Thanksgiving is always more about making memories than how good the food was. We had the best time with my husband’s son, daughter-in-law and her wonderful family and Paul’s long time childhood friend.  It was a smaller crowd than usual which allowed us to have more intimate conversation and sit around one table.  Plus we had a new grand baby.

We finished with my specialty desert which was my flour less chocolate cake topped with chocolate mousse pictured above.  It tasted light, decadent and delicious just as you see.  And it was gluten free.

I wished I had taken a picture of my absolutely perfect turkey. It was the most beautiful I’d every cooked. The 14lb turkey was dark golden brown, moist and flavorful as I had brined it,  soaked the brine out, then stuffed it with oranges,  Provencal herbs,  onion, carrots, celery, garlic, sea salt and pepper and poured melted butter over all and inside the cavity, then tressed it.  Butter browns a turkey better than olive oil. For first hour,  I started cooking it upside down so juices would run to top. Then I flipped it to right side up for remainder of time. Basted it every 40 minutes.  Cooked at 375 for first hour then turned up to 425 for rest of the time.  It was Perfect. Here’s a picture of what’s left on the serving tray on the sideboard along with stuffing and mashed potatoes.  Unfortunately I didn’t take a picture of the other table that had my homemade mint and orange cranberry, green beans, and vegetable quinoa salad that Mona, Saima’s mother made.


I made gravy the night before.  In the oven, I roasted necks and other parts that I bought separately from store.  I took these newly roasted parts, dropped them into 4 cups chicken broth, peppercorns, sprigs of thyme, bay leaf, sprigs of parsley, chopped carrots, chopped celery, and chopped onion and simmered for a few hours while I made the dressing.  Then after a few hours, took the reduced chicken broth mixture, removed turkey parts, and strained it.  Then took the roasting pan and scrapped the brown bits from the roasting pan, poured a little broth to loosen bits, then poured these bits back into the strained reduced broth and simmered until broth reduced a little more.  Since my daughter-in-law’s father is gluten intolerant, I made a slurry of cornstarch and water (in almost equal parts, such as 1 Tbsp starch and 1/2 -2/3 Tbsp water in a bowl and mixed well) and added it, then whisk it into the sauce to thicken it into gravy.  I repeated it again to thicken more, but try and see as you go. It was perfect as you see above.  This is the close up of what was in the silver gravy boat on the sideboard.  Below is the strained vegetables with remaining broth and the browned bits during the gravy making process.  Always taste before serving and adjust seasoning at the end.  Remember, reducing liquids intensifies flavor including salt.  You never add salt when cooking down stocks, broths, or sauces until the very end.  Try this.  You can make gravy!


Here’s the group enjoying my dinner.  As you can see, there are full plates, smiles, and great conversation I broke up to snap this photo.


ThanksgivingGroupTable     I hope you  had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday.  Try some of these suggestions for the upcoming Holiday Season.  I can supply more recipes and tips.  Just write me on the website and I’ll answer any questions you have.  Bon Appetit!