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Friday, November 28, 2014

Thanksgiving, Nevada Style

This year, it's just me and Kevin for Turkey Day, Christmas and New Year's Day. I guess I should have expected that this would happen, eventually. It's still difficult. We were hoping to alleviate the loneliness by skiing on Thanksgiving, but the 'wind hold' at the local ski areas put that idea to rest. Oh, well, we were fine for Thanksgiving...we ended up slowly putting up the Christmas decorations throughout the day and took a walk after dinner.

I have to say, the table looked stunning with my Spode China plates, our Rogers 1849 silver and gold wedding silverware, antique candle sticks and the lovely Tiffany wine glasses and fall gourd salt and pepper shakers and name placeholders that my daughter in law, Eleni, gave me for Christmas last year.... along with some beautiful Trader Joe's flowers...

We planned a quick dinner for Thanksgiving, since we 'thought' we would be skiing!

I did buy a beautiful fully cooked turkey breast from Trader Joe's...but I added a dry brine 24 hours in's the mix...

1 tablespoon each of dried thyme, basil and lavender, 1 teaspoon each of crushed fennel seeds and black peppercorns,1 teaspoon of tarragon and 1 teaspoon of kosher salt. Mix together well and use as a dry brine 24-48 hours ahead of time on the turkey. Leave uncovered in the fridge to dry out the skin. Then, rub some bacon fat on the turkey skin and cook as usual.

I also prepared the creamed corn in the crockpot on Wednesday using this incredible recipe
and reheated it in the oven for 35 minutes before dinner.

and of course, made the Laughlin Family Holiday Cole Slaw on Wednesday!

Here's the recipe for the slaw...

1/2 head of green cabbage, shaved
4 green onions, finely chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 green bell pepper, diced
2 large stalks of celery, finely diced
1 large peeled carrot, shredded
2 ounces of canola or vegetable oil
2 ounces of apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon of kosher salt
1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes (you can use less if you want-we like it spicy)
1 teaspoon of sugar
1 handful of finely chopped fresh parsley

Mix all the veggies together in a large bowl. 
In a separate bowl, whisk all the dressing ingredients together. When well combined, pour the dressing over the veggies. Toss the veggies together well with the dressing and cover the bowl with a lid or plastic wrap. Store overnight in the fridge. Serve cold or room temperature. 

I did submit this to the Reno-Gazette Journal for a Family Holiday Dish contest....I am hoping that others will love this as much as we do and I will will an $1800 gift card :)

I also made this delicious Mashed Potato Casserole on Wednesday and reheated it on Thursday for....35 minutes...just like the creamed corn!!

I added some roasted brussels sprouts with a homemade gremolata...simply take trimmed brussels sprouts, toss them with a little canola oil and toss them in a pan. Roast for 20 minutes at 400 degrees and toss with this gremolata...

1 teaspoon of lemon zest, 1 teaspoon of finely chopped fresh parsley, 1/4 teaspoon of dried tarragon, 1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt and 1 garlic clove, finely minced. Mix together very well and sprinkle over the brussels sprouts. This is a recipe for about 0 brussels sprouts- enough for one person (um, I mean, me) Make more if you have more people. Just sayin'. OMG it was DELISH!

Oh, and I made my best 'dressing' for the turkey... 1 loaf of bread, cut into tiny chunks and dried overnight on a tray.,,1 lb. of sage flavored sausage (Jimmy Dean sage sausage is the best!) cooked with 1 chopped onion, 4 stalks of chopped celery, 1 /2 cup of fresh copped parsley and 1 teaspoon of hot pepper flakes and mixed with 1 tablespoon of poultry seasoning and 1 cup of turkey stock (made from the carcass last year...duh!) mixed together and baked for 40 minutes, covered..last 10 minutes uncovered to brown the top. YUM!

Here's the dinner on my plate...covered with homemade turkey gravy with lots of turkey chunks in the gravy...a la (my MIL- Rest in Peace, Mom!) Mom Lee Laughlin...

This is 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter, melted, 1 tablespoon of canola oil, brought to a foam over medium heat- then add 6 teaspoons of flour mixed in well with a whisk, until it starts to brown a bit. Continually mixing, add 3 cups of warmed turkey broth (supplement with chicken broth if you must) until thickened. You might need more broth if you over did it with the flour. It's OK. It's easy. Keep the heat low, and the whisk going strong. Then, add at least 2 cups of chopped turkey meat and mix well.  The way I get turkey meat for this gravy is to buy a couple of 'smoked turkey wings and legs' a couple of days in advance and roast them, slowly. I pick off the meat, of course, saving the skin and bones in the freezer for a later batch of turkey broth. It will be delish. Trust me.

I also made my famous and easy homemade cranberry sauce...1 bag of cranberries mixed with the juice of 3 clementines (plentiful this time of year) and the rest water to make one cup...and 1/2 cup of sugar...boil until the cranberries pop and store in the fridge until time to eat. YUM!
Kevin, OF COURSE, only likes canned cranberry has to have the indentations of rings for it to be sauce for him...and my sons. Sigh. We had both.

It was delicious!

We went for a walk after dinner with Bridget the Pooh to look at all the other houses with Christmas lights....I still think ours was the best!

Later that night, we had a bite of a Trader Joe's pumpkin pie and pecan pie...let's face it, I'm not much of a baker when it comes to sweets, so store bought with some whipped cream was just...perfect.
Hope you enjoyed this post!
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