For many holiday parties as a child I was always in charge of one thing: arranging the cheese and cracker platter. This year’s Thanksgiving was no different but it was by far the most creative and fancy platter I have made.
It helped that we had a chef in the house who provided us with quality cheeses that she got from her work and her travels abroad but I had the free reigns as to how to design it.
We joked that I had received a new title as a cheese monger. After meticulously slicing and placing the ingredients, I used my newly acquired smartphone to do what everyone else does; take pictures of their food. However, I would argue that these picture are higher quality and deserve to be in a magazine. No filter needed.
Later once everyone tried the cheeses we crowned one as the cheese connoisseur since he was able to correctly identify the cheeses. You know you are in Wisconsin when you have this much fun and excitement about cheese. So here is what we used, clockwise starting at the top left: Dubliner, Smoked Gouda with cumin, Parmigiano Reggiano, Vintage white cheddar, smooth Gouda and organic cheddar. We garnished with chopped dates, cucumbers, yellow cheery tomatoes and tomato rossettes. The best crackers were the Keebler Townhouse Pita Crackers Mediterranean Herb. I could eat those by themselves!
Next came the main course which obviously included turkey. The turkey was soaked in a brine and then based with its juices. It was cooked until it had the crisped skin, which for me is more for show since I never eat the skin. As a side we made stuffing, or dressing, that included chicken sausage. That I could have had as a meal by itself!
I had never seen fennel before as the whole bulb so I had to document my experience. The kitchen was filled with a lot of aroma as we had many fresh herbs, including thyme and sage. Ahh…half the experience of cooking is the aromas that you make.
The aftermath of Thanksgiving left everyone with a lot of dishes to wash and crumbs to clean up. Luckily there were leftovers for visitors to take and meals for days. It is interesting to think that you spend all day cooking for a few minutes of eating. Consider yourself lucky if it lasts.
Once our bellies had a chance to rest it was on to the grand finale: pies. We had apple, pecan and my favorite, pumpkin. I refuse to consume other pumpkin spiced things, especially in my coffee, because it will never live up to the real thing. Everyone argued over which one was the best and most had a slice or two of each. Overall, everyone went to bed with full stomachs and that is one thing to be thankful for!