I am cooking Thanksgiving dinner next Thursday!
People are coming to my little bungalow.
I am nervous.
This is my first time cooking Thanksgiving dinner.
Did I mention I’m nervous?
15 dinner guests are expected.
12 pounds* – the weight of the turkey I purchased today.
7 guests are accustomed to eating traditional Korean foods most of the time.
5 out-of-towners will be staying for the weekend.
4 guests are hungry teenagers.
2 are children.
1 is my maternal grandmother.
1 guest bedroom is available in our house.
1 little cook is wanting to impress them all.
-Prepare as much as possible ahead of time to avoid stressing out, and to enjoy the day.
-Incorporate organic foods into the menu without breaking the bank.
-Bake whole wheat rolls that even white-bread-only lovers will enjoy.
-Impress my grandmother, the family matriarch** on my Korean side, with my cooking and hospitality, so as to feel like a real grownup.
-Have Korean aunt and mother bring/prepare the Korean dishes so that all cultures are honored.
-Provide a comfortable, homey atmosphere that disguises all the projects left to be done on this old house.
-Add some God-focused activities into the mix.
(American fare–Korean food to be brought by far better cooks than I!)
Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Sweet Potato Casserole
Whole Grain Rolls
Creamy Green Beans
Chocolate Harvest Cake
Simple, traditional, elegant. I wish I was eating it now!
What are your Thanksgiving plans?
*I purchased a conservatively sized turkey because there will be lots and lots of side dishes, and we want to avoid turkey leftovers for decades. I’m the only one in my extended family gutsy enough to buy a smaller turkey than typically suggested!
*If you’re Asian, you might understand how important this is.
ETA: Here is the cake recipe, by popular request!
- ONE-BOWL CAKE:
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 cup water
- ⅔ cup cooking oil
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- PUMPKIN CREAM FILLING:
- 1 8-oz. pkg cream cheese, softened
- ⅓ cup canned pumpkin
- ¼ cup sugar
- ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
- CHOCOLATE GLAZE:
- * ½ cup whipping cream
- * 4 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped
- CAKE TOPPERS:
- * Seedless red grapes, whole blackberries or raspberries, toasted hazelnuts, or shredded orange peel
- PREPARE OVEN AND PANS: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour two 9 x 1-1/2-inch round baking pans; set aside.
- COMBINE INGREDIENTS: In an extra-large bowl combine buttermilk, water, oil, sugar, eggs, baking soda, and salt. Using a large wire whisk, whisk until well combined. Add flour and cocoa powder; whisk vigorously until smooth. Divide batter between prepared pans.
- DO THE TOUCH TEST: Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until top springs back when lightly touched in center. Cool in pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pans and cool completely.
- PREPARE PUMPKIN CREAM FILLING: In a medium bowl whisk together cream cheese, pumpkin, sugar, and cinnamon until thickened. Place one cake layer on plate. Spread filling over top. Top with second cake layer.
- MAKE CHOCOLATE GLAZE: In a saucepan bring whipping cream just to boiling over medium-high heat. Remove from heat. Add chocolate (do not stir). Let stand 5 minutes. Stir until smooth. Cool 15 minutes or until slightly thickened. Pour over cake, allowing glaze to drip down sides. Chill until set, about 30 minutes. Top with desired toppers.