Doing laps in the LA Fishbowl

Thanksgiving Eve

What, how can this be? 12 am and already done for the night, and this with going out to dinner AND watching “Top Chef”? It’s a Thanksgiving miracle. Usually I’d be working on my second pie right about now, with stock simmering and miles to go before I slept. Ah, but this year I have a little Elf assisting me, my dear, dear friend Stel who has flown all the way from Chicago to mash potatoes and toast pumpkin seeds with me.

Stel displaying her highly-snackable
 roasted pumpkin seed and dried cranberry concoction.

We’ve been in the kitchen all day, but it’s been collegial and relatively more leisurely. Started out the day making the potatoes: I worked on sweet potatoes (to be topped with marshmallows and finished off tomorrow) and Stel assembled the mashed potato casserole from a NYT recipe. Ooooh, nothing like the sight of Yukon golds steaming from the pot. The casserole saves you from having to make the mashed potatoes at the last minute; it has all the elements of mashed potatoes but with the inclusion of a parmesan/bread crumb topping. I could have eaten it all right there, baking be damned. That’s what makes Thanksgiving so alluring (and dangerous): every dish is Comfort Food personified.

“Yes, yes, it tastes good on the masher, but could you
pass that pot over here anyway?”

The other thing I wanted to devour right away was the stuffing Stel made— cornbread, apples and bacon. It’s a holy triumvirate.

I have seen the Face of God, and It looks like cubes of cornbread
tossed with celery, apples and bacon.

Time for a little table tennis break.

I blind-baked the pie crust for the Two-for Pumpkin/Pecan Pie. A sad disappointment, this crust. Working with a new recipe from Ms. Greenspan, and while it rolls out well I’ve been finding that the crust shrinks mightily. I’m trying not to stretch the dough while putting it in the pan, but I think maybe the top of the crust is too heavy and sinks down while baking. The recipe calls for folding the extra dough under rather than rolling it. Could that be my problem? Must work on this, or I’ll have mighty small pies…

Also had a bit of a snafu with my peach pie. Turns out one of the peaches I had gotten from the Farmer’s Market was going bad—I was down a peach. And no peaches to be had at the local market, and no car to find one further afield. I imagined Tim Gunn coming by to tell me I needed to “make it work.” Here’s a recounting of the situation, done à la “Top Chef”:

I ended up wussing out and using the raspberries and some blackberries we had left over from breakfast. Cross your fingers. Here’s the final result:

My dough for the rolls was supposed to rise slowly in the refrigerator for two days! Instead, it grew monstrous overnight.

Yipes! Someone stop that thing!

Gently deflated it and put it in a bigger bowl. Hope it’s okay for tomorrow.

What was next? Boiling eggs for the deviled egg appetizers. Started the gravy (roux & stock & butter) so we don’t have to be scrambling for it tomorrow. Made the pumpkin/pecan pie, which tastes delish but whose crust burned a little. The pie gods were not with me today. I can make pies that taste good, but they always look so… rustic, to put it nicely. They is ugly. Where’s the finesse? Sigh… perhaps if I make them over and over again I’ll get the hang of it.

Tomorrow morning at 9:30: It’s Turkey Time!

November 24th, 2011 - Still Life Las Vegas


3 responses to “Thanksgiving Eve”

  1. You are certifiably crazy – The pie looks fantastic. Glad Stel is there to keep you sane (Hi Stel!). BTW- Couldn't watch the video – says "This Video Is Private" when I clicked it. Making a nice breakfast for everyone, then my cranberries, stuffing, and turkey. Then martinis. Ahhhh.

    Happy Thanksgiving to all of you with much love.

  2. Anonymous says:

    What day is it? Happy thanksgiving from HI! We are having much different experiences. It would be nice to incorporate some of those pies and stuffing in mine. Glad to hear you will have time to enjoy!
    Much Love,

  3. Sally Nemeth says:

    All deliciousness…except the marshmallows on top of the sweet potatoes. Gilding the lily, as it were. I'm against it. But to each his own Sta-Puft Sweet Potato Casserole! Gobble gobble!

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