This year my mom will be hosting a big family Christmas so we decided to keep Thanksgiving low key. I also thought that this could be an opportunity for me to test out my culinary skills (which are basic to say the least) on a very forgiving audience should it turn disastrous. It was a small affair, with just my parents and my sister in attendance. I did a bit of planning, choose basic recipes and wrote down a grocery list of all the things I needed to purchase in advance. I tried to keep things as simple as possible and referenced the Joy of Cooking for most of the meal.
I didn't have the pressure of trying to meet a definite a meal deadline, but I started cooking fairly early in the day to give myself plenty of time to get everything organized and prepared.
I started with the stuffing, chopping up cilantro, celery, mushrooms and onions (tear)...
We decided to forego the large turkey and opted for two roast chickens. There was only four of us and there would be plenty of leftovers anyway. My mom decided we should called them the 'twins'.
I stuffed the twins and used safety pins to close them as I didn't have a needle and thread on hand (oops, forgot about that). Fortunately they did the trick! I popped these babies into the oven and let them roast away.
I moved on to the potatoes while my sister prepared the yams (sorry, no pics). She was a great help and had those roasting along side the twins in no time.
The next task was the brussel sprouts. I have never before worked with brussel sprouts so this was a bit of an experimental time for me. I cleaned, chopped and steamed the sprouts as per my handy companion, the Joy of Cooking, suggested. Took a little more prep than I expected but still fairly basic.
A simple strawberry salad was assembled. Fortunately I had experience with this one before! My secret ingredient? Sesame roasted cashews served up with a low-fat sesame thai dressing. Delish.
The twins were ready to be carved, a task I left for my Dad. The gravy was made, the food was plated and we were ready to get this meal started!
The end result.
No Thanksgiving meal would be complete without Mom's homemade apple pie. The apples came right off the tree in their backyard. Doesn't get much more wholesome than that!
All in all, my first ever Thanksgiving dinner turned out very well. I'm sure improvements could be made but nobody complained, the plates were polished off and leftovers were requested.
I should also be sure to mention that I wasn't trying to prove that I could handle the whole process on my own. I had a lot of help and it was a great opportunity to spend time with family, learn from each other and laugh along the way.
And for that I was most grateful.