it's the most wonderful day of the year!

I love holidays in general.  But I think Thanksgiving might be one of my favorites.  (Halloween a close second since I love getting into costume...but there's just not enough food involved for it to ever scoot into first place!)  I originally intended to post in detail about my preparations leading up to The Day.  But between the preparations themselves plus working my day job... well, that just didn't happen.  So here you have it: a story in words and photos...


A couple days beforehand, I made a rich turkey stock.  Blended with a roux on Thanksgiving, this began a very tasty gravy-- perhaps my best gravy yet!

soaking golden raisins in rye for the bread pudding below...

I used this Food and Wine recipe to make Pumpkin Croissant Bread Pudding.  (I didn't even intend to make this FOR Thanksgiving, but rather a few days beforehand.. just didn't have time and already had all the ingredients for it!  But I also knew it would go nicely with Maury's brown butter pecan ice cream!)

This is the first year we're hosting Thanksgiving in our much smaller house.  Let's just say we needed to move furniture to make way for a table in the dining room.  And after being spoiled with a spacious kitchen for four years, downsizing was painful.  I can now understand woes of the likes of Deb Perelman and other foodies in New York-sized spaces.  (Well, we have much more space than those in NY, but still...)  So I knew the best route would be frying the turkey and saving the oven space for heating the inevitably numerous side dishes that were about to come together.  Plus, turkey frying is easy and delicious!  We'd done it once before several years ago.  We injected the turkey with this marinade of honey, beer, and cider, as well as Cajun seasonings.   It almost looks like the thing is sitting up very straight for a check-up, doesn't it?  (Later on, it was doing pilates). 

Quick, fry the turkey before the dog eats it! :) 

 It only took about 45 minutes to fry this about-12 pound bird.

Every time we try to "take it easy" with the food, it never quite works out.  What you are looking at, clockwise from flowers in giant Ball jar is: a cranberry-brown sugar tart I made using this recipe, Kara's delicious chestnut sausage stuffing (the girl makes a mean stuffing!), Jamie's beet duo (trio?) with creme fraiche, a sweet potato chorizo green onion walnut hash I made by adapting this recipe from The Bitten Word (I was hesitant to diverge from sweet sweet potatoes, but I like to switch things up each year!), Shannon's squash casserole, Leah's decadent and delicious green bean casserole, a simple kale pomegranate salad (we neeeeeed greeeens) by Jamie, riced root vegetables by Shannon, a heavenly potato gratin by Carson (top left corner), classic pumpkin pie by Kara, Meyer lemon brussels sprouts with guanciale lard honey dressing by Kara, Leah's UNbelievable chicken pate (which stole the show, if you ask me), apple slices and baguette for dipping, cranberry relish, and... of course... the turkey (fried to a golden perfection) and my herbaceous gravy.

buttering the buns

I never made rolls for Thanksgiving before.  Never really felt it necessary, with everything else on the table.  Yet, rolls seemed like the perfect way to concoct sliders from leftovers!  I decided to give it a whirl, but certainly didn't want any sort of glutenous disaster happening in the whirlwind of everything else.  So I chose these Parker House rolls featured in Bon Appetit.  The author promised they were near-impossible to screw up.  And you know what?  She was right!

note the pine cone table trimmings :)

this pate.. ohmygod...

feasting with friends!

chatter and forks clinking against a Simon & Garfunkel backdrop

flowers, pinecones, pumpkins and candlesticks

cranberry tart and pumpkin pie topped with Maury's brown butter pecan ice cream.. and he foraged each pecan!

pie aftermath

After a round of strong yerba mate and some digestion, this Thanksgiving ended in the best way possible-- with song, dance, and much thankfulness around the campfire!  <3