Thanksgiving prep, 2021

by Jon Sullivan - 2021-09-27

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One of the reasons Jon is a weirdo is his habit of obsessively prepping for dinners several months in advance.

Thanksgiving test dishes aren't going well this year. I think I'm trying too hard to impress myself and just over reaching. The creativity is there, but the end result just isn't great. And "great" is the bar for entry with my Thanksgiving dishes. This photo has a good example. The plan was "Steak with four butters". So butter mixed with various things - rosemary, roasted peppers, wild mushrooms, roasted garlic, etc. But it ended up being some delicious steak which got overpowered by the butters. Not awful, just not great. Although it turns out mushroom butter is incredible and I'll have to find a use for it.

The 2021 plan is to head up to Montana again to celebrate my favorite holiday with my sister and family. Current test menu is below. Items with an asterisk are locked in, barring objections. Items with a question mark are going to have to prove themselves pretty quickly here or get cut. And the MT folks likely have some ideas not on this list. The final will likely be about 7-8 dishes.

* Blackened halibut with tomatillo salsa and black garlic butter
* Herbed fresh pasta with seafood meatballs
* Pork tamales with sun dried tomato cream
* Cajon sampler platter
Irish cheddar potatoes au gratin with bacon and mushrooms
Dijon and Cognac Beef pot pie
Pork loin with gruyere gremolata
IPA compressed watermelon with pickled rind
? Fried blueberry croissants with lemon mascarpone
? Tuscan Black Pepper Beef with Irish cheddar grits

I still need something breakfast-like. And I'll start with my usual of brie and pate, but I'm typically up a few hours before others on Thanksgiving so that might be all mine.

A couple other things I tried that failed at greatness - Al pastor crispy tacos with homemade tortillas. Which was good, but took forever, and wasn't as good as the authentic stuff I can get locally for $1. Trying to out cook a cheap legit taco shop is a sucker's bet. Another was salmon mousse toast with mint whipped cream. Same problem there, salmon mousse is better without being screwed with. But, again, the divine mint whipped cream will make a return somewhere. And so far my seafood meatballs are totally unacceptable. So need to get those dialed in.

I also need to rebuild my holiday playlist. Those who have a fascination with my musical tastes will be delighted to know the playlist includes a large selection of Michael Buble favorites. And of course Mannheim Steamroller.

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