Thanksgiving Tabletop

(via a subtle revelry)

Thanksgiving jumped up in front of me a few days ago.  I can’t believe that it’s already the time of the year to give thanks, and I haven’t a clue about our plans!  It’s so unlike me.  Whatever we’ll do, I’m sure there’ll be a lot of food involved.  I love side dishes and desserts.  If it weren’t for gravy and cranberry sauce, I probably wouldn’t have turkey at all!  My favorite Thanksgiving table is simple and highlights the colors and textures of the food.  With so much food on the table, too much decor often just gets in the way!  Do you celebrate Thanksgiving?  What are your plans this year?

In the Oven: Apple Pie a la Mode

In the States, my family always buys our pies from the supermarket for Thanksgiving, but pies aren’t as easy to find here in Japan so when I came across an amazing apple pie recipe at Brown Eyed Baker, I had to try it!  It was my first time baking a pie from scratch, and although it didn’t turn out perfectly, it was mouth watering.. and that’s the point, right? :)

- Gotta practice to make a prettier dough -

Making dough wasn’t that bad!  I always bought the Betty Crocker Pie Crust in a box, but it’s 800 yen (about $9) here so I figured I’d try a fun, cost-saving experiment.

Making the filling was the BEST (well, second to tasting the finished product).  It filled my house with the smell of apples and cinnamon!! I wanted to gobble it up.

- Ready for the oven -

The pie flattened out despite the apple-domed center, and I think the apples were too juicy, which didn’t allow the bottom dough to harden well. Still, the pie tasted scrumptious, and there’s nothing like vanilla ice cream to correct every error!

For the filling, check out Brown Eyed Baker’s Classic Apple Pie.  I didn’t have vegetable shortening so I followed her How to Make a Perfect Pie Crust recipe for the dough.  Let me know how it goes!

“Thankful for Birthdays” Dinner Party

It’s mid-November!  Are you hustling to get your Thanksgiving menus prepared?  Most Japanese people are not knowledgeable of Thanksgiving culture or customs since it’s a very American holiday (remember the pilgrims and Native Americans?).  For me, it’s the start of the holiday season, and I am a big believer in the camaraderie and food that goes along with it!

- Easy “Give Thanks” banner made with materials around my house -

This past weekend, I wanted to test out some new recipes before the official Thanksgiving dinner, and it happened to coincide with our friend’s birthday so we made it into a dual celebration!  All of the pretty decor and styling courtesy of Little Projects in Style. See more amazing pictures of the night on her blog!  I give you our “Thankful for Birthdays” Dinner Party menu:

Truffle Mac & Cheese: adapted from Ina Garten
Sausage, Apple, & Cranberry Stuffing: adapted from Stacy M. Polcyn
Roasted Brussels Sprouts: adapted from Ina Garten
Lawry’s Inspired Creamed Corn: adapted from Lawry’s The Prime Rib
Rosemary, Lemon & Garlic Roasted Cornish Hens: adapted from Moonandback
Apple Pie a la Mode: adapted from Brown Eyed Baker
Strawberry Shortcake: purchased from Takano in Shinjuku

- Menu template courtesy of Martha Stewart -

- I love the colors of this stuffing before it’s mixed and cooked -

- Cornish Hens (Photograph courtesy of Little Projects in Style) -

- Our finished dinner table (Photograph courtesy of Little Projects in Style) -

It was my first time making most of these recipes.  Everything came out well although I would have liked to cook the stuffing a little longer and the hens a little less.  Timing is really important when you’re using a Japanese oven since it’s 1/8th the size of the ovens in the US.  Only one large dish will fit in the oven at a time so make sure to prioritize the cooking of the dishes beforehand and cook as much as you can using your stove top!

For dessert, I felt very inspired by Brown Eyed Baker so I made apple pie from scratch!  More about that endeavor tomorrow :)