Sunday, November 18, 2012

Thanksgiving planning and logistics

Getting my act together for the upcoming Thanksgiving meals.  Yes, meal-s.  I'm hosting dinner for the family on Thursday, then hosting my annual "Orphan Thanksgiving" on Saturday for the gang.  

There will be six of us for dinner Thursday -- hardly a huge crowd -- but a nice number to serve for a special, but nonetheless relaxing, family dinner.

Family dinner menu:

Cauliflower fritters

Roast turkey
Buttermilk mashed potatoes
Sauteed Brussels sprouts with balsamic vinegar
Apple-nut-cranberry gelatin mold
Rosemary dinner rolls

Iced tea, wine, beer, soda, cocktails

Pumpkin and pecan pies with bourbon whipped cream
Ice cream
Nuts and figs

Working on my logistics.  Ideally I'll prep as much as I can on Wednesday so that Thursday is less of a stroke-inducing rush.  Mom's doing the pies and the cranberries.  Aunt El is bringing the ice cream. 

I'll make my stuffing, and gravy base, boil and rice the potatoes, blanch the Brussels sprouts and the cauliflorets, chop up carrots, onion, and celery to put around the roasting bird, have some peeled garlic and sliced shallots prepped and ready, set the table, and get out the serving pieces.  

Thursday will be for cutting up and roasting the bird, baking the rolls, and making iced tea.  We've already nixed the sweet potatoes -- just way too much food.  

"Orphan Thanksgiving" will be a more casual affair, and with a crowd of 8 to 10, I'll likely be serving it as a buffet.  That way, it also allows me to set up a bar on the dining room table, and gives the gang plenty of time to relax, and munch in the living room.  They seem to like sitting and munching. 

Oh, and there will be a big-ass pitcher of sangria, too.  

I'll be roasting an extra turkey breast Thursday that I'll use for the hot Brown sandwiches Saturday.  

The "Orphan" menu:

Finocchio with olive oil/garlic/anchovy dip (a not so 'caldo' bagna cauda)
Deviled eggs (Chris)
Assorted cheeses and crackers
Another potluck hors d'oeuvres (Bob)

Hot Brown sandwiches
Sauteed Brussels sprouts (yes, same as Thursday)
Buttermilk mashed potatoes (ditto)
Cranberry sauce

Sangria, iced tea, wine, beer, soda

Dessert (Ben's bringing that; it's Mike's birthday)
Ice cream
Nuts and figs

Hot Brown sandwiches, if you've never encountered them, are open face turkey sandwiches.  Sliced white-meat turkey is laid on lightly toasted bread, a couple strips of crisp bacon are draped over, a slice or two of tomato, then the whole napped with a rich cheese sauce, after which they're put under the broiler to brown.  The "Brown" name (capital "B") comes not from the color or the broiling, but from the fact that they originated at the Brown Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky.  They are remarkably good. 


  1. Okay question: Boiling and ricing the potatoes Wed.? How do you store and serve them on Thursday? I usually do the potatoes Thursday since I like the fresh whippy-ness of just made potatoes. Is there a way to cut the work on Thursday, but actually have them not taste reheated? I have about 35 coming on Thursday - so time savers and work ahead tips are a MUST!


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