I like to think we could have looked like this, but alas, we didn’t! I know Thanksgiving is behind us but we still have Holiday events to plan in the next month and through the end of the year. I thought some of our Thanksgiving plans might have some suggestions for your upcoming get togethers and I’ve included a recipe.
Let’s start at the beginning of my visit to Blue Island with Tom Hawley and Tom Mantel for their annual feast. When I arrived on Tuesday morning Tommy (Tom M) picked me up from the Metra and we went directly to DeMars our usual breakfast place to fortify ourselves for the tasks at hand. Tommy had already done most of the shopping, including the two turkeys and gotten most of the ingredients for our Thanksgiving dinner for 14, of course, we had to make our way to our usual grocery store, (whenever I visit it is a must) Mariano’s, to get more goodies and forgotten stuff. Naturally, our visit included a stop at the wine bar for our customary glass of wine, mine a lovely rosé Tommy’s a nice white. We also picked up some cheeses and paté for that night. While perusing the aisles I found three different duck presentations, I have never seen them in a grocery before and I adore duck…I must put them on my shopping list….a duck breast, a duck confit and a half of duck, pictured below…can’t wait to try them. While I love duck I am not a fan of cooking it…I keep you updated on how it is, as Ina Garten would say, what could be bad!
One of the main reasons we went shopping was for oysters for the dressings (we were doing two one with oysters and one plain). We finally found two cans there but needed at least 4…we went to every store in the area, Tommy took me home and went to several more stores finally found one more can, we made do with three. We figured there must have been a run on oysters…even when we asked the staff at the stores they were surprised when they went to the shelves where they should be. It was rather like a sitcom with us staring at empty shelves expecting the oysters to magically appear! I spent the time cutting 6 loaves of bread into cubes to let them dry a bit. So much for Tuesday. Oh yes, we ate the cheese and pate, more wine, watching HolidayInn and WhiteChristmas…I always shed a tear at the end of that one!
Wednesday was more prep, I made my carrot mold (see the recipe in my archives, it is really, really good) setting the table, making some of the canapes and generally getting ready…we took a lunch break to use my gift card that I won with my gift basket from the Blue Island Christmas Lights Festival fundraiser (this Saturday, it is always a treat to attend, go it you can) I attended a couple of weeks ago, I posted that gift on my Instagram. Off we went to Double Play Saloon (and it is really an old fashion saloon, great fun!) Had a very good burger and a Blue Island brew our total tab was $20.00….back we shall go to spend the other $30.00! Way too much fun. Picked up the centerpiece did a bit more prep and got ready to go back to the City to see Escape toMargaritaville…pre-Broadway. We picked up Christine Hawley (Tom H’s sister) from work and made our way to The Dearborn for dinner, one of my most favorite restaurants in Chicago. Always fabulous food and both the Lawless sisters greeted us and told us they were closed for Thanksgiving to give their staff time with their families, I love the Lawless family, they are THE best! We left Blue Island quite early thinking traffic would be hideous, it wasn’t so more wine and martinis for us waiting for Tom H to join us. It was a lively fun show, I must admit I’m not much of a Buffett fan but did enjoy the engery of the performers. Back to the Island for us and to bed to get ready for the big day….
The tables ready for the guests…such fun to play in someone else’s home with their linens, china, glassware, etc.
Getting the dressing ready….do you think that is enough butter…I did perfect my knife skills (definitely not my forte!) chopping celery, onions and, of course, cubing the bread. I’m happy to say I didn’t cut myself…yay!!!
I want to do this next year…stuffing “muffins”…found on someone’s blog, sorry didn’t keep info but you can use your own recipe. We put some stuffing in each bird and the rest in casseroles.
Hot carrot mold slid out perfectly, I precut and plated.
The Tom’s cranberries which we made a couple of weeks ago….yum, yum, yum!!!!
Two of these babies and they were perfection, Tommy decided to use the Confection Oven and they were really, really perfect and delicious and cooked much faster!
We had cocktails and nibbly bits (oh, yes I made Christy’s dip and cubed the rest of the Standing Rib Roast I had made for Tom’s Birthday a couple of weeks before and the beef from the Beef Wellington Christy had made for his actual Birthday). Christy and Vicki (Tom H and Christy’s sister) brought some other goodies and Elenor (I have given you recipes from her recipe box on past posts and she has promised me more….yay!) brought two amazing pies…a pumpkin and my all time favorite, mince (which I also ate for breakfast the next morning, I would have eaten the entie thing it was that good!) The guests arrived around 1:30, the Hawley’s Elenor and Harold, Vicki her husband John and their kids, Emily, Madeline and Jack along with Remus and his mother, Victoria, Ralph and us…..great festive group. Lot’s of food, wine, and great conversation. No one went home hungry that I can assure you.
Including the squirrels, who were devouring the pumpkins on the side of the house. It was fascinating to watch…I think they will probably explode!
Here is the menu….
Giblet and Plain Gravy
Green Bean Casserole
Pumpkin Pie with Whipped Cream
Mince Pie and Hard Sauce
My Toms with me at the feast….
And in actuality…Tommy, Nena, and Tom……
From Christine Hawley’s Recipe Box
East Indian Sour Cream Dip
Mix and refrigerate…can be used with anything, veggies, chicken, beef, shrimp…etc.
1/2 cup minced scallion or green onion
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1 cup sour cream
Nena, it looks like a wonderful time! I am full just reading your account! Nothing better than friends and family to share the holidays with! Thank you for sharing.
Thanks Doug…it was a worldwide 4 days to be sure. I’m doing last Saturday’s Show this Friday.
It was great fun prepping and cooking. Thank you for all your help.