2016 Thanksgiving Gobble Spread

Thanksgiving is hands down my favorite holiday. As much as I wanted to make Thanksgiving meal last year, it would have cost me a leg and an arm to buy a turkey in China, let alone search high and low for all the other foreign ingredients, so I opted out. So when this year rolled around, I was adamant about not skipping another year, especially because my whole family was present (including my brother, his wife and his in-laws from HK) and all of my immediate family.

Below are some photos from this year Thanksgiving spread and the process that goes along with making the festive dishes.

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Last minute grocery run during the morning of Thanksgiving. As you can see, I was a bit unprepared.
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Aren’t those the most darling pieces of carrots you ever seen? They are ombre carrots.
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The one time a year I try to put an effort on my knife cuts.
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Boiling down the cranberry sauce. It simply fresh cranberries, and mango juice and a star anise. Why mango juice? I ran out of orange juice. It’s done once the cranberries pop and becomes like jelly.
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The secret to a juicy turkey is the brine, and this is the start to making that brine. Here are the dry ingredients. Equal parts sugar and salt. To make it extra fancy I added lavender salt from Maui. Oranges, onions, green onions, and chunks of garlic.
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For the brine, I get as much acid as I can into the brine. I used oranges, white balsamic vinegar, and red wine. The rest of the liquid is water.
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Bath time!
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I strongly recommend using these oven bags. It keeps your turkey nice and moist -it also gives your turkey a nice golden brown color on the skin as long as you shake up the oven bag with flour. If not the skin will get caught onto the bag, and we all don’t like a skinless turkey.

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This is a lavender maple herb butter to juicing up my turkey throughout the cooking process. I just smooshed a bunch of herbs and seasonings together to form a thin paste to massage all over the turkey skin.
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I use the Jiffy Cornbread mix to make the cornbread stuffing. On top is brown sugar. I like my cornbread a bit sweet.

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It’s all in the prep work.

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I usually make stuffing a few hours before dinner. I usually pour sparingly half and half over the stuffing so it stays nice and moist.

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Eek clam juice?? Seriously though, to achieve the sea taste in the chowder, the clam juice is a non-negotiable for clam chowder. The bacon on the right is microwaveable bacon. I was a skeptic at first, but the bacon was phenomenal!  I also added two chopped medium sized potatoes (not in the photo).
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The best clam chowder has rendered bacon in it …

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After sauteing the veggies I make a basic roux, which is equal parts butter and flour to form a thick paste. Once the flour is nicely incorporated without lumps, it is ready for the half and half and clam juice.
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This photo is straight fugly, but this was the finished product. It taste better than it looks 😉

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I normally make sweet potato mash but my brother specially requested that I made my sweet potatoes in chunks. I layered each layer with butter, brown sugar and maple syrup.

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Looks so heavenly!
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I didn’t pay attention to the marshmallows and one side of the marshmallow had it’s mind of it own and left the pan. I ended up taking most of the marshmallows off because it looked horrible. It ended up being my favorite dish though. They tasted like candied sweet potatoes.
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At some point of the day, I grew lazy and started to drink wine and stop taking photos of the progression. My apologies. Taking center stage is the garlic mashed potatoes. I used Yukon potatoes so I could avoid peeling. Once boiled, I added half and half, tons of butter, garlic, bacon crumbles, and scallions. I salted and peppered these potatoes like there was no tomorrow.
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We never open the Merlot btw. It was too fancy for our taste.
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Finished spread … okay so the roast pork in front was bought but the rest is homemade.

This concludes the blog for today. I want to take the time to thank you all those who have supported me in my passion and love for food! More than anything, I love sharing and learning about food through others. Feel free to leave me a comment or message me about your Thanksgivings dinners!

From one foodie to another,

Sam

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