Giving Thanks

jason and i had friends over on saturday for a thanksgiving feast. it was amazing. i made the turkey, ham, sweet potatoes, stuffing and rolls. our delightful guests brought a multitude of other delicious treats to share.

on friday night, i decided to pull our turkey out of the brine and prep it for roasting the next day.


i can’t even begin to tell you how much this step grossed me out. it probably didn’t help that i had no idea what i was doing. i mean, i was certainly trying to massage rosemary and butter evenly into and under the skin of this bird. but. it was so gross. i wasn’t properly mentally prepared. and i was so exhausted afterwards.

next time i’ll know better, maybe. hopefully.


despite my momentary desire to become a vegetarian, i pushed on the next morning with anne burrell’s pan gravy recipe.

4 cloves garlic, smashed
2 ribs celery, cut into ½-inch dice
2 large onions, cut into ½-inch dice
1 large celery root, cut into ½-inch dice
1 bulb fennel, cut into ½-inch dice
5 bay leaves
4 sprigs fresh sage, tied in a bundle
1 bundle fresh thyme
Kosher salt
1 quart chicken stock, plus more if needed
1/2 bottle dry white wine

Place the garlic, celery, onions, celery root, fennel, bay leaves, sage and thyme in a roasting pan and season with salt. Put the chicken stock and wine in the bottom of the roasting pan and place the turkey on top.

To finish the gravy (after the bird is finished roasting and removed from the roasting pan after resting for at least a half hour): Remove the bay leaves, sage and thyme and from the roasting pan. Using an immersion blender, blend the veggies together until smooth. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.

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that gravy was so delicious — and simple! i will definitely use this recipe again.

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i made the stuffing in the crock pot to conserve room in the oven, but it didn’t work out as well as i had hoped. it was lovely to prepare, though. so many colors!

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jason entertained our guests while i freaked out about everything in the kitchen. if you didn’t know this about me: i am good at worrying. and being a touch too o.c.d. about things.

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hannie was the first to try out the rolls i baked. she approved, though i thought they probably would’ve been better served the day of baking (i made them late in the afternoon on friday).

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my first turkey was gorgeous. and delicious. and totally worth the trouble! i was so proud. (i still am.)


jason did the honor of carving, of course.


jared helped carve the ham.

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seriously can’t get over how easy and delicious this gravy was. it’s too bad our leftovers slipped out of my hand this morning and exploded all over the kitchen floor. i am so sad, but i guess i’ll just have to make it again.


clockwise, from the top: garlic mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, sweet potatoes with marshmallows.

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kristi was the first to sit down and enjoy a full plate.


crystal’s corn casserole arrived a little after we had started eating, but it disappeared almost immediately.

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dave brought us some very pretty flowers, which was a nice addition to the giant pile of food we already had.

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after dinner, we watched “thanks killing,” a terrible b-movie about a homicidal turkey. a holiday classic, i’m sure.

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then we played rock band, as per usual.


this is the only photo of me (from my camera) from the day, because what’s not pictured is me fretting all day long, washing every dish a couple of times, and not willing to sit down longer than a few minutes. luckily, everything went off without a hitch and we all had a great afternoon together.


Ryan Berg

Damn, I’m jealous. Jane and I did have some sliced turkey (from our favorite Turkey Rice place), corn soup, and some delicious bread that a visiting French chef had made, but it just wasn’t the same as smashed taters ‘n gravy. Looks great!


I’m sure that such a meal could be whipped up again for your next trip home!

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