November 24, 2008

Thanksgiving Favorites

Thanksgiving has always been my favorite meal of the year. For the past several years, I've tried new recipes...deep fried turkey, a soup course, stuffed turkey cutlets instead of a whole bird, scalloped oysters, a spiced carrot & raisin salad, pumpkin creme brulee. I loved all those recipes, but most of the time I just want the traditional meal that I always ate at my grandparents' house.

I am very picky about Thanksgiving dinner. A few years ago, I wrote:

It can sometimes stress me out...especially if things aren't done Just Right. My family always made the traditional Thanksgiving spread....turkey, real dressing (not from a box or a bag of dried bread cubes), mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes with marshmallows, green bean casserole, 7-layer salad, cranberry salad, pumpkin pie, etc. I need that meal or else it just doesn't feel like Thanksgiving. I just can't bring myself to enjoy ham or Stove Top or Schwann's sides. Is that bitchy? Maybe. But, I am willing to accept and embrace my inner Thanksgiving Bitch...if it gets me The Meal.

This year, I am going to a friend's house for Thanksgiving dinner. They always have prime rib and lobster for Thanksgiving, which is great and all, but I must have The Meal. So, I am going to be making turkey with all the fixin's this weekend. I am keeping it simple and traditional: a small roasted turkey, mashed potatoes & gravy, white bread sage dressing, real green bean casserole (no canned beans and mushroom soup!), & Grandma's cranberry salad (recipe below).

Here are some of my favorite Thanksgiving recipes:

Honey-nut glazed brie
Butternut-cider bisque
Turkey saltimbocca (a good alternative to a whole bird)
Chestnut & pancetta stuffing
Potato & mushroom gratin
Asparagus & gruyere tart
Spinach gratin
Scalloped oysters
Carrot & raisin salad
Pumpkin creme brulee

Grandma Martin's Cranberry Salad

It simply doesn't seem like Thanksgiving without this side dish.
More like a relish than a salad, this was what my family served instead of cranberry sauce.

1 bag fresh cranberries
2 red-skinned apples (like Jonathans), cored & cut into wedges
1/2 cup sugar (or more to taste)
1 cup pecans, chopped
  • Pop the cranberries & mush the apples by running them through a meat grinder. Grandma always used the old fashioned metal kind that attached to the counter (in fact, I don't remember her using it for anything else!). If you don't have a meat grinder, pulse the cranberries in a food processor just to pop them. You want this to be fairly chunky.
  • Mix in the sugar & pecans. Taste. Add more sugar until it's sweet enough for you.
  • Serve as a side dish with Thanksgiving dinner.
This also make a great relish for turkey sandwiches. This year, I plan to make muffins with the leftover cranberry salad!

1 comment:

MacDuff said...

Thanks - I'm going to take your grandma's recipe with us this Thanksgiving. And you should check out the new Bon Appetit magazine. They have a recipe for potato and mushroom gratin that made me a convert. It was insanely delicious, and I generally hate anything gratin.