Thanksgiving Eve

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.  Here it is Wednesday, I'm just getting started.  For the first time in years, I waited until today to get my victuals.  I had a client deliverable that just needed to get done.  I handed it in this morning after working on it as late a 2 a.m. last evening. 

I normally have an organized list of 'stuff', but not this time.  I'm winging it like the poor turkey.  This will be my 24th Thanksgiving Dinner...I ought to be able to wing in.  I'm in cut back mode--meaning fewer side dishes and not even a 'new' one this year.  I generally make a new dish, but I've not had a moment to consider an entree for an entre into my menu.

I have been getting a free range turkey from BJ's these last couple of years.  I went to BJ's to be greeted by an empty bin where the turkeys should have been perched.  The meat manager explained that there was a turkey shortage (which explains why only 2 turkeys could be purchased by my daughter's school who was trying to get turkeys for kids in need at the elementary school).  "If you don't have one by now, you may not get one," the meat manager said unhelpfully.

I looked at the smithfield country hams, noted the price, and then dashed out the door to Martins.  Thankfully, there was a bird there for me, but I would not have wanted to be any later.  It was a fresh-ish bird...still partially frozen but not a frozen turkey.  They seemed plentiful and at .39/lb v. 1.07/lb a bargain.  But my preference is fresh (though I've seen where frozen may actually be better).  Oh time to thaw a bird either!

I also saw that the country hams were cheaper than at BJ's, so I picked up one (more later).  Back to BJ's and procuring the balance of my victuals.  Cream.  Half and half. milk. Brussels Sprouts. Cranberries. Peanut butter. Cat food.  Pecans.  Walnuts. Shrimp!

Dinner as follows:

Shrimp cocktails
Turkey (brined)
Ham -- Go here to see my cooking method
Brussels Sprouts Hash with carmelized Shallots
Potato and Fennel Casserole (my SIL is bringing this---a departure...because I never let any bring anything)
Cranberry Sauce 
Sausage and Cornbread Dressing
Sweet Potato Marscapone Pie
Maple Pecan Chocolate Tart
Steel fermented Chardonnay from the New Kent Winery

The cranberry sauce is one that I adore.  It has whole cranberries, cooked to bursting.  Sugar, Granny Smith apples, ginger clover and cinnamon added after pureeing in the food processor.

For many years, I made Sausage and Cornbread dressing by making the cornbread.  Last year, I did what seemed to be the unthinkable--I used packaged crumbs.  I have to say, my family liked it better and so did I.  So this year, I will do same.

I always make from-scratch desserts.  They are time consuming, but worth it.  No refrigerated pie crust...they just don't taste the same to me.  I'm boiling the sweet potatoes now as well as the vegetables for the stock for the turkey brine. The Sweet Potato Marscapone Pie is a glommed recipe--stolen parts from a pumpkin marscapone pie, sweet potato etc.  It is a lovely pie--the marscapone adds  so much to the texture and richness of the pie. 

The Maple Pecan Chocolate Tart is an old Bon Appetit recipe. I lost the original recipe, but managed to recreate parts of it.  It is an elegant and delicious dessert.  Served slightly warm with ice cream is a heavenly indulgence.

My motto for Thanksgiving is simple...

Stay Conscious.

I wish you the best in your cooking, consuming and regaling.

Happy Thanksgiving.


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