Sunday, November 15, 2009

Round One: She Comes Out Swingin'

Well my friends, it’s officially that time of year again. Time to get out the stretch pants and elastic waist-bands, undo the top button, and put on a loose non-form-fitting top. That’s right, it’s time for Thanksgiving. Unlike most sane people who save their turkey gobbling and gravy guzzling for the big day, I’m a bit of a masochist… going in 2 weeks early for round 1: Pre-Thanksgiving. I usually have at least two rounds—a 50 person pre-Thanks feast-to-beat-all-feasts that Robb and Amanda host, and then the real deal with the family. This year, however, just to torture myself a little bit more, I’m takin’ it to the top with three…count em’ THREE Thanksgiving dinners. The Robb/Amanda festivities have been pushed to post-Thanks this year (since Robb is in the Virgin Islands), the big-day is goin’ down at John and Mel’s house on the 26th, and a romantic couples pre-Thanks just wrapped up about an hour ago. That’s right…I’m writing to you straight from a pre-Thanksgiving feast induced food coma.

Evan and I don’t spend Thanksgiving together, and neither do our friends Anthony and Chelsea, so Chelsea and I decided to cook an early Thanksgiving dinner for our menfolk. After weeks of giddy menu planning, we had the perfect “little” Thanksgiving feast nailed down. The dinner was even better in person than on paper, but “little” it was not. Chelsea made an amazing turkey stuffed with cornbread stuffing and layered with oranges and lemons.

For sides, I went a little wild with my sweet and savory roasted rosemary sweet potato wedges, Mel’s traditional mashed potatoes, a green bean casserole recipe courtesy of Food Network, and a new creation—roasted cauliflower with sage brown butter and pecans. Call us crazy, but we all agreed that canned cranberry sauce—complete with ring indentations from the can—is far superior than that crappy ‘homemade’ stuff with real berries in it. C’mon, I know you feel the same way, it’s a classic. After seconds and thirds and the sounds of buttons popping all around the table, we finished off the meal with hot apple cider and Chelsea’s rich and delicious pumpkin cheesecake (how can I go back to plain pumpkin pie after that!?).

Now I have one Thanksgiving feast down, and two more to go (and that’s not even counting the days of leftovers after each one)! Coming soon: Thanksgiving with Mel, John, and Amanda—sure to be filled with our favorite traditions, plus maybe a few new treats (like this ‘pumpkin pie’ from No Recipes). At least with that Thanksgiving dinner, we’ll be working it off the next day with Black Friday shopping madness. To work off my food baby tomorrow, lifting a fork of leftovers to my mouth is the only cardio I’ll be doing!

Roasted Cauliflower with Sage Brown Butter and Pecans
1 head of cauliflower
Olive oil
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
5 tablespoons butter
3-4 fresh sage leaves- thinly sliced
2 tablespoons chopped pecans

For Cauliflower: Preheat oven to 425°F. Cut cauliflower into florets toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper-transfer to baking dish. Roast, uncovered, for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown.

For sauce: Melt butter in a small saucepan or pot over medium heat until the white milk solids have browned and it smells nutty but not burned, about 5 minutes. Add sage and nuts, and remove from heat. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Drizzle sauce over cauliflower servings, or toss with cauliflower to serve.
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