Thursday, January 17, 2013

Thanksgiving - Dinner

And here's the doozy: The big feast. Prior Thanksgiving feasts have heavily featured food baked in ovens. For example, the cider scalloped potatoes we made in 2010 obviously required baking. You just don't get that kind of gooey cheese without a working oven. In 2011, we made at least four dishes in the oven: Cornish hens, Brussels sprouts, green bean casserole, and cider scalloped potatoes. Oh, and this year? Found out the day before that my parent's oven was down for the count. Only the broiler was working.

Dill bread
Thankfully, I made the dill bread in advance, which left us with only a few things that we needed to figure out how to broil.

Roasted chile brocolli and root vegetable gratin

We made a beautiful roasted chile broccoli dish in the (broken) oven (featured on the right in the above photo). It took much longer than anticipated, probably because, you know, broken. This dish was delicious, but not outstanding -- the combination of flavors was pretty straightforward.

Taste: 8
Ease: 7.5
Comfort: 5

Per my sister's suggestion, we also made a root vegetable gratin (featured in the picture above, center right). That was a terrible idea. While the beets were beautiful (I know, you can't tell under all that cheese), and it tasted fabulous, this was by far the hardest dish to prepare. The beets were so difficult to cut that I managed to slice my finger -- ouch! I will never make this recipe again. Stupid fussy root vegetables.

Taste: 8.5
Ease: 3
Comfort: 6

Grilled venison with a cherry Cabernet sauce

We also made a beautiful grilled venison with a cherry Cabernet sauce. My dad adeptly grilled the venison for us while my sister and I whipped up the cherry Cabernet sauce. This, I think, was the better of the two meats we made for Thanksgiving. Although, I'd have trouble replicating it by myself since I am useless with a grill. Good thing I always have my dad and/or hubs to help me out with that!

Taste: 8.5
Ease: 7
Comfort: 7

Creamed corn with bacon and leeks

The creamed corn with bacon and leeks seemed like such a good idea on paper. Ultimately, though, it was pretty blah. I guess I should have anticipated that -- creamed corn is not known for having tons of pizazz. It nevertheless was still comforting in a smooshy, bacon-y kind of way. Maybe next time I'll throw in a handful of New Mexican Chile powder. I bet that would wake it up in a jiffy!

Taste: 6
Ease: 7.5
Comfort: 8

Roasted sweet potato salad with cranberry-chipotle dressing

The evening's show-stealer was the roasted sweet potato salad with cranberry-chipotle dressing (above, bottom). I really don't like sweet potatoes. Of course, I have always had sweet, sweet potatoes. Not for me, let me tell you. But savory sweet potatoes? What a revelation! These were slightly sweet, slightly spicy, slightly savory, and completely mind-blowing. If I ever consider making sweet potatoes again, these will be first on my list.

Taste: 9
Ease: 8
Comfort: 7.5

Our last meat, and the last part of dinner, was grilled honey-chile glazed duck breasts, which I apparently was too spacey to take a picture of. Don't worry, you're not missing much -- they were fine but not outstanding. Not my favorite duck recipe by far. We did whip up an orange marmalade sauce that went well with them, though.

Taste: 7.5
Ease: 8
Comfort: 6

For those of you who know me, you know I am a statistics nerd. My parents, who obviously love me dearly, found a "Probability" red wine and got it for the family to drink on Thanksgiving in honor of my nerdiness. And man, it was delicious!

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