On Nov. 18, Elin McCoy and I had glasses of Sancerre at Le Cirque to mark the end of our collaboration at the magazine. I'd edited Elin's wine and spirits columns for a decade. Here's a horribly lit but nonetheless cute selfie I took of us:
That Friday, Nov. 20, was my last day at the job I'd held for 17 1/2 years. After I said my good-byes, I got my usual—one vegan slice (mushrooms, plenty of garlic and oregano, no cheese) and one regular slice (part-skim mozzarella)—at My Pie. I took a selfie and, of course, I had to put it on Facebook:
I caught the 1 o'clock bus home and then I took a nap. (And I took a nap the next afternoon, too.)
For dinner that Friday night, Tony made hamburgers and polenta and I made Carrot-Ginger Puree, all of which were accompanied by a fantastic bottle of Rioja.
Saturday night, Tony made us Cardamom Moscow Mules using this recipe, which calls for making your own cardamom ginger ale, which he did. He also cut the amount of vodka in half. It was the best cocktail I've had in forever. I could have drunk three of them in rapid succession. And because of the reduced amount of vodka, they wouldn't have gotten me drunk.
As we finished our single mules, we ate my contribution to the meal: salads consisting of this fall's welcomely ubiquitous Chinese cabbage plus green-and-dark-brownish-red, buttercrunch-type lettuce; red bell pepper; and a lime–Singapore Seasoning dressing:
For the main, we each had four very large scallops from Metropolitan Seafood, roasted blue potatoes, and leftover Carrot-Ginger Puree:
Then I popped open a bottle of delightful grand cru grower Champagne Elin had given to me:
As it turned out, the wine would have paired really well with the scallops, but I'd wanted to experience it on its own, so I'd suggested we hold off until after dinner.
I made my second attempt at a vegan, non–coconut milk–based ice cream—Mint Chocolate Chip—on the Monday before Thanksgiving. I used 2 pints of rice milk and 1 pint of flax milk and two bunches of very-late-in-the-season spearmint I'd purchased from Phillips Farms on the last day of the Hunterdon Land Trust Farmers' Market before it switches to a once-a-month schedule from December to April. I also cut back on the amount of xanthan gum: to 2 teaspoons for about twice the volume of liquid in my double batch, so only 1 teaspoon per batch. It turned out nicely, but I still wanted more fat than the majority–rice milk base provided:
On Tuesday, I made Coffee Ice Cream with mostly flax milk (1 1/2 pints) and some (1/2 pint) rice milk. I steeped 1 cup of decaf coffee beans in the milks, along with a pinch of salt. For my sweetener and thickener, I used 2/3 cup agave syrup and 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum, respectively. And I added 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract at the end to help bring out and enrich the coffee flavor. I enjoyed the ice cream, but it's still not creamy enough. It feels like an only very slightly creamy granita. I'm going to continue to experiment with my base to improve the mouthfeel, adding other types of milks and/or oils.
The day before Thanksgiving, I'd made dairy Coffee Ice Cream. I used 3 pints of half-and-half, 1 heaping cup of espresso-roast decaf coffee beans that Tony had bought some time ago, a pinch of salt, 12 egg yolks, 1/2 cup of sugar, and 2 tablespoons of molasses, plus 1 teaspoon vanilla extract at the end. I was concerned I'd overdone the molasses to the point where the coffee flavor would be masked. (I'd decided to add some after rereading this post the other day.) But it was only maybe slightly too much molasses. Here's the end result in my ice cream maker:
That was the day Dad drove up from Bridgeton. He brought me a beautiful Shaker-style desk that's been in my Granny's family for probably a century, my Granny's sewing machine with an instruction booklet that had a 1984 copyright, and a book about sewing that was published in the year I was born: 1969:
I took this photo of Tony after giving him a haircut. He said he was hoping the haircut would make him look like a young Louis Virtel. But he said Grady said it made him look like an old Louis Virtel. Grady! *pretends to be angry at Grady*:
Dad and I went to Stockton Market to pick up our turkey from Manny the butcher. He acted like he had no idea who I was or why I would be expecting a turkey from him before breaking into a grin and saying he was just messing with me. Manny! *pretends to be angry at Manny*
I had sent an e-mail to the Market Pizza peeps asking whether they were going to be making pies on the day before Thanksgiving. (Many of the stands were open to allow for order pickups and last-minute purchases for the holiday; SM is usually open only on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.) Dad and I were so bummed that not only were they not coming in on Wednesday; they were also taking off that whole weekend, so Dad and I wouldn't be able to go there for lunch on Saturday, on his way back to Bridgeton.
Dad decided he wanted to try the barbeque place in the market, More Than Q. Even though it meant eating meat twice in one day, I was curious to try the Q, too. I enjoyed my pulled pork sandwich with pickled veggies. And I thought the fries were among the best I've had at a quick-serve restaurant:
Dad enjoyed his pulled pork, no bun or pickles, but, IIRC, he said it was drier than the kind he's used to getting in Cape May at the C-View Inn: Barbecue sauce was added to the meat as it was being served rather than the meat being kept hot in the sauce.
Late that afternoon, Dad and I took a walk up Sandbrook Headquarters Road, and I took a photo of my favorite nearby property, which has a big stone barn and (usually, but not that day) horses and a donkey out in the pasture:
For dinner, we had hamburgers; two preparations of Mashed Blue (because I can't make everything too normal for Dad) Potatoes, with olive oil for Tony and with butter and half-and-half for Dad and me; and a salad with shaved carrot and I can't remember what type of dressing:
It looks like Tony and I also had red bell pepper on our salads.
To drink, we had the same liter-sized Md'Ab I mentioned in Part I. Here it is on the table with a vase filled with the decorative Osage oranges I'd also mentioned in Part I and some still-hanging-on heirloom mums I'd bought two-and-a-half weeks earlier:
Here's a purty photo of the mums taken on the day I'd bought them, on Nov. 7, from Two Barn Farm at the Stangl Factory Farmers' Market:
And here's Dad saying cheers:
When I put that photo on Facebook, Stacy asked whether my Dad knew he had a cartoon dog sprouting from his head. So I added this photo and explained that the cartoon basset was saying "Dorf!" Just like Grady does:
Finally, here's a photo of a long-forgotten souvenir glass Dad brought me, at Jean's urging:
The Feast of the Golden Lion was an annual dinner hosted by the college's president for leaders of student organizations. Because I was editor in chief of the student newspaper, I went to the feast in 1991. I'm grateful for the memory.