Tuesday, November 24, 2009

(no) turkey day

Alright so time is flying and it's already that time of the year again. The one day where everyone in America is focused on one thing and one thing only: dinner. Which quite frankly is my focus every other 364 days of the year but hey, whatever. In fact, it's kind of odd. The Thanksgiving meal is not one that particularly moves me. There's almost too much tradition involved that it doesn't leave room for anything new or creative. But I get it. It's a comfy meal because it's consistent. And we all love a little consistency in our lives wherever we can get it. And if it happens to be by ways of Pepperidge Farm Stuffing in a bag, well, then so be it.

But here's the thing. This year's Thanksgiving crowd has dwindled to a somewhat sad number. Three (now four). And actually, that's quite alright because I'm taking this year as an opportunity to say goodbye to the turkey.

How many of you did I lose on that bold statement? Hear me out though. Last year, I went through the trouble (willingly, of course) of brining the bird for a solid 36+ hours then roasting it breast side down first (which apparently also maximizes juiciness) then flipped it back over, basted it with its juices, etc. I did everything humanly possible to make sure that last year's turkey would not come out dry. And while it might have been slightly juicier than in years past, slightly is the operative word here. All that work for not nearly enough in return.

Fact of the matter is, turkey is almost always inevitably dry. And it's something that I think a lot of people forgive because they can drown it in gravy and pull the "but it's tradition card." But here's my argument: I want what I put out to be the absolute best that it can possibly be. Always. And if that means by throwing some chickens into the oven to roast just until they're perfectly crispy on the outside and tender, flavorful, and JUICY on the inside, then that's what I'm going to do. All the "traditional" sides will be there to make us all feel like we're playing along with the holiday minus some trytophan-induced drowsiness.

So after that long winded but required explanation, this year's spread will be as follows:

Oysters Danish Style with Cucumber and Pickled-Shallot Relish (Daniel Boulud recipe from New York Magazine)
One or two soft, slightly stinky cheeses served with grapes and sliced apple

Main Event:
Roasted Chicken with Orange, Lemon, Garlic, and Sage
Ing's Mashed Potatoes
Brussels Sprouts with Cranberries (last year's biggest hit. make these!)
Homemade Cranbery Sauce with Orange Zest
Baby Greens with Bosc Pear and Goat Cheese dressed with Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette

Obligatory Pumpkin Pie (and one of the only sweets I indulge in)

So who's stepping up this year and helping in the kitchen? My hope is for all of you to contribute to at least one dish that you can proudly present at the table to your family and friends. Whether it's one of the recipes shown above or one of your own, I'd love to hear what's going to be dished up on your plate this year.

Happy Thanksgiving!

1 comment:

meleary said...

Sounds delicious! Can't wait to see pics! I am def. going to try the brussels sprouts and cranberries! I will let you know how it goes.


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