Sunday, December 1, 2013

Day 184: Thanksgiving Report

What a wonderful feast!! Arty Jenny joined us midday for cocktails, overseeing my food prep, and then stayed for dinner (sometimes she dines with her friends who cook for America's Freaking Test Kitchen — in other words, we don't take it personally when she leaves, and we're thrilled to have her when she stays), so we were five at table. And such a groaning board it was! Here's the report, from worst to first.

BAD

Midnight Skyy Martinis — these comprise muddled blackberries, vodka, and fresh lemon juice, shaken with ice, then topped off with Prosecco, and I thought it sounded delicious. But ugh, it tasted like medicine. I added OJ to my glass and then it was fine — but I can drink OJ and Prosecco without wasting vodka in there. I will continue to tinker with this, because I love the idea of a blackberry-vodka-based cocktail. But as written, this recipe was a loozah!

NOT THAT GREAT

Jicama and Cilantro Dip with Exciting Crudités — this happened to me several times this year: I failed to read a recipe accurately. I assumed this dip included both jicama and cilantro, which sounded crisp and interesting! Instead, there should have been a comma after "jicama." It was cilatro dip into which one would dip jicama. It was okay (and the crudités were indeed exciting), but I liked the cilantro dip I made last summer way better.

Prosciutto and Fontina Gougeres — again, had I read the recipe accurately, who knows? But I didn't — and also . . . I'd had . . . a few . . . tequila cocktails at that point. Possibly three. But in any event, as I'm mixing the ingredients in a bowl and babbling away to Arty Jenny, I looked again and noticed that I was supposed to be doing this on the stove, over heat, in a saucepan. My batter was way too thin, it was supposed to be biscuit consistency, so I added lots more flour.

And the result . . . tasted like big blobs of flour spiked with prosciutto. I may try making these again, because I could tell there was some good flavor lurking beneath all that flour paste . . . but not any time soon.
 
Cheddar Crab Puffs — exact same problem. Mixing bowl sans heat, big doughy blobs. And these didn't even have any hidden lurking flavor. They are way better things to do with crab, IMHO. (Like the Crab Louis I had for lunch yesterday — boy howdy, it was good!)

GOOD

Red Cabbage Slaw — tasty! It doesn't keep well, though, so I'm going to try sautéeing it and serving it with pork chops. (It had a vinaigrette dressing and lots of onions.) I love finding new things to do with cabbage, but will this replace "standard" coleslaw in my heart? Definitely not.
 
Quilted Pigs with Three Mustards — I did not do a good job of juggling all the things that had to be in the oven at the same time, and I ended up burning these. (They are usually among the most delicious nibbles, which is why we refer to the breading as a "quilt" rather than the more pedestrian "blanket." Totally my fault, I feel bad.) 
 
(See Cocktails, tequila, three. Eek!)

Stuffed Sausage and Spinach Loaf — same issue with the oven; also, next time I will roll out the bread dough with a rolling pin to get it as thin as possible before I start "stuffing" it, and I will also use less spinach, and mix the spinach and sausage ahead of time. And I won't forget the egg-and-herb wash, and I will serve it with warm marinara sauce for dipping. But this recipe has good possibilities; I will make it again.

Erin Brewster’s Chicken Enchilada Dip — usually my favorite app, but this time I overcooked it. Don't do that. It's a great recipe, though, and I toast my buddy the Southern-Fried Lawyer every time I make it!

MMM, YUMMY!

Mushroom Spread with Lemon and Thyme — this was similar to a mushroom paté I used to make but didn't require cream cheese or butter or other fatty stuff. Very tasty and flavorful! Definitely a keeper.

Bittersweet Chocolate Budino — my kids would tell you this was the best dessert, and I liked it fine; however, I thought I was making chocolate mousse ("budino" is what our local Italian chain calls chocolate mousse), so the result, a chocolate pudding cake, threw me a bit. And I was so stuffed with the other two desserts by the time I got to this one, I couldn't manage more than a bite. But I know it was very tasty.
 
