Friday, November 28, 2008

T-Day Report

True to form, our plans changed midstream yesterday. Instead of simply roasting our turkey, Mike suggested smoking it. Great idea! The only downside was no roasting pan drippings, so the gravy was kinda weak. I bolstered it with sage, parsley, and lots of butter. The turkey was quite good, though. Nicely done, Mike!

The sweet potatoes were fantastic. I love plain roasted sweet potatoes and don't feel they need a lot of dressing up, but the ginger, touch of maple syrup, and coconut milk were nice additions. I might try molasses next time. I liked the stuffing recipe overall, but it didn't call for any moistening or binding ingredients, like broth or egg, that I am accustomed to using. I had some leftover chicken gravy, so I added that and a couple eggs. Who likes dry, crumbly stuffing?

The biggest disappointment was the green beans. I was totally winging it as the recipe I was trying to replicate is at my mom's house in Maryland and my mom is at her Winter Estate in Florida (this would be a double-wide in a trailer park full of snowbirds, lest you get the mistaken impression that their winter home is a Palm Beach McMansion), so no access to said recipe and I could not find one like it on ye ol' Internet. Plus, the kids were anxious to get out of the house just as I was getting the beans ready, so I totally slopped it together. Literally, I put frozen green beans, half a chopped onion, and homemade sour cream in a 9" x 9" baking dish, tossed it all together, topped with grated cheddar cheese, and put it in the oven with the stuffing and sweet potatoes. Mike, smart guy that he is, said that he liked them. And they were not bad, just too raw on the onions and I should've added some bread crumbs on top for texture. Oh well.

We did go on a nice walk, stopping at our neighbors to wish them Happy Thanksgiving. The kids and I had done leaf rubbings earlier in the day and wrote messages of thanks on them to people on our street. We taped them to the doors of people who were not home and visited briefly with everyone who was home. We returned to a nearly-finished dinner and set the table with the silverware my mother-in-law gave us a couple years ago that we almost never use, plus these tiny "escarglow" candles made with beeswax in snail shells that I picked up at Gossamer, and poured a sparkling riesling from our favorite German winery.

The best part of our meal, which I forgot until I was halfway through my plate, was the cranberry sauce. I didn't get the apple cider for the recipe I had planned to make, so I peeled and chopped two Fuji apples instead. I also added the flesh of the orange as well as the zest. And I spiced it slightly differently, using a dash of cardamom, cinnamom, cloves, and ginger. I accidentally managed to replicate my Granny's cranberry sauce! There's nothing like the taste of food that takes you back in time, is there? That sauce transported me across 3000 miles and 30 years, directly to the steamy warmth of my Pennsylvania Dutch grandmother's kitchen. Truly, it was just magical. There's a whole 'nother pint of it in the fridge and I plan to slather it all over my turkey and cream cheese sandwich today.

Lastly, the marbled pumpkin cheesecake didn't marble as well as I would have liked, mostly due to the lack of contrast between the pumpkin flavored cream cheese and the not flavored, but OMG it was really tasty! I added crystallized ginger to the pumpkin-flavored portion, but I don't think it improved the cake overall. The gingersnaps were quite good fact, we had real problem keeping our fingers out of the dough while it cooled to a slice-able temperature before I baked them. I'm not usually a cookie dough fan, but that gingersnap dough was yum! Definitely a keeper recipe and Mike tells me his mom loves ' I have a new food gift idea in mind, too.

After dinner and dessert, I played Uno with the kids while Mike washed dishes. Luc had terrific beginners luck, winning more round than Annabel or me. It was really nice to be home for T-Day this year...there were some stressful moments, like when I was about to start making the cheesecake and realized the beater for my mixer was missing (and still is), but overall, it was a low-stress, enjoyable day of wondrous aromas, terrific tastes, and family fun. Annabel and I went to bed early, like 8:15, and as she tucked in with me, she said to me, "This was a great day, Mommy." Who cares about not-quite-perfect green beans and missing beaters!

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