For many of us, each holiday season is a time to count our blessings.
I am blessed to I have a husband and two kids who let me cook for them. I am also blessed that my mom is a great cook to whom I owe many of my pantry skills.
Thanksgiving in our house when I was growing up always included the usual suspects: turkey, stuffing, gravy, spuds, cranberries, sweet potatoes and pumpkin pie. These items were canonical in the meal.
The turkey, roasted in a stand-alone roaster, always came out juicy and perfectly cooked.
My mom's gravy was and still is top-notch. In our extended family, it is the gravy by which all other gravys should be judged. I have never been able to duplicate it, even though I have watched her make it more times than I can count.
I have copious notes from her about how to make stuffing. Over-toasting the bread isn't a bad thing. Check your seasonings. Too much sage, bad.
Not enough salt, bad. Bake it long enough to let it get nice and crusty on the outside.
My evolution as a cook includes carrying forward the tried and true bits of wisdom from my mom, straying from tradition by trying variations of recipes and dishes that sound delicious in their own way.
This year that means:
Ultimately the meal that hits our table will be a nod to my past mixed with recipes that may someday be a Thanksgiving staple for my own kids.