squidbirch logo no tagline.png

Squid & Birch is a lettering and design shop offering prints, cards, and flair for fans of all things nerdy and cheeky.

Thanksgiving Menu

Thanksgiving Menu

Thanksgiving Menu

Premeal Snacking

  • Cheese Board with Bucheron and Smoked Gouda Cheeses, Grainy Crackers, Grapes, Olives, Apples & Cornichons

The Main Event

  • Roasted Dry-Brined Turkey

Cognac & Onion Turkey Gravy

  • Baked Mashed Golden Potatoes

Roasted Garlic, Cream Cheese, Sour Cream, Sage & Thyme

  • Johnson Family Dressing

Porcini-Thyme Pork Sausage & Peasant Bread

  • Tray-Roasted Vegetables

Carrots, Parsnips, Brussels Sprouts & Cipollini Onions with Spiced Vinaigrette, Parsley & Chives

  • Sweet and Savory Cranberry Conserva


  • Rustic Apple Pie

Free-Form Pecan Crust & Vanilla Ice Cream

Following a weekend planning session, we have finalized our Thanksgiving Menu for this year's meal!  As I mentioned in my last post, we are a small group and we're keeping it simple this time around.  I'm a believer in simple dinner party menus in general, as they allow the hosts to have fun and join in their own party.

The menu is detailed above and I've included below some links to the recipes that are inspiring some of those we're making:

  • Turkey: We're using a combination of this dry brine and this cooking method.
  • Gravy: I adore this recipe, though I'll be using homemade turkey stock.
  • Veg: If you've never tried this salad from Jamie Oliver, what are you waiting for?  We'll be blanching and flavoring our vegetables before roasting the way he does his carrots, using more traditional Thanksgiving spices.
  • Cranberry Sauce: I usually wouldn't use an important event for testing a new recipe, but it seems like we can't go wrong with this one.
  • Dessert: I'll be making a similar crust to the one I used for this tart, including ground, toasted pecans.

Now, let me attempt to predict some of the questions you might have:  

  • Why aren't we having bread or rolls?  While I enjoy making bread and I make a mean dinner roll, Mom and I both feel like we're having plenty of heavy, starchy foods already.  With crackers ahead of time, potatoes and dressing with the meal, and pie afterward, we simply don't need it.
  • What, no salad?  Our vegetable dish will be full of flavors and textures and will totally satisfy our veggie cravings.  
  • Only one kind of pie?  I know, this one seems egregious.  But whenever we make several kinds, the leftovers never get eaten before they go soggy and everyone loses interest.  So we're settling on one, supremely delicious one that everyone in attendance enjoys and we'll make other favorites throughout the season.

Last week I talked about the importance of planning your workload when attempting to execute a stress-free holiday.  So, without further ado, here's the prep list I've composed so you can see how I plan to accomplish the event:

Thanksgiving Prep List



  • Make and freeze pie crust



  • Make cranberry conserva


Grocery Shop


Shop for Specialty Items

  • Pick up turkey and sausage from Local Pig
  • Visit Better Cheddar for cheese
  • Pick out wines (Mom)


  • Dice bread for dressing and set out to dry overnight.
  • Move pie crust from freezer to fridge.
  • Make turkey stock from neck bone and turn it into gravy.



  • Steam & mash potatoes.  Mix in flavorings and transfer to a casserole dish for baking.
  • Blanch & flavor vegetables.  Spread on a baking sheet and wrap.
  • Make dressing and store in a casserole dish for baking.
  • Make pie filling and bake pie.
  • Make spiced butter and spread on turkey.



  • Pull all dishes out to come to room temp.
  • Assemble cheese board.
  • (Family runs in 5K Turkey Trot; pregnant lady walks.)


  • Roast Turkey
  • While turkey rests, transfer dressing, potatoes, and veg to oven.


Place Cards

Place Cards

Let's Talk Turkey :: Planning Thanksgiving

Let's Talk Turkey :: Planning Thanksgiving