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ix nay on the urkey tay

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I suppose people have completed their festive meals, had their family brawls, drunk too much, and are ready to pass out by now? Ahhh, the good old days. Jeremy and I try not to travel over the Thanksgiving holiday. Driving or flying with potential delays, death, or dismemberment due to weather or stupidity or both can really take years off of your life. We really do cherish our sanity. This year we turned down a few invitations and opted for a quiet meal at home.

As expected, I ditched the notion of a turkey dinner in favor of something easier and in my opinion, far tastier. Rather than one ginormous blowout meal, we grazed through three courses starting at noon. My original plan involved surf and turf, but driving home from the grocery store earlier in the week, I came to the conclusion that I was planning an obscene amount of food for Thanksgiving. Thus we had surf and surf and surf… Turf got booted to tomorrow.

In the morning I prepared parts of dessert and made some treats for my pup. I cook all the time, so much so that the dog will snooze under the kitchen table as I work or wander into the great room to soak up all of the sunlight striking the Earth’s surface. She knows better than to beg while I prep. Somehow, she clues in when I am making something for her and she’ll come around sniffing at the edge of the table or she’ll plant herself squarely in front of me, waiting ever so patiently…


kaweah loves squirrels



Jeremy and I started off with scallop carpaccio in ponzu sauce and some Japanese cucumber salad. Raw scallops are better than butter.

start light



An hour later, we sat down for a bowl of steamed Alaskan King crab legs. I am crazy about crab – much more so than lobster. My favorite crab ever is the Chesapeake Bay Blue. I grew up catching and eating them every summer. My family would steam huge piles of the blue crabs, peel and eat them dipped in red wine vinegar and ginger. Sooo good.

king isn’t such a bad substitute



That was a lot of crab. We gathered the dog and went to a local trail to walk off the drowse and breathe the lovely cold air. We actually received some snowfall the previous day – a few inches… not quite the few feet all itchy Coloradan skiers are hoping for right about now. Our nights have been chilly though, -5F for tonight. The dog had a blast running what little brains she has out. The lake was frozen, but not hard enough for the hockey players to come out yet.

frozen lake in late day sun



Walking along the edge of the tiny lake I noticed beautiful ice formations dotting the surface. It’s just ground frost, but it had developed enough structure to be more complex than usual. I love living here because I get to observe natural phenomena that really get a geek like me going.

a garden of ice blossoms



Feeling invigorated after noodling around in the snow, we returned for our main course: lobster. I don’t cook lobster often because it is expensive and I’m always afraid of screwing it up. I consulted with my dad about the lobster. He is a great cook and loves to experiment with all manner of food. He suggested a fairly easy and no nonsense method which turned out beautifully – on the grill no less! It paired well with a generalist Louis Jadot French Chard which we had been sipping along with all of the courses. A bit much with the scallops, but just fine on the crab. I would have preferred a lighter and fruitier white with the scallops, but then I’d be too drunk to type now, wouldn’t I?

8 minutes: grilled asparagus and grilled lobster



After watching a DVD and digesting our staggered meal, we went in for the kill. I really love me some pumpkin pie like nobody’s business. Forget about the crust and the fixings – the pumpkin filling part of the pie will do me just fine. But I didn’t make pie this year, I made pumpkin mousse… and we both loved it. I didn’t love the top layer of pumpkin jello, but the pie crust base, the whipped cream, and especially the crystalized ginger worked wonderfully together. Even the dark chocolate drizzle added an extra dimension to the ensemble. Recipes to follow later.

pumpkin mousse with crystalized ginger



Of course, this holiday isn’t solely about the food. It’s about giving thanks. Maybe you’re thankful for the food or perhaps you’re thankful for the stuff you own or thankful for your health… Me? I have had to think about this a lot lately and it really boils down to two things. Not a day passes that I am not grateful for the wonderful and amazing people in my life: family, friends, my pup, and even random strangers. Not a day. And I’m thankful that I recognize it and can express to them how much they mean to me. Happy Thanksgiving.

10 nibbles at “ix nay on the urkey tay”

  1. raji says:

    hi
    i think this is one of the most visually pleasing blogs i’ve come across. i loved the recipe for almond toffee and definitely intend to try it. i loved the step-by-step instructions and the photos are super. could you post a recipe for marshmallows?

