Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012 Post 1: Brussels sprouts with chestnuts (p. 261), Root vegetable puree (p. 245), and Creamed cabbage (p. 263)

So, I realize I've been the worst blogger ever and I greatly apologize!  I will catch up on old blog posts (I'm over a year behind--honestly, I haven't even blogged about Thanksgiving 2011 but I will!).  I thought I would post new posts while sprinkling in the old posts.  And I'm going to schedule these to post in a row, even if I write them all in the same day, so check back.

As most of you know, I'm running out of "normal" Thanksgiving foods to cook because I've already made them.  So I've taken to only making the side dishes, the stuffing, and the bread out of TJOC.  This years I made three vegetable side dishes.

Brussels sprouts (and yep, there is an s at the end of Brussels) are something most people are sure they hate, even if they've never eaten one.  They really aren't as bad as people think--they are cabbagey but not as strong and are absolutely amazing with butter and a little garlic and salt. So, strangely, it wasn't the Brussels sprouts that were my problem with Brussels sprouts with chestnuts (p. 261), it was the chestnuts.  I had never eaten a chestnut before and had no idea if I was going to like them or not.

The recipe was simple.  I melted butter and added 4 halved shallots (that seemed strange to me--I mean, you usually chop or slice them but only halving them?  And if you are going to half them, don't you think you'd use more?) and peeled chestnuts (I used the vacuum packaged ones, I didn't want to go through the trouble of peeling fresh chestnuts).


 I added the Brussels sprouts, chicken broth, a bay leaf, thyme, parsley, salt, and pepper and cooked it all for about 15 minutes: 

So it turns out I don't like chestnuts, nor did anybody else at this Thanksgiving dinner. They were mealy and tasteless and an expensive waste.  Does anyone out there like chestnuts?  What are they supposed to taste like?  The Brussels sprouts were absolutely delicious though so I would make this recipe again without the chestnuts.

I've meant to make Root vegetable puree (p. 245) for quite  awhile.  I knew it would be a winner because it's essentially mashed potatoes with other stuff and I love mashed potatoes.  I mean, who doesn't love mashed potatoes?  And every time I make them I wonder why I don't make them more often because they are so easy. 

So this recipe was also easy.  I boiled potatoes, added carrots to boil, and waited until they were super tender. 

When they were fork tender, I mashed them with a potato masher and mixed in cream, butter, salt, and pepper:

Delicious! Make sure you add LOTS of salt though, it really needed it.  This was creamy, delicious, heated up wonderfully the next day, and was beloved by all.  The best part was that the carrots made it seem more healthy than regular mashed potatoes and gave a little more flavor.  I really recommend this!  You can also use any other root veggie and I suspect that parsnips would give it a nice little peppery flavor.

My mother was in charge of the turkey this year.  She gave me a timeline of how long the turkey would take to cook.  Several of these dishes (the rolls [post forthcoming], the cabbage, the root veggie puree, the gravy, and the Creamed cabbage (p. 263)) needed to be done in the last hour and a half or so.  All of a sudden, way before expected, the turkey was done.  So I had to pound out all of these dishes while the turkey was sitting.  It was extremely stressful but I got it done!

Creamed cabbage isn't that popular anymore but, the few times I've had it, I've liked it.  The recipe was simple.  I boiled milk in a pan and added shredded cabbage.  TJOC recommends the cabbage is finely shredded, which it wasn't when I made the recipe, because I couldn't get it shredded finely.  If I was at home it wouldn't have been a problem (hooray for the salad shooter!) but I was at mom's house so I just did my best. 

After a couple of minutes I dropped it into a white sauce and seasoned it with horseradish, salt, pepper, and nutmeg.  Caraway was sprinkled on top:

I expected this dish to be unpopular and it was but it was really good!  Because I was hurrying (or maybe because the cabbage wasn't actually shredded finely enough) it was pretty crisp still but I think that made it even better.  It wasn't particularly creamy, which is exactly the way I like it, and the caraway gave it a nice German flavor.

There will only be 3 blog posts for the 2012 Thanksgiving festivities but there was actually quite a bit of food.  We seem to have settled on a menu of turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, 2 types of cranberries, 2 types of stuffing, green bean casserole, the 3 veggie dishes, and rolls.  And that's for about 6 people! 

What did everybody else enjoy?  Do you keep it traditional?

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