I love Thanksgiving but - oof - I sure do eat a lot! We had another epic dinner at my parents' house: nineteen people, including Mr. Mouse and me, the Mouse-in-laws, my brother, my Maine uncle, aunt and cousins, and two sets of good family friends. The food was just outstanding as it always is. Cheese, crackers, crudites and raw oysters to start: if you've never tried raw oysters with a dab of wasabi and splashed with saki, you're missing a treat - briny and sweet and with a bit of a bite from the wasabi.
My folks make the two turkeys, the mashed potatoes, gravy (my dad makes great gravy - full o' giblets) and the dressing. Usually we have two different kinds of dressings, one that's my grandma's recipe (heavy on the sage - mmmmmm) and one that's got tinned oysters, but this year the tinned oysters were way off so we went with shellfish-free dressing instead. Everyone else brings the sides. We had roasted root veggies (carrots, parsnips, yams and potatoes - maybe salsify?) with a cream sauce, green beans, sweet potato casserole, a great green salad with apples and bleu cheese, cranberry-orange relish and cheesy-onion bread. The recipes for the green beans and the sweet potatoes are below; I'll post the roasted root vegetables as soon as I get the recipe from my aunt/mom.
And finally, pies, spectacular pies, my favorite part of the meal. I'll take pie over cake any day of the week. It's no wonder that I'm loving Pushing Daisies where pie plays a starring role! We had two pumpkins, two pecans, one blue-blackberry, one pumpkin ice cream, one banana cream, one mincemeat (with REAL mincemeat - venison and all!), one five-layer coconut cake (okay, not technically a pie, but still dang tasty and so moist) and twenty-four of those little pumpkin-coconut tartlets, which no one even bothered with because there was so much else to indulge in. Just amazing. I haven't had banana cream pie for years and I can't even tell you when (if ever) I've had real mincemeat. So, so good. And since Mr. Mouse doesn't like pie (blasphemy!), I get to eat all the leftovers we brought home. Guess I shouldn't stop trotting on the treadmill quite yet.
Here are the two recipes I promised. Enjoy them. The beans are wicked easy (you can do them ahead of time which is great) and the sweet potatoes are the best you'll ever taste. If I'm wrong, let me know; if I'm right, let me know too. In fact, I'd love to hear your T'giving stories/favorite pies/any of it.
Green Beans with Tapenade Dressing (from Martha Stewart Living, June 2000).
Coarse salt; freshly ground black pepper
1 lb. green beans
1/4 cup black olive tapenade
1 clove garlic, minced (or more to taste)
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
Bringa medium saucepan of salted water to a boil. Plunge trimmed beans into boiling water and cook until bright green and tender, 2-3 minutes. Drain, and rinse in cold water to stop the cooking. Transfer beans to a serving bowl and toss well with tapenade, garlic, parsley and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Serve at room temperature.
Maryann A's Sweet Potato Casserole (usually doubled for a Thanksgiving crowd)
3 cups mashed sweet potatoes (4 large)
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 beaten eggs
1/2 stick margarine, melted
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
Combine all the ingredients and spoon into a buttered shallow casserole dish.
For the topping, combine another 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/3 cup flour, 1 cup chopped pecans and 1/3 stick margarine into a crumble. Spread over the sweet potato mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes. (Serves eight and can be made ahead and frozen, then thawed and baked before serving.)
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