YUM. That is my take on our non-traditional Thanksgiving dinner. Nothing was terrible and most things were delectable. And the best part, of course, is being four at table again. So happy to have my girl home where she belongs!!!!
Sexy Em was supposed to join us but begged off at the last moment, which was fine — and we still miss Arty Jenny, our longtime Thanksgiving companion of many years, now in Portland, Oregon. And I'd mentioned to several friends that they should stop by for cocktails on their way to their (boring) dinners, but no one did.
It's really okay, though! I truly, truly love having just my three favorite people in the world around the table with me. Friends joining us is great, friends not joining us is great. I'm happy either way.
Here's the food report, from worst to first.
NOT TERRIBLE, NOT GREAT
- Salami Chips with Mustard Dip: These were my biggest disappointment because I thought they sounded AMAZING — I guess I was imagining a salami-flavored potato chip. (AMAZING.) But they were just okay. The first batch tasted kinda burnt (though I followed the directions), and the second batch, which I cooked for two fewer minutes, weren't quite crispy enough, and neither batch was particularly exciting. Husband liked them a lot, though.
- Zucchini Fritters with Tzatziki Dip: The fritters were bland and the dip was way too spicy (too much fresh garlic, I fear) — but I'm still calling it a win, because frying a fritter is not part of my kitchen skill set, and yet these were lovely, crisp and golden, AND I didn't know you could make a good tzatziki without cucumber! I love tzatziki as a dip, and now I will make it more often. (I don't mind the cucumber, but Husband loathes it and I am a Good Wife.)
- Candy Cane Puffs: I will definitely try these again — I cooked them too long, and next time I will flatten them a little; right now they are rock-like in both shape and consistency. But the flavor is very good — a basic sugar cookie brushed with melted white chocolate and dipped in crushed candy canes. Pretty and toothsome!
- Pilgrim Pineapple Sunrise: Pineapple juice, lime, tequila, powdered sugar. Yum! I tinkered with the ingredients a bit, because I like a slightly tarter taste; the first batch was a little sweet. But a delightful drink.
- Pineapple-Ginger-Lime Mocktail: I shook this up for Husband, and he said it was delicious! The sip I had was mighty nice.
- Shrimp Tomatillo Cocktail: The shrimp, which I boiled myself with lemons, peppercorns, and dill seeds, are fantastic! And the tomatillo sauce is fine, but it doesn't beat regular cocktail sauce, which I adore.
- Someone's Aunt Annabelle’s Crab Dip: I took one bite of this and burst out laughing — it tastes exactly like something my grandma would have made. A very 1950s' recipe — and white white white. If I make it again, I will add some color. But it was (as the heading says) quite tasty.
- Candied Bacon Sticks: These are usually the kids' favorite, and Li'l Martini thought they were as good as ever, but Mimosa and I were less impressed this year. I bought thicker breadsticks than usual, and I think it makes a difference — thinner is better. (A life lesson.) But still: broiled breadstick, bacon, and brown sugar — what's not to like?
- Asparagus, Pepper, and Prosciutto Roll-Ups: Nice flavors and textures, and especially yummy when dipped lightly in the mustard dip.
A note on the salads: We always serve at least one salad at Thanksgiving, and for a few years now I've been doing a selection of three small perfect salads (Tre Belle Insalate) — but I think I am going to stop doing that. They're a lot of work — all that dicing! — and none has every been SO fantastic that I'm tempted to make it again. One salad is plenty. That said, all three salads this year were very nice.
- Edamame Succotash Salad: I liked the look of this recipe because it used edamame instead of limas and had fresh corn and lots of herbs. It was very nice — a bright and fresh-tasting salad.
- Green Bean and Mushroom Salad: Very simple, very tasty.
- Broccoli Salad: We've had this before, and it is divine! (Yes, Lady Darcy, I hear you retching.) Raw chopped broccoli, red onion, bacon, raisins, sliced almonds, and a creamy sweet-and-sour dressing. I think I didn't put quite enough dressing on it tonight, which is the only thing keeping it out of the best-of-the-best category.
- Glazed Orange Pound Cake: Perfectly tasty, but not as good as my regular orange cake. I never really love pound cake, I always find it a little dry — not sure why I can't seem to remember this!
- Dark Chocolate Mousse: Again, perfectly tasty, but very dark, and I have another chocolate mousse recipe I like better.
- Rosemary Cashews: So so so so good. A fantastic recipe.
- Apple Julep: My surprise favorite of the cocktails I made! So simple — bourbon, cider, and a dash of cider vinegar, garnished with an apple slice — but deceptively delicious! They went down smoooooth.
- Raspberry and Citrus Martini: A little workier, because it involves muddled raspberries, and then I had to strain it to avoid a drink full of berry bits — but a wonderful combo of flavors.
- Chicken Enchilada Dip: Never disappoints!
- Onion Jam and Goat Cheese Toasts: A new recipe this year, and the surprise winner! Everyone LOVED these. Toasted baguette spread with soft goat cheese and topped with sweet onions that were cooked down with lemon rind, lemon juice, sugar, and vinegar. Sophisticated and delicious!!!
As is our annual tradition, I forgot to make Toasted Marshmallow Milkshakes, a recipe I've trotted out for years and have yet to concoct even once. We're not hurting for food, believe me! Maybe tomorrow night, while we watch Crazy Ex Girlfriend.
We concluded our evening by watching Lars and the Real Girl (love that movie!) and playing spirited rounds of Scattergories, Speed Scrabble, and Consequences.
A perfect holiday! I hope yours was as well.
lots of love,