Tuesday, December 1, 2009


Here I am in a brief moment of repose on Thanksgiving day. The rubber glove does contrast nicely with the blue striped top but it actually serves a practical purpose, as do the figurines surrounding me on the table. They are covering up the profusion of blood that you would otherwise be seeing in this photograph. It's amazing what one little swipe with a vegetable peeler will do. 5 days later and I'm just getting my typing fingers back in their full capacity.

Thanksgiving was, as predicted, a special day, spent with special people who are particularly special to me, eating and drinking with special abandon. I regret that I don't have more photos but the best laid plans were thrown out the window promptly after the maiden cocktail, a Rosemary Gin Fizz: rosemary simple syrup, Tanqueray, grapefruit juice and sparkling wine. So, for openers I made a fromage fort with from a season of cheese ends, a clove of garlic and a glug of french white. The turkey was already in the oven when I wanted to broil them, so it came out while I first had to burn one sheet pan, then barely rescue the second. Word to the wise: when you begin to smell the food that's under a broiler, it's usually already burned. The toasts, along with some of this summer's homemade pickles, were our hors d'ouevres. How pleasant it was to serve a single appetizer and not over manage or over think the whole thing.

To round out the turkey I served the requisite mashed potatoes, roasted brussels sprouts with sauteed shiitakes and fried shallots (my homage to Green Bean Casserole, a dish that in all actuality I very well may have never eaten), kabocha squash with ginger and garlic, and a phenomenal stuffing with pork sausage, onions, celery, sage and a good measure of this summer's plum bounty, pickled in cider vinegar with brown sugar. Just the right amount of sweet and sour to cut through the heaviness of a side dish that should probably be banned by the FDA.

But back to the turkey, pictured above, as ample leftovers. Remember when I mentioned broiling those cheese toasts? Well, someone forgot to turn the oven from BROIL back to BAKE. I had the heat back down to 350; had I not, I would have discovered my error so much earlier, when the turkey would have caught on fire. But as it was, the turkey got a low-broil treatment. I realized this after it was temping at 140 and over 40 minutes past its scheduled debut. Which was making us rather drunk. Fortunately, before the drinking really commenced, I had made a pretty aluminum foil shield for the bird and it was that preventive measure that kept the breast meat moist, despite my subconscious efforts to ruin dinner. As fate would have it, this years turkey was my finest ever. I'm going to credit Judy Rogers dry brining method and not the alcoholic Robin Rosenberg low broil method.

Dessert was a simple, delicious pumpkin pie from Richard Sax's Classic Home Desserts (a book worth owning!). My crust is reaching new levels of perfection, and with that, we end up here, on December 1st, with the remainder of a turkey potpie that will soon be a memory, of a memory, of a meal that goes in my greatest hits collection, if not for the mastery of skill then for the incomparable comfort and joy it delivered.

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