Friday, November 23, 2012

Zankou-Turkey-Cranberry-Wensleydale Quesadilla (& Other Thanksgiving Eats)

Originally I had just planned to write up my Thanksgiving quesadilla today, not much more than that. But the one comment I received yesterday was from a person - presumably from Europe - who wanted to see a "typical Thanksgiving dinner." So I am going to show him or her what my family had.

The beginnings of a gravy on the stove, with celery, onions, broth and gizzards.

I picked up a 17-pound turkey at Taylor's. It went into the oven (with celery and some other things inside its cavity) for a few hours.

My mom heated up butter, sherry wine, and a couple of other items I did not notice, with which to glaze the turkey as it roasted.

This is where this dinner diverges the most with a typical Thanksgiving dinner: no mashed potatoes. I am not a big fan; it seems to me that most people just use them as a vehicle to eat butter and gravy. I prefer roasted new potatoes. So I diced up two pounds of those, and let them sit in a bag with olive oil, a lot of garlic, and fresh rosemary from the garden.

Pearl onions.


I cubed bread for croutons.

My favorite beer in America: New Belgium Sunshine Wheat. I can't get it in New York. Actually, I can't get it in Pasadena, either, but it's available now as close as the Santa Barbara area, so my parents somehow procured a case for me.

The gravy as it continued to simmer.

When the bacon and onions were done, my mom cooked green beans, then added them all together.

 My brother roasted the leftover cloves of garlic. "Why are these for?" I asked.

"Whatever you want."

It just so happened I was hungry at the moment.

I looked at the croutons that had been roasted in the oven with garlic and oil.

I grabbed one, dunked it in the Caesar dressing, and crowned it with a clove of roasted garlic. It may not be accurate to say that I could have just eaten 15 of these for dinner... but it's not all that inaccurate.
 An hour before dinner, I put my potatoes in the oven.

 Glorious, roasted potatoes with garlic and fresh rosemary.

The turkey turned out pretty nicely, too.
I just copied Michael Chiarello's Caesar dressing recipe. It has always served me well. 

RB had a Pacifico and my dad Whole Foods sparkling water. I was even more boring: just tap water. As everyone sat down to eat, I began the process of assembling my quesadilla. 

I found two choices for cheese with cranberries: cheddar or Wensleydale, a crumbly, English cheese. It was an easy call.

Zankou garlic sauce on one half of the tortilla, the cranberry cheese on the other, then the white meat turkey. 

I grilled it up and topped it with red cabbage salad. Damn this was a great quesadilla. I'm going to make one of these for Thanksgiving every year that I have the chance.

I hope you had a great day.


Anonymous said...

who is RB??

JustinM said...

A friend of my brother and mine who joined us.

Sam said...

Looks awesome. I'm not a big mashed potato fan either, which is almost sacrilegious in my family. I much prefer roasted potatoes with rosemary and make that as a side at least three times a month.

Sean said...

Hi Justin,

It was me who posted the comment yesterday and Yes, I'm in London. Yours thanksgiving looked good.
I liked the idea of marinating the potatoes in the bag for a while, might have to try that out in the future.

Also the pumpkin within a pumpkin looked pretty cool.


Liza said...

We don't have mashed potatoes either. In fact, we normally have brussel sprouts instead. This year, I came up with the idea to make matzoh ball stuffing, and it was so good.

Hemingway said...

When you moved back to Cali, this website moved from bookmarks to recycle bin. I enjoyed some posts Justin but honestly you didn't take advantage of all NY had to offer. You could have went BIG or went HOME! Which did you choose literally? Lol. Anyways now it's back to small local Chinese restaurants in Pasadena. Review of Kung paos and soups?! Damn. I was just beginning to like this website better than grubgrade (your reviews felt more natural compared to grubgrade's annoying non human-robot grading system and pseudo intellectual food talk, the guy sounds like he got a phd in fast food phoniness). Your blog was more familiar, family like if you will, with you and Elizabeth and friends. I tried serious eats for a while but that didn't satisfy me much, too bland.
Anyways I know you will not post this in the comments because it is too opinionated right? (you will earn major points in coolness and balls if you do post it) This is by no means an attack, just a fellow foodie and reader stating their opinion, you didn't have to read this but maybe this was one of the best, most honest comments you have gotten about your baby. Godspeed Hemingway you were once a poet, now a jester.

JustinM said...

On the contrary, I LOVE comments like this. I did not move back to California, I am here visiting on vacation... as I have written many times. If you pay attention more and whine less (about a free blog, no less), you will lead a happier life.