Photoblogging Thanksgiving

::Wednesday::

Pick up Turkey and did the rest of our Shopping at Madison Market, come home and start filling up the fridge. Start prep work on Turkey, which gets tossed into a cooler of water and sea salt. That goes on the back porch until the following afternoon.

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Take dough I made the day before out of the fridge and start making pies, Apple and Chocolate Cream. Apple is my super secret recipe, the one thing I am unwilling to share the recipe for. Matt suggests an oatmeal crumble top, sounds good to me. Apples are from the Ballard Farmer’s market and I tried a whole wheat pastry flour for the crust this time. Not quite sold on the latter, as the dough was too crumbly and took 3 or 4 tries per pie to get into the pan without falling to pieces.

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Toss the Apple pie in the oven after the crust for the Chocolate is done, set a timer and run off to continue cleaning up the house. Decide to re-organize the piles of books and boxes in the office and move the closet organizer with all the backpacking gear down into the laundry room. Why? I don’t know. But I guess when you are on a roll…

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Come back to the kitchen, toss some extra Turkey parts into a pan and brown to make turkey stock, which later will be used for Gravy.

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Finish up the chocolate cream pie, a little concerned with the amount of flour the recipe I found used, the order of additions seemed off compared to the amazing chocolate pie my Grandma makes. Mine ends up with lumps of chocolate flour balls, not quite sure what I think about the results. Apple pie bakes nicely, though I am not too happy with the haphazard crust edges. Take it out to cool, then wrap it in foil and stick it up in the cupboard, call it done.

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Finish up some laundry, with help from the cat. Call it a night and crawl into bed.

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::Thursday::

Wake up as the sun is rising on a very cold Thanksgiving morning. Frost on the Pumpkin. Cat keeps a watch out on the neighborhood at her usual morning post in the front window.

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Go outside to make sure the turkey water hasn’t frozen overnight. It hasn’t, but the entire deck is covered in white frost.

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Put the red wine above the heater vent and the white in our uninsulated bedroom.

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I decided in the middle of the night to remake the Chocolate Cream pie, so I scoop out the lumpy chocolate, which after a night in the fridge has become a stiff ganache-like substance. Lick the spoon a few times. Then run to the store for more baker’s chocolate and while there pick up a few more unnecessary items.

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Kids wake up and we eat breakfast of oatmeal with flax meal and rasins. Tallis very much enjoys her peaches and rice cereal mix.

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Sit down with my coffee to check email and gather recipes for the day. One guest has come down with the nasty flu we have all gotten over, reducing our guest list by one.

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Matt makes rye beer bread while I play with the computer, yum.

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I jump back into the kitchen, make Cranberry juice into a simple syrup for Cranberry sparkler so we can have a non-alcoholic beverage option.

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Give up the kitchen to Matt’s mom, she begins preparing stuffing, which will cook 4 hours in the crock pot. Meanwhile, Matt starts Apple Cider in another crock pot, adding mulling spices and star anise. Both crock pots get moved over into a corner of the dining room.

I finish up prep work in the rest of the house by setting the table. I put out some 15-year-old candles from a store in Downtown Truckee from my childhood (Robert’s, which was owned by a family friend) into a couple of candle holder’s we received as wedding gifts and have never used along with some white pillar candles left over from our wedding decorations. We have just enough place settings for the 10 adults we will have for dinner.

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Toss Araiya in the bathtub in part to clean her up and also to keep her occupied while the adults power out to get things ready. She is thoroughly entertained and emerges with prune-y fingers.

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Whip up some sweet potato curry soup for lunch and sit down for a little break.

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Cut up bread and cheese for appetizers.

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Get picky and clean the toddler finger prints off windows. Call the housework done.

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Pull the bird out of the brine solution and send Matt to clean out the ice chest. Chop up Rosemary, Thyme and Sage, toss in some salt and pepper and rub it all over the bird. Shove more whole herbs into the cavity and tie up wings and legs. Thankfully our 16 lb turkey fits on our largest roasting pan. Surround the bird with peeled onions and put our un-stuffed poultry in the oven a little more than an hour before guests are set to arrive.

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Change clothes, get the kids dressed, brush my teeth. Set out serving dishes for the food and set up a wine cart.

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Whip up some heavy cream in the Kitchenaid mixer and top the Chocolate Cream pie, which I over compensated the thickness of and is now too jiggly. Too late now. Dust it with cocoa powder and put it back in the fridge.

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Our guests arrive- a mix of family, friends from Cal Poly and friends from our Community Groups. They dig into the Cider and cheese platter. Mashed Potatoes, Green Salad and more wine arrive with them. Last minute cooking continues between bouts of socializing and catching up with people we haven’t seen in a while.

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Pumpkin biscuits and prosciutto-wrapped brussels sprouts are the final two dishes and will replace the turkey in the oven.

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The turkey hits the proper temperature, roasted to a perfect golden crunchy skin and still plenty juicy in the meat, all in about 2 hours. Quickest turkey I have ever done and we didn’t set the smoke alarm off (a regular occurance at my parent’s house).

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Matt and his Dad set to carving up the Turkey while I toss butter, flour and drippings from the roasting pan into a saucepan to start the gravy. Brussels and biscuits come out of the oven and join the rest of the fare on the Stainless Steel table. Everyone digs into serving themselves, busy bustling around gathering heaps of food on their plates and making their way over to the table.

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Then, silence. The silence of pure food enjoyment.

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Followed by busy eating, talking and laughing. Then another round of silence and we all dig into pie. The apple is everything I expected. The chocolate, tragically runny (but still edible).

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The evening winds down, guests leave, dishes get tossed in the dishwasher, Tallis wakes back up and it takes several tries to get her settled back down. Finally we fall into bed, exhausted from our day.

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::Friday::

Another crisp cold morning, only we have slept in until 8:15. We survey the aftermath: 4 unopened bottles of wine (suh-weet), mismatched chairs stacked up in the living room, tupperware full of leftovers in the fridge, Cat in her usual place guarding the front window.

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I sit down at the computer to edit and upload photos with the last slice of apple pie. It has been a very enjoyable Thanksgiving.

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~ by gdesign on November 23, 2007.

2 Responses to “Photoblogging Thanksgiving”

  1. Sounds lovely! I’m glad to see Matt is actually wearing that shirt we gave him.
    We had a wonderful time, but sadly didn’t take a single picture.

  2. Yea, he likes that shirt. Don’t know exactly what he is doing in that picture, though. We did have to explain the story of that shirt to our guests, as flying solo in that attire didn’t go over as well as when he was a matching part of the Pat ‘n Matt duo.

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