Thanksgiving Dinner 2006 Recap

Mushroom Bisque: This was lovely. Jeremy was a little resistant to the idea of soup at first, but after tasting it, he decided it was the best soup he’s had in a long time. I liked it also. Made with 8 oz of chopped cremini mushrooms, and a package each of fresh shiitakes and oysters, plus an ounce of porcini. I reserved a ladleful of the sauteed mushrooms and shallots before pureeing, at Jeremy’s request, to stir back in for texture. Jeremy also commented that the mushroom mixture, before pureeing, would make the best burger topping ever. 🙂

Whole Wheat Butterhorns: I’ve made these rolls before, last year with my parents. They came out as nicely this year as last, even with my chilly house—though the oven full of roasting sweet potatoes probably helped warm things up a bit. We ate these rolls with the mushroom bisque for lunch on Thanksgiving.

Roast Turkey with Porcini Mushroom Gravy: The turkey came out really well, moist and flavorful. I adjusted the temperature and cooked our (slightly less than) 11-pound turkey at 325F until it temped out, covering the breast meat with foil for the first hour or so, and basting thereafter every half hour. While the turkey was getting started, I got some stock going with the giblets and vegetable trimmings, and that got turned into gravy at the end. The gravy was very flavorful, though of course it took longer than anything else to finish up.

Slow Cooker Stuffing: I’ve made this for the past few years. It’s really convenient because I just get it going first thing in the morning and it’s ready to go whenever the turkey is done. Makes a lot and it tastes pretty darn good too. This year Jeremy made a batch of Pain a l’Ancienne for me to use in the stuffing, and it held up beautifully.

Camembert Mashed Potatoes: This was based on a Cooking Light recipe from last November’s issue. We couldn’t find Camembert, so I subbed in Brie, as suggested. Jeremy liked these, but they weren’t my favorite. I didn’t dislike them, but every time I took a bite, I found myself wondering what was wrong with the mashed potatoes (just the flavor of the Brie, I think). Worth a try, but not perhaps worth repeating.

World’s Best Green Bean Casserole: I thought these came out really nicely. I didn’t have a full 8 ounces of cremini mushrooms left, more like 4 ounces, but it was enough for me. I prepped it in advance when I had a free moment in the afternoon, and just popped it in the oven when the turkey came out. Jeremy didn’t care for it, however; he thought it smelled like curdled milk, which I can only think must be the scent of the small amount of sherry added in. I didn’t notice any unpleasant smell, so I’ve taken charge of these leftovers, while Jeremy handles the potatoes. 🙂

Hashed Brussels Sprouts with Lemon: These were tasty, but didn’t really need the poppy seeds. I chopped them in advance, and they cooked in less than 5 minutes at the very end of the cooking time, while Jeremy sliced turkey. A good nutty flavor, and a welcome green on the plate.

Vanilla Sweet Potato Puree: Jeremy loved these, and I ate several bites at least myself. I roasted the sweet potatoes in the morning—4 of them, chosen by Jeremy, and adding up to probably 3 times the amount of sweet potato called for in the recipe—and left them on the counter to cool while I took care of other dishes. When the turkey was getting close to done, I peeled the sweet potatoes, opting at the end to use just three of them (probably still at least 2.5 lb of potatoes), and pureed them in the processor. I left them in that state while getting the turkey out of the oven, and during the final push, I heated up the flavored cream (I went with some dried lemon peel from Penzey’s instead of the fresh orange, which was too much bother with so much other stuff going on) and finished off the puree. Jeremy loves sweet potatoes, so this recipe may well be making its way into our menu from time to time, no less because we used some of the puree in the next day or two to make some really delicious sweet potato-pecan pancakes.

Pumpkin Chiffon Pie with Gingersnap Crust: I used fresh pumpkin for this recipe, a really simple proposition that definitely seems worth the trouble. The recipe itself, however, was not perfect, at least for us. The crust was especially problematic, being rather hard and then turning to mush in the refrigerator after a day or two. The filling doesn’t keep very well either, though at first the texture was lovely. I might consider doing a sort of parfait with these, however, with a half recipe of the filling, some crushed gingersnaps and maybe some candied walnuts or pecans. For pumpkin pies, I’ll stick with my more traditional recipe or do a Pumpkin Paradise Pie instead, I think.

Apple Crisp: This was really just an amalgamation of several apple crisp recipe with oatmeal. I think next time I’ll toss the apples with more flour, as my crisps always seem to come out drippy. I used a combination of Granny Smith and Braeburn apples. Jeremy requested more topping, so I’ll keep that in mind as well.

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