Live Real. Eat Real.

Thanksgiving Menu, 2012 Edition

I was going to do a huge rant today about Mayor Michael Bloomerg’s latest idiocy –  he has now banned donations to NYC homeless shelters because the city can’t monitor the fat, sodium and sugar content of the food being donated – but I just don’t have the energy.  And I’m afraid my head will explode in the process.  (If you’re not worried about your head exploding, click the link; you’ll just be amazed.  And, I hope, appalled.)

So in the interest of keeping my brains intact – my laptop, after all, is practically brand-new and I hear exploded brains are a bitch to clean up – I’ll swagger a little instead and tell you that The Young One, who made the honor roll the first grading period this year, has already been accepted to the university of his choice, Kent State.  (I do my best, every time he mentions it, not to start singing, “Tin soldiers and Nixon coming, we’re finally on our own. This summer I hear the drumming, four dead in O-hi-o…”  Thank you, Neil Young.)  It looks like there might be some sort of a scholarship in all of this, too.

I’m proud of the boy.  Especially because it got him to call his grandmother without being nagged.

At any rate, while I was talking to Darling Daughter last night about her Thanksgiving plans, my own menu finally came together.  And since I post it every year, well…here you are.  I’ve linked to recipes I’ve posted before.

The Turkey From Hell.  Needless to say, our turkeys are now pastured and the wheat flour used for the roasting bag has been replaced with tapioca flour, but other than that, the recipe is essentially the same.  I’ll probably make some giblet gravy to go with it, using tapioca flour, since Beloved loves it so.

Fermented Cranberry-Orange Chutney.  Because I’m absolutely in love with it and have an entire quart in my fridge and isn’t that convenient?

My Grandmother’s Cornbread Dressing.  I found a recipe on the internet that is very close to my own for gluten-free cornbread, using alternative flours rather than wheat flour, which it claims is indistinguishable from the “real thing.”  Since I cannot imagine Thanksgiving dinner without cornbread dressing, I’m making it, enjoying it, and giving the leftovers away.  Well, most of them, anyway.

Bourbon Molasses Sweet Potatoes with Buttered Pecans.  I haven’t made this for two or three years, but it’s just a marvelous dish.  Beloved really likes it, and so do I, so it’s back on the menu.  I’ll either skip the brown sugar or substitute it with evaporated cane juice.

Roasted Garlic White Cheddar Mashed Potatoes.  The Young One does not care for cornbread dressing or sweet potatoes – don’t ask me; the kid is just odd – so I will make this as well.  Gladly, actually, since they are the best mashed potatoes I’ve ever eaten.  (I will probably buy him some of those brown-and-serve rolls he’s so fond of, too – it is, after all, also his Thanksgiving dinner.)

Balsamic Glazed Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta.  This is an absolutely delicious dish guaranteed to convert even the most adamant Brussels sprout hater.  It’s also quite easy, and the pancetta and balsamic give it that “special occasion dish” aura.  My good friend Gretchen makes this every year, too.

Gluten-Free Apple Crisp.  Because, Holy Mother of Pearl, it was good.  VERY, VERY GOOD.

Crustless Lemon Chess Pie.  I can thank Darling Daughter for this one; she is going to bake a pie to take to the Thanksgiving dinner she’s going to, and when I suggested her great-grandmother’s Pumpkin Pie (which is simply the best pumpkin pie recipe in existence).  She said she’d done that last year, and thought she’d bake a lemon chess pie instead.  I gasped – it simply hadn’t occurred to me – and said, “You know…I could make that without a crust.  In individual ramekins, even, like a brulee.”  I glanced over to my left, and saw Beloved vigorously nodding his head YES.  I don’t know if I’ll go ahead and use white sugar in it, or evaporated cane juice just so I can feel a little bit better about all the sugar, carbohydrates and dairy I’ll be consuming that day.  But whatever I do, I’ll post the recipe afterwards, because Lemon Chess Pie, with or without a crust, is a thing of beauty.

So that’s it.  Nothing excessive – trust me, I’ve done excessive in the past, and probably would be again this year if I were going to have a houseful – but fancy, and satisfying, enough for the holiday.

What are you doing for Thanksgiving?  If you’re cooking it yourself and follow a certain way of eating, such as paleo, will you try to keep your dinner in line with your diet, or will you throw caution to the wind and make some favorite traditional dishes because it just wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without them?





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