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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Thanksgiving Yum

And now, a pictorial tour of my delicious southern Thanksgiving dinner at The Homestead in Virginia!

I started off with oyster stew--very traditional in my family, and this was an excellent version. One of the best things I ate! Creamy and luscious, the oysters tender and briny--just about perfect.Then we moved on to salads. The banquet table groaned under the weight of the many bowls of different cold side dishes, everything from divinity (the ubiquitous fruit salad with tiny marshmallows--not my favorite) to marinated roasted vegetables. I chose (starting from the top and going clockwise) rosemary cashews and spiced walnuts, house-smoked salmon with dill cream sauce, shredded carrot and raising salad (too heavy on the nutmeg this year, sad,) sliced potato salad that I didn't love, a very mayonnaisey and delicious seven layer salad with peas and cheddar, and a delicious potato salad with bacon. Next, the main event: the turkey! My little confession is that I'm not a huge fan of turkey, especially in banquet hall settings like this. The bird is so easy to dry out, and extra time on the carving board under a heat lamp doesn't usually improve the situation. I chose dark meat to try to mitigate the problem, but it didn't really help. The cranberry sauce was pretty good, though! I also took a little venison stew (bottom of the picture) and I absolutely had to try their little stuffed quail! So cute, and much juicier than the turkey. That's it on the top right, next to the extremely traditional brown sauce. I forced down some sweet potatoes, again for the sake of tradition, but they were mashed and covered with gooey marshmallows, which is far from my favorite preparation. The second best bit of the entire meal is on that plate on the bottom left--the green bean casserole topped with crunchy fried onions! Totally delicious; I could've eaten a whole plate of nothing but that.Except I had to save room for dessert! The Homestead's dessert option are always varied and plentiful. I never seem to enjoy anyone's pumpkin pie but my mother's, so I avoided that and picked pecan instead, which was great. Also a key lime tartlet, because I can never resist key lime anything, and generous portion of apple cranberry cobbler, topped with a boozy and delicious creme anglaise. Yum!In case you're wondering, no, I did not clean all these plates! I picked lots of different things so I could try a bit of each, but the only things I finished were the green bean casserole, the potato salad with bacon, the smoked salmon, and the key lime tart.

So what did you have alongside your bird? Did you try anything new or stick to the old standby favorites? Anything you'll definitely make again?


My parents have a way of doing turkey that keeps it moist and tender every time. They cook the bird the day before, then strip it down to the carcass, make gravy from the pain juices and then put the meat and gravy into one big pan. On Thanksgiving day, they reheat it in a slow oven while everything else is being prepared. Even people who don't like turkey like this turkey.

Besides that, we had ham, green beans with pearl onions, corn, whipped sweet potatoes (no marshmallows), roasted garlic and sour cream mashed potatoes, sundried tomato-stuffed olives, homemade cranberry sauce, stuffing, slippery dumplings and plenty of extra gravy. Also, sweet potato pie, pumpkin pie, eggnog pie and a wide variety of chocolates.

I gained a pound just typing that.

Never heard of doing turkey like that! Sounds interesting. And I can't believe you just tossed off "eggnog pie" like it was nothing. Like I wouldn't IMMEDIATELY NEED THAT RECIPE.

The original dish for Thanksgiving that I made this year was asparagus with a brown butter and balsamic vinegar sauce. I would make it again and not necessarily just for Thanksgiving.

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