Sunday, March 13, 2011

Our First Thanksgiving in Colorado

For Thanksgiving this year, it became obvious pretty quickly that we wouldn't be able to travel home.  Joe had just started his new job, I was temping (and any time off was unpaid), tickets were exorbitantly priced, and who really wants to spend the majority of a four day weekend in an airport??  So instead of flying home, we had our first Colorado Thanksgiving.

I do most of the cooking for me and Joe, and was overwhelmed with the thought of cooking an entire Thanksgiving dinner for the two of us.  I knew that my only "cooking day" would have to be Thanksgiving day itself, and I wasn't sure if I could get everything done in 8 hours or less.  But, once we decided flying home wasn't an option, we invited my mom to fly out and join us, and she accepted.  The prospect of a Thanksgiving dinner suddenly became a lot less scary when I knew that I'd have her here to help do the shopping and the prep work while I was at work.

Thanksgiving ended up being a beautiful day (I'm pretty sure we hadn't had snow yet by that time of year, even though upon moving here we were promised that our first snow would be before the end of October).  Our friends from Denver, D and K were also able to come, so instead of a Thanksgiving for 2, we had a Thanksgiving for 5!  Somehow, all the prep happened so quickly and painlessly that it was a relaxing day of alternately cooking and sitting with our feet up.

The menu:
Mom and the bird
We bought a fresh, local turkey and made Alton Brown's Roast Turkey.  I don't think we use cinnamon or apple in the aromatics, I think we use lemon instead (possibly an earlier iteration of the recipe).  The most important part of the recipe though is brining the turkey to make it moist and tender with natural ingredients, rather than a whole bunch of salt and chemicals (like a lot of the "fluid added" frozen turkeys).  Our family has made this turkey recipe for years, and Mom has been known to have a brining turkey travelling with them in the car when she and Dad would come down to W'Burg for Thanksgiving.
Carved turkey and the rest of the "buffet."
Sweet  potatoes!  We pre-bake them and then squeeze them out of their skins, add brown sugar, cayenne, butter and half & half then bake them as a casserole.
Bobby Flay's Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pomegranates and Vanilla-Pecan Butter.  My dad always loved having Brussels sprouts on Thanksgiving, so I wanted to make sure to have some on the menu (Joe and I both also love Brussels sprouts, so it was an easy addition).  This recipe was from Bobby Flay's Thanksgiving Throwdown, and it must have been a popular thing to make, because we had to go to two stores to get enough Brussels sprouts!
D made green bean casserole - one of Joe's favorite side dishes!
And or course stuffing!
Missing from the pictures are the gravy, the mashed potatoes, and the homemade pumpkin and apple pies that Mom made.

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