Monday, November 24, 2008

It's Turkey Time!

Are you ready for this week? Thanksgiving for a foodie means that I usually spend most of the week preparing for the big day. This year, my sister and mom are in town, so we'll be working together, which makes it much more fun and less work.

My favorite day of our preparation is Wednesday--Pie day. My mother-in-law makes her delectable pumpkin pies and then we Johnson women go to town on the others. The photo to the right is the fruits of our labors last year: an apple, french apple, apple-berry sour cream, toasted pecan, pumpkin cream cheese, and lemon and toasted coconut meringue. My Johnson family (the family I was raised in) are also HUGE boysenberry pie fans. We almost always buy ours at Marie Callendars, but the past couple of years I have been less-than-impressed with the quality. This year, I have bought the berries and we'll be making a couple of berry pies, all the apples that we did last year, and a banana cream. Although the pecan pie is delicious, it is so rich that you can't try several kinds, which means that it gets neglected, so I'll wait and make it at Christmas or next year.

The Johnsons are also traditionalists when it comes to the Thanksgiving meal (as are my in-laws,) so we don't fiddle much with the recipes, except to perhaps add a new side dish here and there or toss in an extra pie. But there absolutely must be a roasted turkey (and most years Jared also deep fries a turkey--mostly so he can have a good excuse to fry everything in the house the next day when they're watching football.) Alli is doing the turkey this year, so Thanksgiving morning will feel downright leisurely around here. We also make a traditional onion-celery-sage stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, candied yams, a raspberry jello-sour cream salad, and these rolls:
One of the crowning dishes is the citrus-cranberry relish. Sure, it's just a side dish and you generally only eat 1/4 cup or so, but it is so beautiful on the plate, and the sweet and tart of it pairs so well with the turkey. There is nothing better than a leftover turkey sandwich on homemade whole wheat bread with cranberry relish smeared all over it. Yum.

What dish or dishes can you not go without on Thanksgiving?

If you are interested in trying a new recipe at your Thanksgiving table this year, this is a great one. And it can be made on Tuesday or Wednesday, which is always nice. Bon Appetit!

Johnson's Cranberry Relish
  • 1 bag fresh cranberries
  • 2 red apples
  • 2 large oranges
  • 1 lemon
  • 1-1 1/2 cups sugar

Core apples. Zest the citrus and reserve zest for later. Peel oranges and lemon, removing as much of the white pith as possible. Grind cranberries and other fruit together, using an old fashioned CLEAN meat grinder. Or use your food processor, but keep it chunky, not pureed. Add sugar to taste (my mom likes it tart, but my in-laws prefer it sweet). Add citrus zest. Best if made a couple of days ahead, which you want anyway when you’re making Thanksgiving dinner!


MoziEsmé said...

Oh you are making me hungry already! And we may not have much of a meal here in Mozambique, since it's a regular work day... I love the idea of all those pies!

Steph @ Diapers and Divinity said...

We're big pie folks around here too. I make one pie for everyone in the family-- their choice. Your rolls look great. I need a good roll recipe b/c I'm in charge of those this year.

Erika said...

I'm drooling already...
see you wednesday!!!

exprifi-sharp lateral movement of the eye as it changes fixation

Sonja said...

Yowza! My husband is a HUGE pie lover. In fact, he prefers it to cake on his birthday. Michal, you are such an incredible woman! I'm not very good at making pies. But I enjoy eating them.

I'm attempting a Cream Cheese Pumpkin roll this year. It's another one of dh's favorites. Have a wonderful pie day!

Prudy said...

Oh, Michal... I can't wait for pie. I don't wait for pie. I'm having some tomorrow. Yesterday I made four pie crusts. I'm making a ridiculous amount of pies this year. I'll also be eating a ridiculous amount. I'd better get on that tread mill. Happy Thanksgiving!

Anonymous said...

People at the office have been asking me if I'm ready for Thanksgiving. I just tell them I will be when Dad gets the house cleaned. How lucky am I to have the skills of a dil, dau, almost dil, and a co-grandma to make it work without too much work from me? I love having TG with the Johnson side of the gang.


Aly sun said...

I'm taking my favorite's to my in-law's this year: Green bean casserole and pecan pie.

Stuart said...

michal, i sent a draft of the first half of one of my final papers, i don't know if you check your hot mail but that's where i sent it...since your having a leisurely Thursday with out turkey you can maybe edit my paper:)
and i know your that good at all the cooking stuff, even without the blog...wish i could be there with you guys.

Aubrey said...

Can I come to your place??? Sounds divine. I can't wait for left overs. I am not a big leftover fan normally but that's one of hte best parts of Thanksgiving.

My Ice Cream Diary said...

I have to admit to screaming a little bit upon seeing the empty pecan pie plate over here. Granted I had 3 slices, but I wanted just one more. My sis-in-law made the best pecan pie I've EVER had this year.

Just don't remind me how many calories are in each slice, 'cause I don't wanna hear it.

We bought our usual Marie Calendar's sourcream lemon pie and, for the second year in a row, were very unimpressed. Looks like I'm going to have to start making it myself again. *sigh*

david mcmahon said...

Hi Michal,

Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving.

An Ordinary Mom said...

Happy Thanksgiving!

That Pumpkin Cheesecake is what I would be all over :) !!

Trying to Stay Calm! said...

I am new here! What a great blog :) ♥ Hugs!

Becky said...

We are sorry we missed everyone this year. I attempted the rolls in Tahoe but I'm blaming the altitude for them not being as delish as when Rhonda and you make them.

Tamlynn said...

Oh that pecan pie looks heavenly! There wasn't one at our gathering this year. :( I made a cherry pie and was lucky to wake from my nap in time to get the last piece! I also made cranberry sauce with orange and cinnamon that was delish.

Morgan Moore said...

I love the idea of pie day- totally going to do it next year!

Love the sunshine... said...

Sweet Michal you have not posted in a while and I dope all is alright with you. I went to a dinner the other night at church where the guest speaker was an author. Not only was she so cute and reminded me of you, as she read a chapter of her book I wondered if she was school by you as her words were so beautiful and eloquent. I have a lil something for you I need to drop off btw.