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Sunday, November 28, 2004  

Just when I was feeling beat-down and drained by the daily grind, along comes the sweetest of confections for the working stiff: the 4-day weekend. I made the decision to use the time to fully re-charge my batteries, and shrugged off all invitations to Thanksgiving meals, opting instead to cook a simple meal with julie for the two of us and my mom. The best laid plans...

I'm sure I don't have to tell most of you that Thanksgiving (or Turkey Day as I prefer to call it) is my very favorite of holidays. What can I say, I'm a glutton. And to a glutton, a day spend celebrating FOOD is a magical time. I don't exaggerate when I say that I spend the week leading up to Tday in training for the meal. I was excited to cook the meal, and having only 3 mouths at the table took away a lot of the stress that normally comes with helming the most celebrated meal of the year. The challenge, as I saw it, was to respect the traditional elements of the holiday feast, but put enough of a new spin on things to make the meal stand-out. With that in mind I poured over cookbooks and recipe sites, arming myself, not with recipes for the meal, but with ideas and techniques for the cooking. Julie stepped-up with a pair of 5-star pumpkin pies and quickly took charge of the potatoes and green beans. The final menu was a citrus and cilantro roasted Turkey (12Lbs), roasted garlic mashed potatoes, Italian sausage and wild-rice stuffing, green beans with shallots and mushrooms, and a gravy/jus from red wine and homemade turkey stock (and, or course, the aforementioned stellar pies w/ fresh whipped cream)

The meal ended up being one of those creations where everything goes right. Even our accidents turned out to be happy; in the chaos of the final moments before sitting down, we left the green-beans on the fire a little too long and JUST saved them from burning. But the extra time on the fire caramelized the shallots and reduced the wine to a syrupy glaze which the mushrooms the soaked up. The resulting dish was easily the best green beans I've had since my Grandemere passed away (taking so many culinary secretes from this world.)

I've been subsisting on a steady diet of turkey sandwiches and pumpkin pie for the past 3 days and it is fucking great! I'll return to work tomorrow rested and re-centered, with a turkey-fueled energy reserve that will last me until the new year!

posted by JMV | 11/28/2004 02:11:00 PM
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