Thanksgiving Oink Fest

So we went a bit dark over the holidays….so sorry. The Brit and I travelled to Tahoe for the holiday to share it with close friends and the added bonus for me was to cook in her dreamy kitchen. In my next life I too will have a Sub Zero, plus two added HUGE freezer drawers, two equally enormous refrigerator drawers, warming drawers, a heating station nestled under my exhaust fan and a Wolf stove. I am honestly not certain that I am any more enamored with her Wolf oven than I am with my Electrolux oven, but I do have gas burner envy!

There were ten of us for Thanksgiving dinner and we had enough food for fifty. Note to self, next year take menu and cut off at least one third of the dishes.

The preparations began in earnest Wednesday and with three of us cooking, we all agreed it was pretty much stress free. The hero chef of the hour was definitely Emerson, boyfriend of Samantha, my BFF’s step daughter.


Here is M expertly removing the backbone and breaking the breast of our butterflied 26 pound turkey, which we brined for 24 hours. I am fairly certain that I got this recipe from Food and Wine a couple of years ago. I know that this was the third year I made it, but sadly my recipe copy bears no logo or name, other than Katherine’s Butterflied Turkey with Apple Cranberry Glaze.

Brine Ingredients:

2 ½ cups Kosher Salt

1 ½ cups Light Brown Sugar

½ cup Coriander Seeds, cracked

6 Star Anise Pods

2 tsp White Peppercorns

6 in unpeeled piece of Ginger, thinly sliced

6 cloves Garlic, smashed

2 tsp ground Corriander


Bring 6 quarts of water, the spices and the sugar and salt to a boil over medium heat. Make sure to dissolve the sugar and salt. Add another 6 quarts of cold water to cool. Place turkey in double bagged garbage bags, add brine and keep cold for 24-48 hours before cooking. We kept ours outside and turned it every 6 hours or so. Make sure to rinse turkey well before baking to avoid a salty bird.

Glaze Ingredients:

6 cups Apple Cider

1 4 in piece of Ginger, thinly sliced

2 cups Fresh Cranberries

3-5 dried Red Chili Peppers

1 cup Molasses

1 cup Apple Cider Vinegar


Bring all ingredients to a boil in a heavy saucepan, then reduce heat to low and simmer until thickened and reduced by about half. Whisk occasionally. This will take 30 minutes.

Turkey Preparation:


Preheat oven to 375. Place butterflied turkey, breast side up, on rack in pan. Roast for an hour and 30 minutes or until a meat thermometer reads 155 to 160. Continue to roast, brushing with the glaze every ten minutes until brown and crisp. This will take about a another 45 minutes to an hour. Our 26 pound bird cooked in 2 ½ hours total.

The entire menu was as follows:


Smoked Salmon with Cream Cheese, Capers and Red Onion, served with Crackers

M’s Sriracha Steak-This was a knock out and I have written to ask for the recipe. Stay tuned! They served this with Skewers and sliced French Bread. I just guzzled the juicy pieces of meat and didn’t burden it with bread.

M’s Caprese Salad –Again, awaiting recipe. They used Cherry Tomatoes and small balls of Fresh Mozzarella. Hmmm, hmm good. They served it with slices of French Bread, like a Brushetta.

Bacon Wrapped Sea Scallops with a Spicy Remoulade

First Course:


Betsy’s Simple Caesar with homemade Parmesan Crustini

The Main Event:



Cranberry, Sausage and Sage Stuffing

Brussel Sprouts roasted with EVO, Garlic, Lemon and Parmesan

Spicy Stuffed Pumpkin Stew

Pumpkin Gnocchi with Brown Butter and Sage

Pumpkin Souffle

MashedYukonGold Potatoes with Sour Cream and Chives

Homemade Cranberry Sauce withOrangeJuice, Zest and Cointreau

Deserts were the usual suspects: Apple, Pumpkin and Pecan Pie. Surprise, surprise: they were barely touched!


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