next_to_normal: (Andrew cooking)
[personal profile] next_to_normal
LOL, we are now a week past Thanksgiving, but I cooked, dammit, so I'm gonna brag about it!

Here's the full menu from our turkey day:

Butternut squash soup
Pear and goat cheese salad
Corn muffins
Turkey (duh)
Mashed potatoes
Candied sweet potatoes and apples
Green bean casserole
Cranberry sauce
Pumpkin pie
Turkey-shaped cookies

I made the salad, the muffins, and helped with the sweet potatoes. My aunt brought the desserts. My dad carved the turkey, and my mom did everything else.

I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but my mother HATES Sandra Lee with a fiery passion (mostly, I think she's just jealous because she's been using the same "semi-homemade" tricks for years, and she's never gotten a TV show). My dad and I like to put on her show just because it annoys my mom so much. :) This isn't especially relevant except to mention that we use a lot of shortcuts in making a big meal like this. The corn muffins were a box mix, the stuffing was Stove Top, the cranberry sauce came in a can, and the green bean casserole was the ubiquitous cream of mushroom soup recipe.

So perhaps it isn't surprising that my salad turned out to be - according to my mother, who cooked most of the food - the best part of the meal. :) It's a variation on other recipes I've made involving fruit, cheese, and nuts (here's one of them; I also do a variation with sliced apples or pears and herbed goat cheese with either pecans or walnuts on toasted ciabatta bread), but I added a few special ingredients that, to borrow from Emeril, kicked it up a notch.

I started with a mixture of romaine and spinach and then sliced up some red pears (for the pretty color, but any pears will do). I topped it with crumbed goat cheese, dried cranberries, and these amazing pecans (OMG so good!). Then I used a vinegar and oil dressing using seasoned rice vinegar, which is yummy in general, but combined with the pears and the cheese and the pecans? Unbelievably delicious. I made it again every single day until I went home, lol. And now I need to find more of those pecans because I want to make it again.

The other thing we put a bit of effort into was the sweet potato/apple dish. It's basically just sweet potatoes and sliced apples with a candied-type sauce and baked in the oven. My mom boiled the potatoes a bit first, so they'd be the same consistency as the apples. For the sauce, we used brown sugar, butter, pancake syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cornstarch, but I couldn't give you measurements. We did actually measure, but then we decided it wasn't enough and started throwing in more ingredients and so I have no idea how much we ended up using. Such is cooking with my mother, lol.

Oh, and the soup. My parents are BIG into soup. It started out with my dad taking over the escarole (Italian wedding) soup duties once my grandmother got too senile to make it, which led to experiments with beef barley, lentil, split pea, French onion, and the latest is a mushroom and crab soup my dad copied from one of our favorite restaurants. The butternut squash is fun, because you get to use the handheld blender. :) I don't know the exact recipe for that one, either, but it came from a cookbook, and I think my parents actually do follow the recipe, so I could get it if anyone wants it.

Now it's your turn - what did YOU cook for Thanksgiving? And how did it turn out?

Date: Dec. 2nd, 2010 05:59 pm (UTC)
mcmegan: (Default)
From: [personal profile] mcmegan
My thanksgiving cooking was not very complicated. I made a turkey breast (since it was only me and Seamus), which was the only thing I really had to cook. It was in the oven for longer that I thought it was going to be, but it turned out good!
The other easy things that I made: stuffing (stove top), mashed potatoes (betty crocker?), corn (microwave steam bag), and gravy (from a packet). Oh, and dessert- pumpkin pie (food lion made that one). But it was still very yummy.

Date: Dec. 2nd, 2010 06:11 pm (UTC)
mcmegan: (Default)
From: [personal profile] mcmegan
Also, I just read this- (sorry, don't know how to make nice little links like you) which makes me decide that I don't like Sandra Lee either. I'm not impressed by her cake. And angel food cake does not need icing!

Date: Dec. 2nd, 2010 09:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I did not know anyone else's family ate escarole soup omg. I thought we were just a ridiculous stereotype. (Well, we are, but not because of this, yay.)

I did dessert, I made caramel shortbread and white chocolate chip cookies MMMMMMM I wish I brought some home with me.

Date: Dec. 2nd, 2010 09:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]

Sidebar: For YEARS, I thought it was "scuttole" soup, because that's how everyone in my family pronounces it, and then I saw escarole in the supermarket and had a lightbulb moment. I was also baffled to learn that "pruzoot" meant prosciutto.


Cookie recipe! ( But with half brown and half white sugar, and white chocolate and macadamia nuts instead of chocolate chips.
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