So, I had a house this year for Thanksgiving, which was convenient timing, since my aunt decided to go to Seattle this year. So, I got to host the family. O.o It was massive amounts of stress, but it was also very good for me. A few important things happened.
A) I cooked a turkey for the first time ever. I messed it up a bit by putting the thermometer in the breast, not the thigh, but we just carved off the breasts to eat and put the rest back in the oven. Lesson learned. I also brined the turkey, which got me some interesting comments. Not from my family that night, they loved it. It WAS crazy moist. No, when I told some of my friends that I was going to brine, they got all worried, “No! Don’t do that, it’ll be crazy satly!” Well, it wasn’t. I chose a brine with a good balance of salty and sweet. I rinsed it off well. I didn’t salt it much before it went in the oven. I also didn’t put stuffing in it. I put aromatics and apples. Don’t know what all helped and what didn’t, but point is that it was good. ^^
B) I understand roux now. I know, I know, it’s a little late. I’ve been cooking for years. I understood the concept behind roux, but I’d never once managed to make one without the end result being grainy. Making the gravy fixed that. Gravy is so damn simple! I’m totally embarrassed that I never made it from scratch before now. Made some nacho sauce recently with a roux and it was perfect. (Twister’s words, not mine. ^^)
C) I’m a lot more confident now. Between my Halloween party (not gonna make a post, just know it went very well) and Thanksgiving, I feel a lot more confident about cooking for a crowd, and about hosting them. I plan better, I’m less frantic and panicky, and I don’t over complicate my menu.
Not counting dessert. I managed to start with one dessert for Thanksgiving and ended up with 3. I made a pumpkin crepe cake which I couldn’t leave so simple as 18 large crepes, I had to make 40 small crepes. -_- Everyone got their own mini cake, which looked wonderful, but took me way too long to make. (I’d made 9 pumpkin pies for various events by that point, so I just couldn’t bring myself to do another pie) I made caramel mousse, which was amazing. Twister devoured the leftovers. Fine by me, because I would have eaten it if she hadn’t. I wasn’t happy with those two, though. I wanted to add some texture to the dessert. Enter the most amazing cinnamon roasted nuts ever. I stuck with pecans, a tribute to pecan pie. I got some cinnamon roasted almonds at the stockshow the other day…I don’t like them anymore. This recipe has ruined me! It’s so much lighter and buttery-er. No butter involved, though. Magical things, I tell you.
Okay, rant over. Here’s the cranberry sauce I made, while I’m sharing recipes. It was really good, and really simple. Perfect!