Just back from a Thanksgiving trip to my brother's in Nashville. Great city, great company. Love visiting them. I've said it before, and I'll say it again, my brother hit the jackpot when he met his wife, Gina. In fact I said exactly that last year, when I wrote about the Thanksgiving 2009 trip here. The confirmed bachelor is now married, and a father. Last year my nephew was a newborn, this year a new walker.
Adding to the enjoyment, Gina's aunt is a great hostess - and from day one has welcomed us as extended family into her gatherings. For most of these gatherings, we are in charge of bringing the drinks - beer, wine, a bit of spirits. For the Thanksgiving feast, Jeff and Gina do prepare quite a bit of the food. Last year I did my part entertaining 2 week old Jack while his parents cooked, this year, kiddo had that duty....providing me an opportunity to help with the cooking.
Preparations began Wednesday evening and continued through Thursday morning with an eye on our 1 pm deadline. Thursday morning found four of us in the kitchen, and we quickly developed almost a dance...weaving between each other, passing ingredients, stirring while another measured, one manning the sink - washing the dishes. Lots of mumbling under our breaths, reading the recipe's next steps, thinking about what we needed next.
I'd suggested to Gina that we do the Roasted Brussel Sprouts with pomegranate I'd seen on the Thanksgiving edition of Throwdown when Bobby Flay took on one of my favorite bloggers, Pioneer Woman. Gina put me in charge of making this dish. Highly recommend. Very highly recommend this dish. Even folks who think they don't like brussel sprouts will love it. As delicious as it is beautiful.
Also on the menu was a homemade version of the classic green bean casserole. Created without a single can or bit of processed food. the best green bean casserole I've ever tasted, and tons of fun to make. From sauteeing the fresh mushrooms to creating my own onion straws. So good, so worth the effort.
Gina and Jeff (with the help of her young cousin) made a fabulous pumpkin cheesecake- which had all of us licking the bowl. The bourbon laced sauce really, uh, topped the cake.
When the cooking was done, it took two cars to load up all the goodies and head to Gina's aunt's house for our feast. (Yep, plenty of my fav, Blue Moon)
We started with appetizers of artisan cheeses, homemade pumpkin hummus and babaganoush, spinach artichoke dip and lots of crackers and veggies to dip them with.
Then quickly moved onto the main course which even my little nephew loved!
After dinner, in a slight food coma, we all retired to the family room. Some watched the football game. Though electronics also came into play - folks in the same room texting each other, "Angry birds" being played simultaneously on the iPad, an iPod and an iPhone. Even the little ones got in on the fun.
Through it all, I was very impressed with kiddo and how good he did with his cousin. Makes me proud to be his mom.