Monday, November 29, 2010

The Non-Instant Thanksgiving

My family is not unlike other American families. We've become accustomed to convenience, and the ease of cooking things out of a box. It's almost gotten to the point (especially in the case of my youngest sister) that we dislike food that, in fact, was made from scratch. That food is, to put it plainly - "weird." My most favorite Thanksgiving foods have always been Stove Top stuffing [straight from a box], brown-n-bake rolls [straight from the bag], cranberry sauce [straight from a can], and green been casserole [made from three ingredients straight of out a can]. Again, not unlike ordinary American families.

But this year I was determined for it to be different. I have recently been addicted to this lovely woman's blog. I have made a few of her recipes which turned out to be just as delicious as they looked. [For those of you unfamiliar with the Pioneer Woman, she is a cook/photographer/mother/wife/writer extraordinaire, and the things I like best about her is the fact that she posts pictures of each step of her most delicious recipes. This makes me feel as if I can do it too, and encourages me to attempt recipes that otherwise might seen incredibly daunting and tiresome. She realizes the phrase "Anyone can cook!" (Name that movie...)] Anyways - she posted delicious Thanksgiving recipes in the weeks leading up to the holiday and I decided that I wanted to make all of the dishes this year - from scratch.

And so I did. We basically had a Pioneer Woman Thanksgiving, with one lone recipe from epicurious. [Also an excellent resource.] It turned out to be delicious. I do have to say that things take much more time when they do not come from a box - I was cooking for two days straight. But I think it was totally worth it. If anything, we're healthier, happier, and less-preserved beings as a result. And I am one step closer to my goal of becoming renaissance woman [more on that later].

Here's the run-down of the Thanksgiving menu, with pictures of course.

First, we brined the turkey. I've never done that before, but it's apparently how my grandmother did it, how Pioneer Woman does it, and how all the cool, accomplished females have done it throughout history. So, we did it.

Of course there must be stuffing, so we made cornbread apple-sausage stuffing. One word: delicious [and I do love me some Stove Top]. I loved it so much I brought home some on the plane to enjoy back here in Chicago.

This cranberry sauce was to-die-for. If you like tanginess, of course - it has pomegranate in it. It took me a while [two tries, over 24 hours] to figure out how to get it to thicken just to my liking. But it turned out great.

(and that's me!)

Of course these mashed potatoes were very delicious. I don't know how anything couldn't be delicious when it has approximately 4 sticks of butter and one thing of cream cheese in it.

Then, to please the sweet tooths (teeth?) in the family, we had these delicious sweet potatoes with marshmallows on top. There's never enough marshmallows.

Then there's the green bean casserole, a must, and probably the thing Susan was most skeptical about. I think it was pretty good, and tasted so much fresher than a can of cream of mushroom soup dumped on top of some green beans [which, for those of you that eat this delicacy, I also sincerely love].

And, last but not least, the rolls. I made the rolls from scratch. This is the first time I have remotely succeeded in making anything bread-y from scratch. I was worried about it, and had to start out twice. But they turned out to be great, they all rose properly, etc. And I used half of the dough to make some INCREDIBLE cinnamon rolls, which I will discuss tomorrow.

And of course we had pumpkin pie for dessert, which was made by my darling mother and of which I unfortunately I do not have a photograph. [But I think you all can imagine that].

As for decorations, my mother had the brilliant idea of setting each place differently. [That's something that would be in Real Simple!] It was a very eclectic and colorful table, very artistically arranged by Susan [who also took some of these photographs].

And that, my friends, was the Swicegood Thanksgiving 2010. Everything was made from scratch, and tasted delicious - and I don't know if it was the tryptophan or not, but this is what happened to me immediately after dinner was over:

It is tiring to be a renaissance woman.

[It also might have had something to do with the Turkey Trot we ran earlier in the day.]



Taylor Yves said...

way to go, looks delicious!

trisha said...

that looks wonderful!

and congrats on the run!