Updated: Somehow, WordPress ate all the photos… So let’s try this again so you can actually SEE the magic…
Well Internet, I’m done with my pre-Thanksgiving cooking fiasco fiesta!
Someone who shall remain nameless may have mentioned this weekend that perhaps we should have done Practice Thanksgiving a few months ago. So we wouldn’t be sick of Thanksgiving food the week before we have to gorge ourselves with it.
Someone else who shall remain nameless may have flown into a rage gotten a wee bit irritated and pointed out that in fact WE did not make Practice Thanksgiving… Nay, I made Practice Thanksgiving, and I made it when my work schedule permitted, and WE should shut up because WE loved having turkey and stuffing sandwiches for lunch every day for a week.
Also, did I not mention this to you guys? It is rather important: My husband will be on call, overnight, on Wednesday. So it is unlikely that he will be in the apartment AT ALL on Thanksgiving Day, at least until after noon.
So, no help from him. (Although if he gets done with work early, I am putting him on Parent Entertainment Duty.)
In other news: I am sick of Thanksgiving food.
I don’t actually like Thanksgiving food all that much. Which is weird, because when I think of childhood Thanksgivings, the thought of my mom’s turkey and mashed potatoes makes me drool. But when I make it? Not so much.
On Monday night, I made sweet potatoes with marshmallows, my mom’s goat-cheese-and-garlic mashed potatoes, and “traditional” stuffing. (See here for the background on the whole stuffing debacle.)
There was only one near catastrophe!!!!!!1!!!!
But since then, things have steadily gone downhill. See the below photo for pictorial evidence.
I think this is the universe trying to tell me that I need to clean my kitchen floor more often.
Mental Note: If there’s enough dish soap in the bottom of a dish to make you go, “Eh… It’s just soap, it’ll wash out.” You need to wash it out BEFORE you stick it in the dishwasher. Otherwise the dishwasher will belch soap all over your floor while you are at the grocery store buying frozen pizza, wine, and Rolos.
What? I told you Internet, it’s been A WEEK.
Also, can you see how tiny my kitchen is in the photo above? It is a one-person kitchen.
ONE PERSON, Internet.
Anyway, back to the Fakesgiving.
Guess what? Mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, and traditional dressing are EASY!
I got my mom’s recipe for her garlic and goat cheese mashed potatoes. You are going to love this. (My comments in parentheses.)
Mom’s Garlic & Goat Cheese Mashed Potatoes
Step 1: Get two potatoes per person. (I used Yukon gold because America’s Test Kitchen told me too.)
Step 2: Peel them. (I wash my potatoes with soap and warm water before I peel them. Anyone else that weird? Anyone?)
Step 3: Boil some water. (Eat some of the magical lemon pudding cake my husband made in a fit of domesticity on Sunday night.)
Step 4: Quarter the potatoes. (Realize you should have waited to peel them because they are turning a mysterious reddish color.)
Step 5: Grab a big ol’ head of garlic. Peel all the cloves. (Mmmmmmm garlic.) (Yes, a whole head.)
Step 6: Put the garlic and potatoes in the water and boil until an inserted fork slides out with no resistance. (I think this took about 20 minutes?)
Step 7: Drain the potatoes. (Note: It is easier to pour a giant pot of boiling water into a standing colander than to try, with one hand, to maneuver the pot of boiling water into a small strainer held in the other hand.)
Step 8: Return the potatoes and the garlic to the pot. Add 4 ounces of goat cheese and ½ cup of milk to the pot. Squish everything together with a potato masher. (Sneak in a few tablespoons of butter for good measure.)
Step 9: Salt and pepper to taste. (Make sure to do multiple taste tests to “get the flavors and consistency right.”)
Step 10: Transfer the mashed potatoes to a baking dish.
Easy peasy. And delicious.
The sweet potatoes were just as simple!
I adapted my recipe from America’s Test Kitchen.
Mrs. Doctor’s Totally Untested Marshmallow-Topped Sweet Potatoes
Step 1: Peel some sweet potatoes. (Again with the washing before peeling.)
Step 2: Cut the sweet potatoes in quarters lengthwise, then cut them into ¼ inch pieces. (Try your hardest not to throw one of the sweet potatoes on the floor.)
Step 3: Put 4 tablespoons of butter in a saucepan. Melt the butter on low. (Or medium, until you actually read the recipe and see it says, very clearly, LOW.)
Step 4: Add two tablespoons of whole milk, 1 teaspoon of sugar, and ½ teaspoon of salt to the butter. (Also add in a teaspoon of cinnamon and a generous shake of nutmeg. Just for kicks.)
Step 5: Cook on low (or medium, whatevs) for 35 minutes, or until a fork inserted into the sweet potatoes comes out with no resistance.
Step 6: Squish everything together with a potato masher. (Or a fork, if the potato masher is in the dishwasher and you don’t feel like handwashing it.)
Step 7: Scrape the squished sweet potatoes into a baking dish.
