Peacock Dreams

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Happy Thanksgiving!
I wish a very Happy (if slightly belated) Thanksgiving to all my American flisters! I hope that you all had many reasons to feel thankful, and wonderful, bountiful days. And I hope all the rest of you had wonderful Thursdays. ~sends love, hugs, and glittery smooches~

As for me, I am grateful for so very many things this year--too many to list here, because if I start, I'll never stop. But right at the moment, I am very grateful that my epic plans for the Epic Thanksgiving of Epicness (which is to say, my first time hosting a Thanksgiving for my family AND Geography Teacher's family, which is not a small number of people) all went well, and everybody got along well, and the food tasted and looked good and was on time, and just... anything that could go well did, aside from the ending to the Lions game. (We will not speak of that.) We had glorious, 60-degree, sunshiney weather. I did not have a single Barbecue Breakdown. My brother brought over some of his more exotic world percussion instruments and kept Geography Teacher's nieces and nephews occupied with an impromptu drum circle. I got plenty of help and understanding in the kitchen, and everybody pitched in to make things go smoothly. It was a totally Norman Rockwell kind of day... you know, if Normal Rockwell's families were blasting the Rolling Stones while smoking their 22-pound turkey in a fire-engine-red smoker out in their driveways. ;)

And now the dishes are done and the doggie bags dispatched and the guests hugged and on their merry ways and the fridge is groaning at full capacity with leftovers galore. And my garage smells like a barbecue joint. But it was a beautiful, beautiful time, and worth every minute of it. Tomorrow, I'll be up early for shopping and coffee and fun times with my mom and Geography Teacher's mom and sisters. And that will be fun, too. But for right now, I want to savor this moment of pure contentment.

And what was on the menu?

Assorted cheeses and crackers, prosciutto, figs, dates, pears, and satsumas
Balsamic-glazed Cippolini onions
Spicy marinated olives

Mixed Field Greens with Candied Pecans and Pomegranate Vinaigrette
Cider-brined Smoked Turkey
Cranberry-Apple Chutney
Cornbread-Ciabatta Stuffing with Fresh Herbs
Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Gravy
Smoky Gratin of Brussels Sprouts and Pearl Onions
Sweet Potato Souffle
Bakery rolls and butter molded in the shape of a turkey. (Just because.)

Pumpkin Crunch Layer Cake with Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Icing
Dutch Apple Pie
Homemade Salty Caramel Ice Cream

Coffee, tea, cranberry ginger ale, craft beers, and a really, REALLY nice Chilean Pinot Noir that I will be getting again

Happy Thanksgiving to all, and to all a good night! And a good weekend beyond, too. &hearts

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Um, WOW, Bluey!

Hee hee. We mostly seasoned our Thanksgiving feast with salt. ;-)

I cannot believe you pulled off such a grand success for so many people! Wow again. :-) :-) :-)

Dashing in to sneak some of your leftover prosciutto and figs. Just kidding. I know there's no such thing as leftover prosciutto.

~blushes~ Thank you! It was kind of scary to plan it, but surprisingly easy to pull off, when it came down to it. I guess some days, you just get lucky!

I would absolutely offer you the leftover prosciutto, if I had any. (You're right, though: no such thing.)

And don't knock salt! It's the most important seasoning in the pantry. If you've ever had eggs without salt, you know what I mean.

Wow, the food sounds beyond delicious, and I'm so glad everyone had a good time. It can be hard to blend disparate families, but it when it works, it's glorious.

I want everything on the menu except the garlic mash (garlic...not my friend). Otherwise, you've actually made me feel hungry, something that after my own Thanksgiving meal, I thought would never happen again.

Happy Thanksgiving to you, too, dear!

PS -- Sorry about the Lions. They are always my Thanksgiving Day team of choice.

Send my icon to Houston.

I love your icon! I will send it to Houston... and to the refs officiating the game. And the NFL for that offensively stupid rule. (I'm not excusing Schwartz for forgetting it, because he should have known better... but it IS a ridiculous and irrational rule.)

Thank you very much! The prospect of introducing two families can be a nerve-wracking experiment, but it went very well, perhaps because both families are filled with eccentrics. *g* I am grateful.

Wow, the menu made you feel hungry even after Thanksgiving? I'm amazed! No matter how good the food is at Thanksgiving, for a week afterward, even I don't want to think about food or eating, except in a purely intellectual way...

The garlic is unavoidable in these families, unfortunately. His family is Italian... mine just really loves garlic.

Ooooh gosh! What a wonderful feast!

It sounds as though you had a really perfect day, and I am very happy for you!

Thank you very much, Dicky! It truly was a perfect day. I got lucky at the right time. I only wish you could have joined us for the feast! ~hugs~

*wails* I want to come to dinner at your house! You are clearly an awesome cook and hostess and I'm so glad the occasion went well. I love cooking but get very stressed by catering for more than three, especially if any of the extra mouths are related to me, so I would never dare host a dinner like that. And how lovely that you've got more fun to look forward to today as well. Hope the sun keeps shining for you :)

Please *grovels* would you be prepared to share your salted caramel ice cream recipe? We had some awesome salted caramel ice cream while on holiday in France this summer and the best thing of all about it was that the rest of the family utterly hated it, so if I made a batch I would get to eat it all!

