'The true cook is the perfect blend, the only perfect blend, of artist and philosopher. He knows his worth: he holds in his palm the happiness of mankind, the welfare of generations yet unborn.'

Monday, 26 November 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

It's holiday time! I went to two friends' houses for thanksgiving this year. It was a busy schedule for a holiday, but one that's filled with laughter, joy and lots and lots of food. I'm thankful that I didn't have to do any savoury cooking and could just show up and be fed - how much better could it get?

Wednesday 21nd November

Arrived at Mark and Jaewon's house in Frankfort, Kentucky with Tim, Hitomi, Assaf, Noa and their cute little baby Mickey.

Mark, the victim of our thanksgiving dinner. He'll be slaving in the next two days.
Assaf and his 18-month-old baby Mickey.
Tim and Hitomi.

We just pottered about while everyone else was busy!

Mark's Grilled Salmon with Lime Butter Sauce / Noa's Mansaf.

Noa's variation on Tabule salad: with quinoa, sheep feta cheese, parsley, olive oil, sun-dried tomato paste, lemon, cucumber, onion, garlic, tomato and walnuts.

After dinner, Mark started brining the turkey.

Hitomi rolling out the crust for pear tarts.

Post-dinner Monopoly Deal card game!

Thursday 22nd November

A busy cooking day! Mark and Jaewon cooked and cleaned while Assaf and Tim were practising piano on electric keyboards. Noa was looking after her baby, and I prepared one savoury tart and the sweet pies.

Pumpkin pie for breakfast!

I wanted to make a puff pastry mushroom tart with onion purée, and Noa was entrusted with the most unpleasant task of chopping the onion...

Freeing the poor turkey from the brine.

Jaewon obviously didn't like the look of the turkey in the kitchen sink...

Green tea latte helped us get through the day...

The only savoury food I made: puff pastry mushroom tart with red onion purée, topped with cep and portobello mushrooms. Noa didn't eat pork, so I only sprinkled cured pork slivers on three quarters of the tart.

Gravy made from the turkey jus.

Mark used a meat thermometer to gauge the inner temperature of the bird. It was really succulent for a turkey!
Jaewon's pumpkin soup.

Roast turkey, Mashed Yukon Gold Potatoes, Root Vegetable Gratin, Cranberry-orange sauce, Pumpkin soup.

Pear and honey tart.
Derby tart: I modelled this on Joe Pastry's recipe but didn't have light corn syrup or a pie pan... so I fiddled with the filling and baked it as a tart. It turned out much better than I could have hoped for and was definitely the best pie of the day!
Pumpkin pie, obviously.

Dessert time.

Post-dinner card game again!

Thanks to Mark and Jaewon for hosting us!

Friday 23nd November

We departed with Mark and Jaewon unwillingly and returned to Cincinnati around noon. I stocked up on Chinese grocery in the afternoon, and lured Hitomi into making Kimchi nabe for dinner.

Asian food for a change!

After dinner, I headed to the McCane's in Adams County, Ohio to visit John's family and grandparents for two days.

The McCane's past midnight.

I brought this Asian-style steamed pumpkin and coconut cake to share. Obviously not the usual treatment Americans would give to pumpkin.... I'm not sure if they really liked it!
John and his mum.

Saturday 24nd November

Idle day. Visited John's relatives and watched the movie Prometheus!
Outside the McCane's house. Such an open field!

Mrs McCane and her father.
Thanksgiving dinner fare!

The McCane's already started decorating their Christmas tree. Domestic bliss.

Can't wait for Christmas to come!
I know it sounds cliché, but I'm truly thankful for all the wonderful friends I met this holiday. Good food and great company are probably the best things one could ask for - obviously I'm not quite there yet, but I think these are the kind of memories that we'll look back on with fond affection as we get old. I'm also thinking of those friends who I haven't seen in ages and my family who are very far away. Thank you for being there and my life experience wouldn't be the same without each of you!

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