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Thanksgiving, Chez Nous

That’s right: we’re finally hosting Thanksgiving dinner. I’ll be making dinner for 8 or 9, from soup to nuts. We’re talking appetizers, soup, Turkey, all the sides, sauces, and fix-ins, and of course, pies galore. According to her family tradition, D gets a whole pumpkin pie designated for her. Not one to flout these family customs, I’ll be following suit. One pumpkin pie for D, a couple more for the rest of us. Oh, and pecan, cranberry apple, and maybe something else, too. We’ll see.

For now, here’s my menu. It’s pretty traditional, with some nips and tucks to suit our style (low-key) and our needs (no dairy). Some of you out there must be Tday veterans; I’d love your feedback — what am I missing?

I’ll add recipes and tips as I start the actual cooking, which probably won’t happen until this weekend. Stay tuned, and please, pretty please: if you’re also making Thanksgiving, share your menus in the comments!

Thanksgiving Menu

note: some of these recipes are NDP standbys. Several come from the wonderful community of cooks on Food52, and I imagine these are just a few of the Tday-friendly recipes on that site. I’ll add links as I settle on recipes for the other dishes, so again — stay tuned.
Aperitif: Sour Cherry Liqueur
Oven-Roasted Olives
Pickles, Pickles, Pickles
Tomato Soup with chive coulis OR curried carrot soup (haven’t decided yet)
Turkey with citrus and thyme, probably adapting this recipe
Stuffed squash with quinoa, pears, and cranberries
Green beans with horseradish-mustard vinaigrette
Brussels sprouts
Mrs. Wheelbarrow’s challah stuffing (vegetarian)
Forgotten sweet potatoes with maple syrup, adapting this recipe
Cranberry sauce or chutney (if you have a great recipe, send it over!)
Onion confit
Butternut butter
Pumpkin Pie
Pecan Tartlets
Apple Cranberry Pie, or adapted from this recipe

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  • Aaren A. November 10, 2010,

    I am so excited you are doing Thanksgiving! Ive been putting together my menu and was looking at past years only to find you are always away for T-day! I made this cranberry sauce last year and it was ridiculously amazing. Totally worth the work. I left out half of the cranberries till the end so they were cooked but still a little hard, it balances out the flavor and adds texture. http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Cranberry-Sauce-with-Port-and-Dried-Figs-105836. Also this stuffing was a huge hit. http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Rustic-Bread-Stuffing-with-Red-Mustard-Greens-Currants-and-Pine-Nuts-355796. I used dried cherries instead of currants and it was great. Mazal Tov again, the pictures looked amazing:) Happy Thanksgiving.

  • Camille November 10, 2010,

    Sounds amazing! I am also on the lookout for a great cranberry sauce recipe. Would you mind sharing your recipe for green beans with horseradish-mustard vinaigrette? That sounds terrific.

    • rivka November 10, 2010,

      Camille, sure thing. I’m planning to post it soon — stay tuned.

  • Marty L. November 10, 2010,

    pilfered from a Chowhound reader; not exactly traditional, but we love it:

    Cranberry/Pear Relish

    4 ripe Bosc pears
    6 cups very strong coffee
    3 cups sugar (1½ cups for pears, 1½ cups for cranberries)
    1 teaspoon vanilla
    1 lemon, cut in half
    1 (8-oz.) bag of cranberries

    Poach the pears: Peel and slice the pears lengthwise, rubbing with lemon to keep them from turning brown. Core the halves and remove the stem & bud ends with a paring knife.

    Pour the coffee into a large sauce pan. Stir in 1½ cups of sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla and bring to a boil. Add the halved pears. When it comes back to the boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for about 15 minutes. Remove the pears and set aside to cool a bit. Discard the coffee.

    Cook the cranberries: While the pears are cooling, prepare the cranberries according to the directions on the bag, (i.e., cover with water, add about 1½ cups of sugar, bring to a boil, then simmer ‘til theyÂ’ve all ‘explodedÂ’ and the mixture is thick). It doesnÂ’t take very long… Remove from heat and put into a large bowl.

    Mix cranberries & pears together: When the pears are cool enough to handle, cut them into small chunks and put them into the bowl with the cranberries. Toss to mix well, transfer to a serving dish, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve (or at least a couple of hours).

    • rivka November 10, 2010,

      Delightful! Thanks for sharing, Marty.

  • Kay November 11, 2010,

    Sounds delish. I will never be able to compete with this meal! As for the turkey, here’s one of my tips. I slice up fresh garlic cloves and poke them into the turkey all over before roasting. That’s all seasoning the bird needs, and it tastes wonderful.

  • Ellen @ I Am Gluten Free November 11, 2010,

    I love the Stuffed Squash – thanks for the gluten free option!

  • Liz the Chef November 11, 2010,

    What time’s dinner?!

    • rivka November 11, 2010,

      2ish — you can totally fly in from cali in time!

  • Sharon November 14, 2010,

    An old but good Cranberry Relish from 1980 Bon Appetit Magazine!

    Cranberry-Orange Relish
    1 pound cranberries, rinsed
    2 cups sugar
    1/2 cup orange juice
    1/4 cup water
    1/2 cup chopped candied ginger
    2 tsp.orange zest
    1/2 cup toasted blanched slivered almonds
    Combine all ingredients except almonds in a sauce pan.
    Cook over medium-high heat until cranberries “pop”, about 10 minutes.
    Remove from heat, skim off foam.
    Stir in almonds.
    Serve chilled.

  • Lis November 15, 2010,

    I’m in charge of veggies this year and I would love to hear what is in the horseradish-mustard vinaigrette (besides the obvious horseradish and mustard)…how do you prefer to cook the green beans or is this a recipe where uncooked is best?

    • rivka November 16, 2010,

      Hey Lis, I’m posting the veg/vinaigrette recipe really soon — stay tuned. Beans are blanched and shocked, a super easy way to make them, and they’ll keep for a while this way.

  • Ellen November 17, 2010,

    This has worked for me for 30+ years…!

    Cranberry Relish
    -1 bag of cranberries, washed. Discard any yucky berries
    -1 SEEDLESS orange WITH its rind. [Wash the orange]
    -15-20 seedless green grapes, washed
    -1 large apple, washed, with core removed (Honeycrisp or Fuji or Braeburn…or whatever you like that’s crisp and sweet)
    -Sugar (1/2 cup or more…details below)
    -Optional: pistachios or pecans or walnuts

    -Coarsely chop each of the fruits above. Yes, you’re using the entire orange, including the rind. I quarter it before putting it into the food processor. Remove each from the food processor after it has been chopped and put it into a bowl. Use the apple last so it doesn’t have time to oxidize. [The acid in the orange will prevent the apple from turning brown.] Using a spoon, mix the fruits in the bowl.
    -Add the nuts if you want to use them. I leave pistachios whole but coarsely chop the nuts if I’m using pecans or walnuts. Mix them into the fruit.
    -Add about ½ cup of sugar to the fruit and mix in, making sure not to mash the fruit. Taste the relish. If it needs more, add it. I generally end up using between ½ and ¾ of a cup, but friends to whom I’ve given the recipe use more.
    -Refrigerate it when you’re happy with the sugar quantity. I try to make it the day before I serve it.
    Note: All quantities of all items can be adjusted up or down depending on your tastes and preferences