17 November 2010

Thinking about Thanksgiving, because we must. It's in about five minutes.

My youngest sister emailed asking for Thanksgiving menu advice. She doesn't really need any, because she's a very good, adventurous cook. She'll have four meat eaters (God's chosen ones), three vegetarians (who should, frankly, sit Thanksgiving out), and, "one annoying vegan who is pretty much crashing so I don’t care if I don’t have anything for her (and my other guests are more courteous than I and are willing to bring vegan items)." Have I mentioned that I love my sister?

Her menu so far: sweet potato bisque, rosemary parmesan bread, turkey using Alton Brown’s method (I don't know what that means and can only assume she'll have to do a lot of zooming camera close-ups as she cooks), saffron butternut squash risotto, and sweet potato pie. Others are bringing a vegan roast (Lord knows what this is, but it sounds revolting and inappropriate and she's not happy about it), and mac and cheese (she lives in the part of the country where that's expected, like a carafe of water, at every meal).

Given that M and I intend to hide from the world that day, reading in front of the fire and watching a Lost Season 3 marathon, this all seems very ambitious. I've cooked approximately four thousand Thanksgiving dinners in my life, because I am old, so I admire her youth and pluck. She wants another dessert, asking if tiramisu would be too weird [YES], or perhaps something apple but not pie. She also needs something green, and an appetizer.


If I had to make an apple dessert today (and only being stuck at the office until 9pm prevents me from doing so), this French apple cake of Dorie Greenspan by way of David Lebovitz is the one I would try; easy and pretty, and a nice antidote to pie.

Completely inappropriate for the vegetarians in the group, and therefore delicious, this ramekin of queso fundido seems like a perfect and unexpected appetizer (the others in the article look good, too). I'd make it for sure, and not just to piss off the vegan; that's just bonus. I would also source my chorizo carefully because horrifyingly gross animal parts end up in it. Seriously. Do NOT read the label on pre-packaged chorizo at your neighborhood mercado.

As for vegetables, the boyfriend and I can't seem to stop roasting broccoli this fall. It's super easy, takes no time, and is completely addicting. Just toss a bunch of broccoli florets with some olive oil, kosher salt, pepper, and a few red pepper flakes. Put it in the oven at whatever temperature you've got going on and check/toss the pan every few minutes. It doesn't take too long: you want to get a little caramelization without charring them (though I eat them charred, too). When the broccoli is as done as you want it you can eat as is, or toss a variety of good stuff with it: toasted pine nuts, golden raisins, some grated hard cheese, a splash of balsamic vinegar. People think you've done something, and you really haven't. We eat it at least once a week. You can do the same thing with cauliflower, and if you add a little anchovy paste to the olive oil all the better.

I think I've just talked myself into cooking on Thanksgiving.


  1. The apple thing sounds yummy. 'Our' apple USD cake turned out fine Friday night (whew), but this sounds like a nice alternative. I'm kind of hoping for an under-the-radar turkey day too. We'll see whether that works out.

    Maybe we'll just sit around and reminisce about YOUR past cooking achievements.

  2. I have to be at my MIL's for Thanksgiving which, in and of itself, isn't a bad thing. But she has a T-I-N-Y kitchen and probably won't let anyone help her and will almost certainly completely melt down at some point. But other than that, we should be fine.

    As for another dessert, my grandmother's pumpkin chiffon pie is incredible. I'd be happy to pass the recipe along.

  3. I've been thinking about a sweet potato cheesecake. And cranberry upside down cake.


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