  2. peabody says:

    Absoluetly amazing. We never go traditional on Christmas…we have surf and turf…though your surf looks far better than mine!
    We did have a wonderful T-day dinner though(which we went out for):

    Autumn Harvest of Sea and Land
    Lightly Smoked King Salmon with White Sturgeon Caviar and Cauliflower Cream
    Fennel Stuffed Puget Sound Mediterranean Mussels
    Chestnut Soup with Lavender-Skewered Foie Gras
    Serve with 2001 Soter Vineyards Brut Rose

    Slowly Cooked Pacific Black Cod
    On Truffled Beet-Leek-and-Cabbage Terrine with Sea Urchin Sauce
    Served with 2006 WllaKenzie Estate Oregon Pinot Gris

    Harvest of the Earth’s Carpet
    Warm Salad of Black Trumpets Mushrooms
    With Rutabaga and Autumn Squash Puree
    Candied Onions and Winter Chicories
    Served with 2006 DeLille Cellars Chaleur Estate Blacn

    Oregon Fallow Venison
    Hazelnut Crusted Loin
    With White Chanterelles, Boletes, and Black Cabbage
    Served with Lachini Pinot Noir

    American Bronze Heritage Turkey
    Herb-Stuffed Breast and Thigh Stuffed Housemade Sausage
    Wild Morel Mushroom Dressing and Turkey Giblet Gravy
    Served with Brick House Gamay Noir, Biodynamic

    Monteillet Larzac Goat’s Cheese
    With Walnut Bread and Herbfarm Honey
    Served with 2006 Northwest Totem Cellars Late-Harvest Viognier

    Cranberry Gelee
    With Persimmons and Douglas Fir Sorbet

    Giving of Thanks Desserts
    Poached Seckle Pear with Dried Fruit Strudel
    Pumpkin Confit
    Candided Pumpkin Seed Semi-Freddo

    Selection of Small Treats
    Hazelnut Biscotti
    Vanilla Palmiers
    Served with Coffee or Tea
    Milk Chocolate Chestnut Cream
    Apricot-Rose Geranium Dark Chocolate Truffle
    Autumn White Chocolate Mendiants
    Served with Vintage 1863 Barbeito Boal Madeira

  3. jenyu says:

    Raji – thanks for dropping by and for the nice comments! I haven’t done marshmallows before and I don’t see it in my immediate future – sorry! If you find a good recipe, feel free to pass it along :)

    Peabody – you naughty girl! Look at all of that amazing food you ate! YOU ATE ALL OF THAT?!?! Wowowowowowow. I sincerely hope you two had sense enough after the food coma to bring a morsel or two home for your pup. Mmmm, what a fantastic menu. Let’s trade next year :)

  4. StickyGooeyCreamyChewy says:

    I’m jealous! I would have enjoyed your meal so much better. I wish I could get away with a non-traditional Thanksgiving dinner. I don’t really even like turkey! Unfortunately, my family is not what you would call “flexible”, to say the least.

    Thank you so much for the great advice you gave me earlier. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it. Your pictures are gorgeous! Hopefully, someday mine will be half as nice.

    Have a great weekend!

    Susan

  5. Curt says:

    Jenyu, nice looking spread… My lab, Woody, would know when I was making something for him, too. He would always be interested when I was cooking something, but when it was for him, he just KNEW. I’d do my best to act like it was no different than any other time, but something was there for him to pick up on, and he was always right.

  6. Wendy says:

    That is one gorgeous dog! What a sweetie.
    Your meal sounds amazing.

  7. Jacelyn says:

    Is that a black labrador? My bf has a dog just like yours, but bigger. Yours look really adorable. =)

  8. jenyu says:

    Susan – I actually like turkey, just not at Thanksgiving *snicker*. You are very welcome and I look forward to seeing what you cook up next!

    Curt – aren’t dogs great like that? Of course, I know of few other breeds quite as food obsessed as labs ;)

    Wendy – awww, thanks. She’s a good girl (mostly).

    Jacelyn – thanks! Yup, she’s a black lab. Not the sharpest tack in the box, but a sweet girl. She’s small for a lab, about 55 lbs. but in excellent shape. Everyone thinks she’s a puppy on the trail, but she’s almost 9 years old!

  9. holybasil says:

    Scallop carpaccio! Oh la la Jen. How marvelous that must’ve been. And your pumpkin mousse – with beloved ginger! Look at your plate decoration…. Now that’s a work of art :)

  10. jenyu says:

    HB – Over time you will begin to notice that my decorations are the simplest and easiest way to decorate because I am completely incapable of drawing a straight line. The decoration for the plate was easy… warm some chopped bittersweet chocolate with heavy cream until smooth and blended. Pour into ziploc bag. Snip the corner very very teeny. Zig zag the stream of warm chocolate glaze back and forth. That’s as competent as I get ;) By the way, I often wonder what sort of game of Russian roulette I must be playing by preparing scallop carpaccio in Colorado of all places! oy :)

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