Thanksgiving 2011

It is amazing how fast a year goes by. It doesn’t seem like too long ago that we were at ML and TL’s apartment celebrating the best holiday of them all; Thanksgiving. Once again, they hosted, but this time at their new apartment in Carroll Gardens. It ended up being seventeen people including a couple of kids since TL’s whole family was in town to celebrate his Dad’s 70th Birthday. Happy Birthday Mr. L!

We arrived early with CT’s parents to help setup (and get a head start on eating and drinking). With seventeen people, it is everyone for themselves! Haha.

CT’s Mom made a crudité with what I believe was a ranch-based dip. I guess we have to try to be somewhat healthy on this gluttonous day.

She also cut up some pita to serve with garlic hummus and baba ganoush. Yes, it was store bought, but still delicious. She was busy with other things so don’t knock her for that!

CT’s many contributions included some apps were two kinds of spring rolls; spinach & feta and sausage & mozzarella. She picked up some wonton wrappers from Chinatown after a recent dim sum outing(post pending) and made the fillings from scratch. Since there were some children there(in age, not maturity like me), she wanted to make a “pizza” roll as she was worried there would be too much “fancy” food that they wouldn’t like. I helped to roll these little suckers, which was not easy. We baked them instead of frying to be healthier. This worked out well since they still got crisp and stayed intact (they probably would have burst if deep fried).

Using some Hot Italian sausage from our local butcher, the rolls reminded us of the Totino’s pizza rolls that we both ate growing up.

The spinach and feta were even more delicious as I have grown quite fond of those flavors. Well worth the effort!

CT says: They are surprisingly good, even baked, and I like how both fillings came out (although I would blotted the grease from the sausage filling a bit more next time to avoid leakage). However, I also learned that they don’t re-heat very well. Immediately out of the oven the second time, they were still nice and crispy, however, the wonton shells quickly became stale and hard. Lesson learned: Bake, Serve and Eat immediately.

The Panama newlyweds brought a wide selection of Murray’s Cheese. I didn’t write down what they all were, but they were delicious as always. Last year we had almost as much cheese for a third of the people, haha.

Onto the feast!

We started with some mushroom parsnip soup. Not something I would usually eat, but it was quite tasty with the “meatiness” that comes from the fungi.

Since regular old rolls would not do, ML & TL made Chinese Bao buns from scratch and filled them with roasted mushrooms. Many, including me, used them to dip in the soup for a mushroom mouth explosion. Quite impressive culinary skills by our hosts!

CT’s Mom continued the health kick with an arugula and fennel salad. It was a very good salad and a good palate cleanser.

ML made more of her world famous jalapeno cornbread. It was good as always and extra spicy!

She was worried that some of the spice averse guests might die if they ate the jalapeno cornbread, so CT made a quick supermarket run to buy a box of cornbread mix. Here is her extra plain cornbread.

Jack Daniels cranberry sauce. I am a fan of cranberry sauce and this was quite good. I had no idea there was Jack Daniels in it while I was eating, but maybe that is why I liked it so much?

TL made some sausage & sage stuffing. He wasn’t too happy with the bread he used as the stuffing ending up being quite mushy. The sausage was quite delicious though!

He also made a cranberry walnut stuffing for the non-meat eaters. I didn’t have room to try this. It looked really good though.

My main contribution was brussels sprouts two ways.

First, bacon with a little brussels sprouts mixed in. Always a crowd pleaser! You can’t go wrong with cooking veggies in pig fat.

Since I had to cook something vegetarian, I found a great recipe from a James Beard newsletter for Lime & Pepper Brussels Sprouts. These were actually pretty great. They were simply roasted with olive oil, salt, and pepper then tossed with lime zest and red chili flakes. Most of the diners missed out on this because they naturally gravitated to the bacon. I will be making this again.

Scalloped potatoes with fennel and goat cheese. This was cheesy carby goodness!

GL and his girlfriend made a sweet potato marshmallow casserole.

Since TL hates cooking turkey due to the massive amount of leftovers (although he cooks a great one), he decided he wanted to make a lasagna this year too. They actually made the pasta from scratch! Quite an impressive undertaking. It was cooked perfectly and I really enjoyed the al dente pasta. Top that with meat sauce and I am a happy boy! Thank God for leftovers!

CT says: I hope this becomes a new Thanksgiving tradition…it was great!!

He also made a vegetarian friendly pasta. This pasta wasn’t homemade, but the sauce was.

Here is the beautiful turkey!

Once cut, you can see it came out perfectly. Nice and juicy! Impressive for what was probably the first time cooking a bird in that oven.

There was also some bread that was brought. I’m not sure what bakery it came from.

Dessert was also quite the sugary feast!

