Not only was it our first American Thanksgiving, but it was actually our first ever real thanksgiving. You see, we didn’t really celebrate Thanksgiving in Canada…it’s really not such a big holiday there. So being as it is a HUGE holiday here and we really do have a lot to be thankful for, we decided to jump right into the holiday spirit and go all out and cook up a big, traditional thanksgiving feast.
Who better than to share this with than our foodie friends (AKA, the best roasted potatoes ever chefs!) who we are very thankful to have as friends. So, I went all out and everything served at this dinner was homemade. Starting with the bread, a favorite and always impressive recipe, it’s deceivingly easy. Based off this no knead bread recipe, you can really customize it any way you’d like.
I substituted one cup whole wheat flour for the regular flour. I have gone all the way healthy and done all whole wheat but it’s definitely better with some good old A.P flour. To go with the bread, I wanted some sort of spready type item. What better than to get in the thanksgiving spirit and use a seasonal recipe from a cookbook author I am very thankful for…Bonnie Stern. As you will soon see, I also owe her thanks for a delicious turkey..but I’m getting ahead of myself.
Roasted Butternut Squash and Carrot Spread (Adapted from Bonnie Stern)
1 butternut squash, peeled and cut in chunks
1 pound carrots, peeled and cut in chunks
1 head garlic, top cut off
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbs honey
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried rosemary
1/4 tsp adobo sauce
salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 400 and toss together squash, carrots, 1 tbsp olive oil, thyme, rosemary, salt and pepper and place on parchment lined baking pan. Squeeze 1 tbsp honey over top. Brush top of garlic with some of the oil and honey and wrap in foil. Roast garlic, carrots, and squash for about 45 minutes until tender. Squeeze out garlic pulp and puree with squash and carrot mixture 1 tbsp olive oil, and adobo sauce. Season with salt and pepper.
This bird definitely was the star of the show. For my first turkey cooking experience, it went fairly smooth. And Bonnie Stern is to thank for her easy turkey recipe that I slightly adapted. Simply seasoned with olive oil, salt and pepper and stuffed with fresh sage, thyme, onions and garlic. I think the secret was to roast it breast down for the first 30 minutes and then flip it (which was quite interesting) and continue to roast for another 2 hours. A meat thermometer was also key.
To go with the bird we had quite the spread!
While everything was delicious, I did have some favorites (besides the turkey of course). Our friends stuffing was simple but delicious. Traditional celery, carrots, and onion with toasted bread and spices…covered in homemade gravy it was SCRUMPTIOUS! My other favorite was cranberry sauce, which for me, is the reason to have turkey in the first place. I simply boiled a package of fresh cranberries with apple cider, sugar, and orange zest and let it simmer until it was nice and thick. I think I will be eating this on everything for the next week! And lastly, the cauliflower. Based off this recipe from the NY times: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9406E0D61E30F93BA25750C0A96F9C8B63 the only change I made was to roast the cauliflower with a little oil, s &p, instead of pan frying it.
Adam doesn’t normally like cauliflower but he really liked this dish. A great way to convert those cauliflower haters! After a nice long stretch break, we were ready for dessert. I had been looking forward to this pumpkin cheesecake courtesy of my dinner guests and let me tell you, it more than lived up to the hype!
Creamy, light, not too sweet, despite being stuffed we all managed to have seconds! Recipe please? We will now be dining on leftover turkey for a while (not that I’m complaining!) Stay tuned from some turkey soup!