Thanksgiving 2018!

For the second year, Elliott and I decided not to travel for Thanksgiving and instead hosted a bunch of friends (and family!) in our apartment. We had nine people in total and I think it was a really wonderful time. I tried out a bunch of new recipes this year that were especially delicious. Here's a quick overview of what I cooked and my timeline for making it.


Not too much here, but I did make Smitten Kitchen's Union Square Cafe's Bar Nuts, which were delicious. The only thing I would change is reduce the initial toasting time to about 7 minutes - at 10 min a few of my pecans had already started to burn a bit.

Main Course

  • Butter lettuce salad with cherry tomatoes, radishes, picked onions, and buttermilk blue cheese dressing. I used the Kitchn's recipe for pickled onions and included some pickling spices. They were delicious and also really good on avocado toast. I used Serious Eat's buttermilk blue cheese dressing, which I would also really recommend - it was very easy and not overly blue-cheesy.
  • Green beans with almond pesto from Smitten Kitchen. I followed this recipe pretty much verbatim and thought it was pretty good. I liked that the green beans could be served at room temperature, so there was no careful timing or soggy vegetables.
  • Veggie meatloaf from yours truly. I did try a a new technique where I turned out the meatloaf from the bread pans after 40 min and then baked them on a pan with the glaze for 15 minutes. I think this made serving a lot easier.
  • Mashed potatoes - no special recipe here. I just cut up 5 lbs of red potatoes, boiled them and then mashed them up with about a cup of buttermilk, a stick of butter, and a bunch of salt and pepper. I think 5 lbs of potatoes was excessive for 9 people, we have almost half of them left.
  • Vegetarian stuffing from Running in a Skirt. I made it a bit more savory by nixing the dried cranberries, reducing the amount of apple and increasing the amount of celery and carrot. I ended up using equal quantities of apple, celery, and carrot. I really enjoyed this stuffing - it was lighter than the casserole-types, but still very moist and tasty.
  • Scallion Pecorino Biscuits from Smitten Kitchen. I love this recipe, but generally change it a bit by removing the parsley and increasing the scallions from 2 to 6. I also made these ahead on Sunday and froze the cut-out biscuits. I then baked them on Thanksgiving frozen by starting them at 475 degrees for 5 minutes, then reducing the temperature to 425 degrees and baking for an additional 10 minutes.
  • Pear ginger cranberry sauce from Serious Eats. I would highly recommend this sauce. I'm generally not a huge cranberry sauce fan, but I thought this was a good balance of not too sour, but also not overly sweet.
  • Mushroom gravy from the New York Times Cooking. I thought the flavor was amazing, but it came out really thick. I might use more water/broth to thin it out more next time. This I also made ahead on Sunday, and it was easy to reheat.


  • Simple Apple Tart from Smitten Kitchen. This tasted good, but did not work out quite as hoped. I didn't use enough apples and I wasn't able to roll the crust out enough. I think the butter got melted too much while I was combining it for the crust and then it didn't take very much water so when I cooled it and went to roll it out again it was very stiff. I need to try this again. I also forgot to add the sauce at the end, so I'd say it was a medium success.
  • Mincemeat Pie from the recipe on the Nonesuch Mincemeat jar. I love mincemeat pie, so I really enjoyed this. I will say it wasn't the top crowd pleaser though. I used a Cozy Kitchen's crust recipe, which worked well.
  • Chocolate Pecan Pie from Love from the Oven. We had someone with a corn allergy, so I wanted to use agave syrup instead. People seemed to really like this, but I thought it was way too sweet. I don't think I'd make this one again.
  • Mint chocolate fudge. In a terrible moment of mis-judgement I decided mid-day to make fudge as a tasty after-dinner treat (like an after eight mint, I thought!). I didn't have sweetened condensed milk, so I used Joy of Cooking's basic fudge recipe. It was way more involved than I expected and I don't think I actually managed to get it hot enough (I think my candy thermometer was closer to the bottom of the pan, so I suspect it didn't actually reach 234 degrees). It tasted really good, but had the consistency of hot fudge. I ended up freezing it, quickly removing it from the pan and cutting it into pieces with scissors, rolling those in powdered sugar + cocoa and then storing them in the freezer. I think I need to give fudge another try on a day I don't have fifteen other projects in mid flight.


I made two drink mixes, both from Serious Eats - Lemon Rosemary Syrup and Cranberry Pepper Shrub. I actually used sparkling water in place of sparkling wine in both recipes and I found the cocktails were really light and refreshing (or entirely non alcoholic). Our friends brought over delicious beverages, so these we'll be mostly saving for later in the week.



  • Pickled onions
  • Buttermilk dressing
  • Gravy
  • Cranberry sauce
  • Drink mixes
  • Biscuits (and freeze them)

Wednesday night:

  • Pecan pie
  • Apple tart
  • Mincemeat pie

Thanksgiving day:

  • Stuffing
  • Meatloaf
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Green beans
  • Mix together salad
  • Nuts (I would do these ahead next time)
  • Fudge (I would do this ahead next time)
  • Bake biscuits