27 November 2008

Thanksgiving: The Cookening

Like with any successful feast-y meal, any successful very large blog post requires serious prep work. And so it's 9:30 Thanksgiving morning and here I begin the chronicling of this year's meal, the first one that I've really cooked for. Posting draft early and will update throughout the day.


  • Mead: LG is bringing this, and it's like liquid joy when mulled. Mead!
  • Wine:
  1. René Barbier Catalunya Mediterranean Red: dry, a little spicy with some nice acidity, and without some of the rawness that I find Spanish reds have sometimes. Another excellent deal from Mariakakis' at $5.99.
  2. La Terre California Merlot: another Mariakakis' special - $4.39 a bottle for all of the La Terre varietals! - AC says, "It's good, I like it." LG says - "It doesn't really have an aftertaste - it swallows well."
  • Horseradish schnapps: my first foray into liquor-infusion gets its debut tonight. I took a nip last night just to test it and it's quite pungent and refreshing. Directions below, and more recipes for infusing here. Plus, when chilled it makes an amazing digestif - dangerous, actually. Goes down reeeeaaaallllly smooth.
Horseradish Schnapps
  1. Wash, peel and slice a small piece of horseradish root.
  2. Put the slices in a clean glass jar with tight-fitting lid.
  3. Cover the root slices with clear, unflavoured vodka - 40% alcohol content (80 proof).
  4. Let steep for 1-2 days in a dark place at room temperature,
    18-20°C (64-68°F).
  5. Shake lightly and taste from time to time. Must not get bitter.
  6. Strain and filter your infusion into a clean glass bottle or jar with tight-fitting lid.

  • Rack of pork: I went to the Carrboro Farmer's Market special Tuesday edition determined to get myself a pork shoulder for long, slow roasting - the good folks at Cane Creek thought they had one but after 15 minutes of searching couldn't find it. However they did recommend a half-rack of pork which looked, well, delicous [that's it below, marinating], so I was sold.
Bacon-crusted rack of pork

Rack of pork, marinating in bacon, mustard and caraway seeds


  • 4 ounces sliced bacon, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons yellow mustard seeds
  • 2 tablespoons caraway seeds
  • 1/2 small jar bacon drippings
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • One half-rack pork
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. In a food processor, combine the bacon, mustard seeds, caraway seeds and bacon drippings
  2. Set the pork rack on a large rimmed baking sheet. Spread the bacon paste over all but especiallythe meaty side of the rack and refrigerate overnight.
  3. Preheat the oven to 400°.
  4. Bring the roast to room temperature and season all over with salt and pepper.
  5. Set the pork in a roasting pan, fat side up. Roast in the upper third of the oven for about 1 hour and 15 minutes
  6. Transfer the roast to a carving board and let rest for 10 minutes. Carve the roasts and serve.

Rack of pork, just after roasting

Rack of pork, just after roasting


  • Salad with walnuts and cranberries: AC's specialty
  • Roasted potatoes, sweet and otherwise, and onions: pretty standard; gonna quarter them, salt, pepper, roast
  • Collard greens: with garlic and some red pepper flakes in... butter.
  • Brussels sprouts with walnuts: a very solid favorite - one of the two preparations I often use
Brussels Sprouts with Walnuts


  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts, base and outer leaves trimmed, and halved
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced shallots
  • 1 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped walnuts
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan


  1. Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil and add the Brussels sprouts.
  2. Cook until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes; drain.
  3. In a large saucepan, melt 3 tablespoons of the butter over medium-high heat.
  4. Add the shallots and garlic, and cook for 1 minute.
  5. Add the sprouts in 1 layer and cook until golden brown, about 5 minutes.
  6. Remove from the pan.
  7. Add the remaining 1 tablespoons of butter and when melted, add the walnuts and cook, stirring, until golden and fragrant, about 2 minutes.
  8. Add the lemon juice, salt, pepper, and sprouts, and stir well to coat and warm through.
  9. Transfer to a serving bowl and sprinkle with the Parmesan. Serve immediately.

  • Mac'n'cheese: TG is making - AC got really excited the other week when a bunch of friends mentioned that they ate mac'n'cheese for Thanksgiving and decided we must
  • Spanikopita: LG is bringing - apparently a psuedo-tradition for her, and no complaints here
  • Biscuits: AC brings the dough

  • Pumpkin pie: verrrry excited for this, which TG is making
  • Chocolate and clementines! LG brought these as a bonus - superb!
More later, but - a great dinner.

1 comment:

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