I love Thanksgiving. It’s pretty much the only holiday I really, truly love. There’s no religious aspect, there’s no gift-giving, no weird commercialization. Just food, friends, family, and fun.  We started hosting Thanksgiving back in 2008 when we were in graduate school. Thanksgiving fell right before finals for us so basically none of us were able to leave the city  to go home since we didn’t really get any time off from classes. That first year we hosted 7 friends and a new tradition was born.  In 2009, we added a few more people as well as a new element: an Iron-Chef-like “secret ingredient” that everyone had to try to incorporate into their contribution. That year’s bacon-Thanksgiving was a smashing success, even if we all felt like we were actually reducing our life-spans with all the bacon consumed that day. It. Was. Awesome.  2010 took us to DC and gave us beer-Thanksgiving. If you haven’t tried brining your turkey in Guinness you’re truly missing out. And in 2011, we hosted 12 people in our tiny apartment for maple-Thanksgiving.

This year, in honor of Mexico we hosted chile-Thanksgiving. My 2 best friends from DC flew in for the holiday and my brother rode down on his motorcycle from Chicago to be here. We ended up with 15 guests on the list, an impressive number considering a week prior to the holiday we only had dishware and chairs for 8.  I bought an extra set of dishes to bring our count up to 12 and then borrowed 3 place-settings from a friend. We were able to get banquet tables and some folding chairs from GSO and I somehow managed to find 2 matching table cloths that weren’t horrendously hideous.

Then the cooking started. My friends from DC were invaluable in the days before the holiday; they cooked, cleaned, and helped us figure out how to fit 14 feet of banquet table into our not-much-larger living/dining room area. It required some creative maneuvering of furniture, but we made it work and I think it worked well. All my friends here are awesome cooks, so we ended up with some pretty spectacular food (if I might say so myself):

Ancho chile-chocolate rubbed turkey
Apple-cider gravy
Traditional Scottish skirlie (using my family recipe)
Yeast rolls brushed with chipotle and sea salt)
Crispy cauliflower with capers and chipotle peppers
2 types of equally amazing sweet potatoes
Cheddar-jalapeño mashed potatoes
Onions stuffed with apple and cornbread stuffing
Green bean casserole
Green-chile mac-n-cheese
Patatas bravas with garlic cream and spicy tomato dipping sauce
Jalapeño corn spoonbread
Chipotle-cranberry sauce
Spicy cranberry salsa with pepinos and green onions
Brussels sprouts slaw with chile spiced pecans
Poblano peppers stuffed with chorizo, rice, and cheese

And that was just dinner.

For dessert we had:
Traditional apple & pumpkin pies
French apple tart with sea-salt caramel
Pumpkin mousse pie
Vanilla bourbon ice cream with ancho-pumpkin swirl
Orange-ancho flan
Homemade Irish cream

I didn’t take a ton of pictures, but here are a few that I did manage to get: