Sunday, November 22, 2009

Getting Ready for a Feast

Today I started planning in earnest for our upcoming Thanksgiving dinner with 19 in attendance.  As an only child, it’s always a little bit daunting to take on cooking for so many people.

I tend to go somewhat overboard, adding more dishes to the menu instead of just making bigger quantities of a few standard ones.  Fortunately I have the help of my long-time friend and neighbor, who is never intimidated by anything in the kitchen.  And my daughter will be home to help cook.  And I had all our knives sharpened. 

Here’s our combined menu so far:

Roasted nuts
Herb-roasted olives
Puffed pastry with grape tomatoes and ricotta

Lentil-collard soup with lemon

Green salad with shaved fennel and beets
Wild rice salad

Braised kale
Brussel sprouts with pancetta
Mashed sweet potatoes with Chipotle pepper
Mashed garlicky Yukon gold potatoes
Butternut squash with goat cheese
Cranberry sauce

Fennel-wild mushroom dressing
Traditional bread stuffing

Pumpkin pie
Sweet potato pie
Apple pie
Birthday cake

Thanksgiving is always a reminder of a similar dinner with our neighbors, after which my friend went into labor and gave birth, while my husband David spent the night with her two older children.  That baby is now 22 years old, a multi-talented college senior.

The guest list will also include a part of our family whom we haven’t seen in some time.  I hope it will be a happy and otherwise uneventful reunion.

I did the majority of the shopping today, not wanting to be a part of the panic that always ensues when certain items become scarce and everyone wants them.  I will get the 5 remaining items on Tuesday and after that just choose to leave anything still missing out of the recipe.

Yesterday I took a most exciting 3-hour course at Hill’s Kitchen, entitled “Thanksgiving Basics:  A Plan for the Mayhem.”  Many of the dishes on our menu are a result of that class.  When I teasingly questioned the vast amounts of butter and cream in the dishes we made, the chef/instructor passed along Julia Child’s advice:  take smaller portions!  And so I shall.


Blogger Pauline said...

Have a wonderful holiday dinner!

6:35 AM  
Blogger bozoette said...

Sounds like a wonderful feast! (I am waaaay behind in my novel, but I have a half-baked plan for catching up.)

6:57 AM  
Blogger jodifur said...

Wow, you are so calm. I do thanksgiving for a crowd too, and I'm not calm.

8:16 AM  
Blogger LiLu said...

I'm bringing mashed potatoes... I might just have to rip you off for that "Mashed garlicky Yukon gold potatoes" recipe...

10:52 AM  
Blogger Steve said...

Holy cow! That's a big ol' menu! :)

12:39 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Jodifur -- It's easy to be calm 5 days in advance. You should see me on Thursday!

LiLu -- I e-mailed you the mashed potato recipe my husband is planning to use. Good luck!

4:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have a great time creating all these wonderful dishes...I'm imagining I can smell your kitchen now -- yum!


1:36 PM  

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