Saturday, November 28, 2009

Home for Thanksgiving

B and I are at my parents' house for the week, enjoying the break and the turkey. Because of the change in dinner rituals, we have failed to photograph any meals, so you get only descriptions. I should probably begin with the days before Thursday — green linguine with Alfredo sauce and parsley we brought from California, enchiladas, salmon with wild rice and broccoli — but in a week in which everyone cooks (and yet the food blogosphere is remarkably quiet), what's most interesting is Thanksgiving and its leftovers.

The menu for our Thanksgiving dinner, like most families', changes only by a dish or two each year. The guest list consists of my mother's friends from work, and some of her students: this year, in addition to the faculty couples who always attend, we had two Japanese exchange students, and one family who came only for dessert. We always make turkey (traditional), mashed potatoes (the only time we ever peel them), traditional sweet cranberry sauce (cook cranberries with sugar until they burst), raw cranberry relish with orange (combine in cuisinart), mashed butternut squash (roast, let cool, mash with butter and condensed orange juice, and reheat), baked sweet potato (cut into rounds and sprinkle with cumin and paprika), stuffing (bake separately from the turkey, as cooking the stuffing inside the bird is a foodborne-illness; make some vegetarian and some with sausage), gravy (my brother's dish; make with orange rind, apple juice, vegetable broth, herbs, and thicken with cornstarch), and in recent years coleslaw. Oh, and pies (blueberry, quince). The regular guests always pumpkin pie and stewed greens; the exchange students brought a delicious sushi with egg, shrimp, salmon, and rice.

Friday is my favorite dinner each Thanksgiving, when we make turkey soup, and don't have to entertain a dozen guests. This year's stock was made with the giblets and major bones from the bird, old carrots and celery and parsley, a large onion, dried bay leaf, peppercorns, and fresh sage and thyme. Cover with water, simmer for hours. For the soup, we strained the stock and kept it on a simmer. Meanwhile, we sautéed a mirepoix of carrots, leeks, and celery, and then added zucchini. Then pour in the stock, add green beans, canned tomato (halved early girls from B and my August canning), chunks of turkey meat, leftover brown rice, and shredded dino kale; cover, bring back to a boil, and simmer/steam ten minutes. Salt to taste (actually, salt every time you add an ingredient), and serve.

With an overabundance still of turkey, breakfast yesterday and today is the traditional cold-turkey-with-cranberry-sauce (today's variation: toast bread in the broiler, and then add turkey to heat a bit under the broiler; salt and cranberry sauce complete the open-faced sandwiches). Lunch today is soup with stuffing; tomorrow is probably the same. The nice thing about Thanksgiving leftovers is that it takes a while to get sick of them (and B and I will return to California before then).

Not to leave you completely devoid of pictures, here are some of the San Francisco Bay that I took shortly after take-off (click to enlarge):

No comments: