We celebrated this year's Thanksgiving with our wonderful friends the M family. Yesterday's dinner menu included:
- Roast Turkey (Traditions must be observed)
- Catherine M's Chestnut Stuffing
- Green beens with lemon
- My dad's Pommes Anna
- My brother's Ginger Cranberry Sauce
- Hazelnut and Fuyu Persimmon Salad
- Pumpkin Pie
- Sara M's Maple Pots de Crème
I read Bon Appetit Magazine, and in their Thanksgiving issue this year they found issue with using stuffing as stuffing because it prevents the bird from cooking or some other nonsense. They even decided to call their stuffing recipes "dressing" to discourage putting them inside turkeys. This name change doesn't even make any sense because, at least in my experience, dressing is a flavorful sauce. I do not believe that bread mixed with various vegetables/meats fall in that category.
In any case, if your stuffing is hot when you put it in the turkey, it isn't going to prevent the turkey from cooking, and the turkey juices will make the stuffing that much better.
Enough ranting. For the potatoes, my dad found a recipe in that same Bon Appetit magazine for "Mini Herbed Pommes Anna" , which are basically cakes of potato slices layered with butter and herbs. This recipe turned out delicious, and it can be easily made into advance, so I recommend it to anyone who needs a showstopper side.
My brother is the family cranberry expert, and he found a recipe for ginger-lemon cranberry sauce. The sauce came out strong and savory, not as sweet as more classic recipes. The ginger complemented the the rich gravy quite well.
I made the Hazelnut/Persimmon salad and the pumpkin pie. For the salad, I first toasted some hazelnuts in the oven at 400F for 10-15 minutes (stirring them often). According to Catherine M's instructions, we peeled the hazelnuts by rubbing them in a dish towel.
We then sliced up some fuyu persimmons (the ones with rounded bottoms: they're not astringent) into a cider vinegar-olive oil-mustard-black pepper vinaigrette and added some mixed greens and arugula. The sweetness of the persimmon was nicely complemented by the tartness of the vinegar and the bitterness of the arugula.
For the pumpkin pie, I used Cook's Illustrated recipe, which can be found here http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2008/11/cooks-illustrated-pumpkin-pie-recipe.html . I really like this recipe because it combines canned pumpkin with fresh sweet potato to give a complex flavor. Compared to the pumpkin pie from the dining hall I had eaten last week, this pie tasted full and complete.