After a couple of days of thinking about a decent menu, I finally landed on the finishing touches while driving, somewhere towards the northbound stretch of the FDR drive. As soon as I got home, I committed this year's thanksgiving opus to paper, a now crumbled and stained sheet that I will pin up on a kitchen cabinet to structure my execution tomorrow. Cooking is serious business, especially when you like or need to be a one-man show. Being organized, planning and preparing upfront, are the necessary ingredients to keep cool when under pressure.. With this formula, one can easily handle twenty guests and still maintain sanity, and all fingers.
This year as usual, I will be making most of the dishes with one exception. I placed an order with Mom for a tray (she will bring two of course) of baked tortiglioni (rigatoni-like pasta) with mini meatballs (1/4 inch) , each individually hand-rolled and friend, and with fresh mozzarella cheese. She's got the patience and experience for preparing such dish.
On important holidays I tend to apply a factor of two when it comes to number of dishes and quantities. I do this on purpose. Packing doggie bags for my guests is my way of thanking them for their great company , and my way a saying "please come again". As the day wraps up , it often feels like a bittersweet moment. The feast's spirited garrulousness has come to end, the holiday cheer subdues , and all that is left are hands waiving goodbye standing on cold front door thresholds.
And here too we must come to an end. So Happy Thanksgiving folks. Rest for now and please do not forget to be thankful.
One last thing: Where's the turkey ? Well you might have guessed, no turkey this year, and probably none next year too. The fan club is not a fan of Turkey, and neither am I, especially as leftovers.
Giorno del Ringraziamento 2009
Spicy Capicollo (an Italian Salami ) rolls paired with a pleasantly aromatic Stilton cheese
Marinated Rositi mushrooms (Lactarius Deliciousus) , imported from Italy , and almost impossible to find here in the US.
Warm chick pea Panelle with flavored Ricotta cheese
Palmito salad with yellow peppers and a dark mirin vinaigrette
red: Galioppo , IGT , a dry red from Calabria
white: Côtes du Rhône AOC, a classic white from France
A few trays of Mom's baked tortiglioni with mini-meatballs and fresh mozzarella
Mom's veal-pork-beef meatballs in tomato sauce
Baked Milk Marinated Sea Bass Cutlets encrusted in roasted garlic bread crumbs
Oven Roaster stuffed with masa de maiz-based (a white corn meal typically used in tamales) stuffing flavored with spicy crumbled Italian sausage, halloumi cheese cubes and minced vegetable medley.
Thin white wine and smoked trout Béchamel - for the sea bass.
"Resuscitated" Whisky Cranberry chutney - for the roaster.
Snipped Green beans with Tamari sun-dried tomatoes
Mixed salad with orange vinaigrette
Sauteed medley of wild mushrooms cooked in white wine and fresh cilantro
At the discretion of our guests