I am so grateful to have spent a wonderful Thanksgiving with my family in Baton Rouge. It was my first Thanksgiving with family in four years. In college (and law school), I always went home for Thanksgiving----never missed one. But, when I went to France in 2010, I was fortunate to be able to have Thanksgiving dinner with friends. Thanksgiving truly is an American holiday, so we didn't have the day off, but I had a lovely time with my new friends.
In 2011 and 2012, I was in New York because I had just started new jobs each of those years. I went to my childhood friend's house, and we had amazing Southern dinners. Her husband even fried a turkey in their apartment. Luckily, no fires ensued! (And it was indeed delicious!)
This year, I had a very traditional Thanksgiving with my family. For the first time (ever), I spent the day with my entire immediate family (which includes the sister-cousins and brother-cousin). We had the most delicious, beautiful meal. I have been cooking ALL week, but in a way, I got off kind of easy with Thanksgiving dinner itself.
The Dinner Menu: Turkey with gravy, Cornbread Dressing, Aunt Hester's Rolls, Whole Berry Cranberry Sauce, Cranberry Sauce gelled with fruit, Collard Greens, Mustard Greens, Broccoli with cheese sauce, Peas, Candied Yams, Macaroni and cheese, Sweet Tea, and Cabernet Sauvignon, and Sweet Potato Pie for dessert.
I made a homemade cranberry sauce. Normally, we have my Aunt Albia's cranberry mold----cranberry sauce gelled with fruit and nuts. We typically use the cranberry sauce from a can, but I decided to make a homemade cranberry sauce this year. Let me tell you--we've been duped! Anyone who has EVER purchased cranberry sauce from a can has been duped! Cranberry sauce is the easiest, most simple, quickest, most delicious dish to make. Plus, when you make it yourself, you're cutting out the additives and you have total control over what goes in it. I simply made a simple syrup (boiled water and sugar), added fresh cranberries, and let it simmer for 10 minutes. That's it. Voila. Plus, you can cook the cranberries in spices (cinnamon sticks, wholecloves, etc) or wine or liqeur. I highly recommend that you try homemade cranberry sauce for your next holiday meal.
I also made the cornbread for the cornbread dressing. We used a new cornbread recipe that was probably too delicious to put in the dressing, but alas, we did. The last thing I made was sweet potato pie. I made a homemade crust, and my mom (finally) taught me her sweet potato pie recipe since she makes the absolute BEST sweet potato pies. It was a lovely dinner and a lovely day.
I can't wait until Christmas!
Cranberry Sauce Recipe:
Ingredients: 12 ounces fresh cranberries, 1 cup sugar, 1 cup water.
Bring water and sugar to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add fresh cranberries and stir.
Simmer on medium-low heat for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer to a dish.
Allow to cool completely at room temperature. Cover and store in refrigerator.