Ghosts at My Table


meant to go to Florida for Thanksgiving this year but stuff came up. Had to go to Savannah on business last
weekend and then some paperwork needed to be dealt with here and then… I don’t
know, four days in a car with two dogs to spend three days in Apalachicola didn’t
seem like the best of deals. We will
take them for three weeks over Christmas instead.

the upshot was that we were here in Bloomington without plans. I got busy figuring out a last minute menu
and managed to luck into a Red Bourbon turkey from Matt and Mandy at Schacht Fleece Farm (thanks,
Sarah, for letting me have one of yours!)  By the time a friend realized we would be here
and invited us for dinner, I had amassed too much food to cook, so we decided
to have dinner on our own.

we cooked a feast, of course. I am
constitutionally incapable of cooking only enough
food; it is always too much.  And it had
been a while since I cooked holiday fare and I was itching to make the old
favorites, and experiment with a few new ideas. So, anyway, I got cooking early
this morning and kept on going and going….

here’s the weird thing. Maybe I just
have an eerie relationship with past and present right now due to finally having had the time this last week to
read the final Harry Potter book (seems like the dead don’t really stay dead
very well in the wizarding world) but all day my mind has been inhabited with
the ghosts of Thanksgivings past. It’s
been a long while since this day hasn’t been so full of making new memories
that I had time to slow down and enjoy the old ones.

And my,
but we’ve had some marvelous Thanksgivings. Thanksgivings with family – parents
and kids and grandkids — and some with good, good old friends. Many in this old house, a couple in Florida,
even some in other countries. As I
cooked though the morning, and as we got the food on the table (and ate til we
could hardly breathe), Jer and I reminisced and laughed and remembered. It may
have been just the two of us this year, but the table was crowded and we were content.

had way too much food, though. Too bad
ghosts can’t eat!

And here’s
the dinner report:

heritage turkey was extraordinary! Small, for just us two, but perfect. We used a Weber Grill recipe, of all things – brined it overnight in apple
juice, salt, and herbs. Roasted it on
the grill, breast down in broth for an hour then right side up for an
hour. Kept the white meat amazingly juicy
and the broth made the best gravy I have ever had in my life – rich and appley
(I added some cider), with a slight hint of smokiness from the applewood on the
grill. Sensational.

all the sides were delish too. Roasted root
veg (carrots, parsnips and rutabaga) with a splash of sherry vinegar; roasted Brussels
sprouts with applewood smoked bacon and an apple cider glaze; candied sweets;
mashed potatoes; bread dressing; cranberry chutney; and Gujerati-style green
beans with garlic and black mustard seed. Dessert? You’re kidding, right?

yeah, and Jer baked a loaf of bread from this
in Wednesday’s NYT.  Pretty amazing — it has the no-knead loaf
beat all to hell for convenience, and it tastes great too.  Thanks to
Kelley at the Almost Sustainable
for the heads up on it.

8 Comments Add yours

  1. Deborah Dowd says:

    Too much food is just as much a Thanksgiving tradition as the turkey and stuffing! I was on business travel last week too and T-day just snuck up on me, I feel like I just now got to sit down!
    Hope you had a great day!


  2. Lydia says:

    Small Thanksgiving meals for two are the norma among our friends this year, too. It was nice, and a change from the 20-30 who are often at our table.


  3. Ed Bruske says:

    I would love to taste that turkey


  4. kelley says:

    you’re welcome! i became overly concerned that mine wasn’t going to turn out, so i just used it for the dressing…and nearly spoiled my dinner eating the last quarter loaf while cooking. it was a little salty, but perfect with unsalted butter. yum.


  5. Cynthia says:

    Those memories must have been like a warm blanket of comfort.
    Sorry I haven’t visited recently, everytime I check the feed for your blog I keep getting a message that it cannot update 😦


  6. Bea says:

    A meal like this is a great way to be rewarded after too many hours driving around. Scrumptious.


  7. Sarah A. says:

    I agree wholeheartedly — Matt and Mandy’s birds beat the heck out of the Broad Breasted Beasts we’ve had in the past. Even without a brine (which I’ve just got to try next time– it sounds so good!), the meat had fabulous flavor and texture without being gamy or dry.


  8. We had four at our house this year. Yours looks lovely. I hope you’re doing well.


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