Thanksgiving Prep

Now that I have the currency of being married with a baby, I won the privilege of hosting Thanksgiving this year. For the first time! I’m so excited! I’ve promised to cook my ass off. Of course other family members are bringing things but my plan is to provide a base meal that they can add to. I also have to consider that one of my aunts is a vegan, and although she’s bringing food as well, I want her to be able to eat as much as possible without the rest of my family noticing which dishes are vegan.

I’m making the turkey (of course – and actually I might delegate this to Shan with “sage” as a direction, because he did such a good job cooking the turkey his work gifted us last year), potatoes, green beans, sweet potatoes, salad, appetizer and dessert. I don’t really have a whole lot of Thanksgivingy dishes in my repertoire, so I’m trying out a few before the day.

First off – green beans and potatoes.

Last night I made the haricots verts with toasted walnuts and walnut oil (no recipe, the name says it all) from Amanda Hesser’s Cooking for Mr. Latte and they were fantastic. I actually used just regular green beans for poor me and Zoeya the test-tasters, but I’ll actually procure haricot verts for the day which will be prettier and more delicate. I worry this dish is too simple, because we all know Thanksgiving is about side dishes on crack, but I think something simple and elegant – that doesn’t require valuable oven real-estate – will be a good addition and definitely more delicious than our traditional green bean casserole from a can.

The other dish I made was the Scalloped Potato and Fennel which I saw in Bon Appetit. This came out beautiful! You line a buttered baking dish with garlic and rosemary, layer slices of fennel and potatoes, and pour a cream mixture over the whole thing. Bake. The rosemary permeated the dish without being overpowering, and made the house smell amazing. I hadn’t bought enough cream so substituted half with milk, and it was still incredibly decadent. Find the Scalloped Potato and Fennel recipe at Bon Appetit – I give it four forks. I was also impressed with my $10 Wal-Mart mandolin.

I’m off to a good start, and looking forward to trying more holiday goodies.