The Gull Reef Club

12/4/2013

Post Gobble

Filed under: — Jaime @ 10:51 pm

The Christmas tree is already up and decorated. The lights are strung outside, and tourist season in Christmas Village is nearly underway. So, before I get too engrossed in Christmas enchantments, I want to revisit Thanksgiving and share the run-down of yet another wonderful meal.

Mike, as usual, went above and beyond what normal humans should be capable of doing and created some amazing dishes. If I can ever figure out how he can go three days on a total of about 5 hours sleep, I’ll let you know.

Of course, we had the traditional dishes:

Turkey – We had two this year again. Despite this fact, we only really had one day of leftovers. Big thanks to my sister and brother-in-law for use of Kitchen North. For those of you who don’t know, they live only about 800 feet to the north of our house. They also happen to have an oven that is only a month or so old. That’s where we cooked the turkeys, freeing up our kitchen, aka Kitchen South, for everything else. It was a fabulous arrangement, but I think we may need to get a wagon for next year.

Gravy – This is a major production, and truly the most important part of the meal. Family fights have been known to break out when there is no or not enough gravy (See: the Pork Loin incident, circa 1999, and the Counter Gravy incident, circa 2005). Mike started the stock for the gravy (and stuffing) on the Saturday before Thanksgiving and let it go for over 48 hours. It was as dark as beef gravy and so delicious, I could have eaten it as soup. We still have a little left if anyone needs some killer, concentrated stock.

Ancillaries – Stuffing, Mashed potatoes (I overcooked them, and they were rather dry, sorry everyone), two dishes of Sweet potatoes, one with pecans, one with nutstitute (for the nut-allergic), Green Bean Casserole, Rolls, Collard Greens, Cranberry sauce (homemade of course!), and hot, mulled apple cider. The static dessert courses of homemade vanilla ice cream, pumpkin pie, and pecan pie (complete with homemade crusts) were on the table as well. I feel like I’m forgetting something…

Every year, we have also have rotating courses (meaning they are different every year, not spinning on your plate). This year, like most others, the rotators were the soup and dessert courses. For the soups, Mike did a hot and cold. The hot soup was a corn gumbo, complete with a nearly-brick roux. This was supplemented with a little white rice, green pepper and habanero purees (separate purees, they were not combo’d), bacon bits, and parmesan twills. The cold soup was similar to one we did a few years ago in that it was served parfait style. There were alternating layers of maple syrup/acorn squash and of apple/lime purees, each layer being separated by a quasi-crème fraiche. Quasi because it would not set right and we had to cheat and add a dollop of sour cream to get it rolling. They both turned out quite well. I particularly loved the apple-lime puree and could have eaten it like it was apple(lime) sauce. Tangy!

The other rotating course was dessert. If I could give awards for brainstorm of the year, Mike gets it. He opted to go with a ‘Cranberries Three Ways’ theme. Way One was that he used some of the ice cream and made mini (shot glass size) cranberry shakes. Way Two was that he raised dough and made sugar-rolled donuts filled with cranberry jelly (yes, he made the jelly too). They turned out a bit like Chinese donuts but soooo much better. Way Three was probably my favorite, and it seemed to be the favorite of most of our guests. For Way Three, he made traditional Southern-style banana pudding, but (wait for it….) he replaced the bananas with cranberries. Oh yeah! The tartness of the cranberries perfectly off-set the hyper-sweetness of the pudding (yes, again, homemade) and Nilla Wafers (store bought). Oh! Almost forgot the meringue. There was that on the pudding, too. I absolutely will be demanding he make the cranberry pudding again, but probably without the meringue, which is a little too sweet for my tastes. I really want some right now, in fact. Miiiiiike!

Before I wrap up, I do have one complaint. Well maybe not a full-on complaint, but more of a minor mystery combined with slight annoyance. We have a new(ish) refrigerator. We got it this spring. During the holiday, it started flashing the six-month reminder light that we needed to change the filters in it (there are three). One of our dinner guests reset the light and it is no longer flashing to remind us that we need to change the filters. So anyone want to fess up? Are you the one who is so anal, so pedantic, that you simply had to push buttons that were not yours? I’m mostly just curious – you will not be uninvited next year if you do confess.

It was a great Thanksgiving, with great company. Despite all the work and lack of sleep, I’d do it again in a heartbeat. Gobble, gobble, beachcombers!

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The Gull Reef Club