Every year for Thanksgiving, my family seems to outdo itself in terms of a bigger, better, gut-busting food fest. The holiday itself is much more important to us than Christmas, birthdays, or any other event we celebrate during the year so it’s crucial that we feast appropriately. This year, it was a Turkey Duel.
With a battle of BBQ’d Turkey vs. Deep Fried Turkey, all of us guests seemed to be the default winners. The BBQ’d Turkey was seasoned simply with garlic salt and lemon pepper and was a tender, beautifully-smoked masterpiece. The deep fried turkey was injected with a rosemary garlic marinade and was extremely juicy with a delightful crisp skin. Both were unique and equally delicious. The duel ended in a dead tie, as both birds were a hit and there weren’t many leftovers to judge!
As anticipated, there was a Smörgåsbord of food, both traditional and unusual. Basically, we love to eat and there is no better way of getting together than with a buffet of classic comfort food and some of our favorite Japanese-American dishes.
Of the classic comforts, mashed potatoes and stuffing (with our secret family ingredient) are predictable hits. There is always a delicious gravy to smother it in, usually with a hint of soy sauce to deepen the flavors. Tri tip has also become a family fav, with my stepdad Bobby being quite the Grillmaster. Also on the yearly menu, my Aunt Amy’s bacon-wrapped dates (no, they’re not her own recipe, but oh-so-worth the calories and are a huge crowd favorite).
We also make sure to include some Asian flavors in our holiday feast.
My personal favorite (and a food request I give my mom months in advance) are the Deep Fried Wontons. Filled with seasoned ground beef, chopped onion, and water chestnut, these ‘tiny tacos’ (as we refer to them) always hit the spot– crunchy, savory, and satisfying. Hijiki (Japanese Brown Seaweed) Rice is also a dish to look forward to. With tofu skin, fishcake, and a sweet soy sauce, this rice dish satisfies both sweet and salty cravings. Similarly, Maze Gohan is an interesting Japanese rice mixture. This one, however, includes sushi rice vinegar, renkon (Japanese Lotus Root), pickled carrot, and dried seaweed. To round out the Asian flavors, we also had some stir fried green beans (a twist to the much-loved green bean casserole).
While most families finish their meal with a traditional pumpkin pie, my family likes to mix it up.
You can’t do Thanksgiving without a little pumpkin, so we had two pumpkin spice cakes. My mom’s famous 2-layer Jello also made a short appearance (before being gobbled up by the younger kids). And new to this year’s desserts were Auntie Em’s paper-thin chocolate chip cookies– buttery, crisp, and a great way to round out the meal.
Interested in any of the dishes featured above? Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment below and I can definitely hunt down the details (and possibly share some secret ingredients) of your coveted dish!