Thanksgiving dinner is at my house this year. Eleven people will cram themselves into my hot little kitchen, and I am so pleased. The crowd will include meat eaters, vegetarians, adults who don't like adventurous food, adults who love adventurous food, and fussy children.
Much as I enjoy making desserts, I decided to assign that job to my guests. Pies and cookies are easy to transport but take a lot of extra planning in a kitchen with only one oven. So I am focusing only on the savory part of the holiday.
Yesterday I made two kinds of small dinner rolls: one plain wheat-rye sourdough, the other a sourdough base mixed with pecans, currants, and dried cranberries. They went into the freezer, and I'll thaw them before dinner on Thursday.
Next on the make-ahead list is a good strong vegetable stock. The turkey will be the only meat item. I want the vegetarians to be able to enjoy everything else, including the gravy.
You'll notice I mentioned turkey: Tom and I wanted to have Cornish hens but couldn't find them in the local stores. So turkey it is--a smallish bird, roasted with lots of garlic and rosemary.
Cornbread is another make-ahead item: I've always wanted to make cornbread stuffing, and I found a lovely recipe that includes chopped prunes and apricots flavored with fennel seeds.
The vegetarian main dish will be whole-wheat lasagna with goat cheese, zucchini, and fresh tomatoes.
As side dishes, I've settled on beets in pistachio butter; twice-baked potatoes with scallions and parmesan; cranberry relish with apples, oranges, and ginger; and an as-yet-to-be named green vegetable . . . possibly Brussels sprouts, possibly a spinach salad.
Meanwhile, Tom is making a table big enough to seat everyone. Whether or not it will fit into the tiny room is another question.