Friday, December 12, 2008

Thanksgiving '08: The Year of the Turducken

I've been slack on the updates, but with good reason: The holidays are flipping EXHAUSTING.

Case in point: This year, Tony and I hosted a small Thanksgiving get together at our place for a few of our friends. Since we couldn't nail down an official head count until the last minute, I went junk-out and made food for about 8 people. Which meant I had to start cooking early. Like, the Tuesday before early.

I woke up around 6:30am on Thanksgiving day and then got to cooking. Thankfully, my mom and sister were on mobile phone standby to answer my numerous questions about proper cooking and presentation.

From Thanksgiving 08

Tony, bless him, actually chipped in and cleaned the house after a few requests and the occasional threatening look.

About 20 hours' worth of food prep (and one burned wrist - stupid roasting rack...) later and we had PLENTY to feed the 5 people who finally sat down to dinner:

From Thanksgiving 08

The 2008 Wiley-Giarnelli Thanksgiving Menu consisted of (going clockwise from the flowers):
  1. Corn pudding (aka, corn souffle)
  2. Jalapeno macaroni and cheese (Thank you, Vonetta!)
  3. Honey roasted sweet potatoes
  4. Sage sausage stuffing
  5. Garlicky green beans (Thank you, Christa!)
  6. Cranberry walnut salad
  7. Simple gravy
  8. 7lbs of Lemon-sage brined turkey
  9. 4lbs of Turducken
  10. Cranberry relish
  11. Mashed potatoes (Thank you again, Christa!)
  12. Wild rice
  13. Pumpkin corn bread muffins
  14. Italian bread
  15. Mozzarella basil bruschetta (not pictured)
My dessert (brandied pumpkin creme brulee) was a spectacular failure, but Vonetta saved the day with her A-M-A-Z-I-N-G sweet potato pie. :)

It was fantastic. We wrapped up, watched some football, doled out left overs and said good night...and then the gals and I met up again a scant 5 hours later for some marathon (i.e., 7 hrs of) Black Friday shopping. I am the quintessential shopping queen, thus making Black Friday my high holiday. It's the one stereotype to which I happily subscribe.

Of course, the highlight of this year's event was the 3-in-1 poultry entity that people have repeatedly asked about: the Turducken. 4lbs of duck, wrapped in chicken, wrapped in turkey, with layers of corn bread stuffing in between.

From Thanksgiving 08

I know it sounds revolting, but honestly it's not a bad dish. I'm not going to make a habit of shelling out the $50 to have it delivered to the house (we couldn't find it locally and had to Internet order it from New Orleans), but it added a little something special to the meal. And it made Tony happier than a boy with a brand new puppy on Christmas Day.

Between now and the New Year I get to celebrate some birthdays, hang out with some of my closest friends in D.C. and Charleston, and visit with family in both Pittsburgh and Clemson. Assuming the Steelers beat the Ravens on Sunday, I'll peg this as one of my Top 10 Most Fantastic Ends of the Year.

Happy Holidays!