Sure, there will be turkey, but I’m all about the sides. You see, I’m not a giant fan of turkey; preferring roasted chicken. That said, I will definitely roast a bird, it will be delicious, but I’m dreaming and drooling over the dishes that go with Mr. T. Turkey.
My list keeps growing, and needs to be whittled down, as tonight I’m meeting up with the girls to nail down the menu. We’ve already talked about the obligatory, got-to-have’s, but I keep seeing all kinds of options and riffs that make my taste buds break into a song and dance act.
Standby faves include smashed potatoes and stuffing. The stuffing has to be in a baking dish; none of the in-the-bird-way-too-moist thing. Canned cranberry sauce without whole berries; it has to have the ridges and be served in the shape of the can. Sweet Gherkins, black olives and green bean casserole. Next up is Grandma’s lemon Jell-O in perfectly cut squares with a pecan half placed just so in the center of each square, suspended in a clear layer of yellow gelatin goodness.
Now that the requirements are covered, the gastro-gourmand in me starts leaping at all the possibilities. I’ve been known to roast carrots and lemons for a salad of butter lettuce topped with chunks of chewy bread and avocados. Browned Brussels sprouts with crispy bits of bacon that are eaten with toothpicks because we can’t wait until dinner.
Fancying sweet potatoes to be savory, they get cooked up with salt, garlic and red pepper flakes until they are crispy on the outside and delectably soft on the inside. This goes well with the red chile that another family member will bring. In the process of mixing traditions you create new ones. Red chile as gravy, my, my, my?
My break from the norm this year will be cornbread stuffing piled with charred corn and green chiles, thanks to a score at the market this past summer. Risotto made with farro and loaded up with caramelized onions and apples, a recipe I came across on Food52 (incomplete sentence, because I’m thinking). There might even be a platter of burnt, as in a really good way, vegetables strewn with pistachios and goat cheese. And … so you see my problem; I have to narrow down the choices or there will be no time left for actually eating.
Happy Thanksgiving, my friends –