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My good ol' Hound friends - can you inspire me?

I've been planning my Thanksgiving menu and am blocked. This is what I've planned so far:

Appetizer:
Gougeres

Dessert:
Pumpkin Custard Profiteroles with Maple caramel

Ok. That's it.

I was leaning towards a french theme - dunno why. Just appealed to me. I know I need a non-salmon fish dish for one person. And ugh - i'm just stumped. I'd love to give a hint to traditional but with new fun dishes. Thoughts? Help!!

Oh - I also know I don't want to do a big turkey - maybe a couple of breasts?

I don't mean to make you do the work for me - I'm just lost.

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  1. Just some things that have been in my mind because of some recent threads:
    Sausage and cherry dressing
    Elvis cake
    Sour cherry strussel cake
    Roasted butternut

    2 Replies
    1. re: yayadave

      i love the suggestions! Thanks so much.

      I find it hilarious that you mention the Elvis cake 'cause I posted it here - lol. I might be Elvis-caked out for a bit.....but it is fantastic.

      1. re: krissywats

        I remembered that you had posted it. Just because you posted it doesn't mean you can't have it again.

        Anyway, we're out for the holiday, taking turkey, so I know they'll have punkin something and apple something else. That's when I started thinking about blowing them all away with the Elvis cake, Sour cherry strussel cake, and maybe even Roasted butternut as a side. If the standard items are covered, you can afford a side trip. I won't get away with a sausage and cherry stuffin.'

    2. if you don't have a huge crowd, do a whole rolled and stuffed breast. Did it one year and it was fabulous. The recipe came from Sunset and had chopped apricots in the dressing. Also, great not to have to spend an hour breaking down and packaging all the leftovers for a change.

      How about a chesnut souffle or timbale?

      Spiced pumpkin trifle flavored with rum and frangelica? (make a pumpkin flavored sponge cake and use lots of fresh grated nutmeg.)

      4 Replies
      1. re: toodie jane

        I second the turkey roulade idea it's elegant, roll it with a simple stuffing. If you want to be fancy try sous-viding it in sage butter or something. Make a cranberry and sherry gastrique to serve along. Try making sweet potato blinis for a first course. Good luck, it sounds incredibly upscale.

        1. re: digkv

          I dont know a ton about sous-viding. Can you do it without having one of those fancy food sealing thingies?

          1. re: krissywats

            Yes, you can wrap the roulade tightly in plastic wrap and cook it that way. That's a sort of sous-viding that Keller did for his duck. I'll look up some more info on this technique.

            1. re: krissywats

              http://nymag.com/restaurants/articles... here's a link from Thomas Keller where he provides an option of sous-viding a turkey breast with plastic wrap. This is a link to a blog that sous-vided with plastic wrap http://carolcookskeller.blogspot.com/...

              It seems that the only real piece of technology you need is a thermometer unless you happen to have a thermal immersion circulator. Good luck!

        2. How about a side of butternut pancakes similar to potato pancakes?

          1. Turkey roulade was my first thought as well. I've got a couple recipes in a notebook squirreled away for a future Thanksgiving where it's just a small group of us, or where I want something more elegant than a roast turkey. Here's a search from Epicurious: http://www.epicurious.com/tools/searc...

            1 Reply
            1. re: farmersdaughter

              ok, so could i brine the turkey breast and then do a roulade and sous-vide as mentioned above? Frankly, these are all things i've never done before but it sounds fun!

            2. For fish you could roast or grill any type of fish couldn't you? cod, halibut, monkfish tilapia.. whatever you can find in your local market. Or how about grilled calamari ?

              1. Do you have a recipe for your Pumpkin Custard Profiteroles with Maple caramel? I've been thinking about cream puffs myself and that sounds really good.

