Saturday, November 27, 2010

brunch and boy talk for Thanksgiving

My thanksgiving meal had an OMELET STATION!

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I am thankful for BRUNCH!

(Hahaha, sidebar: at some point, I am doing a photo retrospective called People I Photographed for my Blog Whom I Didn’t Realize Were Glaring at Me)

So Thanksgiving: my grandma is not super nimble on her feet anymore, so rather than move her to someone’s house, we went to see her at her retirement village land.

Expecting mashed potatoes made from flakes and limp canned green bean casserole, imagine my delight to discover that not only was there classy Thanksgiving food, there was also their typical BRUNCH being served!

Guys, I live for brunch!

Picture all the delicious bagel fixin’s: smoked trout, lox, capers, tomato, hardboiled egg:

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In the less-healthy but oh-so-awesome category, fresh baked BISCUITS!

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An entirely respectable salad bar (though I had to laugh that it included prunes)

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I apparently didn’t even bother to photograph the actual Thanksgiving meal (they had turkey, mashed potatoes, the whole shebang) but did capture these nods to seasonality:

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Muffins ‘n scones ‘n warm winter bevvies! There is just something about apple cider. I drink juice beverages about once a year since the ensuing blood sugar spike they cause often makes me mean and nasty. However, I can’t not have hot apple cider.

And, obvi, scads of desserts, including…

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Pumpkin... moose?

For me, at an all you can eat buffet, I showed positively heroic self control.

Beginning with brunchy loveliness, I had a made-to-order mushroom omelet; smoked salmon, trout, and veggie fixins (I love love love capers!); and because it was just necessary, a rockin’ biscuit:

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And got my veggies in, via a taste of cranberry slaw (which was delicious; I went back for more!), and in a nod to the holiday, some glazed carrots and sweet potato casserole (though I avoided the marshmallows… no one on either side of my family has ever made marshmallow-topped sweet potatoes and I kind of just don’t get it)

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All together, with a cute seasonal placemat. Kudos, retirement village. You have a nice vibe going!

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Also got s’more slaw (I am always putting craisins in my coleslaw now!) and a bowl of fruit.

Obviously, dessert was a foregone conclusion. I went for aminiature sampler platter.

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From your ten o’clock going clockwise, that’s cranberry upside-down cake (of which I ate the top); a sliver of pumpkin pie; the pumpkin moose (which turned out to be a nice light vanilla cake with a airy pumpkin whip filling); and apple crumble (which was awesome and not too sweet and I went back for more).

Very pleasant and not excessively indulgent. My grandma, showing that my eating habits may be genetic, ate a salad, a biscuit, and an extremely large piece of cheesecake. She is awesome.

I went home for a bit after that and took a long walk around the neighborhood (I think some people found a person walking along on Thanksgiving depressing looking, hahahaha. Little did they know I was just filling the time between meals).

Then I headed off to my aunt’s house. But, of course, not before making something. When I am a houseguest, I can’t not bring something. And when I see large quantities of food in my house, I can’t not prepare things with them.

Thus, a gratin was born (y’all, this was GOOD).

A layer of thinly-sliced, washed but not peeled, red potato:

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Then, a layer of golden delicious apple, (which I totally stole from work after the kids ignored them for several weeks) also sliced thin.

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Now the yum factor: I’d found a recipe that had called for just pure melted butter, in vair large quantities, on top of these, but that seemed excessive, particularly in light of the day’s earlier indulgences.

So, I made a blend of some real butter (obviously), canola oil, some milk to get everything steamed and tenderized, and for flavah, a sprig of fresh rosemary from the deck, and a wee bit of honey. And salt and pepper, of course.

I nuked it to melt the butter and to infuse everyone with rosemary loveliness.

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Then dumped half of that on top of the potatoes and apples (or pommes and pommes de terre). Then I sprinkled on some sharp cheddar cheese (yes, still from the cheese prize). I didn’t use a lot because I wanted this to be light. Use your judgment.

I repeated the same layers (potatoes, apples, rosemary butter awesomeness, and cheese).

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Then packed that up in my car and drove to my auntie’s. Spent a lovely leisurely afternoon reading Vogue, hanging out and talking.

At a certain point my uncle Tim started assembling appetizer ingredients:

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And then deposited this fantastic thing in my hand:

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Cornbread (actually, jalapeno cornbread) topped with smoked salmon, light sour cream, and capers.

WHOA GUYS.

(Also, Malindi, thanks for the purple nail polish! I really like it! Though am terrible at applying it!)

We kept dinner decidedly on the light side.

An arugula salad with scallions, which I tossed with a simple mixture of olive oil and lemon…

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And ze GRATIN!

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Potato-Apple-Rosemary Gratin

2 1/2 potatoes (or however many make two complete layers in your pan, thinly sliced. I used redskin.)
2 1/2 apples (again, or two layers. I used Golden Delicious.)
1 T butter
1 T canola oil
2 T milk
1 large sprig rosemary
1/2 tsp. honey
salt and pepper to taste
sharp cheddar, or your favorite cheese, to taste

In a greased, large tart or pie pan, make one layer of thinly sliced potatoes, then another of thinly sliced apples.

Microwave butter though honey until butter is melted and rosemary flavor is infused (I did it for two- 25 second intervals and stirred thoroughly). Then pour half of that mixture (about 2 tablespoons) on top of your potato-apple layers. Then sprinkle with grated cheese to taste.

Repeat with another layer of potatoes, another of apples, the remainder of the butter mix, and more cheese to taste.

Bake in a 375 oven for one hour, covered with foil. Then remove foil and bake another 15 minutes, or until potatoes are tender and gratin is browned to your liking.

SO GOOD.

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Simple, elegant, and nicely light after a day of excess.

So, yknow, then there was room for pumpkin pie.

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Made by my aunt’s friend, this featured a graham cracker crust (!) and utterly creamy flecks of what turned out to be cream cheese (!!). It was exceptional.

I’d already had some tea and it seemed silly to waste another glass, so I had some wine in a mug. (Shiraz, picked out by Tim, vair vair delicious. I love knowing people who know things about wine, as I do not).

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The mug’s message seemed entirely fitting…

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I have so much fun hanging out with Jeanie. And of course, my hairy cousins, Roger and Daisy.

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We watched a Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, which seriously I cannot remember the last time I saw and was just as magical!

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And I got to catch up with my cousin Ashley. Who initially did not actually want to be photographed.

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But it was a wonderful gossip-filled evening. And obviously we facebook stalked the important boys in our lives. And then just amusing people in our lives. God, what did people do before facebook?

One amusing and fairly unsuccessful photo shoot later…

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(my favorite because Peppermint Patty’s in the background!)

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(we came for a visit from the mother country)

And this is when Tim told us (based on a chat about facebook that is better kept in my family) to envision shirtless men on an island hahahahhaahahahaha.

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This year I am thankful for family and laughter!

3 comments:

Gabriela. said...

WHAT1S UP WITH THAT BUFFET?!
Hahahahaha, Holy YUMINESS.
Seriously, NOW I'm jealous. Bahaha ;)

From Here to There. In Purple. said...

brunch is my FAVORITE. i love that you get the best of three worlds (breakfast lunch and dessert) :)

Sarah @ The Smart Kitchen said...

Thank you for avoiding the marshmallows.

You have done me proud.

Also, I'm not really a brunch person, but for some reason buffet brunches make me happy.