Preparation for the holidays, especially Thanksgiving, are times I cherish especially after taking a break for two years from hosting the traditional Thanksgiving dinner here on Ashland. Last year, we visited Charleston, South Carolina, and ate dinner out at several great restaurants including my personal favorite, Husk. This year, I am cooking again and incorporating many of the flavors discovered from travels and recent dining experiences. Of course, cornmeal from Anson Mills in Carolina is a key ingredient to the chorizo and cornbread stuffing recipe that I am prepping, riffing off of Chef Sean Brock’s recipe. Check out the Anson Mills’ website for all of their great products including yellow gold rice and benne seeds. http://www.ansonmills.com
I am attempting to lighten up the menu a bit and accommodate some family dietary restrictions which is making the menu even more interesting this year. Here is my current lineup. I may audible as the week progresses as I am prone to changing my mind.
- Roasted rosemary nuts (assorted including garbanzo beans)
- Roasted acorn squash and spinach salad with vinaigrette using a secret ingredient — piloncillo from Mexico
- Garlic fresh green beans with almonds
- Cranberry, jalapeno and orange compote
- Roasted Turkey (brined)
- Chorizo and cornbread stuffing (made with almond milk so it is dairy free)
- Smashed red skin potatoes
- Various pickles
- Grilled dates
- Lemon Tart and Chocolate Olive Oil Cake
I try to make as much of the meal as possible ahead of time, so that on Thanksgiving day I can concentrate on having fun with outdoor activities besides lots of kitchen prep. RM is in charge of the turkey which frees me up to focus on the appetizers, sides and desserts.Typically, Thanksgiving Day in Texas is perfect weather for long walks. We plan to participate in the Turkey Trot this year, starting out early on Thanksgiving morning. This has become a family tradition that gets us into the spirit of the holiday, doing something healthy and for a good cause, with so many Fort Worth area families.
We eat our meal in the evening which allows all of us more time to get ready for the feast. I put the guests to work setting the table and helping me keep up with the dirty dishes. I have always regretted only installing one dishwasher when we remodeled our kitchen. In my mother’s day, prepping for Thanksgiving was so much more work. She didn’t have a dishwasher or the slick kitchen gadgets that I have accumulated. I have memories of my mother setting her alarm for early in the morning, before sunrise on Thanksgiving Day, so she could put the turkey in the oven so it would be ready by the noon meal. I don’t remember my dad helping out with the meal prep until years later when she patiently trained him to prepare salad and homemade bread.
RM is busy repairing dripping shower heads, fiddling with running toilets, and mending leaking pipes so that all our facilities are in top notch shape for our overnight guests. Ongoing maintenance issues are a constant inconvenience when you live in as old a house as ours but we love it and wouldn’t want to be anywhere else this holiday week than right here on Ashland. If you are in the neighborhood, stop by for a cup of coffee, a nibble or a sip of vino and give thanks, with us, for all we have — good friends, healthy family, and in everything, give thanks.