2013 Thanksgiving menu and a bit of fire safety

Thanksgiving is nearly here and I'm absolutely not preparred for its arrival, heck I still have the Halloween decorations up. Instead of making the almost 7 hour trip home to St. Louis, this year I'm hosting Thanksgiving dinner for a small group of friends. So far I have nothing planned, no menu, no shopping list, nothing. I keep meaning to sit down and figure out the menu, normally I have things like this planned out months in advance. However, this year I haven't been able to find the time to sit down at the computer and sort through the (rather substantial) pile of recipes I've been meaning to try. With only two weeks left to go I decided that I needed a little motivation and nothing motivates me more than sitting down to write. It forces me to collect my thoughts, which is exactly what I need right now.

I thought some of you might also be curious about what I'll be putting together in the kitchen at Not Starving Yet. Here is a rundown on what I've decided to make this year with links to some of the recipes I'll be working with. It may surprise you, but they aren't all mine. There are some recipes, like Pioneer Woman's Parker House Rolls, that have become a staple in this house; it just wouldn't be a holiday meal without them. I also have a handful of items, such as dressing and gravy, that I haven't quite perfected. Until I do I'll try something a little different each time, making notes about what I liked or disliked about the new recipe I'm working with. Eventually I'll perfect these recipes and share them with you, but not this year.

You may have noticed, I haven't said much about our Thanksgiving bird. It might surprise you, but I'm not in charge of the turkey, my husband is. This was an agreement we came to the first year we were married and 25 years from now he will still be in charge of the turkey. I don't like turkey, I don't want to cook turkey, therefore he is in charge of the turkey. The last few years he's been using Alton Brown's method for Deep Fried Turkey. It turns out perfect every time, crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside. Even though I don't like turkey, I highly recommend Alton's method should you want to try your hand at deep frying a turkey this year. I also highly recommend having a fire extinguisher on hand if you do. So far we haven't managed to catch anything on fire, but I've heard plenty of stories over the years from my father-in-law the fire chief, of people who weren't so fortunate.

Even if you don't plan on deep frying a turkey, make sure you have a fire extinguisher on hand, you never know when you'll need one. Also keep in mind that you don't want to use a water-based fire extinguisher on a grease fire. Water will actually cause the fire to spread, possibly to the person using the fire extinguisher. You'll want a chemical-based ABC fire extinguisher, just make sure you're familiar with how to use it before you begin frying your turkey. You don't want to be rushing around trying to figure it out when there is a fire to put out.

It's a good thing we received not one, but two fire extinguishers for a wedding gift. I still remember writing the thank-you card for a gift I hoped I never had to use (and I said as much when I wrote it, I'm kind of cheeky like that.) While we haven't needed them for a deep fried turkey incident, we did need them when the lawn mower decided to catch on fire several summers ago. What can I say, we have odd problems in our household, but at least we're well prepared thanks to the generosity of our friends.

Ok, that's enough fire safety out of me. Now on to the menu, because I know that's what you're really waiting for.

Appetizers
Relish Tray
Assorted Cheese Tray
Mixed Nuts

Main Course
Deep Fried Turkey (Alton Brown)
Make-Ahead Turkey Gravy (Delish)

Side Dishes
Green Bean Casserole w/ Carmalized Onions, Bacon, and Mushrooms
Spicy Mashed Sweet Potatoes
Parker House Rolls (Pioneer Woman)
Salad w/ Buttermilk Ranch Dressing
Classic Bread Stuffing (Brown Eyed Baker)

Dessert
Caramel Apple Pie (check back soon for the recipe)
Pumpkin Pie (Libby's) with home made Pumpkin Pie Spice