Thirty fifth thing: It seems appropriate that this next entry in my 59 Candles, 59 Things series is Thanksgiving, a time of year which I love and a meal that is likely my most favorite to prepare – and eat every year. And yes, it is one of the things that makes me ridiculously happy.
As the years have gone by, Spence and I have created our traditional Thanksgiving meal. Since retiring in February 2014, this meal is more enjoyable as I’m not under the gun to do the prep work the weekend prior or in evenings after working all day. And there is alot of prep work though don’t read that as a complaint – it is self-imposed, from-scratch cooking that while time consuming, builds joyful anticipation of the flavorful meal to come.
The labor intensive dressing replete with chestnuts (scored, roasted, peeled and chopped) sage sausage, red and green apples, sauteed onion and celery with fresh picked herbs (that emerged unscathed despite last week’s record snowfall) and the partial bags artisan breads from the freezer,deliberately saved and cubed for this purpose. A masterpiece to be sure (patting myself on the back). Since it’s our favorite part of the meal, I make what may seem to be a ridiculous amount of it and it never goes to waste.
Next my cranberry-orange relish prepared several days ago, including my secret addition, Grand Marnier liqueur. This chutney-like relish adds a bit of fresh, tartness to a rich meal.
The 8-10 pound bone-in turkey breast, slathered under and over the skin with fresh-picked herb compound butter is in it’s first hour of cooking as I write this – and looks beautiful.
Add my gravy (which I’ve perfected over the years) finished with extra dry vermouth and a shot (or three) of Slap Ya Mama hot sauce plus a Stouffer’s Spinach Souffle, open a bottle of Sparkling Riesling and you know what’s on my dinner table today.
For dessert I made a perfect pumpkin pie! I used one of the pie crusts from my freezer that I made with my own two hands, using my mom’s fabulous pie crust recipe as she mentored me a few weeks ago.
I’ve been geeky about Thanksgiving all week as the prep for the meal was coming together telling Spence repeatedly how excited I am. My mom said “you’re like a kid waiting for Santa”. I think that’s accurate.
While dinner is cooking, we will watch the first of our two favorite (and traditional) Thanksgiving movies:
- Planes, Trains and Automobiles
- Grumpy Old Men
If you’d like any of my recipes, I’ve shared them on the blog. You’ll find recipes for the cranberry-orange relish, roasted chestnut, sausage & apple dressing, fresh-picked herb compound butter and pie crust!