Thanksgiving 2011 - Grateful Bliss

I woke up this Thanksgiving morning dreaming about a dialog I was having with myself over the question of  "Why is a person truly here?". To a degree this is an existential question at its very core, but I thought of it from a less self-centered perspective. We do not exist in isolation but are always part of larger and larger groups. We are here as families, as circle of friends, as neighbors, and as local and global citizens.  It is for this that it becomes quite impossible and probably useless,  that our default posture always revert to a strict "me first, me only" position. We are all in the world together,  for were are here so that others will strive and struggle to be better people. This is true for all of us and works reciprocally. So when you look at someone else, thank them in your heart, with your words, and with your actions for making you and making you want to be a better person. They, with their mere presence, make selfless sacrifices for someone else's benefit, even when we least know it.

Thank you all, I say on this Thanksgiving day.

An now for some cooking news.  Pleased to report that most of yesterday's planned items made it to fruition.  The "Boquerones" were displaced by "Alici sott'olio", Sicilian anchovy filets and the Asparagus did not the cut.  Here are some pictures. Sorry folks, no recipes today .  This feast was a lot of work, over five hours of shopping, and 8 hours of cooking  packed into two days.  I will be glad to share details, if you just ask.

 What is Thanksgiving without cranberries ? 

Cramberries in Rhum Syrup
The secret to this side dish is to simple to use premium quality dried cranberries. I keep going back to Whole Foods for theirs. Instead of sugar, I used agave syrup. This year, instead of Whiskey , I went for some good Barbados rhum. Hiccup !

Dried Okra and Blue Corn Chips
Ever taste Okra chips ? Neither did I . This is what they looked like. You can pick them up at Whole Foods.

Asparagus Ravioli with Walnut-Pistachio-Chanterelle Cream
Our first course was a gigantic hit with fan club and guests. I had to limit each person to only two ravioli so that they could sample all of the other dishes that were still to come. I rediscovered Chantarelles with this exquisite dish.  Your will be seeing more of them in future dishes.  Ouch, my wallet already started to hurt.

Dual Stuffing Cornish Hens
As planned , no roast turkey for us this year. Cornish hens instead. Twins but not identical .One was stuffed with a savory pork filling. The  other was  filled with a more creative Escarole-Grape-Anchovy stuffing. Both hit the mark and will taste even better tomorrow.

Corn Bread Tartlets with Pulled Smoked Turkey

The star of the show was however the 4 hour , stewed , then pulled smoked turkey drumsticks .  This was used a secondary filling in homemade cornbread tartlets also filled with spinach-roast garlic cream.  Can't wait for the baguette sandwiches with this left over meat and some French chili pepper Dijon mustard.

Serving Platter
The smoked turkey tartlets were set up in do-it-your-self serving mode.  Pick a corn bread tartlet. Fill with spinach cream , the top with a small pile of pulled smoked turkey, Finally , garnish with creme fraiche.  Et voila' !

Boston Bibb with Bosc Pear /Grape dressing

Finally the meal ended with some palate cleansing. A most interesting of salads. No cream, but creamy for those of you who love cream . Shaved parsnips ? Fennel ? Bosc Pear and Red Grape dressing ? Wow, my little sister brought a hit today and thought me a small lesson in salad making.

Wake up! The espresso is coming .

Salute  and Happy Thanksgiving to you all.


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