Thanksgiving

Updated: Feb 23

By Michele


Thanksgiving is the best! Family. Fun. Food! It goes way back to my childhood memories of Thanksgiving gatherings with my parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. There, with a glass of eggnog in hand, I surveyed a bountiful table to determine what I would dive into first. The roasted turkey sat regally on the dining table accompanied by many varieties of vegetables, potatoes, and cranberry sauce. But, I kept a keen eye on the desserts sitting temptingly on the kitchen counter!


These gatherings set the stage for me to host my own Thanksgiving dinners along with my husband David. It has been our great privilege to host Thanksgiving dinner for family and friends for over 15 years.


Our gatherings were large at times, though sadly, through the years, time has taken some of our loved ones. My parents, who are elderly now and live a couple of states away, have stopped driving long distances, so they haven’t attended in several years. Last year, we did not host Thanksgiving due to the COVID virus, but this year we were on schedule to bring a bountiful table to our family and friends, yet again.


Our menu:

Appetizers

Cucumber Rounds with Humus and Spicy Sour Cream

Curried Deviled Eggs

Antipasto Endive Boats

(Filled with Mozzarella, Sun Dried Tomatoes, Olives and Toasted Pine Nuts)

Soup

Billa’s Carrot Soup

with Root Vegetable Charlotte

Entrée

Orange and Star Anise Glazed Turkey

Purple and Yukon Gold Potato Mash with Roasted Garlic

Buttered Braised String Beans and Celery with Seasoned Breadcrumbs

Jazzed up “Jiffy” Cornbread Muffins with Roasted Corn

Salad

Orange sections and sliced Fennel

with a Vanilla Vodka Dressing

Desserts

Vanilla Panna Cotta with Pumpkin Mousse

topped with Gingersnap Crumbs

Biscotti with White Chocolate Chips and Dried Cranberries

We like to make appetizers that are light and make some favorites of our attendees. For instance, Billa just loves deviled eggs. So, this year we included them. My husband David made them with cumin and sweet curry, along with mustard and dried onion flakes and mayo, of course.


My friends and co-authors contribute to our dinner annually, making either a soup or dessert. This Thanksgiving, Billa, made an incredibly delicious carrot soup with a root vegetable charlotte. Not only was it sweet and luscious, it was visually beautiful.


Luci, recovering from knee surgery had to cancel. So, that evening, I delivered her portions of our feast and I might say she was grateful.

The “star” of the table was the Orange and Star Anise Glazed Turkey. Once out of the oven, the turkey was visually impressive with its rich roasted color. After letting it rest, I cut into the turkey and it didn’t disappoint! The juices released an aroma that was intoxicating! It promised to deliver a slightly sweet and savory flavor. And it did!


I’ll jump right into the desserts now. As I previously mentioned, I always keep a keen eye on them as I just relish sweets. This year, I made vanilla panna cotta and topped it with a pumpkin mousse. I placed it in small glass dessert cups and sprinkled it with chopped gingersnaps. It was a lovely combination of flavors ending with a spicy crunch from the gingersnaps.


An Internet searched yielded a basic biscotti recipe. I added two tweaks of my own, the addition of white chocolate chips and dried cranberries. The biscotti were sweet and buttery.


So, there you have it. I end with my gratitude for my family and friends who gathered with us to celebrate the bounty of our land, while also remembering those empty seats where loved ones sat and gave each of us the sweetest memories to cherish. I hope your Thanksgiving was just as memorable!

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