The good news is that the Thanksgiving menu written out more than two weeks ago hasn't changed. Altering or tinkering with as well as adding to the menu is almost unheard of in my world. Being in the grocery store (almost daily), looking through current or old issues of food magazines, and continuing to spend time going through all of the fall cookbooks I have purchased thus far, can sometimes make me second guess or sway me into changing my menu. With the exception of possibly making another dessert to drop off as a surprise Thanksgiving gift for a friend, I am going to stay focused, for once.
I thought it would be fun to put together a Thanksgiving menu post this year, but realized there are several things I will be making for this year's Thanksgiving dinner I have yet to share on the blog. However, there is a silver lining here. The Boursin Spinach Gratin, Sweet Potato Casserole and Wendy's Mashed Potatoes are all perfect dinner party or holiday dishes, ones that pair incredibly well with main dishes other than turkey. Hopefully I will not be so wild and crazed making the 'dinner' that I will be unable to capture a few photos to share in the weeks ahead. Wish me luck.
To go along with the pre-dinner cocktails and wine, this year's appetizers will be the Chicken Liver Pate with Pickled Shallots and Pounded Cheese with Port Syrup and Walnuts, both recipes coming from two of my favorite new cookbooks (The New Midwestern Table and A Boat, a Whale and a Walrus).
Hands down the Spiced Cranberry and Dried Cherry Chutney is my favorite way to bring cranberries to the Thanksgiving table. I happen to someone who loves cranberries so I am showing some restraint by having only 'one' cranberry dish. Having made many cranberry sauces and chutneys over the years, this is the one that gets rave reviews. It also becomes a perfect condiment for those turkey and stuffing sandwiches on white bread. You know the ones we all crave the day after Thanksgiving. Having leftovers is the proverbial icing on the cake and one of the many reasons I love to cook for this holiday.
It shouldn't be too much of a surprise that there is always more than one dessert on the holiday table here. For the traditionalists, it wouldn't be Thanksgiving without a pumpkin pie. And we happen to really like pumpkin pie (once you have a great one you would really like it too!). This one happens to live up to the greatness expectation. And to take the Bruleed Pumpkin Pie with Caramel Swirl up another notch I thought I would serve it with Rococo's Sweet Cream Ice Cream (that amazing Maine ice cream ordered a couple of weeks ago). Fortunately the ice cream has remained 'safe' in the freezer as the certain someone with an ice cream obsession has been traveling.
Ending a meal without a little bit of chocolate would be akin to serving stuffed cabbage as the main course for Thanksgiving. In other words, the entire meal, no the entire holiday would be ruined (it has been decades but I am still recovering from the Thanksgiving meal without turkey). The S'mores Fudge Tart should be what I hope everyone will want a slice (or two) of, no matter how full from dinner they are. Besides being wickedly scrumptious, none of Thanksgiving guests have ever had this tart before. I can hardly wait for them to taste it. Oh, the anticipation.
For all of my excitement over Thanksgiving, one thing I know for sure. There is so much more to this holiday than the meal. It is the one day simply about giving, gratefulness, and gratitude. On the other 364 days of the year we can easily get caught up in 'life' and forget to appreciate all of the blessings that come to us, maybe the most important of these coming from friendships. People who come into and stay in our lives because they want to and because they get as much or more out of the friendship as they put into it.
In this past year, I have reconnected with several friends, people who I let slip out of my life for awhile, sometimes even for a very long while (mostly because I let my life get in the way). More than being thankful for having them back in my life, I am even more grateful they let me back in. So while I will be spending a significant amount of time on making what I hope will be a memorable dinner this Thanksgiving, remembering that enduring, memorable friendships also require an investment of time and attention will not get lost on me.
Wishing you all a very happy and blessed Thanksgiving. See you after the holiday!