Several of you have written or commented on the blogs asking how low carb our Thanksgiving dinner will be. The answer is…somewhat. While we try to hold the line where we can, from its inception, Thanksgiving has been a feasting holiday and day set aside to give thanks for the bounty we’ve been blessed to enjoy. So, enjoy we do, within reason.
Today, I’m going to post the menu for tomorrow’s family feast (linking to recipes where I can) and then on Friday, either Mike or I will post photos of the feast itself. The remainder of today and tomorrow, I will be up to my elbows in turkey and all the fixin’s.
Tray of Fresh Vegetables
Butternut Squash Soup
Roast Turkey with Giblet Gravy
Mother Eades’ Traditional Cornmeal Dressing (decidedly not low carb)
Creamy Cauliflower Puree (recipe follows)
Green pea and Asparagus Casserole (Low Carb CookwoRx Episode 4)
Cranberry-Orange Relish (Low Carb CookwoRx Episode 4)
Rolls and butter
Beaujolais Neuvo, very lightly chilled
Pumpkin Pie and Whipped Cream
As you can see, most of it isn’t too bad. The Butternut Squash Soup has about 10 grams of carb per serving–not super low, but not outrageous, compared to Sweet Potato Casserole topped with Marshmallows, which has a similar taste profile, but a whole lot more carb. I can make it in advance, freeze it, and thaw it overnight, then reheat it on the big bird’s day. And speaking of…
The turkey, brined and then basted in butter as it roasts, is both scrumptious and virtually no carb. I make the giblet gravy using ThickenThin not/Starch, so it’s very low carb, too. Not low fat, mind you, but low carb.
The creamy cauliflower has a scant 3 or 4 grams of carb per large serving and lots of buttery, creamy goodness. The green pea and asparagus casserole, pretty low, too, since I also substitute ThickenThin not/Starch for flour as a thickener in this dish.
I make my sister’s cranberry orange relish with Splenda, so it’s not too bad, particularly since you only eat a tablespoon or so of it. I substitute Splenda for sugar in the filling of the pumpkin pie, and although this year I’m going to put it into a real crust, those of us who want to can just eat the filling with whipped cream and leave the crust.
Trouble begins with the dressing and rolls–high carb danger zones. The only low carb concession I make in Mike’s mother’s traditional dressing is using low-carb (light) bread cubes instead of ‘real’ bread. It’s made with 5 cups of bread cubes, 2 cups of cornmeal mush, chopped green pepper, celery, and onion, seasoned with salt, pepper, poultry seasoning, and a stick of butter. And I admit before the world right now that I most definitely will eat some of it. It’s the best dressing in the world, IMHO.
And here’s an even more horrifying admission:
the rolls, at the lifelong request of my children, will be (gasp!) Pillsbury Crescent Rolls.
I know. I know. If I were going to spend carbs on a roll (which I might or might not tomorrow) I would much rather have a really good one. A homemade yeast roll, dripping with butter, comes to mind. But crescent rolls out of a tube is a taste tradition that our sons (now all over 30) just won’t let die. I have tried spending lots of time making really good rolls to be greeted with whining complaints of ‘where are the crescent rolls?’ It’s important to their feast; it’s once a year. So I acquiesce.
I figure if you hold the carb line on most things, splurge a bit on others, and push back from the table before your buttons bust, the day will be a success.
The main point of Thanksgiving, beyond the good food, is to gather with people you care about, laugh, talk, reminisce, and enjoy the warm glow of love and friendship. And together, give thanks for what you have. This year, following the Tea Fire in Santa Barbara, we’re all thankful that though homes were lost and a number of people were injured, no one died as a direct result of the fire. So Thank You to the firefighters and other first responders, whose hard work and bravery kept most of Santa Barbara and Montecito safe.
The recipe for Creamy Cauliflower Puree (which will appear in our upcoming book, The 6-Week Cure for the Middle Aged Middle, due out in March 2009) follows.
Enjoy your holiday amid friends, family, and (good) food!
Creamy Cauliflower Puree
1 large head cauliflower
1 round Boursin Cheese with Herbs and Garlic, softened
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1-2 tablespoons heavy cream
½ teaspoon salt (or to taste)
¼ teaspoon pepper (or to taste)
1. Wash cauliflower, trim away tough outer leaves. Slice head in half once and then again to make 4 pieces. Cut each piece into ½” slices.
2. Place cauliflower slices into a microwave safe bowl, cover, and microwave on high for 6 minutes. Stir and microwave on high another 3 minutes. Allow cauliflower to cool slightly.
3. Place cooked cauliflower into work bowl of a food processor.
4. Add melted butter, softened Boursin cheese, 1 tablespoon of cream and the salt and pepper. Process in pulses to start and then on high until smooth. Add more cream if needed to achieve a smooth puree that holds its shape like mashed potatoes.
5. Adjust seasonings if needed.
6. Will keep warm, covered, for up to 30 minutes in the microwave on ‘keep warm’ or over a pan of simmering water.