Friday, November 27, 2009


My favorite holiday has come and gone, though the aftermath is still apparent now- I just had turkey for dinner, sauteed with onion and kale, along with a rather indecent number of tofu jeon (pancake / fritters). This dinner of re-purposed leftovers came after a day of working while completely congested with some strain of cold or flu that's been going around to everyone at work. It's disgusting. No, it's not swine flu.

My mom, who also has some sort of illness, started preparing at around 6:00 yesterday morning. We have a slightly problem in our family home- only one oven! So the oven must be scheduled out. My mother got the early shift, because she's up the earliest, and got started with the ham.

It's very basic, just marinated in Coca-Cola for an hour before being put into an oven bag and baked, skin on. It comes out of the oven and is skinned and de-fatted and sliced before going on the table. We had fresh pineapple with the ham this year, which was delicious.

Then the turkey went into the oven. We always forget, every single year, how we made the turkey the year before. It always turns out very well, by the grace and luck that accompanies every intrepid cook.

We don't do the whole "carve the bird at the table" thing, because my dad is a terrible turkey carver. This is probably because he doesn't like turkey and therefore doesn't care about it- he's quite good at disassembling a chicken, but then, he loves chicken. I don't see how someone who loves chicken so much could dislike turkey!

Because of the lack of kitchen space, my sister did a lot of her prep at her apartment before she came home. She did the appetizers, starting with deviled eggs- the eggs were already boiled and the yolk mixture already prepped.

The eggs are really good and perfect appetizers. I can eat about a dozen of them, but I refrained. I love eggs of most kinds, unless there's dill involved, and these definitely don't have any dill.

My sister also made jalapeno poppers with fresh peppers, shrimp, Neufchatel cheese, cheddar cheese, and bacon. Everyone in my family loves bacon. My dad couldn't stop eating these. He's got jalapeno addiction problems.

The poppers were all assembled and just needed to be baked. We baked these at the same time as the Hasselback potatoes, since they all cook at 350 degrees.

Speaking of potatoes, the Hasselbacks were pre-sliced by Mom and I prepped them with vegetable oil, butter, and salt before they went into the oven. I bought blue cheese for my mother, who loves the stuff.

One potato got blue cheese, a couple got sharp aged Beecher cheddar, a couple got shredded cheese that my sister had lying around, and a couple were plain.

Delicious, especially with sour cream. Yum, yum, yum.

My mother also made jeon (Korean savory pancakes / fritters) in an obscene quantity. We have quite a ritual when it comes to making jeon for a crowd, which I'll post about some other time. We had three different types yesterday.

I made the pies last, which is unusual for Thanksgiving- usually, I make them the night before the meal. I didn't have a chance to this time because I didn't get home from work until almost 11:00 and was exhausted and sick.

The whole table, when set and done, had a lot of food than we had expected. All of us have a weird problem- we worry that there won't be enough food and make a ton of it. There are only four people in my family and I made four pies! The turkey was twelve pounds, there was about a quart of gravy, and several pounds of green beans.

The table was decorated with fruit- persimmons and a pineapple. The poor pineapple was later beheaded and sliced to be served alongside the ham.

We thought that ten jalapeno poppers would be more than enough for four people. We were wrong. My dad ate eight of them. EIGHT! And then he ate five more a couple hours later- I think he was trying to be sneaky, but he couldn't find them and had to ask us where they were, so we gave him a hard time about the pigging out on poppers.

My mother, the wonderful woman, is the only person in the family that really likes cranberry sauce. The rest of us can take it or leave it and don't notice if it's not around. But she does, and she actually made her own this year. It had apples in it, which sounds weird, but is actually quite good. My sister's macaroni and cheese (actually, penne and cheese) is in the upper right corner.

Various side dishes, including mashed potatoes, green beans, kimchi, and plain ol' pineapple. My sister hates (HATES!) ham, and she refused to eat any pineapple that touched the ham. So hers was segregated. The kimchi is radish kimchi, really good and perfect with turkey. And with ham. And really, with anything.

Shot of the table. I tried to fit everything in. I was getting impatient and didn't wait until the wine was poured before taking photos and then hustling everyone to eat.

It may seem like we're wasting food by making so much of it, but we're really not. People drop by unannounced "just to say hi" but really to eat, and we all love Thanksgiving leftovers, especially pie- which is why there were four of them (um, along with three containers of Cool Whip in the freezer).

Almost everything keeps really well from a Thanksgiving meal. I thought the Hasselback potatoes would make a great and easy potatoes au gratin, while turkey and ham are great in everything. My dad loves fried rice with ham, my sister loves turkey with gravy and eats it for days, my mom loves potatoes warm or cold as long as there's sour cream to be had, and I love green beans (they're very simple, with just butter and Lawry's seasoning salt).

I have to work tomorrow, too, but am taking solace in the fact that I still have two more persimmons in my fridge, sitting beside some turkey, ham, jeon, and a Hasselback potato. Even at work, having some of my family's Thanksgiving food reminds me of why I don't mind being at work- it provides me with the money I need to keep myself in cans of pumpkin, blocks of tofu, and bags of green beans.

My mother said something really interesting to us yesterday- she said that we don't make a ton of food because we think there won't be enough, we make it because we love cooking and providing others with the simple joy of eating. She said that more than being a good cook, it's essential to having people to cook for. And that's what family is- people that will always eat what you cook, no matter what. They may tell you it's not good, which my family does if it's true, but they will gamely try it.

This Thanksgiving, I have never been so thankful for my family, brutal honesty and all.


william November 28, 2009 at 4:36 AM  

that looks amaaaaazing. can i get an invite next year?

jeanny November 28, 2009 at 8:05 AM  

Next year, I'll be in Korea, making this spread in a teeny kitchen! :)

Kidding- like Korean ovens would accommodate a whole turkey!

If you're in California around Thanksgiving, come on down! We'll save you four thousand calories.

Diana E. November 29, 2009 at 12:26 AM  

Damn. Almost makes me consider eating meat again.

Almost. ;-)

jeanny November 30, 2009 at 9:57 AM  

There's always ... tofurkey?? :)

I want to try it someday, I'm so curious about it!

jane December 26, 2009 at 12:16 AM  

Oh myyy goodness...everything...EVERYTHING looks so delicious!~

Jeanny, let's cook together ^-^

jeanny December 26, 2009 at 12:59 PM  

Anytime, Janey. Well, when I'm not working and you're not in Boston. :)