Oh. My. God. Where to begin?
Well, let's start with the turkey, since that was the part that I was most worried about. To review, I bought 2 15 pounders and we decided to roast one and deep fry the other. Randy did a great job taking out all the innards of both turkeys and stuffing the one-to-be-roasted with onions, celery and lemons. I did not have to touch a bird! Earlier in the week, I bought 6 gallons of peanut oil for the deep fryer (at $16/gallon) and we set up a little deep frying station outside. Meanwhile, while worrying about the turkey, I made:
Balsamic Glazed Cippoline Onions
Brussels Sprout Hash with Caramelized Shallots
Potato and Fennel Gratin
Leek and Mushroom Stuffing
Pecan, Chocolate, and Bourbon Pie
Breton Apple Pie
I will spare you the blow by blow and just tell you that we took the oven turkey out too early. When we went to carve it, it was clear - even to me - that is was undercooked. And so, back into the oven it went while we waited for the deep fried turkey. At this point, I had taken all the side dishes out so we could serve the kids and everything got a little cold. Fortunately, the fryer was done soon after and that turkey was a huge success by all accounts of those who ate it. Unfortunately, for the first time in I don't remember how long, I wasn't thrilled with the food I made.
Oh, the mushrooms were a hit and were as good as I remember. The onions were also delicious and, garnished with pomegranate seeds, they looked beautiful. I used 40% milk fat cream in the gratin, so it was sinfully rich - almost too much so. It wouldn't stop me from making it again however! The apple pie was a beauty and perfectly spiced and delicious. A new recipe to me, but one I will make again and again. But the stuffing was dry and bland. Remember those brussels sprouts I bragged about? I made a slight mistake in cooking them and so they ended up tasting really bland and, well, like brussels sprouts. Almost no one ate them. And my pie had an all butter crust which wasn't flaky at all and the filling was soupy and just not good.
So, I learned. We learned. I think we will deep fry the turkey next time, no more brussels sprouts (sob!), I will go back to the Pepperidge Farm stuffing mix that my mom used for 30 years and everyone loved. I will make a green bean casserole or some such "other" green vegetable dish. I will go back to the Nutcracker Tart that has five different kinds of nuts and is served with a Cranberry and Orange Compote - a huge hit everytime I have made it. Overall the lesson learned is, don't mess with tradition.
Aside from some misgivings about the food, we had a wonderful night. We were able to squeeze all 19 adults into our dining room so it felt lovely to all be able to sit down together instead of be scattered all over the house. The kids were great and didn't destroy our basement. I loved all the people there and it was fantastic to be able to share my favorite holiday with them.
I will have recipes and photos tomorrow. No energy today!