A Cry for Help

I know, my readers, that some of you are secret culinary geniuses. I know because I lurk on your blogs too, and I see things like Melanie’s artisan bread and chakchouka (if you’re thinking “what the hell is chakchouka?” you’re not alone) or Andrea’s lasagna, chicken noodle soup, Amish bread and apple pie (just typing all that makes me tired) or Janet’s apple cake with caramel glaze, bbq pulled pork, homemade buns and monster snack for the kiddo (seriously, the ants on a log killed me). I see these things, and I wish that I lived in your house so I could eat your food. But since pretty much all of you live miles and miles away, in lush places that aren’t run by the mafia or decorated with rocks and awful palm trees, I can’t eat your food, and I can’t hang out in your kitchen learning tricks and secrets. So I’m asking for your help.

I love cooking, and I love Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is the only holiday where I do it all my way. I told the Ogre three years ago when we moved out here that I will continue to make his Mama’s Christmas bread on Christmas, and his Mama’s lamb spaghetti and spanikopita on Easter, and my Mama’s sinful brownies and amazing salsa on the 4th of July, but I claim Thanksgiving for myself. Last year our awesome friends from California drove out with their precious little girls and I made a turkey, stuffing and gravy from Bon Appetit. It was my first time ever cooking a turkey (or stuffing, or gravy for that matter) and although the turkey was woefully undercooked (no one died) the stuffing and gravy were perfect…more than perfect. So I’m sticking with that recipe this year, and my creme fraiche mashed potatoes and butternut squash with honey-butter. But I want to jazz up the other sides and dessert a bit. Boring green beans, store-bought bread and the weird cinnamon-y cranberry sauce we had last year just aren’t going to cut it. So I’m asking for your help! Here’s what I need:

1) A fabulous green bean recipe. Usually I blanch the green beans and saute them in butter and lemon juice, but I’m sick of that. I want something a little snazzier, and preferably something that involves bacon, because bacon makes the world go ’round (well, at least it makes my waist go round). Make-ahead would be great, but I’m not holding my breath because green beans are perishable. Also, if you happen to have a recipe for some other green vegetable that you think is fabulous, I’d love that too. I’m not dead set on green beans, but sadly the Ogre has vetoed Brussels sprouts so those are out.

2) A cranberry sauce recipe that doesn’t have cinnamon in it. I really want something fairly traditional here; I’ve already vetoed a few promising-looking recipes because they contain pomegranate juice, and since nothing else on the table will be remotely Mediterranean I didn’t think the flavors would mesh particularly well.

3) A bread recipe. Ideally I’d like to have individual rolls instead of a loaf of bread, but I’m flexible. I would kind of like it to be a little jazzy, like rosemary rolls or something similar, but again, not dead set on anything. The only thing it absolutely must be is make-ahead, and I mean completely make ahead. I need to have these little beauties fully cooked and frozen so all I have to do on the day is warm them in the oven.

4) A pie crust recipe. Every single pie crust I have ever attempted has been a massive failure, so if you have an idiot-proof one that would be great. This, too, I need to be make-ahead by at least one day. I’m assuming it’s not really a problem to store pie crust in the fridge overnight, but again, I’m a pie crust amateur.

5) A pumpkin pie filling recipe. I’ve never made an actual pumpkin pie, but I’ve made lots of other pies so I’m pretty sure I can handle whatever you throw at me with this one. I do want it to be sinfully rich; dreamy, creamy, full of pumpkin flavor and lots of fat.

And lastly, I do have just one rule: no trans fats. So please, please, don’t send me an amazing recipe that calls for Crisco or vegetable oil. It will just make me sad. The only oils we use around here are coconut, olive, and butter, of course, although I am more than willing to cook with lard and bacon grease (how gross is that?).

I toyed with the idea of doing a blog carnival for this one but I don’t think I’ll have enough participation to make it work, so you can do one of two things. If you just want to leave the recipe in the comment box, that’d be great. But you can also post a recipe (and any other Thanksgiving triumphs you may have had) on your own blog and leave a link to that page (just that page, not your homepage!) in my comment box. Then we can all click on it and visit you!

Thank you all in advance. I’m really excited to see what kind of Thanksgiving magic goes on in your houses!

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