Salted Brown Butter Crispy Treats — so yummy! It's a basic Rice Krispie treat but with extra butter, which you brown first, and a little salt. For my money it's hard to ruin a Krispie treat, and these were delightful — but they did not taste all that different to me from regular treats, so I'm not sure I see the point of all the extra butter. But they are hella good, there's no denying it.

OMG SO INSANELY GOOD, I WANT TO EAT THIS EVERY MINUTE OF EVERY DAY

Tropical Tequila Twisters — tequila, lime juice, OJ, muddled papaya. Shake with ice, strain into a glass. Damn. Drink three in rapid succession. Do not try to follow a recipe afterward.
 
Muddled Papaya Mocktails — I invented these for Husband, and they were so. good. Muddled papaya, mango juice, pink lemonade, juice of one or more limes. Shake with ice, strain into glass, and top with fizzy beverage of your choice (he chose sparkling lemonade). Yum!!
 
Cathy Allee's Rosemary Cashews — OMG. The best cocktail snack!!! Incredibly flavorful and satisfying, and so easy to make!
 
Candied Bacon Sticks— bacon, skinny breadsticks, brown sugar, and an oven. Crack on a stick. Insanely good.

Creamy Salsa Dip — an oldie but a goody. Purists will argue that salsa and dry vegetable soup mix should never meet, and I have some sympathy for that position . . . but this dip is freakishly delicious.

Caramel Chomeur — a soft butter cake atop warm brown-sugar-butter syrup, topped with a dollop of vanilla ice cream. Heaven in a bowl. I need no other dessert, ever!!!!

*    *    *    *

I think it was one of our best meals yet. I always like to try lots of new recipes, but you also need some Old Faithfuls. We had a good mix.

One thing I did not make: Toasted Marshmallow Milkshakes, which I'd planned to serve with hot coffee at the end of the evening. But (a) I was pooped, (b) we had enough sweet stuff, and (c) every cookie sheet (which I'd need to toast the marshmallows) was dirty. But the recipe sounds so good, I might make it as a post Christmas-tree decorating treat. Stay tuned!
 
I hope that wherever you were and however you celebrated, your Thanksgiving was a feast of joy and delight.
 
The diet resumes Monday.

xox Lady C

8 comments:

  1. Oooh, recipe please for Candied Bacon Sticks (wait, did I say that? Bad Jew! Bad Jew!) and Mushroom Spread with Lemon and Thyme. :-) So sorry I couldn't sample in person, but I was up to my ears in my own kitchen mishaps (sweet potato kugel=meh; crescent rolls=heaven!).

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    1. Hee! You are an Outstanding Jewess. I will e-mail you the recipes. And I'm sorry you couldn't sample in person as well, but I barely took a break either . . . perhaps it's all for the best. I will shake you up a tequila drink another time!

      Happiest of holiday seasons, my friend!

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  2. For me Salted Brown Butter Crispy Treats is the best option. I like it. I will try this at least once. It seems health too and I prefer only healthy diet.

    Regards,
    Mangosteen Juice

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    1. Oh, yeah, stick with me for tips for the health. I only health-promote on this site.
      Butter to the health!

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  3. I'm QUITE intrigued by the sound of that mocktail though it sounds like cruelty to the poor papaya to muddle it so (does that just mean mixing in a casual manner?) The mushroom spread and rosemary cashews sound lovely, too! And I do love those quilted pigs! (by the way, have you met Bobby yet? https://www.facebook.com/PigInBoston/photos_stream

    So glad you had such a glorious holiday with family and friends! Mine was ultra-quiet, with just one friend, and very, very relaxing.

    Sending good thoughts for continued health for you and for all of us (based on your previous entry.) I think you're living an admirably healthy life and I'm quite sure it improves the odds hugely. -- SDF

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    1. I am sure that versions of the loved dishes will show up at a BT party sometime soon, so you will get to enjoy them too! And I will also shake you up a papaya mocktail. Cheers to you, my friend!

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  4. I want the Rosemary cashew recipe, if you are giving them out...

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