Whereas I don’t care for xmas, I love Thanksgiving. Or Thxgiving, if you will. An entire holiday centered around rich, filling, seasonal food? Count me in. Perhaps I am the only person who loses weight on Thanksgiving, but after cooking all day, I can hardly stand to look at everything I made. But you? YOU EAT. YOU EAT RIGHT NOW. YOU ARE TOO SKINNY.
Every year, I host more people than before (which is somewhat alarming, given the tiny nature of my one-bedroom apartment – we’re either going to have to move or scale back). This year I hosted 13, and fed 14 (I sent leftovers home for one person who couldn’t make it).
I’ve been hosting an “orphan Thanksgiving” for four years now – it started out in law school for those of us who weren’t going home to others due to finals, and managed to blossom into something much larger. The guest – and dish – count has more than doubled. Now I am the hostess for my mother – which, she says, is a nice change from the many years that she hosted holiday dinners.
This year was my favorite menu yet. I started with a prosciutto-wrapped stuffed pork (which was challenging when I realized what I thought was a single pork tenderloin was actually two. Determination (and no other choice) paid off, and I butterflied, pounded, stuffed, and tied those two tenderloins into one roast stuffed) with leeks, apples, mushrooms, brandy, and spinach. I (sort of) followed a recipe from the October issue of Bon Appetit and was very pleased with the results – two-tenderloin-issue aside. It’s a great recipe, because you can prepare the roast a day ahead of time. Although I don’t have any pictures of the complete roast, all trussed up on its bed of apples, let me say that it makes a very impressive presentation. (As to the flavor and the pan jus gravy, well, I hope it was good. I didn’t actually have any.)
The side dishes were all tried-and-true dishes I have made before, in various forms. Try the butternut squash, the creamed leeks, and the roasted beet and orange salad (I added far more spring greens) next time you have an autumn party. All can be (mostly) prepared ahead of time: the squash can be peeled, seeded, and diced, the leeks can be sliced and washed, and the beets can be roasted the previous day.
It was a lovely day, made better by the fact that I was able to keep my day-of prep time to a bare minimum. And best of all, one of my guests actually wrote me a handwritten-thank-you note, which completely made my day.