CT made pumpkin whoopie pies with maple cream filling. These were delicious! Maybe she will share the recipe with you if you ask nicely.

CT says: I wasn’t thrilled with my first attempt at making whoopie pies, but I know I wanted to give it another shot. So when I saw this recipe for Pumpkin Whoopie pies, I thought it was be a nice twist on the traditional pumpkin pie. I really liked the recipe, though a tweaked it a bit to make the filling a little less sweet. I’ll definitely be experimenting more with whoopie pies; so many flavor possibilities and I like the individually sized portions!

Chocolate torte. I believe this was homemade, but not sure by who. This looked way too rich for me so I passed on a taste.

CT says: Made my Mrs. L and delicious!! Super rich and chocolatey, but not overly sweet nor heavy.

A wide selection of ice creams from local ice cream maker, Blue Marble.

There was also a plethora of pies.

Two Salted Caramel Apple Pies from pie shop of the moment; Four & Twenty Blackbirds. Since I am a salted caramel fiend, of course I had a slice. While the caramel wasn’t super present(probably cause my palate was shot and I was a little drunk), it was an excellent apple pie. Good crust and not mushy!

Pies were also picked up from Sweet Melissa, but I am pretty sure they went untouched since everyone was BEYOND stuffed.

Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie

Fresh Ginger Custard Pumpkin Pie

As CT is always quick to point out, one of her favorite things about Thanksgiving is the Thanksgiving Sandwich the next day.

Here is my creation! Only fair since hers got the spotlight last year. It was pretty great but unfortunately we didn’t have leftover cranberry sauce which would have made it better.

CT says: Your creation???

Once again, it was a GREAT Thanksgiving! Even if we had to go to Brooklyn 😉 It was nice seeing TL’s family again after spending time with them in Panama over the Summer. I hope all of you also had a great holiday!


  1. says

    Wow. Exhaustive! That’s an absolute ton of food. Homemade desserts >> store-bought desserts. But the love and care that went into the main meal is mouthwatering!

    Thankfully, you guys took home lots of leftovers, or else I don’t know that I can call this a good Thanksgiving.

  2. says

    I read this yesterday or Tuesday and stupidly tried to comment (not realizing/thinking that this wasn’t published yet), but basically: NOM NOM NOM ME WANT NOM NOM

    CT, are you SURE you don’t want to join the cookie swap this year? You missed last year’s too… but I think whoopie pies (perhaps non-pumpkin?) would really go nicely with the cookies… 😉

    • CT says

      haha… hmmm… you might be able to twist my arm! I’ll be baking more cookies anyways for other upcoming holiday events.

  3. Uncle D says

    Wow! What a spread. Now enough about your waistline, and let’s talk about the food.

    It looks great and I imagine tasted the same….but SO MUCH!. Considering the size of your Aunt B’s kitchen,(I have a closet larger than her kitchen) her holiday meal was incredible.

    Was sorry not to have seen CT this holiday, though not seeing you was a plus.

  4. MT says


    The L’s thanksgiving meal makes all others (aka mine) look like crap hahaha.. that turkey is IMPRESSIVE, you can even tell the juiciness from the picture! I also love how ethnically diverse the whole meal is, TT you are spoiled from knowing CT! 😉

  5. says


    TT: Brussel sprouts are my favorite winter vegetable. I actually prefer it without the bacon. I would have pounced on that lime and red pepper version.

    CT: Did you specifically buy wonton wrappers instead of spring roll wrappers? I think the latter is better.

    Also, even though the pies were bought, Four and Twenty Blackbirds is pretty much homemade since they hand make their pies each day.

    • CT says

      Ya, I did specifically buy wonton wrappers, because I like the smaller size. They worked just fine, its just that when they got cold after being baked the second time, they were a little tough. Still edible, but not as good. But I think most things get that way after reheating anyways. Next time i’ll just bake them right before serving as they only take about 15 minutes in the oven anyways. (These are the same things as what I deep fried at the last potluck, just different fillings)

  6. T.C. says

    Dang, what a great thanksgiving feast.
    I see the FBMing is REALLY strong in CT’s family. Kudos!!

    Whoa, Homemade lasagna! That makes all the Garfields in the world happy!

    Now I want some pie a la mode.

  7. says

    The cheese spread would’ve done me in. WOW!

    And we always run out of cranberry sauce too – so I have learned to buy an extra bag of berries and not cook them until the day after [everyone is gone] just to have them for my leftovers. That sandwich looks great, but lonely without a little red. 🙂

    Everything looks so delicious.

  8. says

    Where did you put all that food? That’s such a crazy spread! I thought our family ate a lot during holidays.. but no, your family takes the cake. Well in this case, they take the three pies, two brussels sprouts, and a partridge in a pear tree. I loooove the leftovers the following day!

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