Bizarre Summer Thanksgiving Bleg

Tod Kelly

Tod is a writer from the Pacific Northwest. He is also serves as Executive Producer and host of both the 7 Deadly Sins Show at Portland's historic Mission Theatre and 7DS: Pants On Fire! at the White Eagle Hotel & Saloon. He is  a regular inactive for Marie Claire International and the Daily Beast, and is currently writing a book on the sudden rise of exorcisms in the United States. Follow him on Twitter.

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20 Responses

  1. zic says:

    Tod, do you have some sort of a domed grill (I have a large-dome Webber) or firepit that you could roast the turkey on? You can do it starting with good briquettes (I like Kingsford) and then hardwood, apple is particularly nice to a good bed of coals on one side; drip pan on the other. Keep adding small pieces of wood (soaked in water is good) to keep the bed alive, and turn the bird every 20. min. or so. Stuff with aromatics; fresh lemon thyme, a clove or two, a cinnamon stick, all sorts of onion and celery in various forms, carrots, whatever’s bursting with slow-cooking smell.

    Downside is no gravy. But you don’t really need gravy if you make a nice pesto of herbs and spices, perhaps some nuts, some good oil. I’ve been meaning to try making pestos with XV coconut oil this summer. Maybe some ginger, thai basil, some mango swirled in.

    For the potatoes, I’d keep it simple and roll new potatoes (a mixture, fingerlings, red, purple, yellow, whatever’s amazing), wash them, a light coating of olive oil, salt, and pepper; just until the skin forms the beginnings of a leathery crust. I think many people undercook them. I’d also consider roasting cauliflower, fennel, or young squash, each in it’s own dish or combined. Cauliflower is superb this way.

    Salad: Keep it simple and light and refreshing. A bowl beautiful mixed, highly-varied greens, perhaps some fresh fruit cut small and used sparingly (cherries), some nuts or seeds (slivered almonds, gently toasted) or a cooked grain (quinoa cooked in coconut milk) and a light dressing.

    appetizer: nuts, fruit, fresh beverages (lemon aid, ice tea, orange juice, mango juice) made freshly; an eye toward something that mixes nicely with alcohol;

    A bright lemon sorbet — just a few mouths full — to cleanse the palette after the meal and before the sweets.Report

    • zic in reply to zic says:

      on the fresh beverages — tiny smoothies might be nice, made of fruit and ice and just enough water or juice to drink.Report

    • Tod Kelly in reply to zic says:

      I have a Big Green Egg, but at this point I think I will be doing the ham on the egg. Which is just as well, since I tend to think that some kind of gravy needs to happen for a Thanksgiving meal.

      Although I am considering using some kind of mole rather than gravy….Report

  2. Kazzy says:

    Can you pull the pork and serve it with slaw? I’ve got the world’s best mayo*-free slaw recipe.

    For an appetizer, what about homemade potato chips with a fruit-forward salsa? That takes care of your potato dish.

    A great salad this time of year is baby spinach, tomatoes, and red onion with a raspberry vinaigrette.

    * The condiment, not my son… Though technically he is not an ingredient either.Report

  3. James Hanley says:

    Is it too obvious to make your potato dish a potato salad? That’s pretty summery, smacking of picnics and all.

    Vegetables…asparagus? Or a mix of carrots, baby corn and snap peas? That always seems very fresh and light to me.

    Maybe a cold pasta salad? Not necessarily to replace a green salad, but in addition.

    “Dinner at the Home of Some Guy You’ve Never Met” tends to focus-group surprisingly poorly.
    Except among thieves, of course.Report

    • Dinner at Casa de Kelly, however, is something that I have had the distinct pleasure of experiencing.

      For a summer appetizer, I think chilled grilled asparagus wrapped in prosciutto approaches the “can’t be beat” tier. Deviled eggs — put some saffron and cumin in there and you’ve got yourself a nice twist on the classic.

      As for the coolers, the juice goes great with gin, it goes great with tequila (that’s how my wife likes it), and it does fine by itself as a virgin drink for the teetotalers, designated drivers, and young-uns. The recipe I gave yielded two liters.Report

  4. Damon says:

    Rifting on other’s inputs…

    If it’s not too early, get some peaches and combine it with huckleberries. Pie or cobbler, either way. ZOMG!

