Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I love it more than Christmas, more than my birthday. I love to cook, and the group we gather — whatever the size — is always special and full of good feelings. And wine. Lots and lots of wine.

Anyhow, here’s some of the dishes we prepared to general acclaim this year. I wanted to share these on the basis that a) you can try them and b) I won’t have to regoogle them next year.

Baked Mac & Cheese

Pumpkin Ice Cream

Turkey Brine:
Homemade vegetable broth

1/2 Cup Brown sugar
1 Cup of Salt
1/4 peppercorns
2 Tbs all spice
Some fat sprigs of rosemary
Some fat sprigs of thyme
Some leaves of sage

We broke down the turkey and brined it in pieces overnight. There wasn’t any room in the fridge, so it did all its business on the porch (at approximately 40 degrees) while my friend Alethea bravely guarded it from raiding racoons. Out of the brine and into a gentle olive oil massage, then into the oven, breasts first.

There were also croissants and an apple tart from Jean-Marc’s in Millvale, mashed potatoes, green beans, corn, some excellent gravy, a delicious pumpkin pie, homemade cranberry sauce… and about a case of wine. The food was great, even if it wasn’t all that fancy — and the company was even better.

The weekend and leftovers meant a big pot of turkey soup and turkey stock; and there were muffins and pie and tart for breakfast every morning.

Thanksgiving is best day of year. I think that’s what I want for my birthday — another Thanksgiving in May. Watch for it.

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