Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Preparing for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. Christmas, Valentine's Day, and Halloween are way too commercial, and 2 out of 3 of those holidays involve dressing up in order to: 1. get a boyfriend/girlfriend 2. get laid. Thanksgiving, though, is about being thankful for what you have, and about food. Those are my favorite things, y'all.

The main meal:

Alton Brown's recipe for brining and roasting is fan-freaking-tastic. (Food Network's photo)

I've used Alton's method many times, and it consistently produces a beautifully browned, moist, and flavorful turkey. Every. Time. This recipe converts a turkey carcass into a vessel of warmth, comfort, and deliciousness. Though it is a bit time consuming to brine a turkey, the results are well worth the effort, and actual cooking time is reduced (which is great for when you have other sides/breads/desserts you may need the oven for on Thursday).

Cornbread Sausage Stuffing. My oldest sister Kim made it last Christmas, and it was out of this world.

Oat bread rolls. This is a great bread recipe. It always comes out light and fluffy, and oat adds nuttiness, iron, and fiber.

Giblet gravy with egg. I believe this type of gravy is a southern thing. I know what you're thinking...It sounds gross, but it tastes like little fairies carried happiness and joy and magic straight to your taste buds. I learned this recipe from my oldest sister, who learned it from her southern mother-in-law. Even though we're Vietnamese, my sister married a good ole country boy, and we've enjoyed this recipe in our family ever since. Why eggs, you ask? Why not? Don't you like the taste of happiness and joy and magic???

Mashed cauliflower (Food Network's photo)
A lot of people on the internet will tell you that pureed or mashed cauliflower will have the same taste/texture as mashed potatoes, but they are LYING. It's similar, yes, but not the same. Still, I really appreciate that it's a healthier alternative, and whenever I've made this dish in the past, I mixed it with a bit of garlic mashed potatoes. Doing that gave it more of the texture and flavor that I enjoy in regular mashed potatoes, but with added vitamins and fiber (46% DV of Vitamin C!!!), and can cut calories by 25%. Suggestion: If you're trying to cut fat/calories, do not add a huge dab of butter onto your serving, the way that Food Network did in that photo. More nutrition facts here.

To be honest, I started planning for this year's big meal in August. I have a pile recipes ripped out of Sunset, Taste of Home, and Better Homes and Gardens magazines, and bookmarks on my browser that lead to recipes that I thought might be good for when T-giving finally rolls around. Now that the time is almost near, I feel like my menu is still lacking. There are only 3.5 of us, so there really will be plenty of food, but I feel like I'm missing an important staple that everyone should have on T-giving. We won't be having green bean casserole (even though I LOVE it!), because my sister doesn't think it's that great...Maybe a broccoli casserole? Mac and Cheese? Lumpia??? Any suggestions?

Next post...Thanksgiving desserts!!!

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