Thanksgiving this year started out just like any Thanksgiving does.

With a video conference between the females of the household (plus those under 3) deciding the menu. We’ve done this for years now–probably ten–but I’ve got the last 6 documented (2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016). It used to be that everyone came to the table with their picks, ready to have a healthy debate, but it turns out that now I just do all the leg work and my mother and sister make the final selections. I partially accept this responsibility and partially feel like I’ve been tricked. Regardless, it seems to work.

Thanksgiving 2017 | Things I Made Today

We planned the menu the week prior and when we arrived at my parents house Tuesday night, the first thing my mother said to me was, “The dishwasher is broken.” That did not deter us from making a mess and enlisting the help of all others to clean it up. Turns out that even a broken dishwasher makes for a great drying rack in desperate times, and I just kept telling everyone that at least the oven wasn’t what broke.

Thanksgiving 2017 | Things I Made Today

For those of you new to the Volvovski Thanksgiving traditions, it’s worth noting that we have a rule: no dish—except for the turkey—can be repeated year to year. We say that and yet we consistently break this rule—always with the mashed potatoes and this year with a few other recipes, but I still like to pretend that we’re unique in that manner.

Thanksgiving 2017 | Things I Made Today

Before diving into this year’s menu in great detail, I should also mention that our crazy Thanksgiving tradition was featured on Madison Magazine. They may have played up the Russian angle a bit more than is fair, but the rest of the story is accurate and Theo is totally going to regret this all when he’s a bit older. Now onto dinner:


The signature drink of this Thanksgiving was the Gold Rush, which has become the drink I beg Jason to make me every weekend. It’s simple and perfect: bourbon, honey, and lemons. (Rating 5/5).

Thanksgiving 2017 | Things I Made Today


We went heavy on the salads this year. We started the first course with a Brussels Sprout, Apple, and Pomegranate Salad which was an excellent way to incorporate Brussels sprouts into the menu (rating: 4/5). 

Thanksgiving 2017 | Things I Made Today

We subbed green beans in for dragon beans in this Green Bean, Fennel, and Feta salad which works great for a large dinner because it can sit for a long time and only get better (rating: 4/5). And finally, we chose to throw this Charred Radicchio Salad into the mix, just to add something with a different color to the palate (rating: 5/5).

Thanksgiving 2017 | Things I Made Today


We tried to convince my mother to do a dry brine this year, but we failed. She kept the traditional wet brine and I have to say, I was not disappointed. This may have been the juiciest turkey we’ve had to date yet. There is no specific recipe and I don’t claim to know my mother’s secrets. (Rating: 5/5).

Thanksgiving 2017 | Things I Made Today

Cranberry Sauce

For the cranberry sauce this year, we decided to go basic (cooked down cranberries with sugar and oranges—no recipe) and totally opposite with this Cranberry Relish recipe. There was a bit of controversy on this one, but I personally loved it. Would do it again. (Rating: 5/5).


We’ve always been bold with our stuffing choices—there was a year where I believe the stuffing called for a half cup of sriracha—but this year we decided to keep it a bit more traditional. We went with my Brussels sprout, Bacon, and Cranberry Stuffing. Normally, I would give this a perfect rating, but it dried out a bit more than I wanted it to. So this year, leveling it down one notch. (Rating: 4/5)

Thanksgiving 2017 | Things I Made Today


Our tried and true recipe, Mascarpone Mashed Potatoes with Caramelized Leeks, making it’s appearance for at least the 7th year. I’m going to call it though—I think this is the last year we let this one be a repeat. Not because it’s not wonderful but because at some point you need to move on. (Rating: 4/5)

Thanksgiving 2017 | Things I Made Today


We went in two very different direction with the supporting vegetables this year. First off, a creamy delicious Cauliflower Gratin that I absolutely adore but can only eat a tiny portion of (rating: 5/5). And to balance things out from creamy and cheesy, we went with a Winter Squash Agrodolce which had a nice heat to it. I wanted to love this one, but it missed the bar for me just slightly. (Rating: 3/5)

Thanksgiving 2017 | Things I Made Today


Theo had requested a classic pumpkin pie, so I obliged. I learned a bit from the technique described in this recipe, and totally nailed the custard (rating: 5/5). 

Thanksgiving 2017 | Things I Made Today

And even though we’re not supposed to repeat recipes, this cranberry lime pie made the cut again. The color, the texture, the flavor. It’s unbelievable (rating: 5/5).

Thanksgiving 2017 | Things I Made Today

If it wasn’t for the vast quantity of food consumed, I could live this day everyday. Cooking, baking, stressing and then sitting around and realizing we’ve got it pretty good. Yeah, I love this holiday.


Happy thanksgiving to you and yours 🍁

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These winter CSA deliveries have me all sorts of excited.

This one in particular basically screams “make kimchi” to me. And I’m envisioning that everything that doesn’t go into the kimchi will make it’s way to Chicago with me to become Thanksgiving dinner. That’s right, it’s the week before Thanksgiving, the greatest holiday of all time, where my mother, sister, and I get to cook for two days straight and keep our anxiety levels around everything turning out well just the tiniest bit below crazy. This year’s signature cocktail will be the Gold Rush, and that should keep everything pleasant.

CSA Series {Week 22} | Things I Made Today

In case you want ideas other than just kimchi and Thanksgiving, here’s all the things you can do with this week’s basket: read the rest »

A few weeks ago, I texted my friend Whitney, “We should go somewhere.”

Last Thursday we were on a plane to Charleston, SC with literally nothing planned other than an Airbnb to stay in and a Google Map with about 100 restaurants pinned. It was bound to be a perfect trip.

Charred Radicchio with Yogurt Sauce | Things I Made Today read the rest »