Thursday, November 16, 2006

The Thanksgiving Menu

After watching last night's Food Network extravaganza on Thanksgiving (Emeril Live, Good Eats, and a Thanksgiving meal competition), our menu plans for Turkey Day have been finalized:

1. Roast turkey breast (of course) - only we're pulling out all the stops - brine soaking it the evening before, followed by a traditional spice rub and then roasting ... one of the competitors last night did a nice technique we're going to adapt: covering the meat with a wine soaked cheesecloth to keep the meat moist as it roasts. We're going to try that, using either a sage-honey mead (if we can find any in Woodgie's remaining homemade stock, that is), or a cranberry wine that her dad made last year.
2. Ham - we almost didn't include this on the menu. Woodgie has some nasty allergies to nitrates and normally, she can't eat ham because of the curing. Fortunately, a packing company out of Iowa named Beelers has started producing a very nice set of uncured products (sausage, weiners, bacon, brats), and now they've finally put out an uncured ham chub at a decent price. We'll probably do a typical glaze - brown sugar (probably a Splenda blend), cloves, prepared mustard, and perhaps a little honey.
3. Cranberry relish - Woodgie has a nice recipe for this we're going to try.
4. Multi-grain stuffing, with pecans, golden raisins, and apple juice - I started making this about six years ago when the recipe first appeared on the Butterball website, and it has a very nutty texture that holds up very well to gravy ... it helps that it's the only stuffing that Woodgie likes, as she normally doesn't like stuffing.
5. Mixed greens salad, with almonds and dried cranberries, topped with a balsamic vinagrette.
6. Green beans with almonds, mushrooms, and a small handful of Beeler's uncured bacon, for taste.
7. Roasted and seasoned red potatoes - after weighing everything, we decided that we'd forego the mashed potatoes this year in favor of roasted/seasoned ... while they are a usual staple of the Thanksgiving table, mashed potatoes are a bit hard on the calorie count.
8. Turkey gravy (our one concession to pre-packaged), using a brand called Simply Organic. We sampled some at the local Hy-Vee, and it was very, very good, as well as being low-fat.

Finally for dessert, we'll be trying out a sweet potato flan recipe that we first sampled at Friday Night Cafe several weeks ago.

After we'd hashed out the menu, Woodgie did point out that we were making a large amount of food, but I noted that we could count on having leftovers, also a Thanksgiving tradition.

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