                1. CELERY ROOT AND PARSNIP GRATIN

                  I started making this two years ago and it now a staple at both Christmas and Thanksgiving. It is wonderful; even 'non-root vegetable' people love it. And it fits with your French theme. It is also a dish you can prep the evening before. I often press it down with a plate and heavy cans for about an hour before I make it, to give it a tighter, more elegant look when finished. (Let me know if you need to know how to do that, it is easy.)

                  Celery root and parsnip gratin

                  1 tablespoon butter

                  1 tablespoon finely chopped shallots

                  1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic

                  1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream

                  1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon milk

                  2 teaspoons salt

                  1/2 teaspoon finely ground black pepper

                  1 pinch nutmeg

                  2 large celery root (about 2 1/2 pounds total)

                  2 to 3 parsnips (about 1 pound total)

                  1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons crème fraîche, divided

                  1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese

                  1/4 cup grated Fontina cheese

                  2 tablespoons fresh bread crumbs

                  1. Melt the butter in a heavy pot over medium heat. Add the shallots and garlic and sweat them until tender, about 2 minutes. Add the cream, milk, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Bring the mixture to a simmer, then remove from heat to steep while you prepare the vegetables.

                  2. Heat the oven to 450 degrees. Peel and very thinly slice the celery roots and parsnips (about one-eighth inch thick), either using a mandoline or by hand. In a 9-inch gratin dish or deep dish pie plate, spread one-third cup crème fraîche. Add a layer of parsnips, then a layer of celery root, then spoon over about 3 tablespoons of the cream mixture. Repeat the process until the last layer reaches the top of the dish.

                  3. Cut a piece of parchment the same size as the top of the gratin dish or pie plate, lay it over the top layer, then cover the dish with aluminum foil, sealing around the edges. Bake for 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and let sit for 30 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees. Top the gratin with the remaining 2 tablespoons crème fraîche spread evenly over the top. Sprinkle on the cheeses and bread crumbs. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes until the cheese is melted and the gratin is nicely browned. Serve hot.

                  1. This is one of my favorite sides (if I can keep myself from eating the chestnuts) and it would go well w/ the turkey roulade--glazed chestnuts w/ haricots verts.

                    http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                    1. First of all, I love the idea of a couple of breasts...
                      (but I'm a filthy punster!)

                      Your dessert idea reminds me of an awesome turkey breast recipe from Steven Raichlen. If you go to bbqu.net and look at episode 412, he's got a recipe for a maple glazed and smoked turkey breast that's dynamite (I made it once, mostly accurately.)
                      The gist is that you get a turkey breast (skin-on), apply a rub that includes maple sugar, hot-smoke with maple wood or chips, and use a glaze of butter and maple syrup. The smoking you can do on any grill, and maple sugar isn't too hard to source.

                      1. How about trout with some sort of brown butter & sage (could be another less potent herb) or the good old classic---trout almandine? Maybe a little roasted root veg on the side...

                        My favorite cold weather salad is baby greens, goat cheese, orange segments, pine nuts & shaved fennel w/ a sherry vinaigrette. Not all that french, but delicious.

                        Good luck & have fun!

                        1. You could do a nice non-salmon fish dish in a foil packet. You could even add veggies to the packet to make it fancy.

                          If I were cooking, it wouldn't be a turkey. I think I'd do a really nice pork roast or a leg of lamb. I can't stand turkey. With the French theme, maybe a cassoulet.

                          Roasted butternut squash is a great side, see the recent thread. In my family we always did a mushroom ragout, too. Very easy and impressive. And if you wanted to make it fancy, serve it over polenta in appetizer-size plates.

                          Tarte Tatin would be a nice alternative to the traditional apple pie, if you're looking for another dessert.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Kagey

                            I'm thinking about doing Cornish Game Hens for the two of us in lieu of turkey. Tarte Tatin is also definitely on the menu!

                          2. Cod and bass were most likely on the first Thanksgiving menu. You could update it a bit by serving roasted sea bass with leeks and chestnuts. Maybe some kind of a rum and maple syrup glaze? Rum is a stretch but it sounded right to me.