Monday, November 22, 2010

And They Say Time Flies…

I can’t believe it. This morning I turned on the radio and there they were; two stations playing Christmas music. Holy crap we’re back in the holidays!
I feel like I’m a few steps behind already. Blech… I mean usually, I have some gifts worked out and I have a good idea of what I’m getting Aaron, but it feels like the whole thing just snuck up on me.

The good thing is; I DO have Thanksgiving worked out. Even though my “sous chef” (Aaron) is going to have work overtime the day before the big day. Yes. You read that correctly, this year, for obvious reasons, I am actually calling in an assistant. I’ve also modified the side dishes. They’ll be a lot less complicated.

What I’ve got so far:

Turkey (a slightly modified version of Alton Brown’s Roast Turkey)
Stuffed Mushrooms (app.)
Butternut Squash Soup
Cornbread (the spoon bread version I make every year)
My Mac N’ Cheese
Sautéed Brussels Sprouts
Sautéed Green Beans with almonds
Wild Rice w/ Red Grapes
Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Pecans
Cheddar and Sage Biscuits

I know I’m missing an item or two but I don’t have my list with me and I can’t remember at this point.

As I said, the dishes are a lot less complicated and I can do a lot of the prep ahead of time. Unfortunately I may have already hit a bit of a snag. I have been preparing Aaron for this—well, more like training— but unfortunately, he just learned yesterday that he has to work overtime the day before. SO… I may have to work with my Mom on this. This is kind of getting me a little nervous though. My Mom and I have very different takes on how things are done. She likes to throw things in or change things up on the fly, whereas I don’t. I’ve gotten most of these dishes down to a science and it would make me freak the hell out if she starts "tweaking" or changing things up on me.

Evan, my brother-in-law volunteered to help with prep. I told him it be best for him not to. It was very sweet of him to offer, but that could potentially be disastrous. He doesn’t “cook.” His idea of cooking usually consists of throwing a group of pre-made items together and calling it a meal. I need someone who will understand what I want when I say, “mirepoix,” “chiffonade” and “finely grate,” and will know that there is a difference between, stock and broth, finely mincing and chopping. Hell, we’re talking about the same guy who, just the other day, used my pie dough cutter as a pizza cutter! (I wish I were kidding).

Don’t get me wrong, I really love cooking for the holiday. It’s one of my favorite meals to make. I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t. I’m just very particular about the way things are done. I mean, I plan things out weeks in advance and usually have the timing worked out so that all dishes are pretty much done at the same time. So it’s not a pretty sight when things gum up the works. Imagine if you will, one of the crabbing boat captains from Deadliest Catch… yeah I have the potential to get that cranky when things don’t work out. I almost stormed off when my brother burned one of my dishes and my one of sisters-in-law decided to not start one of her dishes until everything else was already finished. She held everything up by about an hour.

Ah well… We’ll see, perhaps I can get an even earlier start and not have to call in the reinforcements. Wish me luck!