We began staring in awe at the frosted clear case full of sweet delights, fresh-made salads and snacks. Mom opted for a freshly-made egg salad on wheat with a mixed field greens salad with pomegranate. My aunt chose deli ham on pretzel bread and soup of the day: Niman Ranch pork chili. I was craving a bit of spice- the spicybird sandwich with chewy whole grain, wood grilled chicken, roasted tomato and an avocado spread was the natural choice.
After our delectable sandwiches, my mom and aunt split an individual pumpkin pie with fresh whipped cream- tender crust and not too sweet. I was eyeing the Parisian macaroons all afternoon- between vanilla pumpkin and pistachio blackberry, I went for the pistachio macaroon with blackberry buttercream- delish.
After an eventful day, I hit the hay early with visions of Thanksgiving delights (and a full day of cooking) lurking in my head. I awoke to begin the feast! First things first- getting our herb and garlic marinated turkey in the oven. After our valiant main course was roasting away, I created a flavorful, beautiful and "easy as pie" appetizer to prepare:
After creating such a rich dish, I created my second dish with an attempt to impart flavors through cooking techniques and fresh ingredients with minimal fat:
Roasted Brussel Sprouts with a Balsamic Reduction and Pomegranate
For dessert, I took the easy route and no one suspected! After running tight on time, I decided on using puff pastry for my pastry dough instead of a homemade, flaky tart crust.
Asian Pear, Candied Ginger and Maple Tart
The flavor combinations in this tart were quite nice. I'm not a fan of overly sweet desserts so the combination of tart pears, spicy sweet crystallized ginger, syrupy maple and buttery puff pastry was intoxicating!
After packing the car with our finished dishes (don't forget Mr. Turkey!), we headed to my Aunt and Uncle's home for a lovely evening. Along with my contributions, our incredible Thanksgiving spread also included:
Soft White Rolls
Thanksgiving Turkey Melt with White Cheddar, Hot Pepper Jam, Cranberry, Red Onion and Carrots
Once back to the real world in Fort Worth, it was time for my culinary school final! Yes...final- a notion that was so surreal to me until I finally accomplished it! After our written final, my class trooped into the kitchen for challenging-timed technique drills including: knife drills, roux making, whipped cream, french onion soup, eggs benedict, 45 second no-spatula omelette, risotto and a poached chicken tarragon entree complete with a stark white sauce.