It started out like any other morning, with music blaring from the alarm clock and the pitter patter of tiny feet letting me know it was time to rise from my slumber. But this wasn’t just any day—it was Thanksgiving and I had a very important job to do! So like a kid on Christmas morning, I flew down the stairs and into the driveway to light my Fire Magic smoker and preheat my BlueStar Range. My beautiful wife and my mother had prepped everything the day before—the turkey was brined and everything was perfect for the fantastic meal we were about to create as a family.
Once the smoker was prepped and our 33-pound bird was in place, I quickly assembled my team of amazing sous chefs and went to town! Randy and Sarah stood vigil on the smoker, monitoring the temperature. My mother and Laura saw to preparing the sides, and I bounced happily from station to station, overseeing their progress.
The first side dish Laura tackled was the Harvest Apple-Craisin Chutney from Suvir and Charlie’s new book Masala Farm. The recipe was straightforward, simple, and delicious. We all found it to be a refreshing alternative to the boring traditional cranberry dish which normally graces our table.
While Laura made the chutney, my mother worked on this beautiful dish, Butternut Squash, Apple, and Cranberry Gratin. Another home run from Masala Farm! This dish was honest and packed with flavor! The sweetness of each element is pulled together in a magical mix of flavor. No sweetener or seasoning is needed for this dish! It is perfection. I plan on working this onto our holiday table for years to come!
Next we moved on to our breads. Laura had made the dough for Zoe Francois’s Boule from Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day in advance so all we had to do was form our loaves and throw them in the oven. The end result was nothing short of spectacular! The bread was loaded with flavor and a cinch to make. We also made Grandma Hayes’s legendary cornbread from American Masala. Believe me when I say this is the best cornbread on the planet! It was almost painful to crumble up one of these for our stuffing.
All thoughts of the crumbled cornbread vanished the minute we tasted this amazing stuffing. The combination of Grandma Hayes’s Cornbread and Zoe Francois’s Boule made for some delicious stuffing!
My mother, following the recipe in American Masala, made this beautiful Cheesy Scalloped Corn. This dish was a huge hit with our crowd! The corn is accented wonderfully with cheese and a myriad of subtle flavors. The technique for this is both fun and rewarding as well.
Once we finished with the corn, our 33-pound Meat House turkey was done! I am so glad I decided to put my own twist on the Tamarind-Glazed Turkey from American Masala. Smoking this bird in apple wood was a fantastic idea—the flavor was amazing! Every turkey should have a smoke ring! If you don’t have a smoker, don’t fret though! It is the flavor of the tamarind glaze that truly makes this turkey unique. Whether you cook it my way or as the recipe intended you cannot go wrong. The recipe itself is a work of pure genius!
Once the Turkey came out of the smoker it was quickly carved and devoured. Our feast had begun! We all happily munched away on this Masala Farm banquet before us.
We concluded our meal with this exquisite Bourbon Pumpkin Cheesecake from Zoe Francois’s blog, Zoe Bakes. My wife Laura made this beauty for us. It was even more delicious than it was beautiful! That is no small feat!
After our feast we all fell into a tryptophan-induced coma from all the amazing food. I hope this post inspires you to not only cook up a storm in your own kitchen this holiday season, but to share it with others like I have shared this with you today. Our family would like to thank Suvir and Charlie for bringing their wisdom, creativity, and genius to our holiday table this year! The journey of flavor and technique is one anyone should want to embark on just for the experience alone. The Thanksgiving of 2011 is one our family will remember and cherish for a lifetime! Thank you all for reading about our Thanksgiving and letting me bring you into our home. If you’re ever in upstate New York, please don’t be a stranger! Stop by Adirondack Appliance in Saratoga Springs and say hi to us—we look forward to seeing you soon!