Yes, it is that time of year again. The time when hordes of family descends on the house to stuff themselves full of Thanksgiving holiday cheer.
Somehow, my house has become the traditional Thanksgiving venue. This isn’t really a problem… I’d consider it more of a culinary challenge. This year the guest list consists of 21 people, which means preparing a 30 pound turkey. Yes, it is true. Turkey do come in 30 pound sizes. Who really knew?
I’ve spent a lot of time in the last few weeks pondering the ways that this whole meal can be simplified. Of course, I do that every year, and in the end it always feels like the house has been hit by an atomic bomb. Still, there’s always hope that it will be more organized.
I’ll be chronicling along the way, but here’s the menu so far:
- 30 pound fresh turkey
- 15 pounds of mashed potatoes
- Italian Sausage and Wild Rice Dressing
- Cauliflower and Broccoli in Cheese Sauce
- Corn Casserole (brought by a guest)
- Green Bean Casserole (brought by a guest)
- Okra (brought by a guest)
- Black-eyed Peas (brought by a guest)
- Pumpkin Pie
- Assorted Pies (brought by a guest).
That doesn’t look so tough, does it? Ha! Let the chaos begin!
There are several firsts that we look forward to during the cooking year. The first “real” arugula in the spring. The first grilled New York Strip of the season. And, without a doubt, the first BLT made with home grown tomatoes.
Nothing touches home grown tomatoes. Even farmers’ market tomatoes just aren’t the same. Pulling a plump, juicy tomato from the vine, feeling the heat of the flesh from the sun, cutting into the tomato and getting that smell of ripe summer… it just does not get better than that. Especially when it is the very first tomato of the season.
We reserve the first tomato of the season for our BLT ritual – served al fresco, with wine, for lunch. Our goal, which we hit almost every year, is that this tomato is ripened by the first weekend of July. But the details of the BLT tend to vary from year to year, depending on what is on hand and at its freshest. This year our BLT contained Nueske’s Applewood Smoked Bacon, arugula, Butler Farms Fresh Brebis Cheese with Garlic and Herbs, and farm fresh sweet onion.
And yes, it was as good as it looked.