I think this was my first Thanksgiving alone in something like six or seven years. My first one alone was the first one where I cooked everything. Man, have my cooking styles changed since then!
No pictures of the turkey feast this year. Adrienne was potentially going to come up for the holiday had her boyfriend not gotten back from overseas in time for the holiday, but he did manage to make it in late Wednesday night, so she finally got her first real holiday with him! In her absence, I cut back the amount of food I was going to make such that I could pace out the leftovers easier.
Dinner ended up being just the bird, homemade stuffing, sweet corn and homemade gravy. I would have made the mashed potatoes, but those always sit like a rock, despite how good they are. I need to find a way to lighten them up more, as they’re typically a twice-cooked recipe (boiled, whipped, then baked).
Here’s the general lay-down of my Thanksgiving meals:
- Washed, dried, rubbed down in olive oil and dusted with rubbed sage, salt and pepper
- Stuffed with typical box stuffing in addition to coursely-chopped onions
- Usually roasted using an oven bag (I haven’t been ambitious enough to use a roasting pan and baste the bird regularly)
- NEW: cooked the bird breast-side-down to increase moisture retention in the breast (this sort of worked, except the bird took an extra hour to cook because the stuffing took longer to get up to temperature, so the meat still dried out a bit)
- Homemade recipe from the biochemistry director of graduate affairs himself, Dan Kosman! (he sent it out the first year after there were some inquiries about it after his tales of it in class; I get many requests for the recipe myself)
- Comprised of lots of sage, Granny Smith apples, sautéed onions, deveined celery and plenty of real turkey broth, this lends an amazing amount of flavor to the stuffing
- Similar to some of my other recipes, this one is stored and baked fresh with a dousing of turkey broth so they can be prepped prior to T-day as well
- Ever since an accident with my dear friend Amanda trying to cook mashed potatoes, I’ve forever made them “fancy” style
- Red Pontiac potatoes that are boiled, mashed and whipped with minced green onions, light sour cream, unsalted butter and usually a little bit of grated Parmesan until smooth
- Transferred to a baking dish and refrigerated until ready to bake again (I’m all about streamlining cooking on T-day so I can enjoy the day more)
- Topped with bread crumbs and grated Romano blended with olive oil, and then baked at 350˚F until bubbly and browned on top
- Just the simple stuff: frozen sweet corn, cooked to just tender, drained, and seasoned with a little bit of unsalted butter and garlic salt to flavor
- I prep a recipe of overnight-leavened rolls and quickly bake them up while the stuffing is finished, and the bird and mashed potatoes are cooling down a bit
- Can’t forget to have a little honey-butter on hand for the rolls (omigod so delicious!)
- Who doesn’t like deviled eggs? ‘Nuff said!
- Made from scratch every year (except the crust for all but one year; just a time-saver)
- Recipe also varies every year because I never write down what I did for the previous year’s recipe
- Whip up my own whipped cream as it’s easier to sweeten and flavor that way, in my own opinion (however my hand mixer does a terrible job of it, as realized this year since Holly is in possession of the KitchenAid stand mixer we had)
So that’s the laydown of what my meals will typically look like. Right now, I just have a little dark meat left that isn’t frozen from the bird to still eat, a pan (homemade) and a bowl (bird-stuffed) stuffing left to consume, and one of the two pumpkin pies left to eat.
I did try inviting a couple people over (my racing cohorts from the earlier post), but they already had plans for their T-day. The guy invited me along with as they were dropping me off at my apartment after the race, but I really just wasn’t feeling comfortable with that situation. I get the impression he may be interested in dating the girl he invited along with (she’s a new IGPBS student this year from Illinois, so no family in the area I would assume), but I could be completely off-base. Holly asked me if they were, and it made me realize there were a few of the signs. Regardless, I didn’t want to feel like a third wheel to those two while they spent all of T-day with his family. Additionally, I really wanted to cook my food this year (although like every year…it’s a control thing I should work on), and I didn’t want to be socially overwhelmed.
I imagine my remaining Thanksgiving days in the Buffalo area may be like this, simply due to all my friends here are all from the area; they almost exclusively spend it with their own families. It is disappointing a bit to think of it like that, but that has been the general trend. Not sure if/when that will change in my (tentatively) remaining year or two in Buffalo as I finish out my degree.