Thanksgiving is my favorite time of year. Family and friends all get together to eat, play games and watch football. No gifts are exchanged and everyone can join in the preparations. Perhaps we overdid a bit this week – but we sure had fun along the way. Five nights – 30 people each night. My kitchen will never be the same.
Tuesday — Pizza night! Gotta love having a wood burning pizza oven in the kitchen. I’m still working on my dough technique (Austin definitely has to come back from Italy and take on this task) but I did manage to put together a passable dough. The pizzas take 3-5 minutes to cook so everyone can put together the pizza of their choice and we crank them out until everyone groans to stop.
Best pizza of the night?
Of course drizzled with a spicy olive oil when it is finished
Wednesday – Lobster bake. My favorite email the week before Thanksgiving was from my brother Chad “warning” us that he was going to make a big mess in the backyard on Wednesday night. The email had an attachment of anticipated deliveries of seaweed and shellfish and directions for where and how to storeeverything. I missed the preparation process – but we did end up with 30 lobsters cooked in the firepit out back, clams and fresh oysters.
Thursday – The big day! Having a fridge full of seafood on Wednesday necessitated a trip to the grocery on Thursday morning to pick up a few essentials – namely turkey, potatoes, cranberries and everything else we wanted to cook. We had avoided the crowds all week and the Safeway was well stocked and peaceful. Everyone was still sleeping when we got back and Debbie and I were able to prep the veggies, bake a couple of pies and get breakfast out for the kids. We left for the movies at 1:15 with the kids (mostly teen-agers now) and left the spouses and uncles in charge of fire and meat. Seemed like a good fit. Dinner was precisely at 6:00 and in addition to the mashed potatoes, cranberry chutney and vegetables the boys served up roasted turkey, grilled prime rib, lamb roasted over the fire, tuna poke and octopus. Where to begin?
Best veggie of the night?
Brussel sprouts steamed tossed with candied walnuts, butter and pomegranate seeds.
Friday – No leftovers for us. This is where our competitive side comes out and its all about the Chili cookoff. The kids are experts and they spend the weeks before researching and testing their new chili ideas. Uncle Michael has been making the same chili for years and keeps winning year after year – you’d think the kids would give up but it just makes them more determined to best him. The best part of the cookoff is standing back and watching the kids go to work. Everyone is slicing and dicing and sneaking off to add a secret ingredient to the pot. The kitchen is noisy and chaotic but everyone has a plan. And then, it gets quiet. The five chili pots are simmering and everything is being washed and put away in anticipation of the judging. Big victory this year. Josh’s chili comes in first and Uncle Michael comes in second. Of course my team comes in dead last. Oh well, there is always next year.
Secret to winning?
Fritos, sour cream, grated cheese and freshly diced onions
Saturday — Pizza delivery never tasted so good – and the cleanup was a breeze!