Thursday, November 26, 2009

A day of thanks...

Despite a spectacularly undesirable lead up to turkey day, today went quite well. Though my pumpkin cheesecake didn't set, it is still delicious, and all the other dishes of the day turned out beautifully, even finishing at as close to the same time as we could hope so that we weren't waiting for anything to complete the meal on our plates at dining time.

NS smoked two turkeys, and they are so full of juicy flavor that it's hard to pass by the pile of turkey on the counter without nabbing a piece.

I made a dressing/stuffing with sausage, apples, and cranberries that I enjoyed more with each bite. NS couldn't resist commenting on the predictability of this choice. I am well known in this house for my affinity for trying recipes that have fruit where one doesn't really expect to find fruit. I also made the mashed potatoes and green bean casserole and a crap shoot gravy from the turkey drippings.

By crap shoot, I mean that I've never made a gravy from scratch like this, and I wasn't sure what else was needed besides the drippings and a thickening agent, such as flour or cornstarch. I threw some pinches of cornstarch into the pan and stirred. I quickly searched for a turkey gravy recipe on my go-to recipe website, and glanced at the general ingredients and rushed back to the kitchen to toss in some scantily measured flour, poultry seasoning, celery seed, salt and pepper, and water. With the smokiness of the turkey drippings, it was a unique and scrumptious gravy if I do say so myself. We had a couple packets of gravy mix in the pantry just in case.

Like I said, my pumpkin cheesecake didn't fully set. I don't know if I just undercooked it, but the recipe I used put such emphasis on not overcooking and detailing that the center may still seem unset but would set upon cooling that I didn't dare leave it longer. It really seemed firm enough when I took it out, but even after an hour on the rack and 5-6 hours in the just above freezing refrigerator, it's mostly goo still. Yummy goo, but goo nonetheless.

Thankfully, NS also baked up a batch of cookies for us. Half chocolate chip and half a concoction that I've just been craving since I saw the macadamia nuts in the store...chocolate chip with butterscotch chips and coconut and macadamia nuts. They are everything I yearned for and more.

NS's mom and I spent some time after dinner helping the boys assemble a gingerbread train. It was messy, sure, but the boys had a terrific time licking icing mistakes from the train and surrounding areas and from their fingers. LMX kept sneaking candy pieces from the decorating portion of the kit. As usual, our finished product looks vaguely like the one pictured on the box...if you squint and tilt your head just right. But, picture-perfect product is not even a slight concern when you're creating picture-perfect memories, which we certainly accomplished.

So, in closing, I'm truly thankful this year that everything went well. Even though I was a near invalid just a few days ago and LMX was an unenergetic ball of hot fever just yesterday, we were both so much better today that you wouldn't have known the past several days were anything but typical. I'm grateful to have people to spend the holiday with, people to share this food with, and the fact that it's been many years since I have had to eat a Thanksgiving dinner alone. I hope everyone else had a wonderful day and found many reasons to give thanks today. 'Tis the season.

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