The Thanksgiving Feast

Our family tradition is to celebrate Thanksgiving with a fine meal. We have a lot to be thankful for, as you will see.

  • Smoked Turkey

I like to brine and smoke my turkey.  The brine consists of {salt, chicken stock, honey, Chardonnay, peppercorns, herbs, oranges, ice}.   I put the bird in the brine on Saturday, since it was partially frozen.

I used a 25 pound organic bird from Diestel.  I stuffed the bird with garlic and yellow onions before smoking.

I smoked the bird with pecan wood.  I am very fond of my CookShack Smoker.  Smoke the turkey at 105 degrees for 10 hours.  Then increase the temperate to 225 degrees and continue smoking for an additional 5 hours. The thigh meat should not be red.  The result was unbelievable.

  • Poultry Gravy

Mushrooms, white wine, chicken stock, salt, and pepper.

  • Garlic Parmesan Mashed Potatoes

This is a classic Evelyn dish.

  • Corn Bread

This is a another classic Evelyn dish. She adds jalapeños and home made Chile powder.

  • Bread Rolls

You cannot beat Evelyn’s fresh rolls, hot from the oven.

  • Green Bean Casserole

Green beans, cream of mushroom soup, milk, pepper, sautéed onions, sautéed mushrooms, and French’s French fried onions.  This was also Evelyn’s dish.

  • Majestic Salad

Lettuce, cheese, mushrooms, red onion, peas.  The dressing is mayonnaise, sugar, and curry.  Another hit from Evelyn.

  • Candied Yam Crumble

Amber totally hit a home run on this one.  It was assume with the cheese.  Made with {canned yams, sugar, eggs, butter, cinnamon, salt}.  The crumb topping was {Ritz crackers, brown sugar, butter}.

  • Cranberry Sauce

Desiree came up with a home made sauce. Made with {cranberries, water, sugar, cinnamon, honey, cloves, lemon zest}.

Every good meal must have a good selection of cheeses. There are a number of good cheese shops in Northern California. As far as I am concerned, the best is in Carmel:
The Cheese Shop.  When you walk into the place, the aroma immediately kicks your palette in gear, and you are soon ready to taste some fine cheeses. Blake Northey is my favourite cheese monger. He has a great sense of humour and is quite knowledgeable to boot. So here is what I picked out:

1.  Honey Bee Gouda
A pasteurized goat’s milk Gouda rubbed with honey, from the Netherlands. You can definitely taste the honey.  A nice combination.

2.  Coconut Cream Gouda
Made with pasteurized cow’s milk and coconut cream, from Holland by KoKo. You can definitely taste the coconut.  An interesting combination. This is Desiree’s favorite cheese, since she is a coconut freak.

3.  Pilota
Made from pasteurized sheep and cow’s milk. From the Pyrenees Region in France by Onetik.

4.  Le Marechal
A Swiss Cheese made from raw cow’s milk.  It is produced in the Vaud region of Switzerland by a cooperative of dairies by Jean-Michel Rapin.

5.  Testun Occelli alla Grappa
A sheep and cow’s milk cheese from Italy. It is aged for at least 4 months and infused with grappa and then topped with various dried fruits, including apricots and figs.

6.  Roaring Forties Blue Cheese
A double cream cow’s milk cheese made by the Kings Island Dairy, on an island just north of Tasmania, Australia.  The cheese is named after the infamous Roaring Forties gales which frequently bring westerly winds of more than 100 kms per hourto the island which lies on 40 degrees latitude.

7.  Cambozola
A double cream blue cheese from a Germany company – Champignon.  The cheese’s name is a portmanteau of: Camembert and Gorgonzola.  A nice contrast to the Roaring Forties Blue.

We are very traditional, as is reflected by the dessert menu:

1.  Cheesecake
Desiree was in charge this time.

2.  Pumpkin Pie
Matthew picked this one up.

3.  Pecan Pie
Richard picked this one up.

4.  Turtle Cheesecake
Desiree stepped out on this one.  A big hit.

5.  Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins
Desiree, you rock.

4.  Whipped Cream
Fresh of course.

5.  Ice Cream
A la Mode.

And as we all know, a fine meal must have fine wines:

1.  Gloria Ferrer Brut Royal Cuvee 2002 Vintage Reserve
Carneros sparkling wine. This classic Brut blend of two-thirds Pinot Noir and one-third Chardonnay.

2.  Sbragia 2004 Home Ranch Chardonnay
Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County

3.  Ramey 2005 Chardonnay Hyde Vineyard
Napa Valley, Carneros

4.  Chateau de Fargues Sauternes 2005
Skyler was in charge of constructing the menus and the name cards.
She is very artistic.
She created a Dinner Menu, a Cheese List, a Desert Menu, and a Wine List.