The best Thanksgiving recipes from my kitchen to yours

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Plus the simplicity this season and the cocktails of a cement truck
Photo by Sam Hanna for New Orleans Magazine

When my daughter, Cecilia, was still living at home (she is now almost 25 and works as a Biomedical Engineer for the Federal Government in Birmingham), our little family had a tradition of inviting everyone to our house on Thanksgiving night afterwards. having finished their stressful meals with their own families. These cases typically attracted 30 to 50 people, most of whom showed up with some sort of culinary or alcoholic contribution in addition to the plethora of culinary contributions and a punch bowl filled with a lethal libation that I would concoct.

For the two days leading up to these eruptions, I was a stressed out wreck as I ran shopping, prep, cook, clean, do the perfect flower arrangements and, well, do it all. perfect. I would completely lose sight of the meaning of sharing thanks and a good meal. The moment the first guest rang the doorbell, my husband, Andrew and Cecilia were contemplating my murder as I shouted for them to open the door as I took a dip for a much-needed shower.

Parties were always a lot of fun, but the next day never really was. I would wake up to a dilapidated house and yard, piles of dishes and a fridge full of zipped bags full of mostly unidentifiable things.

We don’t do that anymore.

This year we’re having a sit-down dinner for eight, my idea of ​​keeping it super simple. Along with the ubiquitous turkey, there will be a starter, four sides and a dessert, maybe two, if my niece shows up with a store-bought pie. It’s a gathering as simple as a fool like me can get involved. It feels luxurious handy as opposed to the psychosis inducing insanity that I used to experience.

We’ll start the meal with the amazingly tasty and super easy Chef Tory McPhail (formerly Commander’s Palace) oysters and absinthe dome. The recipe is below, and you can see me making a suitable (even easier!) Version of it on IGTV here. Last week, I wrote about my dad’s tradition of oyster vinaigrette so scared grease made an appearance on my table, as usual.

My sister, Beth, is on a Keto diet, so she brings a Twice Cooked Cauliflower Casserole and one Keto Pumpkin Cheesecake. My mother-in-law will bring Mirliton casserole made with venison because my brother-in-law is a hunter and that’s what’s in his freezer. My nephew comes up with something, as does my niece. The tradition of fried turkey is a holdover from the days of the Great Big Blowouts, when the oven couldn’t be spared for the bird and Andrew was hanging out around the yard cooking one with the guys. He is also a fan of Green bean casserole but I still feel a bit too keen on cooking with canned soup so I’m going to make a version that I found a few years ago on the Slap Ya Mama Seasoning website.

Easy, boring, at least by the standards of a woman who finds it hard to resist excess. Happy Thanksgiving from my kitchen to yours!

Dome of oysters and wormwood

For 4 people

  • 1 sheet of frozen puff pastry (9 “x 11”), such as Pepperidge Farms brand, thawed and refrigerated
  • 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon of water
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 6 slices of bacon, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 large shallot, finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup of absinthe, pastis or Herbsaint liqueur
  • 20 medium Gulf oysters (one pint), shelled (1/3 cup reserved liqueur)
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 pkg. (9 oz.) Frozen artichoke hearts, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh tarragon
  • Kosher salt and white pepper, to taste
  1. Heat the oven to 400 ° F.
  2. Using a 3-inch cookie cutter or drinking glass, cut 4 circles from the puff pastry. Form the remaining dough into a ball and reserve it for another use, if desired.
  3. Transfer the puff pastry circles to a parchment-lined baking sheet and brush each circle with the egg mixture. Bake until puffed and golden, about 20 minutes. Reserve the puff pastry domes.
  4. Melt butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp, about 12 minutes. Add the garlic and shallots and cook, stirring constantly, until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and add the absinthe or pastis. Return the pot to the heat and cook until the liquid has almost evaporated, about 5 minutes. Add the oyster liqueur and cream and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the cream thickens slightly, about 10 minutes.
  5. Add the oysters, artichokes and tarragon to the reduced cream mixture and season lightly with salt and white pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until edges of oysters begin to curl, about 2 minutes. Divide the oyster stew between four 6 ounces. ramekins or bowls and top each with a circle of puff pastry.
  6. Serve immediately to great applause.

If you are looking for a little weird distraction, Monkey shoulder The ultimate cocktail machine will be bouncing around New Orleans over the next few days. The Monkey Mixer, which can hold up to 2,400 gallons of liquid, resembles a cement truck, with a rotating drum, or in this case, a cocktail shaker. You can find the Monkey Mixer at the following locations where you can grab a cocktail right from the truck:

  • Today (November 23): 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
  • Tomorrow (November 24): 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.



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