Hi, this is Hayley Snow, the food critic from Lucy Burdette's Key West mysteries. One of my favorite writers, Deborah Crombie, asked me to talk about Thanksgiving in Paradise--that's Key West for those of you who don't know me.
To be completely honest, sometimes I do miss the way we used to celebrate the holiday in New Jersey
--it was all about tradition. And we rarely broke from it. But I can remember one year when Mom felt sorry for a family who'd recently moved to the neighborhood from South Carolina. They knew no one and so they invited us. My father and grandmother and I grumbled like mad, but Mom held firm and we carted our side dishes and pies and relish trays up the street to their house. Oh horror of horrors, there were no mashed potatoes on the menu--only white rice!Well, Thanksgiving doesn't have to be traditional in Paradise. If you're unhappy about your meal or sad about your family, heck, you can ride your bike to the beach and have a picnic. Or pop down to Louie's Backyard for a cocktail on the deck overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. And if you don't feel like cooking at all while in Paradise, plenty of local restaurants will do the work for you.
But we're definitely cooking at Miss Gloria's houseboat. Eric and Bill will be there, and Miss Gloria of course, and Danielle and Wally. Even Officer Torrence said he might stop by. And when we're done eating, I'll take some leftovers to the guys at Mallory Square. Because what good is a fabulous spread if you don't share it?
Here's what's on our menu: Guacamole, pimento cheese, and bloody Marys to start, turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes and turnips, brussel sprouts sautéed with shallots and bacon, pumpkin pie, and cranberry sauce out of a can--because that's the only kind Miss Gloria will eat. Oh, and two kinds of chocolate...
When my guests first arrive, I like to ply them with the best ever bloody Mary. For hors d'oeuvres, I've decided on pimento cheese dip and guacamole.
And to go with the turkey:Pumpkins stuffed with cornbread, leeks, cheese, and bacon
For dessert, I love to bake, but it's awfully tempting to order pies from the Old Town Bakery.
Then I'll save my baking for two chocolate treats, Scarlet O'Hara Cupcakes and a really easy chocolate cake that came directly from my grandmother's recipe box.
And finally, here's what I'll do with any leftover turkey.