First I should say that I am not a novice cook. However, I'm no iron chef either, and there is no way I could participate on that show. I'd be stumped by some of the ingredients on Chopped, but I think I could make do with the ingredients and possibly get out of the App round :).
I have had a class working in a commercial kitchen as part of being in the Hospitality program at Virginia Tech. However, sadly the class that introduced me to a more refined style of cooking, further branching me from my previous generic approach, is the only course that we have that involves working in a kitchen at the University.
I can make a great Shrimp and Asparagus Rissotto, Chateau Briand, Creme Brulee, Panna Cotta, chicken stocks, and things like that. I know what Creme Fraiche is haha (When I say that to my friends and family, they're in awe of what it is lol). So I would say I definitely have experience cooking and a good knowledge of the kitchen.
I seriously lack in the seafood area, and recipes with Scallops, Crab, Salmon, Mussels, Clams, Tuna, etc I tend to shy away from because I don't live in an area that has great seafood. And what we have is quite expensive at the local Kroger, especially for the fact that I don't know the best ways to cook the aforementioned ingredients, and I live alone, but I do cook for friends once a week or so. Also, I'm not as experienced with lamb, veal or duck, and I honestly do not know if I like veal or duck. Lamb is a bit fatty, or at least in the experiences that I have eaten it, which is probably one of the top reasons I haven't tried to cook it on my own.
Anyway, for thanksgiving dinner I have informed that family that I wish to cook a majority or it.
I am planning to brine a turkey and stuff it with aeromatics much like Alton Brown. Also I am going to cook a beef tenderlion in the "salt dough" that Alton cooked. Did I mention I am a HUGE Alton Brown fan haha. However even with the direction, I will add things that I prefer in the form of herbs and spices that I prefer.
I'm going to allow my mom to cook the cornbread stuffing because it is amazing as it is, though I am going to have her use my home made chicken stock rather than the box kind that she usually would use. I'm thinking about some type of green-bean casserole and some baked creamy mac n chees for some of the kids that love it. Also, we normally have mashed potatoes, but I'm thinking of a some type of potato gratin in addition.
For dessert, I I am going to make a Cheesecake with a raspberry or blueberry coulis . Also we'll have a Pecan Pie, and Creme Brulee.
Any Ideas on something to add, something that is generally favorable and has that "wow" factor response from your family. Luckily I don't have to pay for the stuff (having to pay here at school majorly cramps my style in getting much of what I really want :(....and since the fam will be paying I can get whatever I want.
I'm glad I finally found a "food" message board that is active. I look forward to all the advice and knowledge that I will gain as a part of the community here.