Thanksgiving Brunch at My House For a Meat Lover, a Vegetarian, and a Nonagenarian
I am grateful that I can celebrate the holidays with my 94-year-old, sweet, and cute-as-her-pink-buttons grandma. I’m grateful I get to spend them with my mom. I’m thankful I have a really great man for a husband and that we get to spend a few years with some pretty special little boys.
We were all together at my house this year, and I served brunch. My mom and grandma are the perfect guests; they let me get all fancy-like with my table settings and yet it’s never formal or stuffy. Just super fun.
When it came to the menu, I had a few things to consider. First, my mom doesn’t eat red meat. On the other hand, my grandma and Cute Banker don’t feel they’ve eaten unless Meat has been served. It doesn’t have to be red, but it doesn’t hurt. Finally, this was the only Thanksgiving meal my mom and grandma would eat this year, so I wanted to cover all the bases: turkey, cranberries, potatoes, apples, sweet potatoes, sage, and dessert of some kind, with my mom’s favorite thing in life: whipped cream.
Cute Banker and the kids and I would head down to his sister’s house later for our annual taste of heaven, aka Deep Fried Turkey. But I wanted to make our morning brunch beautiful and bountiful for my folks and for us.
Here’s the menu I came up with:
*Mimosas (of course)
*(Turkey) Sausage and Potato Popover Casserole (the popover part was also a nod to my mom, who lived in England for some time)
*Sweet Potatoes with Brown Sage Butter (there is nothing that isn’t delicious with brown butter. Seriously. No, seriously.)
*Cranberry-Raspberry Fools (creamy, sorbet-like dessert with whipped cream)
The popover casserole didn’t “pop” (it’s always SOMETHING) but it was buttery and good, even in its denser form.
I didn’t bake enough sweet potatoes, so I supplemented from a can, syrup and all. Add brown sage butter to them and there’s nothing better. Crispy fried sage leaves…mmm…have I mentioned this is delicious? Well, it is. All you have to do is cook some whole sage leaves in butter till the butter turns brown and the sage leaves crisp. You could eat them like just that – hot, melting sage chips, if you didn’t need them for your sweet potatoes. (So, make extra.)
The cooked, spiced apples are a good sweet-tart complement to the turkey sausage. No cinnamon, since this isn’t meant to be too sweet. Just allspice, cloves, cardamom, lemon juice and a little salt. Put it all in the pan with sliced apples and a dribble of water and cook until tender but not mushy.
The real star of the show is the Cranberry-Raspberry Fools. Creamy, cold, sweet-tart, vibrantly pink, and totally satisfying. Both this recipe and the one for the Sausage Popover Casserole came from the December/January 2007 Cooks Country magazine. You can find them online, but you do have to join Cooks Country to read them (or email me). It’s worth it for the Fools recipe alone.
All in all, it was a lovely time and everyone was finished and relaxing with their coffee in time for a nap. Or football, depending.
Here’s the one photo of the day I managed to snap before all the hoopla. It’s Cute Banker and my baby, enjoying some football together. This is my kind of gathering: champagne in crystal glasses, and bare feet.
Did I take any pictures of the festive table with my grandparents’ pretty mid-century gold china? Uh, no. Did I take any pictures of the tempting array of seasonal food? Yeah, no again. I forgot!
I was too busy enjoying the moment. Amen.