Friday, November 29, 2013

Thanksgiving 2013

I forget what I've told you about Thanksgiving plans for this year, so let me recap quickly. Basically, my parents aren't coming to town and I'm not going out of town, so I ended up inviting some friends/co-workers over for the occasion. We ended up with nine guests -- myself included -- which is the largest meal I've ever made for anyone! If I do say so myself, the whole event was a smashing success.

The menu was fairly basic, but delicious. I started with a cheeseboard appetizer made of local cheeses along with some persimmons, local honey, olives, and crackers. The main course was, of course, turkey, which I brined. This was my first brining experience, and both my brother and I agreed that it may have been the best turkey I've ever cooked. I also invested (a whooping $12) in an instant read thermometer, which may have been the best thing I purchased in months. I was able to set an alarm so that as soon as the turkey reached the right temp, I could pull it out of the oven, virtually eliminating the chance of over cooking. Sides included gravy, mashed potatoes, dressing, two kinds of cranberry sauce, classic green bean casserole, glazed carrots, rolls, herbed butter, and sweet potatoes -- all the basics, really. I asked guests to bring dessert, which was great because then I didn't have to cook it! We ended up with pumpkin pie, chocolate cheesecake, and a classic Indian dessert that unfortunately I forget the name of (oops). What made menu planning especially interesting is that one of my guests is a vegetarian. I thought it would be more of a challenge then it ended up being, actually. I made everything with vegetable stock instead of chicken stock (except for the turkey and gravy, which I made with homemade turkey stock) and it turned out perfectly!
A vat of dressing!

A locally-sourced cheeseboard.
The meal was served with a variety of red and white wines, plus mulled wine with dessert. Have I mentioned that I'm a member of the Chateau Montelena Cellarmaster wine club? Anywho, I am, and their zin was the star wine of the day, in my opinion. Side bar: if you haven't seen the movie Bottle Shock, see it! I have vague future plans for some kind of Bottle Shock viewing party involving Chateau Montelena wines, but nothing concrete yet.