I happily agreed to cook most of the Thanksgiving food this year; the trade off was that my parents would donate cash for groceries, and Ted and I would supply the group of a dozen+ with something delicious on Thursday afternoon. Two stipulations: Dad would cook the turkey and the mashed potatoes.
After pulling together a few (too many?) delicious (and simple) recipes, creating a master preparation timeline (yep, I'm a geek) and shopping list, and packing everything in the car (with lots of help from Ted) for a Wednesday night rush hour tour of I-205, I-5, and eventually the "back road route" of 99W, we finally arrived in St. Paul in one piece.
My little brother, Jesse, collaborated on the food effort. We spent Wednesday night on prep work and pumpkin pies, and Thursday morning on final flourishes. Together we served...
Dad's Turkey and Mashed Potatoes
Rye and Apple Stuffing
Cranberry Apple Walnut Chutney
Maple Glazed Carrots
Maple Candied Garnet Yams
Sweet Potatoes Wedges
Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Pecans
Green Salad with Cranberry Vinaigrette
And for dessert --
And the crowned glory: Raspberry Almond Trifle
One of the real achievements underlying the whole menu/meal-shebang was the source and quality of the ingredients. Instead of the Stovetop Stuffing of years past, I used organic sage and parsley, locally baked bread, and local organic apples. Instead of typical cranberry out of the can, we started with fresh, local, organically grown cranberries and added the various ingredients for the chutney: local walnuts from Ted's grandpa's tree, more local apples, etc., etc. Organic carrots and garnet yams. Organic pumpkin for the pies (canned, but from a company out of Corvallis, Ore.). What a treat to enjoy the afternoon and revel in quality ingredients, delicious recipes and, most importantly - good company.
And, truth be told, eight days later I'm still polishing off leftovers. Which leads me to last night: Cranberry apple chutney spooned between layers of brie, surrounded by slices of apples sprinkled with brown sugar, baked at 350 degrees for 15 minute, and served warm over thin slices of a multi-grain baguette.