My mom and I take Thanksgiving VERY seriously. In particular, I take mashed potatoes very seriously. Every year, I peel, chop and mash at least ten pounds of potatoes, no matter the number of people that are coming to dinner. It’s some kind of an addiction, for which there’s no known treatment. My mom is always in charge of creating at least two kinds of stuffing, roasting vegetables and making pies.
This year, we are having about 25 people over for dinner. As my sister said, we already cook enough for an army. Now that we actually have an army coming, we are going to be producing an epic amount of food. Maybe it’s ridiculous. Maybe it’s over the top. But hearing my mom giggle with excitement and sort through all the recipes she has torn out of magazines for the past year, makes it all worth it. We have a damn good time cooking.
Today was our date for planning Thanksgiving dinner. We met at Scratch in Lake Oswego. I’m a firm believer that good food inspires good food. And so it did.
We started out with a trio of tapenades: sundried tomato and olive, arugula and hazelnut, chickpea and tahini. They brought out some great crusty bread, as well as some pretty good gluten-free bread. The gluten-free bread was surprisingly nutty, a little sweet and delicious.
And then I had a braised beef sandwich with fried onions and goat cheese. Open faced. On crusty bread. Rich and deep, the beef contrasted well with the crunchy onions and tangy goat cheese.
My mom had the lentil loaf sandwich, which really put her over the moon, because she LOVES lentils. I think she might even try to make a lentil loaf at home, now. I told the waiter, who was the chef de cuisine, that we were planning Thanksgiving. “We’re foodies!” my mom said excitedly. “That’s the only way to be,” he replied.
He told us about the two other restaurants they are opening in SE Portland – one vegetarian and one a second location for the Scratch restaurant. And they are flying to New York in a couple of weeks to battle Chef Michael Symon on Iron Chef. We were all rightly impressed. I hope they fare better than Naomi Pomeroy, who deserved to win her battle.
So, yeah. Three kinds of stuffing this year: butter and sage, sausage stuffing for the turkey, cornbread for the Southerner in our family. Baked mashed potatoes this year, with lots of herbs. Roasted butternut squash and apples. Homemade rolls. A spatchcocked turkey with mushroom gravy. Green bean casserole, as a tribute to my 101 year old grandmother, who will be in attendance. Olives and pickles, a tribute to my late grandfather, who was always in charge of olives and pickles. Hummus, eggplant spread and homemade crackers for grazing prior to eating. At least one butterscotch pie, a pumpkin pie and most likely lemon tarts with whip cream.
It’s a good thing I have the day after Thanksgiving off. I have a feeling I’m going to be pretty tired.
*Please excuse the crappy cell phone pics. You can mock me offline.