We meant to go to Florida for Thanksgiving this year but stuff came up. Had to go to Savannah on business last weekend and then some paperwork needed to be dealt with here and then… I don’t know, four days in a car with two dogs to spend three days in Apalachicola didn’t seem like the best of deals. We will take them for three weeks over Christmas instead.
Anyway, the upshot was that we were here in Bloomington without plans. I got busy figuring out a last minute menu and managed to luck into a Red Bourbon turkey from Matt and Mandy at Schacht Fleece Farm (thanks, Sarah, for letting me have one of yours!) By the time a friend realized we would be here and invited us for dinner, I had amassed too much food to cook, so we decided to have dinner on our own.
Well, we cooked a feast, of course. I am constitutionally incapable of cooking only enough food; it is always too much. And it had been a while since I cooked holiday fare and I was itching to make the old favorites, and experiment with a few new ideas. So, anyway, I got cooking early this morning and kept on going and going….
But here’s the weird thing. Maybe I just have an eerie relationship with past and present right now due to finally having had the time this last week to read the final Harry Potter book (seems like the dead don’t really stay dead very well in the wizarding world) but all day my mind has been inhabited with the ghosts of Thanksgivings past. It’s been a long while since this day hasn’t been so full of making new memories that I had time to slow down and enjoy the old ones.
And my, but we’ve had some marvelous Thanksgivings. Thanksgivings with family – parents and kids and grandkids -- and some with good, good old friends. Many in this old house, a couple in Florida, even some in other countries. As I cooked though the morning, and as we got the food on the table (and ate til we could hardly breathe), Jer and I reminisced and laughed and remembered. It may have been just the two of us this year, but the table was crowded and we were content.
Still had way too much food, though. Too bad ghosts can’t eat!
And here’s the dinner report:
The heritage turkey was extraordinary! Small, for just us two, but perfect. We used a Weber Grill recipe, of all things – brined it overnight in apple juice, salt, and herbs. Roasted it on the grill, breast down in broth for an hour then right side up for an hour. Kept the white meat amazingly juicy and the broth made the best gravy I have ever had in my life – rich and appley (I added some cider), with a slight hint of smokiness from the applewood on the grill. Sensational.
And all the sides were delish too. Roasted root veg (carrots, parsnips and rutabaga) with a splash of sherry vinegar; roasted Brussels sprouts with applewood smoked bacon and an apple cider glaze; candied sweets; mashed potatoes; bread dressing; cranberry chutney; and Gujerati-style green beans with garlic and black mustard seed. Dessert? You’re kidding, right?
Oh, yeah, and Jer baked a loaf of bread from this recipe in Wednesday's NYT. Pretty amazing -- it has the no-knead loaf beat all to hell for convenience, and it tastes great too. Thanks to Kelley at the Almost Sustainable Kitchen for the heads up on it.