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Oct 20, 2008 03:23 PM

Thanksgiving is coming up quick...any ideas?

So I think I'm doing Thanksgiving dinner this year...

I moved away from home to go to school about 3 years ago and my mother might finally be coming to see me and my brand new apartment (as opposed to me going to see her all the time). My apartment is pretty impressive, especially for a student like myself...and I want a meal that is just as impressive.

So the problem is, I'm drawing a blank when I try to come up with anything other than the traditional turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, candied yams, cranberry jelly, blah blah blah. I know how I'm doing my turkey, so I don't need any ideas there. But what I'm wondering is, if anyone has any ideas or links to some more "modern" sides and/or desserts that I could make as a part of our Thanksgiving meal.


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    1. re: yamalam

      Thanks for the links! I know we all hate to see the same questions asked a thousand times...I tried searching around the boards for "thanksgiving" but couldn't come up with anything like those though.

      1. re: Birtle

        No prob, I've been tagging Thanksgiving threads because I am taking the lead this year for my extended family...4 generations, adventurous eaters and traditionalists, totalling at least 26 people!!!! The biggest dinner party I've ever done was for 12. Excited but anxious, will be on here a lot for ideas, help, and venting.

    2. First, good for you! There are lots of great threads over the years about 'gourmet' Thanksgivings - I'll get links for you once I get back from dinner or tomorrow. However, a nice way to start, I think, is with a soup - last year I made a lovely wild mushroom soup. And, for dessert, I like to make a Tarte Tatin - you can make ahead and reheat. One thing to think about - are there some classics that you 'must have'?

      5 Replies
      1. re: MMRuth

        P.S. This is a quick and dirty search - check out some of the threads that may be applicable - it's worth looking back at some of the older ones:

        1. re: MMRuth

          You must've read my mind. I was thinking of doing a Turkish Carrot soup I have a recipe for to start (it has a nice bit of cinnamon which I think gives it the perfect Thanksgiving feel), and either a Tart Tatin or Apple Strudel for dessert.

          But I think the only thing I NEED to stick with would be some kind of stuffing, and some form of mashed potatoes...

          1. re: Birtle

            I'm in love with Simon Hopkinson's mashed potatoes - both the saffron one and the olive oil ones. I think I've posted the recipes if you are interested.

            1. re: MMRuth

              MMruth, as I trust you implicitly would you mind posting the Simon Hopkinson potatoe recipe (your favorite)? I did a search but can't seem to find it here or google. Thank you so much!

            2. re: Birtle

              This celery soup is also amazing: I add garlic, of course! I made that one year for a not-so-traditional Thanksgiving with my immediate family. We started with that, but our main was the 40 cloves of garlic roast chicken.

          2. MMR has my idea- soup to begin. I have done a pumpkin soup that is so easy and delicious, as well as french onion -people love them both.
            I have played with the menu a few times for this year but I'm not solid yet. I'll make baked sweet potatoes and mashed white (or get voted off the island) but I'm not doing that awful green bean thing again, it's just not good. Instead I'm doing brussels sprouts with bacon (sooooo good) and I will refuse to make salad because no one ever eats it, then I'll cave halfway and just do a big antipast... like I always do.
            Also we do baked, stuffed mushrooms (stuffed with mushroom stems, garlic, bread crumbs, crumbled sausage) and of course the family stuffing (not cooked in the bird but I call it stuffing, always have and I find change incredibly difficult to cope with around the holiday's so don't ask!)
            I'm really not a baker (but I love sweets- hence the silly screen name I thought up) however, there's usually a pumpkin swirl cheesecake, or a cherry topped one, plus pumpkin pie, apple, and a mincemeat.
            It's our tradition to serve nuts in the shell (pass around the nutcrackers- I have 4 sets) and fresh fruit in between courses. Also we do fennel- or as my family says it 'fin-oky' - fennel cooked until tender with a dressing of anchovy (or not), olive oil, vinegar- served room temp. It's different...

            2 Replies
            1. re: Boccone Dolce

              I love pumpkin soup (and french onion) but the dish patrol has nixed the idea- not enough soup bowls apparently, though I think there are and they just don't want to wash them!!!

              1. re: yamalam

                you could always suggest teacups for service?LOL!

            2. I made this Triple Cranberry Sauce last year, and I honestly think that it was the best thing on the table -- it was that good!


              1 Reply
              1. re: valerie

                Another cranberry "sauce" option: a few years ago, my dad saw this made on some cooking show. Don't know whose recipe it was, don't know the specifics, but it's tasty with both turkey and pork (eg roasted pork tenderloin). Dad says it was called "cranberry fool" but I don't think it's a fool like the dessert kind.

                Dried cranberries, cherries, golden raisins, and/or currants: I use about 2 parts cranberries to 1 part cherries and 1 part raisins. Maybe 1 C and 1/2 C and 1/2 C?

                Put in small saucepan and add water just barely to cover. Bring to a simmer and cook, uncovered, until the fruit is plumped and the water has evaporated - depending on how much fruit you use, this could take a while - allow 30-45 min.

                Add about 1/2 to 1 t vanilla (the real stuff) and cook a few minutes longer. Let it cool. It gets nice and thick, kind of like a chutney. Serve at room temp or chilled.


              2. We make a savory pumpkin pie. Sweet potato/cranberry bread was a hit last year. Pumpkin or squash stuffed with wild rice pilaf.