Friday, November 28, 2014

Thanksgiving 2014

This year we had a bigger Thanksgiving, 14 adults, one two-year-old and a three-month-old, and that turns out to be a lot more than the 10 adults we had last year. With careful planning, and knocking off three dishes a day, I was able to get a huge amount done in advance and was looking forward to a restful Thanksgiving day.

Until the turkey! I made it the same way as I did last year - deconstructed, then breast cooked upside down in a saute pan, and finally all cooked over the stuffing. But this year I dry-brined the turkey (salt plus baking powder) for two days, instead of wet-brining the breast overnight. And this year's turkey weighed in at 18 pounds instead of 14. For whatever reason, the breast just wouldn't get done and it was so fat that it had dried out on the outside by the time it had cooked through on the inside. In addition, it took 45 extra minutes, thereby throwing off the entire schedule. Finally it got done, and looked pretty good,

Turkey breast ready to be carved
but I ended up with the Thanksgiving nemesis - dried white meat - and a disorganized meal.

That being said, everyone had fun and enjoyed the meal, which did have some real highlights.

Here's what I cooked:

Thanksgiving Dinner
 November 27, 2014

Salmon rillettes (from a class at Atelier des Chefs in Paris)
Slow poached garlic shrimp (from Tyler Florence's Ultimate TV show)
Mustard and tapenade palmiers
(from Dorie Greenspan, Around My French Table)
Feta with sumac, black sesame seeds and olive oil (from Bon Appétit)
Bar nuts (from The Union Square Cookbook)

Turkey with cornbread and turkey sausage and dried apricot stuffing
(from Cook's Illustrated for Turkey, Food and Wine and myself for stuffing)
Cranberry mostarda (from Food and Wine)
Sweet potato gratin with sage (from Ottolenghi: The Cookbook)
Brussels sprouts (from Food and Wine)

Bourbon caramel pumpkin tart (from Fine Cooking)
Chocolate hazelnut torte (from Gourmet)
Marie-Hélène’s apple tart
(from Dorie Greenspan, Around My French Table)

And here's what some of it looked like:

Hors d'oeuvres were served in the living room, around our old art deco table.

Slow poached garlic shrimp
Feta cheese with sumac and black sesame seeds
Then to the dining room, spectacularly arranged as always by J,

for a buffet dinner:
The turkey, deconstructed and carved
Sweet potato gratin
Roasted Brussels sprouts with caramelized onions

Thanksgiving plate, fully loaded
Finally, three desserts that I whipped up earlier in the week:

Chocolate hazelnut torte
Pumpkin tart with bourbon caramel and toasted candied pumpkin seeds
Marie-Hélène's apple cake
A good time was had by all, I think, except for myself during the turkey breast crisis.

Bobby Jay


Amanda said...

You are so brave and very talented! Lovely photos of a delicious meal.

(I've miss few posts as I've been busier than normal).

Bobby Jay said...

Thanks, Nadège. I hope not too busy to enjoy Thanksgiving.