Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thanksgiving Magic

I've gone over to J's for thanksgiving for a few years but always managed to miss the prep stage of the big feast. This year I finally found an opportunity to participate in this ritual and wanted to write down a few key notes. Maybe next year I will remember to take photos.
Corn Bread
Since the entire family liked this year's corn bread better, I'm going to give J credit for mixing the ingredients. The wet ingredients went first (sour cream, canned corn, whisked eggs, etc), then the cornmeal were stirred in. Lastly was the melted butter (all two sticks of it, but at least the sour cream was non-fact...). We waited for the butter because we didn't want the hot butter to cook the raw eggs.

Potato/Sweet Potato
Boil them in giant pots of water until soft/done. Let cool and soak in cold water after discarding the hot water. This process will help the skin come off easier. I used a knife to make a few cuts on the surface then just use my fingers to kind of peel off. For mashing, J's family has a few tools to help which turns them into small strings. It reminds me of a pasta machine or something, I'm not sure what the real name is. To season mashed potatoes, add salt/pepper/garlic. For the sweet potatoes, mix well with brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and some tbsp of orange juice concentrate. We put them into two separate baking dishes, one with candied pecans on top and another with marshmallows. Cover them for baking right before the dinner.

Zucchini Quiche
Peel the zucchini first, but don't worry about not being perfect since a little green actually makes the resulting quiche more colorful. Tip for grating zucchini is to keep the end for easy handling instead of chopping it off. L liked the hot version of this and I agree with her. At dinner the cold and warm versions were served.

TurkeyThe main event. R always gets a fresh turkey and therefore it doesn't take as long to cook. I didn't get involved in this as much since it follows a recipe and cooking time. I just have to add that cranberry sauce (homemade) goes so well with turkey that I don't understand people who go without it.

Two hours after dinner, assorted teas are served with piles of dessert. J actually managed to survive the lines at Mr. Todd's [link] and got the apple pie and blueberry pie.

Tips for the cooking experience:
Sit down, relax, and put on some music. Make it a group activity. Since we had a can of orange concentrate left over, I made orange coke. You can also make orange mix drinks and get creative.
Thanksgiving Wisdom:
1) Q - Why do we make these dishes only during thanksgiving? The recipes are easy enough for everyday dishes.
A - It's more special if we only make them on thanksgiving.
2) Order pizza the night you're prepping all the dishes. You don't want to think too much about food while you have to peel potatoes and other stuff. Since J's household always start the prep/cooking process on Wed (except the turkey and the last bit of marshmallow sweet potatoes), Thurs is relatively stress free with only the turkey to mind. We had time to play board games (Carcassonne, blokus, etc) and watch TV.

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