Kate (kate_nepveu) wrote,

Week in Review

We hosted Thanksgiving dinner this year on Saturday, for logistical reasons. I actually quite liked this, because it gave me extra prep time without having to take a vacation day (since I rather used a lot of vacation time this summer . . . ). The net effect is more relaxing.

So on Thursday, we cleaned and cooked, admiring our spacious new fridge (delivered Wednesday) all the while: it's the same volume as the old one, but much more efficiently arranged. Then we had some very nice steaks with caramelized sugar (online recipe). We also discovered that omitting the onions leads to the leftover sauce more or less instantly solidifying on the serving plate. It was impressive and amused me inordinately: I giggled all through the lengthy process of prying the candy off the plate with my fingers and a thin-bladed knife.

Then we had Thanksgiving on Saturday.


  • Shrimp cocktail (from Chad's grandmother)
  • Stuffed mushroom caps (from my mom)
  • Brined turkey
  • Stuffing
  • Mormon funeral potatoes (classic, minus the onions)
  • Crescent rolls
  • Steamed asparagus
  • Asparagus wrapped in bacon and pan-fried
  • Steamed broccoli
  • Frozen butternut squash (with nutmeg, cinammon, brown sugar; forgot the butter)
  • Mashed sweet potatoes (for/from Chad's family)
  • Homemade cranberry relish
  • Canned cranberry sauce
  • Gravy from a jar (I have the ambition to try making it from scratch next year)
  • Apple pie (from Chad's mom)
  • Pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting (from my mom)

Cranberry relish recipe (improvised from several online variants):


  • 12 oz. bag cranberries, washed and picked over to remove soft ones
  • 1 orange
  • 1 apple
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon powdered ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • dash cloves
  • dash cinammon


  1. Pick over cranberries & remove soft ones.
  2. Zest the orange, set aside.
  3. Peel orange and apple. Core apple. Cut both into chunks.
  4. Pulse orange and apple in food processor with metal blade until coarsely blended. [On the theory that chopping up an orange by hand was likely to be less than useful.)
  5. Plunk everything but the spices into a saucepan and bring to a boil.
  6. Simmer gently, adding the spices. [Out of concern for burning the spices; this was planned before I added the water to the recipe at the last minute.]
  7. Cook until all the berries burst and the fruit is soft.
  8. Store in fridge [for up to a week?], but bring to room temperature before serving.

This seems to have been well-received, but I don't like it myself so I can't really judge. Next year, I will use my Calphalon everyday pan, never mind that recipes suggest saucepans—that's what wide flat pans with gently-sloping sides are good for, after all. I will also heat and burst the berries first, by themselves, because some of them took forever and I was worried about overcooking the relish. Then I'll dump in the rest of the fruit and the sugar, and see if I need additional water to dissolve the sugar and spices.

General lessons:

  • Making the brine with a small amount of stock and then diluting with the rest of the stock & water on the day of is much easier to manage.
  • If the turkey seems to be cooking much faster than it seems like it should, the probe thermometer is probably not far enough in. In other words, the instructions on the roasting bag are reliable (3 hours for 20 pounds).
  • Cold stuffing & funeral potatoes take more like 30 minutes at 350 F than 20 to heat up, at least when in the oven with each other and Mom's mushroom caps.
  • Steamed veggies and other things would do better if they're timed for after the appetizers, not before, assuming the guests would be okay with a gap.
  • A to-do list is really a good idea.
  • And it should include the ice cream that's going to accompany the desserts.
  • Find one of those little tiny cans of cranberry sauce next time.
  • Crescent rolls really do take 1/2 the time in the toaster oven. Don't panic.
  • Cleaning up and putting away leftovers as you go = win. Especially when you are so short on counter space that you're using the dog's crate as an additional flat surface.
  • Doing the final clean-up immediately after the guests leave = being able to collapse for the rest of the night with a clear conscience.
  • And most significantly: Get a really big solid metal roasting pan for the turkey and carve it inside that. Or over the sink, very carefully. Otherwise the tin foil pan will get punctured in the carving and all that juice will drip down both sides of the counter, sending the dog into ecstasy and leaking down into the basement. (I tipped the cookie sheet under the roasting pan into the dog's bowl and saw a good half-inch of liquid accumulate—and that was the least of it.) Afterwards, Chad pulled out the stove, looked at the mess, and went straight for the shop-vac.

    Chad's blog has pictures of Emmy's joy.

And a selection of links (11 this time):

Finally, does anyone have any good anti-static tips? My new winter coat generates so much static that my earphones crackle when the wire rests against it. And I hate the smell of Static Guard.

Tags: [time] in review, fanfic, food, links

  • lazyweb inquiry: new desktop PC

    So I'm buying a new desktop PC because the one I'm using now is sad and slow. What's the general configuration of a lower-middle-end machine these…

  • Yuletide 2009 recommendations

    I have recommendations from 2009's Yuletide rare-fandom fanfic exchange, only six months late! These are all stories that I think are (a) very…

  • some more short fiction

    Some more Hugo-eligible short fiction that I've read and liked: "Three Twilight Tales," Jo Walton, Firebirds Soaring (mostly not in bookstores any…

  • Post a new comment


    Anonymous comments are disabled in this journal

    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded