Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanksgiving 2009: Variety

I think what stands out for me the most about my Thanksgiving meal this year is the variety. Because we had only a loose "no thanksgiving foods" theme, and because we also had guests from 3 countries (US, Canada, and Cyprus), we ended up with a really broad selection of dishes. My American contributions:



The Meat Pie! It came out really beautiful this year-- at least cosmetically. I think I didn't put in quiitteeeee enough beef stock, and I also didn't stir it enough while it was roasting, so the brisket that was on the top of the pot ended up getting a little tough. But it looked goooooood. And it did taste fine-- we ate about 2/3 of it.

Second, my pumpkin cake:



This is a new photo I took after we had eaten a few pieces to show how the layering came out. So pretty! (And tasty!) I think this turned out better than the meat pie actually, and also better than the pumpkin / caramel cake I made last year. This cake might become a standby-- it's not too hard (it would be even easier if I did it as just a 2 layer cake) and doesn't require too many ingredients so its easy to shop for, it ends up looking really good, and the frosting is really amazing. I was actually even surprised at how good it was: the cake by itself is pretty dry, but when paired with the frosting it turns out awesome because the cake flavor doesn't overpower the frosting flavor and all the moistness comes from the truly ridiculous quantity of layered frosting!

From Canada (or at least from a Candian), we had a Beer Can Chicken (although everyone acknowledged that beer can chicken is really a product of the redneck minds of the american south):



I love how somehow this chicken still manages to look perky even though it's had its head cut off, been frozen, had a beer can shoved up its ass, and then been roasted for 2 hours. He just looks so happy to be so delicious! This chicken was moist moist moist! It might be my favorite roast chicken ever!!

Our Canadian counterpart also prepared a sweet potato pie:



The sweet potato pie was not originally covered with jello shots-- that was an innovation of our Greek contestant, who also prepared an awesome rice dish with squids (pictured here sharing table space with The Meat Pie:



I was kind of afraid to eat the rice because I was informed that the tentacles of the squids (my least favorite part) were ground up and part of the sauce over the rice, but I tried some anyway. It was a nice preparation, but ultimately my tentacle phobia prevented me from eating too much of it.

I ate a lot more of the second Greek contribution, spanikopita (pictured here on my plate with some chicken and meat pie):



VZ, the Greek cook, often uses pine nuts and mint with his feta-- I definitely will need to implement that flavor combination with the copious amounts of fresh feta I get at whole foods in the future.

Not pictured, we also had 3 kinds of roast squash and some tom yum gai. The meal actually started with me consuming approximately equal volumes of tom yum and red wine for about an hour. Oh man, I was feeling so good after my bottle of wine and 3 bowls of tom yum! The bottle was called "Praxis," which I want to remember because it was great. I wanted to just eat tom yum and drink merlot forever! That was a good way to start.

It was a very different kind of thanksgiving from last year. Instead of a formal, traditional meal entirely cooked by me we had a group prepared buffet style service with hardly any recognizable thanksgiving foods at all and tons of dishes I would never have thought to make for any occasion (i.e., squids). We also ate on and off continuously for about 8 hours while we did our Khan marathon. I'm really glad that it was so different because the difference prevented me from comparing it to last year-- it was just good in its own right.

I hope you all also had good thanksgivings: I challenge you to post a comment telling me about your favorite dish from your thanksgiving meal! And I can't wait to find out what I'm going to cook next year!

Now, if you'll excuse me, I think I'm going to go heap up yet another plate of leftovers!

1 comment:

Laura said...

Yes, that Thanksgiving sounds great! I think I would have loved all of the foods, except maybe the squids. But they all sound so good that my stomach just started growling!

My favorite food at Thanksgiving was the mashed potatoes, but that's because I loooooooooove mashed potatoes so much. They weren't as good as they could have been because the gravy came from a jar. My second favorite food was probably the salad... Drake's mom makes this really good salad that has strips of swiss cheese, big red onion rings, and some sort of mayo-based dressing. It is really good!