    Chilled asparagus with a asian mustard sauce. Basically Coleman’s dried mustard with soy, mirin, few other things. I poach the asparagus, then refridgerate. Serve ice cold with the mustard dipping sauce. Could also grill the asparagus. Don’t over cook or they will be “floppy”.

    Deviled eggs, as burt suggested, but kick it up a notch. Serve with these variations: smoked salmon and or crab on top of the eggs. Had this at a resturant in the area–it rocked.

    Potatoes: loaded potato skins or slice potatoes and combine with onions, oil, spices, wrap in foil and grill. Can do individual size or larger. Also, I’m a big fan of mashed potatoes with asiago cheese.

    Grilled veggies–you can’t go wrong with that.

    Couscous salad. Your choice of mean and veggie in it. I prefer it with grilled or sauted veggies-red/yellow/green peppers, tomatoes, squash/zuchinni, mushrooms. Combine, add a pat of butter and some good olive oil, salt, pepper, oregano, and some salty cheese. Bonus: you can serve it cold and it tastes better if you allow the flavor to marry a bit.Report

    • Kazzy in reply to Damon says:

      The best version of deviled eggs I ever had replaced the yolks with steak tartar. Beef on top of turkey and ham might be heavy, but I imagine a tuna tartare would work similarly well.Report

  5. LeeEsq says:

    I’m with James, the potato dish should be a potato salad. The turkey and ham are going to be very heavy for the summer so the rest of the dishes should be on the lighter side. Maybe you can make a Mediterranean style salad dressed simply with olive oil and vinegar for the salad. The appetizer should be a cold dish like a chilled soup.Report

  6. James Hanley says:

    Three more suggestions:

    1. cucumber salad.
    Slice your cucumbers, add some green onions, add a little vinegar, a little sugar, and a dollop of mayo (to taste–some people’s taste is none). A little salt and pepper. Serve cold. This is Johanna’s Dutch summer thing.

    2. Chilled shrimp and cucumber soup (from The Silver Palate cookbook): 4-6 portions
    2 cucumbers, 1/4 cup red wine vinegar, tablespoon sugar, teaspoon salt, 1lb raw salad shrimp, 2 tablespoons sweet butter, 1/4 cup dry white vermouth, salt and pepper to taste, 1 and a half cups chilled buttermilk, 3/4 cup chopped fresh dill.
    -toss chopped cukes with vinegar, sugar and teaspoon of salt, let stand for 30 minutes.
    -cook peeled, deveined, and rinsed shrimp in the butter, remove and set aside.
    -add vermouth to the skillet you cooked the shrimp in, and reduce it to a few spoonfuls.
    -drain cukes, and process briefly in a food processor, then add buttermilk and process until smooth.
    -add dill to taste, and process for about one more second.
    -add shrimp, refrigerate, serve chilled in chilled bowls with more dill as a garnish

    3. Apple Walnut Salad (also from Silver Palate): 4-6 portions
    This is actually intended as an autumn salad, and is ideal for a fall picnic, but Johanna suggested it and because it works for summer but has that touch of autumn, I think it would be perfect ad your salad.
    2 granny smiths, chilled
    2 red delicious, chilled (or choose your own variants–I prefer Braeburns, since Reds are tasteless, but you do need Granny Smiths or something like for the tartness)
    1/2 cup sherry vinegar
    1 cup chopped celery
    3 scallions, cut small
    1/4 cup walnuts
    4-5 tablespoons walnut oil
    Chop and mix (don’t peel the apples) and serve immediately.Report

  7. Saul Degraw says:

    1. Pimm’s cocktails

    2. How about Collards?

    3. Grilled yams or sweet potato fries.Report

  8. Saul Degraw says:

    A Japanese slawReport

  9. Catherine310 says:

    Caprese. It’s summer. Fresh tomatoes from the garden, some good burrata or mozzarella, and basil. Done.Report

  10. Damon says:


  11. James Hanley says:

    You are going to share the final menu with us, yes?Report