Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Thanksgiving Contributions

My contributions to this year's Thanksgiving dinner did not include turkey, mashed potatoes or sweet potatoes. They didn't include pies or cranberry sauce.

Instead I made two contributions to my new family's table: I removed pomegranate seeds for an hour and I made mac and cheese. Thanksgiving should be so easy, right?

So if you didn't know already, here's how you eat a pomegranate. You try your best to cut it in half over a plastic or glass cutting board, since the juice will stain.

You then cut the halves into more halves and more halves and more halves until you have some very manageable pieces to work with. Fill a bowl with water, and submerging your hands with the pomegranate slices, gently push the seeds out. They'll sink to the bottom and the membrane will stay at the top.

It will take FOREVER. But it's worth it. We ate the pomegranate seeds with our salad and also dropped a few into glasses of prosecco. Very tasty.

In the midst of all that seed-pushing, Katie discovered this Simple Stirrings martini mix for spiced apple martinis. Don't mind if we do!

For the mac and cheese, I usually use a variation on a few different recipes. I shredded gruyere and white cheddar cheese.

And while the mac was boiling, melted 4 tablespoons of butter, whisked in flour and then added 3 cups of whole milk. I think it either could have used more milk or less flour, but it was still edible.

I topped it with panko bread crumbs, bacon crumbles and green onions, since we didn't have any chives. It baked in the oven for 20 minutes at 375. It was good, but it was better the second day because: We used normal, Italian-style bread crumbs, and we added more cheese and milk.

The key to good mac and cheese is to use very strong cheese. The mac and the cream will absorb a lot of the flavor, so you want something that will pack a real punch.

It was a great Thanksgiving otherwise. My mother-in-law ordered a smoked turkey, and all she had to do was heat it for 30 minutes. It was delicious. Seriously. I'm never going back. If you're interested in smoked turkey (and why aren't you?), you can order it here.

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