I had planned on posting this later in the week and instead sharing an appetizer recipe today. But then I worried you were getting your last minute shopping in today and tomorrow and I wanted you to have all the information for the most important meal on Friday: turkey leftovers (which is breakfast if you’re a Barnes. You wait till lunch it’s all gone).
When I was in college around Thanksgiving and Christmas our cafeteria would serve tollhouse pie. Apparently the cafeteria frowns on “whole pies to go” so my besties and I would hide them under our jackets and sneak them out. How the heck we hid an entire pie (with whip cream) under our jackets is beyond me. And why in the world I felt the need to take an entire pie instead of just a slice is also beyond me. Here’s hoping the statue of limitations for pie stealing is under ten years.
I’ve spent the last few weeks going over different items for your Thanksgiving table. But have you decided on your desserts yet?
I’ve never been a big fan of Thanksgiving desserts, except for maybe my Grandma’s cheesecake, which my mom says I’m not allowed to publish. Probably this is because very few Thanksgiving desserts tend to be centered around chocolate, and mostly I just want more chocolate in my life.
Do you remember the first time you tried brussels sprouts and thought, “what the? I thought these were supposed to be disgusting.” I do. I watched some chef make them on Top Chef and decided to try them myself. They instantly became my favorite vegetable. I still can’t get my dad to love them (too many traumatic memories of boiled brussels sprouts), but I keep trying. Maybe if I coat them in Sriracha.
But seriously, what’s not to love about these maple bacon brussels sprouts? Bacon is delicious. Brussels sprouts are delicious. And maple syrup is one of the four major food groups. I don’t know what else you want in life (except for maybe world peace).
After the obligatory Thanksgiving dishes (broccoli and cheese sauce for the Barnes) as well as the standard ones like stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy and oh yeah, turkey, usually a few new creations hit our table each year. One year I made pureed carrots with mint (we’re never making that again). But this new recipe, sautéed broccoli in a sherry cream sauce, is delicious and worthy of adding to your Thanksgiving spread.
As a rule, I don’t really think you need a recipe for mashed potatoes, you boil potatoes, throw some cream in there, mash it up and voila, you have mashed potatoes. But then I found out that every month 60,000 people search for “how to make mashed potatoes.” And that’s just on average, Thanksgiving not withstanding. I feel bad for those people, they deserve to know how to make mashed potatoes! So if you don’t know how to make mashed potatoes, here’s a simple recipe. And lucky for you, they’re hard to mess up.
Have you figured out your Thanksgiving sides yet? This weekend, I started thinking about what we’re going to bring this year to the Bokelmans.
We’ve spent four of the last five Thanksgivings with the Bokelmans. Usually there is a talent show, of which their children always win (one year they did a fashion show with garments made out of recyclables, another year they re-made an entire Taylor Swift music video. I don’t even know how they come up with this stuff!) This year we’re headed back. I’ve been brushing up on Beethoven’s 5th and am totally going to kick Olivia’s butt (she’s 6).
When I’m not practicing Beethoven’s 5th, I experiment with different dishes. This one is always a winner, particularly if you’re trying to steer clear of potatoes. Not so great if you’re trying to steer clear of fat.
Brian Regan’s riff about the cranberry salesman who figured that he could mix his cranberries with just about anything in the grocery store underscores a truth. Cranberries are a lot more versatile than many of us recognize. They can add unexpected zest to an otherwise pedestrian Thanksgiving. Today I share my take on the cranberry sauce. Hopefully it does for your table what the cran-man did for juice.
What’s your favorite Thanksgiving dish? As I mentioned yesterday, our favorites were 1. gravy 2. stuffing 3. mashed potatoes 4. broccoli and cheese sauce. Gravy beats stuffing, but only by a small margin. A good stuffing recipe is not hard to find. Finding the right stuffing recipe for your table might be. If you like a savory, melt-in-your-mouth stuffing, then this is the recipe for you. Also meatless, so that’s healthy, right?
There hasn’t been a holiday since that I don’t think about my Grandma. She would have loved my boys. And whenever Thanksgiving and Christmas come around, I miss her a little bit more. She was a home economist married to a food scientist (that Breakstone’s sour cream you eat, my Grandad created) so her recipes were on point. For the sake of my cousins and siblings, I’ve decided to share some of her recipes so that they don’t get lost with time.