Director's Commentary

With Monica's birthday and all, I offered to take care of the meals on Thanksgiving. I enjoy cooking. But, as a pretty much self-taught cook, the whole baking thing really kind of escapes me. I prefer things that you can see, fuss with, make changes to — not things that you have to combine in a precisely measured combination and put in an oven for a particular moment within 10-55 minutes and trust that it'll all come out.

We started the day with strata, a reliable standby. Tossed a couple green chiles into the mix for some local flavor. Combined that with an MST3K DVD from the comic shop for some added nostalgia.

For dinner, I had consulted Melanie, who has prepared our wonderful Thanksgiving meals for the past seven years. I needed things that I could handle but that would meet her standards. She gave me a menu and instructions. Because I can never follow a recipe exactly, I kind of went from there.

The roasted butternut squash soup combined her recipe with one from Los Barrios that includes pears in the mix. We already had a pear thing going on, so it fit, and it was a smooth, tasty soup. Asparagus had to be steamed, not roasted, because of oven space. Instead, along with the turkey, I was roasting sweet potatoes (combined with some white potatoes, per a local chef on one of the talk shows here) that got mashed together with some maple syrup. For only two of us, I opted for a turkey breast instead of a whole bird, but it followed Melanie's time-honored brining tradition. For the preparation, I followed Rachael Ray's instructions but with Mark Bittman's timing. It all tasted (if I do say so myself) pretty great in the end. We finished off with a mixed green salad with walnuts, craisins, blue cheese, and a pomegranate vinagrette. Preparations had already begun for the pear/blue cheese tart for dessert, but we'd already eaten way, way too much. Hopefully, we'll get to that tonight.


Sherry said...

Everything looks delicious! Glad you all had a great day... miss you!

Paul said...

Good on you, mate!