Sunday, November 22, 2009

THANKSGIVING: The Prequel--Part I

Yesterday, my friend and volleyball team captain, Theresa hosted our team's end-of-season dinner. And, because it is so close to Thanksgiving, she decided she would make turkey and the rest of the team would bring all the trimmings. It was a great idea! Now you understand the Thanksgiving prequel part of the title. It is only the first part of the prequel, because I am going to post about what I contributed to the dinner--ranch dressing mashed potatoes and rustic bread and mustard greens stuffing. The reason for this is simple: I forgot to take photos during the actual dinner because I was too busy gorging. Oops. However, my friend John, who is a much better and more dedicated photographer than myself, took plenty of photos. As soon as I can get those from him, I shall post them here. Until then, here's a play-by-play of the beginning of the holiday eating season!

1:00am--Arrive home after a night of watching Warren Miller ski film. It was excellent!
1:30am--Adrenaline from Warren Miller film has me dreaming of slopes, and not sleeping.
7:30am--Alarm goes off.
7:31am--I hit snooze button.
7:40am--Alarm goes off. I consider buying Stovetop and instant mashed potato flakes.
7:41am--I hit snooze button.
7:50am--Alarm goes off. I consider repercussions of Stovetop and potato flakes.
7:51am--I'm up. But just barely.
9:30am--I'm showered, dressed decently enough for public viewing, and caffeinated. Review recipes that I will be using and draw up a quick list.
10:00am--Leave home to buy supplies. Two stop shopping: Target and QFC.
12:00pm--Get home and start making ranch dressing:

12:30pm--Taste ranch, and it has such a bite to it. Yikes! Stick the sauce in the fridge and hope for the best. If worse comes to worst, I will rely on my good ol' friend, Paul Newman.
12:40pm--Pull together ingredients for stuffing and start prepping:

1:00pm--Discover that rustic bread is very hard to cube. Either that, or my arms are not as strong as I thought. I am going to guess the latter. So much for getting better at rock climbing. Finish cubing. Combined olive oil and pressed garlic and tossed these on bread. Baked bread to make it even crunchier. Throw on some pan-friend pine nuts.
1:40pm--Finally done with bread. Move on to sauteing onions. Threw in mustard greens, garlic, and fresh thyme after this shot.

2:00pm--Reduced 2 cups of mushroom stock to 1 cup. Threw everything I made so far into a big bowl:
2:05pm--Add salt and pepper to taste. Then put this entire mixture into a glass pan. I'm going to bake it for 30mins before bringing it to Theresa's.

2:30pm--Discover that I do not have a potato masher. Clean up the kitchen and run to Safeway on a potato masher mission.
2:45pm--Checking out at Safeway with potato masher in hand, when one of my professors smacks me in the back with his basket as a form of a greeting. I freak out. Not because it's unusual for professors to eat, but I had been cooking for the past 2 1/2 hours. And I look like it.
3:00pm--Arrive home and start peeling 6lbs of russet potatoes. It will all be worth it. Really.
3:30pm--Throw the now peeled potatoes in a pot with some salted water:

4:00pm--Drain potatoes and begin mashing away. Note that the potatoes are rather clumpy. Not smooth and creamy like I would like. I throw in the ringers (aka, the figure-ruiners):

4:20pm--Yes! Potatoes are just the right texture! Take ranch sauce out of fridge, and the flavor has mellowed perfectly. Refrigeration does wonders. Add some sauce to the potatoes as well.
5:00pm--Clean up kitchen a bit, and begin to heat up stuffing.
6:00pm--Head to Theresa's!

...and now, the "blooper reel," or, what the cooking shows never show:

Recipes used from Bon Appetit:
Mashed Potatoes with Ranch Dressing
Rustic Bread Stuffing with Red Mustard Greens, Currants, and Pine Nuts

Changes with Mashed Potatoes: I did not use a potato ricer, because I made the potatoes right before we ate them. A potato ricer probably would have helped in the fluffiness though. I also substituted green onions for chives.
Changes with Stuffing: I used mushroom broth, instead of chicken or turkey.

More to come...


Tams said...

YUMS! Looks so good hun, umm...any leftovers?

Jean said...

I'll make you some more potatoes and stuffing!

Tams said...

YUUUMMMS!!! YAY! I'm making a vegetarian one this year =) Will save you leftovers too! We'll have a leftover FEAST!

D.S. Colburn said...

Wow! That looks super delicious!