So, after a rather grouchy, political blog, I’m back with a more cheerful post-mortem on Thursday’s feast.

We had a great time with David’s sister Victoria, who braved the Thanksgiving rush to fly up from Florida to visit us.

David & his little sister Victoria

Last year, I roasted the best turkey of my life. Moist, buttery, perfectly seasoned, even my father-in-law, a dedicated turkey hater, liked it. But you can’t win them all. This year, despite the fact that everyone claimed the turkey to be moist, I swear it was dry. I had a hint of what was to come when I realized that unlike other fresh birds from years past, this one was sucking up every ounce of broth I poured in the pan. Turkey shield, low heat, my magic herb rub, olive oil, whole apple & whole onion cavity fillers . . . none prevented a lean toward the dry side. Next year, it is either back to brining or sinking heavy money into a Kosher turkey (pre-brined).

However, the meal was far from a disaster. My mashed potato casserole was devoured without a teaspoon left over. The sausage and oyster dressing was also gone by the next evening. And the kids even enjoyed the wild rice salad.

Thanksgiving Dinner 2011

Wild Rice & Cranberry Salad

I have posted my  cranberry recipe soon so anyone can use it for the holidays. The Wild Rice & Cranberry Salad is a recipe that I made for dinner the night I went into labor with Kate. The recipe got lost (it was from a summer 1997 issue of Bon Appetit), but I found it again last week after a bit of searching on different recipe sites. It’s a wonderful year-round recipe that can be served warm, room temp or cold.

I wish I had some pictures of my pies. Most of my friends know that I’m not a patient baker–but even the crust came out well. Maybe that’s because the pumpkin pies were a collaborative effort of three women in a kitchen: Kate, Vic and me. I also baked the pies at night, covered them and let them sit out on the counter overnight. I remember my mother always baked pies last thing at night. I believe that somehow helped make the crust much less dry than others.

On Friday, while the rest of us ate leftovers, Vic took Kate downtown to explore some of Vic’s old stomping grounds in Lincoln Park and to visit the Field Museum.

Aunt Victoria and Kate

Needless to say, Kate and her aunt were continually mistaken as sisters.

It was a great weekend, and we were thankful for those at the table and for those who could not join us this year (but will hopefully be at the table next year), most notably my mom (see previous post) and Vic’s partner Edrie.