We had a wonderful Thanksgiving last night. It is my favorite American holiday, centered around food and friends/family. Every year, I make an effort to make dinner for a few friends (all far from home and with no family around) and last night was no different. Unlike celebrations of previous years, when I made "nice food" without it being traditional Thanksgiving fare, this year I wanted to make all seasonal fare, although we pardoned a turkey and made it a meatless celebration! The best part was that my darling friend Laureen and I cooked together to put the meal together, it was really a team effort. The tally:
# of people who ate dinner: 11 (plus 3 friends who showed up to share dessert)
# of dishes cooked: ~12
# of desserts: 5
# of hours spent eating: ~6
# of hours the oven was on: ~6
# of sticks of butter used: 9
# of things I am thankful for: too many to count
Here are some highlights of the meal...
Soup: roasted butternut squash soup using Lindy's recipe. What a flavorful soup...I took a picture before I started roasting the ingredients
The finished soup disappeared before I had a chance to take pictures! I served it with a garnish of cream and spiced pumpkin seeds. Thanks Lindy for sharing a wonderful recipe.
The appetizer table:
consisted of a crackers-and-cheese tray, a wonderful cranberry tea bread (made by Laureen), two cranberry relishes: one with cranberries macerated in Grand Marnier and mixed with toasted pecans, and another cranberry-orange chutney; both were also made by Laureen. Here is a closer look at the delicious cranberry tea-bread.
I also made mushroom gratinate based on Lidia's recipe that I got from Mika's post.
V made a delicious champagne cocktail to go with the appetizers, using an idea from a Jacques Pepin show:
Fruit juices (orange, mango, cranberry-grape) were frozen in ice-cube trays. The fruit cubes were added to a glass (one can choose any combo of flavors) and topped with champagne. The taste changes as the cubes melt. It was delicious!
The entree was egg pilaf, my nod to my Indian traditions, and I made a side-dish of mashed potatoes based on Elise's recipe, I only modified it to include roasted garlic. As Elise promises, they turned out perfect! The second side-dish was a really unusual one: Laureen made quinoa with caramelized onions, a recipe she got from the NYTimes.
The sweet onions were perfectly complemented by the nutty quinoa.
I also tried making stuffing for the first time. It is so interesting to make something that you have never eaten before and have no clue what it should taste like! I used Rachel Ray's recipe and modified it to include soy sausages to make it even more like the real thang.
In addition, we had a mixed greens salad and dinner rolls.
And for dessert...
Laureen made traditional pumpkin pie (!) using the recipe at the back of "Libby's canned pumpkin" but she tweaked the recipe according to her Mom's instructions. Look how beautiful the pie is!
Our French-Italian friend BG showed up with this wonderful Italian Christmas bread called Pantenone (he can always be relied upon to bring the most amazing desserts!):
Laureen and I also made apple clafoutis using Amy's recipe, and Amy, this recipe is a keeper! I wish I could have served it piping hot, but it was fine even after it cooled down.
I also made walnut-fig kulfi, plus our friend OA brought wonderful chocolate chip cookies...I will put up the picture later today.
What do you think of this feast? Excessive enough for ya? :) I want to thank all the bloggers with their wonderful ideas and recipes for helping me put together this meal. Happy Thanksgiving!
Note: I ALMOST forgot to add this wonderful link...Sub Rosa does a unique take on thanksgiving. Going back to the time when Columbus discovered America accidentally while looking for India and its spices, they have put together a wonderful East Indian Thanksgiving Dinner, do take a look!