oh man...i was sooo looking forward to yesterday. that's when we celebrated American Thanksgiving Day. as we had missed Canadian Thanksgiving Day - we were thrilled to be able to celebrate yesterday!
jambaloney had gone into town a few days prior to pick up whatever we didn't already have. and i planned out our traditional menu. our day started off pretty gloriously, slept in a little, all the snow was melting, and we drank our coffee and tea in the hottub.
what started out as a glorious day very quickly turned into a "SciFiChick kinda' Thanksgiving Dinner"! oh SciFi - i had good intentions too! wrong!
our menu was simple and one that we have been making for years! with great success!
turkey, stuffing, gravey, mashed potatoes, honeyed carrots, maple syrup turnip mash, brussel sprouts with bacon, and ginger/pear cranberry sauce. although it may seem like a lot of complicated items, with proper preparation and timing - i can do this menu in my sleep!!!
have a look at our 2009 Thanksgiving Dinner (we didn't do Thanksgiving Dinner in 2010 as that's when we were showing our house for sale):
that's my famous stuffing - this stuff is so full of flavour and goodness and the croutons are home-made! next up - my now Cape Breton famous ginger-pear-cranberry sauce.
look at this beautiful turkey-drippings gravey!
and here is the spread that we put on that year for just ourselves. and yes - those are edible nasturtiums decorating the bowls.
honestly - i have made this Dinner so many times and have never screwed it up! but i guess the gods conspired against me yesterday or something! or, i guess SciFiChick and i really are sisters from another mother! because she royally messed up her dinner yesterday as did jambaloney and i. and after reading her post about messing it all up, and laughing, not at her but with her, and seeing how honest she was about screwing up their first Thanksgiving - i had to come here and be brutally honest, too. oh ya - we royally messed up our favourite holiday and our first Thanksgiving dinner here at the Manor in grand style.
first up - the stuffing. i was sure that we still had wild rice. we made several prep run purchases when we first got here and one of those preps was a 5lb bag of wild rice. i guess we ate it all up since then and haven't gotten around to replacing it. and what i thought was a container of wild rice turned out to be korean sticky rice - which is not so good for stuffing. no prob - we'll just leave the rice out! i normally use dried cranberries in the stuffing but because we have so many fresh ones, i tried using fresh ones in the stuffing - not a good idea! they made the hard-as-rock-homemade-croutons, that normally retain their texture, a big mushy blob! adding very healthy hemp-seed hearts, in place of wild rice, just contributed to the mushiness! woops - forgot to pick up celery (the celery that we grew this summer was a total bust)! all in all the stuffing just sucked! and we wasted those delicious giblets when we could have made giblet soup - arghghghgh!
moving right along - we thought that using frozen brussel sprouts would work just like fresh ones. wrong again. i steamed those babies for only a minute or two and they came out soggy as crap. oh well - they will firm up when i fry them in bacon grease. nadda chance. those were crap too!
because we have such a tiny stove we had to pull out our hotplate. and cooked the bacon on it. or tried. the bacon just went watery and we ended up adding additional bacon grease, from our stash, to it. the hotplate took forever to heat up, but when it finally did - it went into overdrive. we went from cooking bacon for almost a half hour to it burning our honeyed carrots in minutes. so both of those were dismal failures as well!
at this point we have dirtied every pot and pan in the house - jambaloney is washing pots and pans in the sink AND in the bathtub (look - ya gotta get creative when you live in the middle of nowhere and don't have any counterspace!) - and that's when we realized we couldn't bake the potatoes - because the turkey was in the oven - so we would have to boil them. and because we had planned on baking them - we dug up russet browns. they are great for baking first and then mashing - they are delicious! but they suck when steamed. but at this point we were going for broke to just try and finish and have a nice meal. but they came out like soggy, whipped with too much cream, potatoes.
the turnip was steamed for almost 45 minutes before i said enough is enough and pulled it out to mash. into hard little chunks. not even the butter, maple syrup or cream could save it. it tasted good but what was supposed to be a nice mash turned into nice, maple-syrup coated little hard balls of turnip. oh man!
the gravey....well....the drippings just didn't seem strong enough. or turkey enough. so i took one of those packets of turkey gravey and added it to the drippings. suddenly it became very dark brown - not unappetizing looking - just very dark brown. something was wrong. i took the packet out of the garbage and realized i had added a packet of ROAST gravey....oh someone kill me now!
on the plus side the turkey came out beautifully moist and browned and delicious! so that is our saving grace - we can still cook a turkey!
all throughout this mess of a dinner - jambaloney kept saying "it's okay babe, we'll enjoy it anyway". he has a way of doing that and keeping me calm when i want to climb the walls.
so after cooking all day (from about 10am until 5pm) - and we had to cook all day in batches as our stove and oven are sooo small, and although our stove has 4 elements, you can only use 2 at a time - unless you are using smurf pots. and there is no counter space in the kitchen - we had dishes everywhere for the whole day and were taking turns keeping the dishes being washed and dried and used again - well, after all of that - we took the time to lay out a spread and have our dinner at our dining room table.
here's a pic of the spread (nice and blurry eh?):
and here's a pic of the dining room table:
we set up our plates and sat down to what was not a very enjoyable meal. jambaloney kept saying, "oh the brussel sprouts aren't that soggy" or "well - the turkey is really good"...and then we just laughed and talked and gave thanks for all of the things we are happy for...and picked at the stuff we liked best - for me, the turkey, the potatoes (i'll eat any kind of potatoes!) and the roast/turkey gravey. for jambaloney - it was the turkey, the cranberry sauce and the turnip mash. both of us stayed away from the burned carrots and the soggy brussel sprouts.
afterwords, we gathered up the last of the dishes and got 'em all washed and sorted. then we took our glass of wine and did what any self-respecting cooks would do when they royally screwed up a meal - we got in the hottub!
all is well that ends well. and we did spend two days remembering and sharing all of the things that we were/are thankful for on our first Thanksgiving Day at Framboise Manor. we had lots of things to be thankful for. but not that dinner!
we pray that next year will be less SciFiChick and more Gordon Ramsay. no offense Sci!
(make sure to go and read her post! it's hilarious!)