Thanksgiving will be upon us in a couple weeks. This is one of my favorite holidays as it’s all about family and food. We all have an idea about its origin with the Pilgrims. But I was curious about what they ate for the first Thanksgiving. I learned that when the colonists arrived in Plymouth in 1620, they didn’t know much about working the land in the new world. So, the Wampanoag Native American tribe taught them how to fish and grow crops. After two successful growing seasons, the Wampanoag and Pilgrims celebrated with a fall harvest fest indulging in waterfowl, venison, lobster, clams, berries, pumpkin, and squash.
The modern-day Thanksgiving menu usually includes roasted turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy, vegetables, cranberry relish, and pumpkin pie. Regarding the turkey, over the past few years I have been roasting a spatchcock turkey. To spatchcock, my butcher removes the back bone and flattens the turkey. Then over a bed of chopped vegetables (carrots, celery, onion, etc.), I lay the flat turkey down and tuck the wings underneath. The bird is completely coated with olive oil, salt & pepper along with fresh sage, thyme, and rosemary. Roasting the turkey this way has a lot of benefits. The bird cooks quickly, evenly, no basting, it’s juicy, the skin is crispy, and carving is a whole lot easier.
I have a few Thanksgiving favorites already in the blog. The first is the always popular Clam Dip, and if you prefer shrimp, that is an easy substitute as you can use some lemon juice or milk in lieu of the clam juice. Next up is homemade Green Bean Casserole with cremini mushrooms that has become one of my traditional side dishes on Thanksgiving Day. Now for dessert, a Voeller family favorite, a Deep-Dish Pecan Pumpkin Pie is a two for one as you get a taste of both pecan and pumpkin pie in one sweet bite. A great way to use leftovers after Thanksgiving is to make stuffing waffles. They make an excellent open-faced sandwich with leftover turkey or ham and the waffle nooks are perfect for cranberry sauce or gravy.
New for this month is a revision to the Zucchini Pancakes recipe, which is under Veggies and Spuds. I also added German Pancakes (under Eye Openers) and Individual Chicken Pot Pies (under About the Bird). In my German pancakes recipe, I recommend using a cast iron pan in the oven for this big pancake. I think cooking with cast iron is an interesting topic, so now there is an article in Great Tools on cleaning, cooking, and caring for cast iron pans.
From our table to yours, Dave and I wish you all a happy Thanksgiving!