Friday, November 23, 2007

RevGalBlogPals Friday Five:

Courtesy of the RevGalBlogPals, here is the Friday Five, oddly enough, pretty much what I was going to blog about anyway!

1. Did you go elsewhere for the day, or did you have visitors at your place instead? How was it?
We were at our house and had visitors. My sister and cousin came for turkey and then my brother, his wife, daughter and her husband and son, my nephew's girlfriend (nephew is in Congo with his NGO), my aunt and uncle and their daughter and her two sons came for dessert.
So here's what we ate:
mixed nuts, little pickles and olives, (no shrimp cocktail as all shrimp available were farm-raised "drenched in petroleum" -- Maine shrimp season starts Dec. 1 so hope to have it at Christmas), roast Maine turkey with standard sage and onion dressing, gravy made by my cousin, mashed Maine potatoes, homemade Maine cranberry sauce, sweet potato/peach/cashew bake, carrots glazed with an orange-ginger sauce, classic green bean casserole, a mixture of buttercup squash and another kind I don't know the name of, dark orange with deep orange flesh -- with a little Maine maple syrup stirred in -- and the traditional brown-n-serve rolls. To drink we had sparkling apple-cranberry juice from the Pajaro Valley in California, not far from Monterey where Onkel Hankie Pants and I first met.
Then we cleared up and washed dishes.
When the others arrived we had: pumpkin pie (two kinds, one I made with eggs and one my niece made with no eggs); apple pie (niece); chocolate spice cake (niece); pecan pie (I made); cranberry chocolate cheesecake (Onkel H made); and for me, the piƩce de resistance, butterscotch meringue pie made from scratch by my cousin. Coffee, tea, and cider. Looking at photo albums, talking, playing Set, younger people playing hide and seek. The dog behaved reasonably well (he did have to be sequestered during the actual eating of dinner).
Nobody got shot, my definition of a great family gathering!

2. Main course: If it was the turkey, the whole turkey, and nothing but the turkey, was it prepared in an unusual way? Or did you throw tradition to the winds and do something different?
It seems everybody has a different idea about the best way to cook turkey. We got a local turkey through our meat market, didn't brine it, cooked it according to directions in the book Thanksgiving 101. Unfortunately I forgot to remove the tinfoil from the breast so it was not photogenic, but delicious nonetheless. I also used my trussing needle and kitchen string with great skill.

3. Other than the meal, do you have any Thanksgiving customs that you observe every year?
Our new custom is to sing the grace I posted a couple of posts ago, which we did.

4. The day after Thanksgiving is considered a major Christmas shopping day by most US retailers. Do you go out bargain hunting and shop ‘till you drop, or do you stay indoors with the blinds closed? Or something in between?
We definitely opened the blinds as it was a beautiful sunny (read: free heat) day. But didn't go anywhere other than as necessary to walk the dog. I celebrate Buy Nothing Day and it is very relaxing.

5. Let the HOLIDAY SEASON commence! When will your Christmas decorations go up?
Sometime before December 21 when Sisterknits arrives! I noticed a few folks in the neighborhood had very tasteful, subtle decorations up -- minilights on evergreens, candles in the window kind of thing. It's such an early Thanksgiving this year that it doesn't seem like time yet. However, I did spend a few minutes on the computer making a pre-Advent music playlist -- it's mostly secular winter-type music, with a few numbers such as "It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas" and then some Ave Marias and "A Winter's Solstice" music themed to snow, etc.

I hope you had a happy Thanksgiving too! Leave me a comment if you don't already participate in the Friday Five.


Cathy said...

I did participate in the Friday five.

I loved the comment at the end of #1 that no one got shot - I have a friend who works for 911 and says that Thanksgiving is one of the hardest days for domestic disputes. I believe it.

I would have loved to have been at your meal. It sounds so... Mainish.

Singing Owl said...

Thanks for stopping by Owl's Song. Your Thanksgiving sounds dee-lish! Several people have posted about "brined" turkey...I have no idea what that is. Except it involves salt. New way to do turkey?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for stopping by my place. Hope you will visit again... it's warmer here than up north. :) We have Lutherans by the gaggle around here. SC has 163 Lutheran churches... with a seminary in Columbia. We really are like Minnesota... except our mosquitos are smaller... and it's NEVER that cold here.

revhipchick said...

the cranberry chocolate dessert sounds scrumptious! yumyum!

sounds like a lovely holiday!

Auntie Knickers said...

Brining turkey (or chicken) involves soaking it overnight in a solution of water, salt, and sometimes sugar. It's a big deal with Cook's Illustrated magazine and the like. I've heard of people who've done it with good results. However, I've also heard: don't do it with a kosher turkey (already salted in the kashering process); some supermarket turkeys may not react well; and most recently, and a great comfort to me, that if you get a nice fresh local farm-raised turkey, brining is not necessary. And I did feel that the turkey I cooked was as juicy as one would wish.

Auntie Knickers said...

About the cranberry chocolate cheesecake: the original recipe came from the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, I think, and was supposed to be reduced-calorie, using Splenda in place of some of the sugar and Egg Beaters in place of some of the egg, maybe some sort of margarine substitution too. But now, we just use a very similar recipe I found on the Internet and everything is full-calorie, except we do use Neufchatel (low-fat cream cheese) when we can get it. Portions tend to be small, anyway. The interesting thing is that the chocolate is all in the crust, and the cranberry is all in the topping, so the cheesecake part could be whatever you are used to making.