What’s the statute of limitations on talking about Thanksgiving? Please say at least two weeks. We’re literally halfway between Thanksgiving and Christmas, so there’s that. I feel like tomorrow will be too late to talk about all things turkey when we’re officially closer to Christmas. So…
Put on your stretchy pants and let’s talk about the marathon-eating adventure that was our week of Giving Thanks.
We rarely are able to go home for Thanksgiving. It’s a week full of gigs, and, plus, I hate flying anywhere that week. It’s really the worst. Last year we had a great time with friends at Chris and Chilali’s potluck extravaganza and this time we were invited back for more shenanigans and calories. Once again, I decided to make new recipes for their Thanksgiving, but we also made a full menu for us to have at home. That way we can make old classics we love for us, and actually have leftovers. (That we ended up eating for over a week, mind you.)
I always try to pick recipes I can make in advance, so the cooking party started early on Tuesday with me making this favorite ice cream by Jeni’s–Salted Vanilla Custard–to have over pies. I also made a big batch of a special sauce to pour on top, but I’ll get to that later.
On Wednesday, I made homemade vegan gravy that was incredible. Here are the vegetables simmering away, concentrating their goodness after already being roasted.
It had such a deep flavor, especially with the quarter-cup of red wine and tomato paste added to it.
Isn’t it a shame when a recipe *only* needs a little bit of wine? I mean, what else could you POSSIBLY do with the rest of that bottle?
*glug, glug, glug*
We also prepped a savory Leek and Cremini Mushroom Bread Pudding that I was taking as a vegetarian dressing option. Barefoot Contessa strikes again with this in-cred-ible recipe. All I had to do the morning of was soak the bread with the vegetables and about a gallon of cream before baking. Total cinch. Especially to the waistline.
For those that aren’t familiar with leeks, this is how you de-grit them — a nice icy bath. Those suckers come at you dir-tay from the store.
We also had time to prep a few recipes for us to leave at home, namely Joe’s turkey. I’m always amazed people know what to do with turkeys. They seem out of control to me, legs flying everywhere, and that pimply skin? Nothankyou.
Please notice the cleaning spray in the background. That would be me, the resident vegetarian, following my husband like a shadow cleaning every surface he MIGHT have touched while prepping the turkey. Even when I was a meat-eater, I’ve always hated turkey…followed closely by pork chops.
But I digress.
This year I had a downright hankering for green bean casserole. I’ve made it from scratch several times, but I wasn’t wanting a thick, salty roux and crisp panko crumbs. I wanted Campbell’s to wrap me in a thick paste of processed comfort, heavy on the french fried onions too. So, I made that in advance as well.
Don’t judge me. You can take the girl outta Oklahoma, but you can’t take the Oklahoma outta the girl.
At this point, I realized we had to stop cooking. Not because my feet and back ached, or because my hands were completely dry from washing them so many times….but because I literally went through every single dish towel in the house. It was time to run some laundry and get ready for the actual day!
After doing about 85% of the work in advance, I actually got to….wait for it…sleep in! Well, a little bit at least. It was a relaxing morning with the parade in the background and a texting fiesta with my OGE bestie, Trent, about everything we were cooking or about to consume.
The last thing I had to make were Brie Bites. Now, you know about my love affair for Baked Brie at Thanksgiving. It’s my only requirement. I have it every. single. year. But, this year I shook it up a bit by making baked brie bites. Little pockets of puff pastry filled with brie slices and either herb cheese spread (like Boursin) or Raspberry Jalapeno jam. Shut the front door.
While they were easier to eat and just as delicious, I think I prefer my tried and true recipe. It’s the cheese to pastry ratio, you know? Sometimes you just need three times as much cheese as you do pastry. I’m sure you understand.
These were great, though, for their portability and easy finger-food option.
Guys, the cooking was over — it was time to do what we do best. Eat. (and hang-out with friends) But first, we took this family photo before leaving. Oh, it makes my heart hurt to see Bella before she was so sick. (Which we’re still fighting, by the way.)
There were 13 of us at Chris and Chilali’s this year. Isn’t that incredible? I know I’ve already told you about C&C, but they really are the most amazing hosts. And damn good cooks. Here’s Chris with his Brown-Sugar-Crusted turkey….and his Make Tea, Not War shirt.
We spent most of the pre-eating time squished on a couch with good friend Jason, eating the most wonderful cheeses…and those tasty brie bites.
It was an all-adult holiday, except for this guy, who I hadn’t seen since our running adventures! Love him!
That’s quite the pose, Harrison.
I don’t think we were successful in getting a group photo, but here are a few from the table including an epic selfie by Chris.
After, I told Chilali we should document our “full faces.” I guess I should have been more clear.
That’s more like it! This girl’s the best.
And I pretty much made that face until the next morning, where I promptly had green bean casserole before playing two Nutcracker shows. And, oh yeah, cleaned up after my dog all day. You remember, I know.
On that note…more soon with that delicious pie and sauce I keep teasing and taunting you with random mentions. It really was the best thing I ate all week, which is saying a lot after recapping all of this deliciousness. I leave you with the recipes and a full heart that tomorrow’s Friday and hope that normalcy returns around here for us and the pup.
(Funny story: This casserole is another favorite I try to have every year, but things got so crazy around here after Thanksgiving that I STILL haven’t had a chance to make it.)