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I'm a guy who likes to cook, eat, and drink, but not necessarily in that order. This blog is nothing fancy; just my random thoughts about anything that can be baked, roasted, or fried. Enjoy!

Sunday, December 6, 2015

I'm Thankful For Butter

©2015  Chris Terrell

Holidays On Ice!
It’s hard to believe that Thanksgiving was a mere ten days ago. The turkey and stuffing and pumpkin-everything have been replaced with tinsel and blinking lights. The last forkful of pumpkin pie was a starter’s pistol for the Christmas rat-race to follow.

This year, Thanksgiving planning began in August when I asked Laura if she would like to have her mother, sister, and brother-in-law visit Birmingham. Her expression when I mentioned this was somewhere between pity and horror. “Are you sure…you…really…want to do…this?” she asked me several times between that late August Sunday afternoon and Wednesday, November 25th.  

©2015 Chris Terrell

Not your typical Turkey Day salad!
The next step, of course, was the menu. I was told that, as wonderful as last year’s Thanksgiving meal was, it was a little heavy on the butter. I was politely asked to dial back my inner Paula Dean—less butter, more olive oil. 

Laura’s mom also wanted another chocolate cake. (Last year, she requested a chocolate birthday cake for Rob, Laura’s brother-in-law, on the morning after the Iron Bowl. If you can make a chocolate cake from scratch hungover, you can do anything.) Actually, I embraced the idea of chocolate cake for Thanksgiving because I've never been one for rules anyway. Besides, we were having pumpkin muffins, which I’ve been making every year since 1991.

©2015 Chris Terell
The Cake
Because Thanksgiving was on my turf this year, I had more time to prepare. Of course this didn’t stop me from over-planning. No joke, but this year I actually put together a three-ringed binder that I called the 2015 Thanksgiving Day Dinner Work Plan. It contained schedules, shopping lists, the menu, and recipes. I don’t recommend that you try this at home. Only professional Type As like myself can handle this kind of insanity. 

Here’s the recipe and planning schedule:

Lioco Chardonnay
George Pinot Noir


Blackberry Farm Pimento Cheese
Bread-and-Butter Zucchini Pickles
Fried Okra


       Endive with Roasted Yellow Beets, Pecans, &
               Sweet-Mustard Vinaigrette 


Carrot Consommé 


Orange-Cranberry Relish
Collard Greens
Haricots Vert
Sausage, Apple & Sage Stuffing
Roasted Red Potatoes with Garlic & Rosemary


Turkey & Gravy (Duh!)


Classic Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Ice Cream

(Revised 11/24/15)

Thursday, November 19

Finalize: Shopping List, Thanksgiving Day Prep Schedule, and Thanksgiving Day Schedule

Saturday, November 21

✓Clean out Fridge & Freezer
✓Check Platters
✓Purchase Necessary Items at SLT (e.g., platters & cake pans)
✓Follow-up Text with Floral Designer
✓Purchase Decorations
✓Prepare Recipe Notebook
✓Double Check Shopping Lists

Sunday, November 22

✓Purchase Dry Goods  & Ingredients for Muffins, Cranberry Relish, Gravy, and chocolate cake
✓Costco Run (See Costco run shopping list)
✓Wash Linens
✓Purchase Ziploc Containers 
✓Purchase Frozen Turkey and begin to thaw
✓Make Zucchini Pickles

Monday, November  23

✓Prepare Cranberry Relish
✓Purchase Items for Pimento Cheese, and Carrot Consommé 

Tuesday, November 24

✓Prepare Blackberry Farm Pimento Cheese
✓Prepare Make-ahead gravy & Freeze

Wednesday, November 25

✓Purchase Remaining Fresh Produce
✓Prepare chocolate cake
✓Prepare Pumpkin Muffins
✓Fry Okra
✓Finalize De-cluttering & 
✓Roast Pecans
✓Wash Dishes & Tidy up as necessary

Thursday, November 26

See Thanksgiving Day Schedule

©2015 Chris Terrell

Dresden, 1945
A good time was had by all, especially because the chef had no major meltdowns. I emphasize major because there’s always a few radiation spikes when I cook. The consensus seems to have been that the carrot consommé, stuffing, and of course, the turkey, were the favorites.

At the end of the day, what you have on Thanksgiving makes no difference. Thanksgiving is more about the “how” than the “what”—how you decide to celebrate and how you decide who you will share the meal. 

By the way, I encourage you to make a chocolate cake. Be a rebel!

And now get back to shopping!

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