Sunday, November 12, 2006

Thanksgiving-planning freak.

That's me for the next couple weeks. My main obstacle right now is getting all the crap that should be in the garage out of the kitchen. Then we can figure out where a table with seating for eight will fit in our house.

Of course, that hasn't stopped me from jumping the obsessive planning gun, and I already know how the table will be set (I bought eight plates in a nice slate blue, $2 apiece, as well as simple cloth napkins, also cheap) and what the menu is. Hell, I already made a shopping list, divided by part of the store (as my mother once taught me). Next Sunday I'll get up, get everything I can from the farmers' market (including possibly some flowers for the table--maybe a small white orchid, or a nice bouquet of cut flowers that might last a few days), then hit up Whole Foods and Trader Joe's for the rest. I still need to plan which days I'll do prep work for which food items. My mom is flying in around lunchtime the day before Thanksgiving and I will also have to set aside a project or two for her in the afternoon. My sister will take Caltrain down that night and possibly whip up a batch or two of her wonderful challah.

You must know by now that I relish a challenge for menu-planning (if not necessarily cooking technique itself), so I think my Thanksgiving menus have gotten weirder every year. This year, I'm going Mediterranean/Middle Eastern, and it's almost 100% vegan and should be pretty crazy healthy. Here's what I have planned for this year:

pomegranate and walnut pate
caponata or eggplant salad
pita bread

Main Course
baked fish with coriander and nut stuffing, Lebanese-style
vegan option, at Kevin's discretion

fennel, orange, and arugula salad
stuffed swiss chard leaves*
broiled mushrooms with pesto*
Italian-style brown rice salad
garlic mashed potatoes (just garlic, olive oil, and potatoes)
provencal butternut squash gratin
spinach sauteed with pine nuts and raisins*
bulghur pilaf with pine nuts and raisins*
challah a la Margot

sweet potato pie with lots of nuts
pear and cranberry tort (or other basically fruity dessert)*
something very, very chocolatey*

* = the maybes. I'd prefer to narrow it down to five sides and two desserts, but we'll see.

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