For 4 or 5 years (Karin and I aren't sure) we have done a pre-Thanksgiving dinner. It's a way to get everyone together for a good meal, good company, and good wine. It's also nice to have a holiday meal with people we love before going off to spend time with others we love that are out of town.
This year in particular was very special for us, not just because of the amount of fun everyone had, but also because our friends here played a large part in our decision making process that led us back to San Diego.
I also need to thank everyone who helped make all of this work - Karin doing all of the shopping and helping clean, Abram for helping cook and clean up afterwards, Ron for helping clean, and Brent for being the "Mom" during dinner. (And if I forgot anyone, thanks to you as well.)Brined Turkey - We have done this recipe up every year we've held the dinner, and have had a great bird every time. This year it was a tad drier than normal as I left it in the oven a bit longer than I should have, but still a great bird.
Bourbon Mashed Sweet Potatoes (towards the bottom on the link) - Easily the hit of the dinner. I would recommend doing these up earlier and re-heating to give some of the alcohol a chance to burn off.
Wild Mushroom Stuffing - Still the only stuffing I'll eat and enjoy that wasn't actually in the bird.
Fresh Cranberry Compote - Came out very well, and even this person who doesn't like cranberries liked this dish.
Green Beans and Almonds - This was originally supposed to be my father's green beans done up in bacon. Unfortunately, by the time we got around to the green beans, I really didn't have time to start rendering bacon. So I did the almonds up in the butter, and then threw in the green beans. Add plenty of salt and pepper, and I wound up with some of the best beans we've served up.
(Edit) I forgot to list Mashed Potatoes - The secret is to season first, then start mashing, so you mash the seasoning right into the potatoes. Then add butter and half-n-half.