I'm right with you on the Chilean Pinot Noir. (And actually Argentinian ones are often not bad either.) Nearly sixteen years ago now I was lucky enough to spend three weeks in Patagonia helping OH and friends with fieldwork in the temperate rain forests... rain was the operative word, we barely had a dry day on the whole trip, but I loved it all, it was such a beautiful place. We basically lived on steak, bread, olives and red wine... mmmm, fabulous red wine... with big tubs of dulce de leche to fill up the corners. Maybe not exactly a healthy diet, but definitely a happy one... *drifts of into happy nostalgia*

Oh my, thank you! It would be my honor to cook for you, of course. &hearts

I definitely do understand the stress factor and what a deterrent it can be to entertaining. I'm a people-pleaser and also a perfectionist (at least in my areas of expertise), and I've definitely had a few Barbecue Breakdowns in the past, due to self-imposed expectations and anxiety. But I've learned to plan more wisely (concentrate on what I do well and don't be afraid to ask for help or purchase certain things, don't be overly ambitious, try to stick to recipes I know well and can execute under pressure), and Geography Teacher gave me a morale booster that I'll never forget. He told me to not worry about dazzling everybody with my brilliance, because they already are. It was beautiful and sweet and makes me want to cry just writing it right now, but it's also just about the wisest dose of perspective and most heartening vote of confidence I've ever heard.

Anyway. The Chilean Pinot Noir was divine, and yes, I've heard good things about Argentinian ones, too. I was quite pleased with myself, because the wine was my own pick, out of the IMMENSE and dusty and intimidating selection at the wine shop. (I'm blessed to live a stone's throw away from the best selection in the area, but the flip side is that there are so many obscure choices that it can be hard to narrow it down to what will work best for you.) I will definitely be getting it again, and a lot of our guests wanted to know the name and vintage! I can only imagine how absolutely delicious that time in Patagonia must have been. What's not to love there?

I will happily share the salted caramel ice cream recipe with you! I'll PM you. I obviously love salted caramel, too, and I also found that particular love in France. Oh, Berthillon...

Your Geography Teacher is a keeper, no doubt about it - I admit to tearing up a bit too while I was reading that! Well done to him for knowing exactly what to say to make you feel confident. It clearly worked brilliantly!

That time in Patagonia was magic - it was OH's and my last 'just the two of us' fieldwork trip before we started a family. The biggest highlight was bathing in a glacially cold lake up in the Andes with condors wheeling overhead... the scariest moment was camping in a tiny tent in a forest that we then discovered contained a roaming herd of VERY large and enthusiastic Hereford cows with a still larger and more enthusiastic bull in attendance. There is something about lying in a sleeping bag with just a layer of canvas between you and something huge and heavy-breathing that knows you are there and that you know will trample you flat if you alarm him... still, at least he wasn't a bear. And eventually the cows got bored and wandered off, and he followed them. I guess that's the price you pay for tasty free-range steak...

And thank you so much for being generous with your recipes! *bounces excitedly* It may be a while before I'm up to actually cooking it, but that doesn't mean I can't enjoy reading it in the interim!

It did work! It was exactly what I needed to hear, right when I needed to hear it, and that really grounded me through the whole thing. I'm going to hang on to that and pull it out whenever I need that reminder. It's the best gift ever!

And yes, I agree: he's a keeper. &hearts

The time in Patagonia just sounds absolutely amazing! Slightly terrifying, with regard to the cow and bulls, but I'm glad it all turned out well. And that's the material memories are made of, isn't it? What a fantastic experience!

And it's my pleasure to pass it along! I love sharing recipes with people who will enjoy them. :D

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Well, come on over! I've got plenty of leftovers. I'll make up a plate for you... and a big piece of cake. No more ice cream, but I can make more for you. &hearts

Today was full of glittery things, but mostly not for me! I have, however, achieved great success in my continuing plan to dress my godchildren like tiny Vince Noir clones...

You are amazing. Sounds like a wonderful day for all involved - congrats on a rockin' party, m'dear!

(Our Thanksgiving fete was hosted by Lions fans. We feel your pain.)

*squishes you* <3

Thank you very much, my dear! I think I got lucky at precisely the right time--and hey, sometimes it's better to be lucky than good, right? ;)

(And thank you for that, too. My sympathies to your hosts!)

~squishes and adores you~

&hearts &hearts &hearts

I'm reading the menu and salivating. We're doing our turkey today for the sole purpose of having munchies for the weekend and the week beyond, but our recipes are fewer in number and not nearly as fancy. They're family staples, though, so we love them. I'm glad everything went so well, but I'm sorry about the Lions.

Aw, thank you, Kel! ~hugs you~ I hope you enjoyed your turkey dinner today!

And there's a lot to be said for family staples! They're staples for a reason: because everybody loves them and there's great comfort and enjoyment in them. It doesn't really matter if they're complicated, I don't think. It's about the love and heart that goes into them, and the memories attached. The garlic mashed potatoes are on my menu every year, because they're based on the mashed potatoes my Grandpa Louis used to make every Sunday, when we went to their house for dinner. They were the best mashed potatoes I ever had, and one of the best cooking compliments I've ever received was when my mom finally said that my mashed potatoes were as good as Grandpa Louis's. I think of him every time I make them.

It was a lovely thing about five years ago when we were at the Jimbos': Jim and I had shared the cooking duties, and we were cleaning up in the kitchen when Dad came in and said happily that the family recipes were safe for another generation. So I know how you feel. :)

Oh, that's wonderful! And yes, isn't that just the best feeling in the world? I love keeping those recipes alive, too, because whenever I make them and enjoy them and share them with other people, I remember the people I associated with those dishes, and I feel close to them, even though they've passed on. The love is still there. :)

Wow, your Thanksgiving sounds tremendous! I am very jealous, but it sounds like you had a fantastic time, so yay!

Also that food is making me hungry.

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