if it’s going to pumpkin and apple or pumpkin and sour cream raisin (we always have 2 smaller pies). Oh and a really good bottle of wine, one for Hubby one for me.

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Caravaning up to SF for biannual family reunion: Wednesday is crab-cracking backyard party, :crab::crab::crab: Thursday the usual. :poultry_leg::wine_glass::poultry_leg::wine_glass::yum:

BTW, I need to bring a couple of pies from L.A. Any suggestions? And I don’t want to pay $40 or $50 per pie, either. No one eats them anyway. We’re not really dessert people.

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I started one a couple of weeks ago here - maybe we can get them merged? Thanksgiving 2016!

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We change over the shop displays for Christmas in the morning (with Bloody Mary’s in hand). Then we will have turkey dinner at a restaurant which has become a tradition the past 5 years or so.

Members of a cooking meetup group kindly invited me to their dinner ( a long with the other solo members). I’ll probably arrive in time for dessert and will bring some bubbly wine. I’m not usually a big dessert person but the host had a catering business in the past and is a sublime baker. So I’ll indulge in a few slivers.:blush: And enjoy the company!

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“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold