Thanksgiving has come and gone and it was, by most measures, the most successful party we’ve hosted here in Thailand. The last minutes weren’t a frenzied rush to the table, clean-up wasn’t such a hassle, and the food was very good.
I started Friday about 6 pm and prepped until just after midnight, focusing mostly on the stuffing and getting dry ingredients measured out for Saturday’s baking. All about that in the previous entry.
Saturday I started about 8 am and worked through my list one item at a time. The morning was spent baking pecan pies and squash rolls. After making four dozen rolls I still had dough left over, so I played with it, making a braid, some mini rolls in a muffin tine, and a pretzel.
This time around, I tried brushing the rolls with a milk and egg wash. Ultimately, I think they are butter wish just some butter on top. Also, I think I overbaked them a little. They were not as light as the test batch I did earlier in the week. The pecan pies were gorgeous and not too sweet. I love the recipe.
Our guest list continued to fluctuate. Ultimately, of the original guest list, we lost four because of the airport closure, gained two because of some new friends that entered the group, and then lost three at the last minute because of various complications.
Trying to plan for an ever-changing number of guests is a pain. I ended up making a lot of extra food, which I realize is the case for Thanksgiving, but I’m not sure how much stuffing I really need.
Fearing that the 16-lbs turkey would not be sufficient (remember, it looked like we were going to be up to 20 guests at one point), I bought an additional turkey breast, dry brined it and roasted it Saturday morning.
Despite dry brining it only about 30 hours, it turned out very salty throughout. Not sure whether I used the wrong type of salt or more than I should have but, while not inedible, it left me drinking a lot of water.
For the sweet potatoes, I went with the toasted spice rub. They turned out well, again I had way too many prepared, but I think they were a little over-cooked and mushy.
Things that were very positive:
Setting up tables and chairs downstairs by the pool. The weather was perfect – about 80 degrees and a light breeze – and having a company provide all the dishes, etc. (and taking them away afterwards to be cleaned) made all the difference in the world. Having people outside the house kept the gathering from feeling crowded. Our house is really at its best with six guests, no more.
Having some friends come over early to help. Boon (in green, right) and Kobfa lent extra hands in the kitchen and as other guests arrived, Tawn wasn’t shy about getting their help with last minute arrangements.
Tawn’s aunt also came over to keep an eye on things and lend a hand. Since we were downstairs by the pool, we wanted to be able to keep the house open for people to get things and use the toilet. Having someone there ensured that possessions were safe and secure. Also, she helped washing dishes so we didn’t have as much of a mess to clean up at the end of the night.
Above, our poolside location. Below, table arrangement by Tawn.
Here’s the menu. Links go to the recipes.
Traditional Roast Turkey with Gravy
Dry Brined Roasted Turkey Breast
Braintree Squash Rolls
Fresh Green Beans with Bacon
The pumpkin pie was made by Matt’s partner Si. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a picture of either his pies or the pecan pies I made. They were tasty, though, so if you want his recipe I can track it down.
We had time for a group photo before we tucked in. Standing from left to right: Chairat, Francois, Doug, Matt, Markus, Suchai. Seated from left to right: Chris, Tawn, Boon, Kitty, Si, Tam, Kobfa. David arrived a bit later.
While guests started serving themselves, Markus assisted me with the turkey carving, a task made all the more difficult by a wobbly table and the wrong type of knife. I guess I should cave in and purchase a carving knife.
Below, Kitty and Doug confer, Matt spreads butter on his roll, and Si, Kobfa and Boon converse.
Below, the happy hosts with Kitty and Doug.
We started dinner about 4:30, which meant that even after a very leisurely meal and visit, we were wrapped up by 9:00. Even after cleaning up and driving Tawn’s aunt home, we were in bed by 11:00. Now that’s quite a feat on a party night!