This is going to be a loooong post, so brace yourself. If it gets too long for you, just skip to the “bottom” where all the recipes, with individual pictures, can be found. Bellow (above the recipe section) are my individual thoughts on what I made this year. Every year brings something new – even to “old” recipes.
I’d like to thank Foodbuzz for accepting me to the November 24, 24, 24 event. Because of them, I was able to make my Thanksgiving grander than ever. Thank you.
This is what the menu looked like:
Appetizers: Bacon Wrapped Date, Texas Deviled Eggs, and Rumaki
Main Dish: Rosemary & Lemon Turkey with American Cranberry Sauce
Side Dishes: Bread Stuffing, Rice with Mushroom & Noodles, Garlic Bread Rolls, Bacon Green Beans, French Mushrooms in Crème Frâiche, and a Seasonal Salad
Dessert: Pumpkin Pie, Pecan Pie, S’more Tart, and Whipped Cream
The bacon wrapped dates were a huge hit – as always. Our guests ate them up pretty quickly.
The Texas deviled eggs were something I thought-up this summer. The individual flavors really melded well with one another, and even though this was a spicy dish, they were gone before the meal started!
The Rumaki was something that my father-in-law recommended I make. I thought it sounded disgusting, but it was so absolutely fantastic! My guests had never heard of anything like it and everyone wanted the recipe!
This year I decided to try something completely new with my turkey. That is, I am taking my favorite recipe for chicken (Rosemary Lemon Chicken), and fitting it for a whole turkey. I have never been a big fan of turkey, so I attempted to make it taste better than “the usual”. And, the turkey came out juicier than ever. The lemon acts as a tenderizer and really helped moisten the turkey, especially the breast meat.
The the stuffing, I used is my favorite stuffing that my mom has been making my entire childhood. This year, for the first time, in keeping with my “absolutely everything is homemade” for my Thanksgiving feast 2008, my husband made a large loaf of bread for our stuffing in advance. This is a really big hit. Many of our guests said that they had aways heard about this on TV, but could never imagine it. We ended up sending many guest home with extra stuffing – always a good sign!
The cranberry sauce is my father-in-law’s recipe. And, this is the only part of our meal that we didn’t actually make ourselves. While we can find (expensive) cranberries here in Germany -yes, Ocean Spray to be exact – my father-in-law sent us some of his homemade cranberry sauce as a gift, and it would have been a shame not to use it – since it tastes so good. I did not grow-up eating cranberry sauce. I’m not sure how old I was the first time I tasted it – maybe I was already in college. So, I am not as “in love” with it as my husband is. Our guests enjoyed the sauce with their turkey, but, my husband, as usual, pulled out a spoon and finished it off after he finished his meal.
The rice with mushrooms & noodles is a take on a favorite recipe of mine that my aunt makes called Mushroom & Almond Rice. Since I have a guest who is allergic to nuts this year, I have omitted nuts in all recipes possible, and, in the case of the rice, have substituted with dry soup noodles that soften when cooked.
The garlic rolls are my favorite roll recipe of all time. It actually came about by accident and is a modified pizza dough recipe! While cleaning up the house in the morning, I found my son had sneeked one and had the entire roll half way in his mouth. When I caught him, he promptly pulled it out of his mouth and put it back in the muffin tin as if nothing had happened! It was so cute. Of course, I let him eat one ahead of time. He loves the garlic rolls so much.
The French Mushrooms in Crème Frâiche is always everybody’s favorite dish and there’s never enough – no matter how many times I double and quadruple this recipe! So, how did French Mushrooms become part of my yearly American holiday menu?? When I was in high school, in French class, we were all given the task of finding a French recipe, reproduce it, bring it to class, and share with one another. I was so head-over-heels for this recipe that I asked my mom to let me make it at our next Thanksgiving meal, and it was such a hit…and the rest, as they say, is history.
The Bacon Green Beans are, in my opinion, a true southern staple in the US. This year I decided not to make a green bean casserole since most of my German guests don’t like it. So, instead, I made my favorite green bean dish. They went over very well, and no one realized that I forgot to add the salt!
The Greek Salad was a hard choice for me this year. I really wanted to make this from items that are only in season, and I really wanted to use my favorite homemade Greek salad dressing – which put me in quite of a pickle. So, I decided to go with a Greek salad – however untraditional – because many of its ingredients can be found year-round and have no season (ie: feta cheese, olive, onions).
This year I decided to change dessert in a few ways. I still served pumpkin and pecan pies, but I decided to make my pumpkin puré from scratch (this is so easy and quick you will barely believe it!), I decided to make a maple peacn pie instead as well as a s’more tart for the first times. And, this year I also went ahead and made the pies a few weeks in advance, frozen them, and defrosted in the refrigerator so that I could have a more relaxing cooking day(s). The pumpkin pie was a bigger hit this year than in previous years. I guess this year I had pumpkin-lovers over! The pecan pie was ok. I felt that the new recipe had too strong of an alcohol tase to it and not enough of the traditional pecan pie flavor that I have grown to love. And the s’more pie..don’t get me started on this! It was a baking desaster when it came to the topping. I think my egg whites were not stiff enough and I just endded up with a mess. It was the most eated pie, but I really felt that it was not worth making. Which is a shame since it looked like it was going to be so pretty and I hoped it would be a big highlight of the evening.
As I do every year, this year I made my whipped cream from scratch. It’s so quick and easy – and tastes WAY WAY better than the store bought version. This year I made 2 flavors: vanilla and almond.
The appetizers were a last minute idea..as always…I worry that my guests won’t have enough to eat- crazy huh? And, as always, there was too much to eat. This year we even have too many leftovers, which has never happened to me before. 6 of my guests ended up not showing! So, there were only 11 of us.
We also did sugar cookie decorating in between the meal and the dessert. The children really liked this. I think nxt time I will have to hold Thanksgiving in the late afternoon instead of the evening. It was too late for a lot of the kids. The cookies tasted fantastic, and I loved the hint of almond in the recipe. But, the icing was just way too sugary, and I like my cookies without.
On to the recipes: Continue Reading »