Step 8: Put a bunch of marshmallows on top.
Step 9: Put the marshmallow-topped sweet potatoes into a 400-degree oven. (NOT a 525-degree oven, dear god no.)
(This is what happens if you ignore that last instruction:)
(Yes, those are broiled marshmallows. NOT charcoal briquettes.)
Step 10: Watch the sweet potatoes VERY CAREFULLY until the marshmallows are puffy and golden-brown. (Do NOT sit on the couch and watch How I Met Your Mother until smoke comes pouring out of the oven. See: Above photo.)
Step 11: Remove the dish from the oven. (OR, remove the dish from the oven, getting burned, melty marshmallows all over your pot holder, and then scrape burned marshmallows off the top into the sink, and then add new marshmallows to the top and repeat steps 8 through 11.)
And the “traditional” dressing? SO EASY TOO!
I got the dressing recipe from The Pioneer Woman. But it’s very, very simple.
The Pioneer Woman’s “Traditional” Thanksgiving Stuffing
(Note: I was a little loosey goosey with this recipe. See PW’s site for the correct measurements of everything.)
Step 1: Get some cornbread and some crusty French bread. Cut all the bread into bite-sized chunks and set on a cookie sheet to dry overnight.
Step 2: Dice a whole white onion and two (ish) cups of celery.
Step 3: Melt a whole stick of butter (I just used half a stick, but I used half the bread, too.) in a big pan on the stove.
Step 4: Toss the veggies into the melted butter. Cook until translucent.
Step 5: Cut up some fresh rosemary and thyme.
Step 6: Add 4 cups of chicken stock to the pan. Let it come to a boil.
Step 7: Add the herbs plus ½ teaspoon of dried basil to the pan.
Step 8: Stir to combine. (Become confused. Is that really all there is to it? Allow the chicken stock mixture to reduce by half whilst doing dishes.)
Step 9: Put the bread chunks into a bowl (or your oven-proof serving dish of choice) and mix them around.
Step 10: Add the chicken stock mixture until the bread has the appropriate consistency.
Step 11: Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown on top.
So. Freaking. Easy.
And yet, not super photogenic.
I mean, the other stuffing was awesome. (Except for the soggy bread part of it, I mean.) But it was INVOLVED. Lots of chopping and ingredients and yada yada. This was so simple!
And my husband loved it! He deemed it perfectly traditional.
He also enjoyed the sweet potatoes and mashed potatoes.
And then I took a sample of the mashed potatoes and the stuffing to my book club. The ladies all took minuscule portions to taste, and deemed it good.
And then told me that, guess what? You can BUY STUFFING PRE MADE!!!
Yes, thank you. Good plan.
(Clearly they don’t realize I am a big fan of Doing Things the Hard Way.)
Now that I have made all the separate elements of Thanksgiving dinner, I feel good. I feel confident. I know the Potential Fire Causing Elements, so I will keep a close eye on them.
But I am a little… anxious about how to put it all together. I have been making shopping lists… And I’m trying to create a schedule, so I know what I can chop/prepare ahead of time… And I’m trying to lay out all the cleaning things I need to do in advance.
So now all that’s left is for me to figure out appetizers (although I’m thinking VERY EASY stuff, like spiced nuts and veggies with dip and some cheese and crackers). I’m going to make butternut squash soup for dinner the night before Thanksgiving, possibly with a small salad.
Speaking of which… I’d like to have a salad for Thanksgiving Day as well. My mom gave me a recipe for a simple Waldorf salad, and I found a delicious-sounding salad recipe that I can pretty much prepare in advance. So I will have to run those by my husband to see what he thinks his parents would prefer.
For dessert, I’ll be making my husband’s amazing pumpkin bars.
I think I’ll also see if my mother-in-law wants to pick something up – something chocolate. (She likes having a chocolate dessert.)
I would like to have a Signature Thanksgiving Drink. Something with ingredients and measurements, so I can ask my mother-in-law to make it. Therefore, it should also be something involving gin. (We may have our differences, but gin unites us!)
Anybody have any ideas?
Now, all I need is for work to cooperate. Which is unlikely, seeing as this is The Busiest Time of the Year. Which is good but anxiety-producing at the same time.
Wow. This post really detoured into the Excruciatingly Boring there didn’t it? (Don’t answer that.)
Let me distract you with some lemon pudding cake!
It doesn’t look like much, but it is seriously amazing. But the story of the pudding cake shall have to wait until another day.
Okay, that’s a lie. There’s not really a story. I’m just sick of typing out recipes. Perhaps as sick of it as you are of reading them.
Is anyone still here? Bueller?
Anyway, I am READY for Thanksgiving. Ready for it to be OVER.
(You: Seriously. Then maybe you will talk about something else.)
Have a fabulous Friday and a lovely weekend, Internet. If you need me, I’ll be cleaning my apartment. Perhaps I can encourage my dishwasher to vacuum the living room. It did such a nice job on the kitchen floor, after all…