November 30: flavorgasm
when eating food so good that you let out an involuntary moan, usually the first bite; also as an adjective – flavorgasmic
Thanksgiving turned out pretty well except for me running around like a chicken with its head cut off. That’s my general hostess MO. Hostessing is not my strong suit. Someone asks for coffee and I wander in and start it but then move on to something else and totally forget the coffee errand. Over and over. On the plus side, everyone had clean sheets. Also, people learn to fend for themselves or suffer periods of starvation.
The food was all pretty good, and Kathy and Mom cleaned up after me while I cooked and that was a GREAT help. I am not a good delegator in the kitchen, and even if I am it is a _very_ small, awkward kitchen (that I completely hate*) that does not lend itself to more than one person being in there at a time. At one point we had Kathy, Tony, Mom, and all three dogs, and me of course, in there. It was hairy, in more ways than one.
We had an interesting meal, nothing I’d ever done before except the turkey and I even did it a little differently. I can’t ever seem to cook the same thing twice, it’s just not in my nature. I like experimenting, even on guests.
There was a 14 lb brined turkey filled with aromatics (onion, apple, mandarin) and herbs from the front yard (sage, rosemary, tarragon) and cooked at 400 for a couple of hours instead of low and slow like I generally do. But I usually buy a 20+ pound turkey. This little one was sure a lot easier to handle. I dried it out (also as usual) but it tasted pretty good. More or less fit to eat. Recipe cadged from the SF Chronicle Best Way turkey.
Snow on the mountain green beans – crisp tender green beans with a little butter, lemon juice, and olive oil topped with blue cheese. These were exceedingly good. I will make them again. The recipe came from the Organic Valley website.
Cranberry ginger relish – FABULOUS – Ginger People candied ginger chunks, fresh raspberries, fresh cranberries and a little sugar. Wowza! I made it again after Thanksgiving because we plowed through all of the first batch so fast. This recipe was from eatingwell.com
Smashed roots – steamed celery root, rutabaga, and gold potatos with buttermilk and fresh chives. WAY better than it sounds, especially with Kathy’s pan drippings and giblet gravy on it. She makes really good gravy and I’m soooo happy she stepped up to the plate on that. Could have used that gravy on white bread or shoe leather and thought it was a delicious treat. Bonus: It also meant I could get other last minute things done.
Stuffing balls, quite good, found the recipe on the intarnets somewhere and can’t find it again. Dayem! It was a fairly standard stuffing with bread and sage and celery and onion and a little butter, but we formed it into balls and then put it in the turkey pan for the last half of the roasting time. Cool idea and it sliced up nicely for turkey sandwiches later. Dude!1!! turkey sandwiches with stuffing and that cranberry relish gave me multiple flavorgasms. Who knew I was multiple flavorgasmic?
Dessert was a homemade peach pie frozen earlier in the year, with peaches from the old peach tree (wonderful), and … I made a cheesecake. Pumpkin Praline Cheesecake with a gingersnap crust. It was okay for a first effort, I guess, but it reminded me how much I detest baking. Bleah. Too much work. A couple of days before I made an easy white trash pumpkin cake thing that proved to be very popular. It came out of our local paper from one of the PA’s at a local doctor’s office. I reprint it here for your aorta-slamming pleasure:
John McAvoy’s Pumpkin Surprise
•1 box yellow cake mix
•2 cups chopped walnuts (old man across the street supplied these, we cracked walnuts until our fingers hurt)
•1⁄2 pound (2 sticks) melted butter
•4 eggs, slightly beaten
•1 large (29-ounce) can pumpkin
•1 1⁄2 cups sugar
•1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk
•3 1⁄2 teaspoons pumpkin spice (or 2 teaspoons cinnamon, 1 teaspoon ginger and 1⁄2 teaspoon cloves)
Putting it together
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix and beat all ingredients except cake mix, walnuts and butter. Pour into 9- by 13-inch pan sprayed with Pam.
Sprinkle the cake mix and walnuts on top. Drizzle the butter over all.
Bake 60 to 75 minutes, or until knife comes out clean.
Serve either warm or cold, plain or with whipped topping.
Not much left in the way of leftovers. That’s probably a good thing.
Hope you all had a good Thanksgiving, also hope you didn’t consume as many calories as I did. I feel like a heart attack on a stick now.
* Seriously, it has nice counters, a great sink, good enough appliances – but I still REALLY hate it. So small and just weird to work in.