thanksgiving recipe reviews

This year for Thanksgiving I made two different dishes, two times.  I’m always a little wary of making an untried recipe that people other than us will have to try, because what if the food is gross? This year, I’d say one dish was a hit and one dish was a miss.

Hit:

Caramelized Onion and Goat Cheese Cornbread from Smitten Kitchen.

The first time I made this dish was for my family’s Thanksgiving dinner, on Thursday. Everyone raved over it, but I wasn’t totally satisfied with it. The fact that I accidentally used a 9-in pan when in fact the recipe called for a 10-in pan may have had something to do with it — the pan was overfilled so it spilled over the sides (all over the bottom of my oven) and the middle took way longer to cook, so the edges were more brown than I would have liked. This was easily remedied though — I only filled the 9-in pan 2/3rds of the way full the next day for the Birkel Thanksgiving dinner, and poured the excess batter in a small bread pan. It turned out wonderfully. My father-in-law said he could “eat [the cornbread] indefinitely,” so it seemed to be a big hit. I’ll definitely add this recipe to my Thanksgiving repertoire.

Miss:

Turnip Gratin from The Pioneer Woman Cooks.

Oh, how excited I was about this recipe. The moment it appeared in my Google reader, I was drooling.  I dreamed about turnips in all their cheesy, melty, fattening glory for days leading up to Thanksgiving. Sadly, though, this recipe just didn’t meet my expectations. I probably added too much chicken broth and heavy whipping cream, so it was too liquid-y, even both times I made it. The first day I tried to hand-cut all the turnips but my slices weren’t thin enough, and consequently, the turnips weren’t as tender as I would have liked them to be for a gratin recipe. I even cooked it for longer than the 20 minutes the recipe calls for. The second day I got wise and used my food processor to slice the turnips, which resulted in much thinner slices, but they still didn’t end up tender enough. I didn’t use Gruyere cheese, either — I was going to, but then I saw that it was $15.99 a pound so I called Tim and made him look up substitutions for Gruyere all while reminding him that if I had an iPhone, I could look up cheese substitutions from Marsh myself (He wasn’t convinced that this was a good enough reason for an iPhone. I’ll keep trying). Anyway, both families were polite but I didn’t get the rave reviews and eye-rolls and moans and groans I was hoping for. I’ll keep it in mind though — I think if I researched some other turnips gratin recipes and perhaps parboiled the turnip slices first, it could be a winner.

All in all two wonderful Thanksgivings. We’re very blessed to have two amazing families. Sam is one loved kid.

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