The Foodie Files

Friday, November 24, 2006

The Foodie Files Thanksgiving

My mother, Aunt, and I have never had much luck making Thanksgiving dinner. The peas have been too garlicky, the mashed potatoes too lumpy, and the turkey has never, ever, been moist. So this year, I was going to take the reins. Armed with a bushel of Martha Stewart recipes and a fierce determination, I was going to break the mold and make this Thanksgiving great with elegant squash mashes and homemade pumpkin pie.

Alas, I am not above the curse. So where did I go wrong?

Since I am a cornbread lover, I wanted to make a cornbread stuffing instead of our usual bread one. I made two rounds of a M.S. recipe for stuffing, but found it to be too salty and not sweet enough. So I made a sweeter cornbread, which I combined with a slightly sweet breakfast sausage and the result was...a little off.

We had never made brussels sprouts for Thanksgiving before, but these carmelized brussels sprouts with chestnuts seemed very tempting. They certainly came out as beautiful as the magazine picture:

I liked cooking with the jarred chestnuts, which had a great flavor and were surprisingly manageable. This dish was actually pretty good by itself, but its sweetness clashed a bit with the flavor of the stuffing.

But as in past disastrous years, the evening was not a total failure. Our turkey was perhaps the best we had ever made (and it was certainly the most moist), and for the first time, I got to experience the fun of Thanksgiving food shopping. I went on a Tuesday afternoon, so the Whole Foods was busy, but not in an elbow-your-neighbor-for-the-cranberries kind of way. Everyone was so happy and energetic that just thinking about it makes me excited for my next turkey day.

Because next year is another chance to break that curse.

Cornbread and Sausage Stuffing

Caramelized Chestnuts and Brussels Sprouts

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