Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Thanksgiving Dinner: Not So Traditional

sun-dried-tomato jam with goat cheese spread

Turkeys are dry. There. I said it. And before you reach for the phone to dial that one relative who can cook a mean turkey, let me explain. I think that if I were to eat 10 turkeys, 8 of them would be dry. What about the gravy, you ask? Sure, the gravy makes it all better. But the turkey is still dry.

my first casserole! an attempt at potato dauphionoise

Most likely because my parents have owned restaurants intent on serving turnip greens, cornbread, mashed potatoes and even turkey, Thanksgiving at my house isn't a day where we celebrate with pounds of yams and rows of neatly-baked casseroles. It's really just a day to get together and cook a nice meal. This year, my siblings couldn't make it back home so this Thanksgiving dinner was more "normal" in a sense that I would have cooked these dishes on any other day.

haricot verts (yes I just went there) with herb butter

But in many ways, this dinner was very much like a traditional Thanksgiving dinner simply because the sides were far better than the entree. Let's not get ahead of ourselves though. The appetizer of sundried-tomato jam with goat cheese was very good. It really hinged on the balance between the goat cheese and jam. Too much of either one was not good.

My attempt to make potato dauphionoise was not a bad first try. I used fontina instead of the traditional gruyere because I had already spent $30 on cheese and didn't want to spend any more money at the store. What I liked most about this casserole was how it was not incredibly rich. You could have firsts but also keep going for seconds and thirds. Overall the potatoes were subtle, and most important, didn't send me running to the bathroom. The haricot verts were surprisingly excellent. They are, after all, just green beans and yet somehow this simple recipe of butter, shallots and a few other ingredients made this dish very tasty.

The entree of red fish with a feta-dill spread was not good. The recipe online looked very appealing but I guess I should pay more attention to recipes that call for lots of mayo...I was just looking at the picture...In retrospect I should have seen how the recipe was essentially a version of ranch dressing. Paired with fish? was too dilly on top and not flavorful enough in the middle. But on the upside, that lemon in the picture is looking mighty fancy.

Recipe for Sundried-Tomato Jam

Recipe for Haricot Verts & Herb Butter

Recipe for Potato Dauphionoise

**note, I used fontina instead of gruyere and when I baked it, I just layered the sliced potatoes, put a layer of sauce, cheese and salt and then made another layer. Finished in the oven for an hour or so. I didn't do steps 6 & 7.**


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