Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Thanksgiving has always been the neglected, middle child of the holiday family. Every year we seem to skip right over it and go straight from the gluttony of Halloween to the overindulgence of Christmas. Holiday decorations go up right after Halloween's came down and in some cases side by side. In this tough economic climate, some retailers seem to think that if they foist the holidays on us sooner, we’ll buy more. I was horrified to watch Wal-Mart play what I sincerely hope was its first Christmas ads during the Halloween night game of the World Series. Instead of overspending, let’s give the Jan Brady of the holidays our love this year - enjoy a sustainably-raised turkey and some locally grown veggies, spend time with loved ones and count our blessings.

But before the holiday has come and gone and we're fighting crowds on Black Friday, I'd like to share a few of things for which I'm thankful.

Today? A big freezer.

I very much sympathize with the anxiety Thursday's big meal induces. When I was an attorney working long and unpredictable hours, having company was always a challenge. Finding time to shop and prepare the type of meals that I wanted to make required extensive lists and long nights. Nowadays, things are a bit easier. I can't claim to be any less busy, but a lot of my prepation can be squeezed into my work days. I need a pie crust for a client - make two. I'm testing a recipe for an event or this blog and it turns out well, save it for later. These are the perks that can be preserved with a big freezer or two.

For our gratitude-inspired meal, I'm planning on Beet Choux Puffs with Goat Cheese Mousse and Red Kuri Squash Samosas. While I'll need to mix up the mousse and make a chutney, the major components are done, waiting to be revived, sleeping in the deep freeze. As is our first course, the family favorite - Delicata Squash Gnocchi with Sage Brown Butter Sauce. Five minutes to boil the water and another 5 to finish the sauce and I've got a plateful of popularity.

Dessert is Pumpkin Pie and Apple Tart Tatin, pastry dough, puff pastry, and pumpkin puree waiting to be defrosted.

Our main course will require considerably more effort. Turkey with French Fry Stuffing (more on thihs later), White Wine Gravy, Brussels Sprouts with Salad Turnips, Pomegranate, and Pistachios, Spinach and Mushroom Gratin, Mashed Potatoes and Cranberry Sauce. But with my focus only on these dishes and an extra set of hands with my mom in town, our dinner will be both feast-worthy and stress-free. Thank you freezer!

Photo Credit, iStockphoto.com

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