26 November 2010

Thanksgiving & Birthday Dinner No. 2

Yes, it’s true. I did have turkey for my birthday dinner. This was one of those relatively rare occasions when my birthday fell exactly on Thanksgiving day. (See next post.) There’s no rule that says you have to have turkey on Thanksgiving … Oh wait. My wife just informed me that there actually is such a rule.

So anyway, it was fun planning a combination birthday/Thanksgiving dinner. It was made especially fun because my daughter and her family recently moved back to Minnesota, and they would be joining us for Thanksgiving dinner. My son-in-law is a chef, so we could count on him to help prepare some special items for our menu. Also, my Mom & Dad drove up from Albert Lea to have dinner with us.

I think the best way to report on our menu is to do it by who brought/prepared what.

Mom & Dad brought beef jerky and dried beef from Nick’s Meats in Hayward, MN. Nick has won many awards over the years for his sausage and smoked meats. My kids love the dried beef and beef jerky. It was my daughter’s special request that Mom & Dad bring them for Thanksgiving. We served them for appetizers.

My daughter and her husband prepared several items for the dinner. Their appetizer was jalapeno-goat cheese hush puppies from the September 2010 issue of Bon Appetit. They were great. They also prepared two side dishes – creamed spinach and cornbread stuffing with turkey gravy. The three items that they prepared were the most work, and my son-in-law spent much of the time at the stove.

For Linda and me, our appetizer was cheese and crackers. I was responsible for the turkey. My usual preparation is to cook the turkey on our classic, charcoal fired, Weber kettle grill. I like how the charcoal gives the meat a nice smoky flavor. We made a 15-pound turkey. It took not quite three hours to cook. I also made whole wheat date dinner rolls from Bon Appetit December 2002. Besides making a salad, Linda also made a sweet potato recipe that she has in her recipe folder. For dessert, she picked a recipe from the Star Tribune for pumpkin ice cream pie. The recipe was printed as part of a series on Thanksgiving recipes from the Taste archives. It originally appeared in 2002.

Lastly, besides the pie, we also served gingerbread cookies, my favorite holiday cookie. We planned a family ‘cookie factory’ to bake and decorate cookies for the Sunday before Thanksgiving. But bad weather kept our grandkids and nieces away. I baked the cookies anyway, and on Monday, my granddaughter came over and helped decorate them.

We had a very nice Thanksgiving, and I had a happy birthday.

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