I spent Thanksgiving at my mom’s house in South Florida. My grandparents, who are now 93, relocated to Boca Raton last year. In celebration of their move, the menu featured a Florida theme.
Smoked Marlin Dip with Crackers
Sweet and Spicy Pepitas
Deviled Crab Empanadas with Citrus-Chive Aioli
Crudite and Plaintain Chips with Black Bean Dip
Baked Brie en Croute with Cranberry-Mango Chutney
* * *
Butter Lettuce Salad with Mango,
Florida Avocado, Hearts of Palm and a Citrus Vinaigrette
* * *
Mojo-Brined Turkey with Gravy
Corn Bread and Mofongo Stuffing
Sweet Potato-Plantain Gratin with a Coconut-Rum Glaze
Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Baked Manicotti (courtesy of the Purificatos)
* * *
Key Lime Pie
I had intentions of getting photos of the whole meal. But the pressure of producing 20+ different dishes (including the vegan, gluten-free and heart healthy variations not listed above) and a serious burn got the better of me. Suffice it to say that the dishes not pictured were delicious and the mojitos helped ease the pain from my blistering fingers.
We were an even dozen around two tables pushed together. In keeping with the tropical theme, my mom went with colorful napkins and no tablecloth.
She also came up with a stellar floral arrangement.
The exhaustively researched bird was from BN Ranch. It was compact for its impressive heft.
Lacking room in the fridge, I opted to use a cooler to brine the bird.
It started out in a high heat oven before I dropped the temperature to 375. I basted the turkey periodically and, after a couple of hours, draped it in an olive oil-soaked cheesecloth. (Sadly, I failed to get a shot of the Shroud of Turkin.) It cooked faster than expected. Within four hours, this beauty emerged from the oven.
Tony did a bang up job of carving the bird, which was delightfully moist, meaty and redolent of citrus and spice.
Naturally, the day started with coffee and kabocha flan.
I then froze the super concentrated stock in a few miniature plastic containers, which I packed in a portable cooler and schlepped back to Brooklyn by way of Miami Beach. Having suffered a nasty bout of food poisoning while in Miami, I gave the stock one more boil back at home before tucking it in my freezer. I see some serious gumbo in my future. In the meantime, I’ll try to get working on a recipe for the Kobocha Flan.