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Newbie :D. Just saying Hi & Wondering about a Thanksgiving Menu

Hi everyone!

First I should say that I am not a novice cook. However, I'm no iron chef either, and there is no way I could participate on that show. I'd be stumped by some of the ingredients on Chopped, but I think I could make do with the ingredients and possibly get out of the App round :).

I have had a class working in a commercial kitchen as part of being in the Hospitality program at Virginia Tech. However, sadly the class that introduced me to a more refined style of cooking, further branching me from my previous generic approach, is the only course that we have that involves working in a kitchen at the University.

I can make a great Shrimp and Asparagus Rissotto, Chateau Briand, Creme Brulee, Panna Cotta, chicken stocks, and things like that. I know what Creme Fraiche is haha (When I say that to my friends and family, they're in awe of what it is lol). So I would say I definitely have experience cooking and a good knowledge of the kitchen.

I seriously lack in the seafood area, and recipes with Scallops, Crab, Salmon, Mussels, Clams, Tuna, etc I tend to shy away from because I don't live in an area that has great seafood. And what we have is quite expensive at the local Kroger, especially for the fact that I don't know the best ways to cook the aforementioned ingredients, and I live alone, but I do cook for friends once a week or so. Also, I'm not as experienced with lamb, veal or duck, and I honestly do not know if I like veal or duck. Lamb is a bit fatty, or at least in the experiences that I have eaten it, which is probably one of the top reasons I haven't tried to cook it on my own.

Anyway, for thanksgiving dinner I have informed that family that I wish to cook a majority or it.
I am planning to brine a turkey and stuff it with aeromatics much like Alton Brown. Also I am going to cook a beef tenderlion in the "salt dough" that Alton cooked. Did I mention I am a HUGE Alton Brown fan haha. However even with the direction, I will add things that I prefer in the form of herbs and spices that I prefer.

I'm going to allow my mom to cook the cornbread stuffing because it is amazing as it is, though I am going to have her use my home made chicken stock rather than the box kind that she usually would use. I'm thinking about some type of green-bean casserole and some baked creamy mac n chees for some of the kids that love it. Also, we normally have mashed potatoes, but I'm thinking of a some type of potato gratin in addition.

For dessert, I I am going to make a Cheesecake with a raspberry or blueberry coulis . Also we'll have a Pecan Pie, and Creme Brulee.

Any Ideas on something to add, something that is generally favorable and has that "wow" factor response from your family. Luckily I don't have to pay for the stuff (having to pay here at school majorly cramps my style in getting much of what I really want :(....and since the fam will be paying I can get whatever I want.

I'm glad I finally found a "food" message board that is active. I look forward to all the advice and knowledge that I will gain as a part of the community here.

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  1. Welcome! There are several active threads on Thanksgiving (many are linked to at the bottom of this thread), so you may want to start looking there for inspiration. Cheers!

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      1. Welcome!

        What are you doing for cranberry sauce? Must have cranberry sauce! And don't forget the rolls!

        ~TDQ

        3 Replies
        1. re: The Dairy Queen

          You know oddly, my family has never eaten cranberry sauce. Personally, I love it, but I don't know if i should make it for myself. They can be picky eaters and might not bother to put it on their plate :(

          1. re: hpman247

            If you love it, hpman, you should make a little bit, even, for yourself. Even just a small bit of cranberry compote to pamper yourself after all that work.

            1. re: Normandie

              Especially as it's so easy, and you never know, you might gain a couple of converts. For me, the cranberry sauce yields great rewards for little time and effort. Put a stick of cinnamon, some nutmeg, minced ginger, orange peel, marmalade--whatever in it--you can come up with your own flavour combination and, presto, delicious. Plus, you have it for leftover turkey sandwiches... And it lasts forever in the fridge.

        2. How do you feel about a dip involving caviar? Since the budget isn't an issue (and the recipe only calls for a small amount anyway), something unusual and tasty like this could have the "wow" factor. Let me know if you're interested, and I'll post the recipe.

          7 Replies
          1. re: ChristinaMason

            I would say yes, because I am sure that your caviar dip is amazing, but sadly there is no where within 50 miles that I know of that sells caviar. Much less the fact that I will be going home to a much smaller area for thanksgiving where the main grocery store is wal-mart, so i doubt I'd be able to pull off that recipe.

            I'm actually doing a lot of shopping here for the gourmet dishes because I am afraid that while I am home I won't be able to find necessary items

            1. re: hpman247

              Why not shop online for stuff you need and have it shipped to where you're preparing the meal?

              1. re: mcf

                I could certainly do that, but I know nothing about caviar selection...

                1. re: hpman247

                  Aw, I feel your pain. My dad lives in WV where the main grocery (and clothing, and Christmas gift) store is Wal-Mart.

                  The only reason I made a dip like this was 1) I was obsessed after having something similar at a bar in NY TWO years ago; and 2) I found a small container of caviar (just generic black "German caviar"...from Germans?) at a specialty food shop here in Berlin. That said, I have seen it at places like Cost Plus World Market (I think) and Whole Foods (with the smoked fish).

              1. re: perk

                Sure, I'll try to get it up today.

            2. We make two kinds of cranberries, the raw one on the back of the bag and I make a cranberry chutney that is nice and tangy. I do a sweet potato ginger pudding that is decadent or a warm roasted sweet potato salad with cranberries. We always do some type of greens like arugala, roasted pears, blue or goat cheese, and candied pecans. NO green beans or mashed potatoes, I am all for the stuffing!!! I usually make Ina Gartens rosemary cashews to serve with cocktails before the big meal. An onion marmalade would be nice with the turkey and the beef and can be made ahead of time.