I think, though, that it's not the actual volume of food in our case (although there was a mountain of it) it's the all day nibbling. Good thing we had plenty of tupperware for the leftovers though.
As we recover from the extravaganza of cooking, here are some images from the party, our very "low-key" Thanksgiving.
We arrive for the "relaxed, turkey-less, let's not overdo it this time" Thanksgiving celebration, with two bags and a box of food, knives, roaster and let's not forget the meat thermometer.
(Not visible in this picture, the roast, the wine, Brenda's Radicchio Salad, green bean salad and carrots, as well as her contribution of noshies: cheeses, fruit, nuts.)
(Oh, and not pictured on the left is Bill's "Pig Head" shepherd's pie and his Pig Head apple pie as well as pumpkin pie, dinner rolls, Maureen's Pea Soup and her 2 focaccias. Oh, and Mike's wines. Let us not forget those! And, um, a round of Vacherin.)
Like I said, low-key.
"Welcome, oh ye, who bring us pork chops," sayeth Zootie. "Come sit upon this deck beside me and we shall toss the squeaky toy anon..."
Yes, Bill and Maureen have built a lovely new deck on the back of their bungalow and with the weather in its Bay Area summertime glory, we plan to sit outside and enjoy it to its fullest extent.
But soft, what cooking awaits? First we must get the roast in the oven. Cuisine Magazine's trussing technique, while incredibly complicated, seems to have done the job.
Because brining is always a good idea, we decide to brine the roast overnight, which is not part of the recipe, but we think it's a move that's going to pay off.
Eric then creates a rub out of olive oil, salt pepper and herbs which he liberally lathers on the roast.
"This is one big hunk of meat," he remarks. Why yes, it is.
To keep us going while we work -- you know, lest we faint from hunger or some such -- Brenda has provided a lovely spread of cheese including Saint Andre, Keen's Cheddar and goat cheese with cranberries. There are also some fabulous olives, including ones that are such bright green that they almost look raw. They're not though, they're salty and succulent and I could eat about a hundred of them. We also nosh on some small nicoise olives and a mix of meaty Italian Cerignolas and other varieties as well.
In the mean time, Maureen pulls a focaccia with pesto and one with caramelized onions out of the oven -- you know, to help make room for the roast. Yes, go ahead -- help yourselves.
So far, we're really keeping the eating under control. Hah.
The inspiration for this year's pig -- rather than turkey--themed dinner was Bill's discovery that the thing he'd always thought was just a decorative pig medallion hanging on his kitchen wall, is in fact a cast iron pie dish. It's true. He made the Shepherd's Pie and the Apple Pie in it and let me tell you, there's magic in that thar snout.
There's magic in that snout too -- but of a different, wet dog, variety. Dogs are great though. When you drop a bit of cheese on the floor you say, "Here, Zootie, here Zoots -- right here," and like magic, it's snurfled up and lo, the floor is clean.
"Go on, Heater, go on... you like cheddar."
But I digress.
The weather is fine -- well, okay, it was finer the day before, but it's still way nicer than it looked in New York -- and the table is set. Wine is flowing Radicchio, Apple Pistachio and Parmagiano Salad is in the offing. Let the eating -- um... begin. Oh, wait. We already started.
While the roast rests and the mushroom sauce that Eric whips up for our vegetarian participants simmers, we start with Maureen's pea soup -- for which we're quite convinced, she has stolen the souls of some young peas.
Then there are sauteed Bay Scallops with mushroom sauce for some and for the rest, there are Brontosaurus Burgers with Yam Tournes and pearl onions.
I'm not kidding. Those chops could have choked a whale, which, coincidentally, is exactly what I will feel like after having consumed half of one. How some of the guys put away two of them is a complete and total mystery, I believe, having something to do with relativistic length contraction and the collapse of spacetime.
And not like that's the be all and end all of the dinner either, because in our food-induced stupor we didn't take pictures of the Shepherd's Pie, the carrot dish, the green bean dish or the dinner rolls. (See November 23rd's entry for images of the cranberry relish and Braeburn applesauce.)
But we are of hearty stock, we intrepid diners. Bring forth the Pumpkin Pie. And the Apple Pie.
And the whipped cream. And the Straus Family Dairy eggnog.
Life is rough for us in the Bay Area. I know you can tell. As idyllic as this all looks, know that it can get a little chilly in the end of the evening.
Yes it can.