We had a smaller group for Thanksgiving this year: Rich and Vince and my Dad. We missed Jack, Mark, and Hanif, but we still had a great time.
My Dad drove up on Wednesday. We had lunch at Market Pizza in the Stockton Market ...
... and then I bought some ground beef from Manny to have for dinner that night. Dad got a hot chocolate from Sciascia Confections and some hot chocolate mix to take home.
Dad is wearing his Bucknell hat in the photo. He wore his Lafayette hat the next day. He joked that he'd have to stack them when he walked into the Gerbers' house on Friday. Ah, but which twin's school would be on top? I asked.
That afternoon, Dad took a walk along the canal on the Pennsylvania side of the river and I wrangled some leaves. After hiring someone last year to deal with the overwhelming volume of accumulated leaves—and by deal with, I mean blow into the woods—I was determined to keep up with them myself this year. And I have been. Every week or so since they started dropping, I've been running over them with the mower, so they'll break down and feed the soil and won't completely shield the grass from the sun. I'm keeping some piles of leaves here and there on bare soil so I can add them to the compost bins this winter. And some underneath trees and around plants I think would benefit from having a protective layer of leaves once it's really cold.
We had a pre-Thanksgiving dinner very similar to last year's: burgers, roasted potatoes, and a salad:
After dinner, we watched Breakfast at Tiffany's. Tony hadn't seen it in quite a while, and Dad hadn't seen it since it was first in theaters, 55 years ago. I'd never seen it. We all enjoyed it. (Except for Mickey Rooney's role, which was awful. I realize that was the early '60s. But still. Awful.) George Peppard was so handsome and charming. And of course, everyone loves Audrey Hepburn.
Our Thanksgiving meal came together pretty easily. The day before, Tony had made three kinds of roasted nuts—his usual pecans with black pepper and maple syrup1, the recipe for which has disappeared from the Pure Canada Maple website since Wednesday; curry cashews; and chocolate-cinnamon almonds (the latter two of which were improvised based on previous nuts he's made)—plus a cardamom–rose water–honey sesame seed brittle to have as appetizers, a basic-but-tasty cranberry sauce, and his breadless stuffing with rice, wild rice, and Manny's sweet sausage. And I'd made a gluten-free coffee cake using the King Arthur Flour recipe I've previously mentioned on the blog, so we could all have it for breakfast on Thanksgiving morning. It was vegan—with flax gel used as a replacement for eggs and refined coconut oil (in the streusel topping) and melted Melt (in the cake) used as replacements for butter.
We got our turkey for a great price from ShopRite because we'd spent at least $400 on groceries there in the previous month. It was a fresh, organic, D'Artagnan-brand 12-pounder.
On the day itself, Tony threw the bird in the oven with lemons and fresh rosemary, sage, and thyme from Sandbrook Meadow Farm ...
... in the cavity. I made buttery bread stuffing for Dad without much in the way of seasoning (dried sage and salt and pepper) and a bigger pan for Rich, Vince, and me with celery, onion, celery leaves, fresh parsley from Blue Moon Acres, fresh sage and thyme2 from my indoor garden in the sunroom, and S&P.
I made mashed potatoes with olive oil for Tony and dairy-laden ones for the rest of us, first using a ricer to smoosh them and then whipping them with a fork. I also made the gravy, which I seasoned with healthy shakes of dried sage and thyme. And Tony made the Sautéed Carrots we eat (and I mention on here) regularly; the marjoram also came from the sunroom.
I made one of my prettiest salads ever, with slices of watermelon radishes from Sandbrook Meadow, pineapple sage blossoms from my own plants in the sunroom, and pomegranate seeds:
The flowers smell and taste a good deal like pineapple, and some we've eaten that were filled with nectar had a delightful sweetness.
Here's my main plate:
(I put my salad on a smaller plate.)
And here's our group, with my empty chair on the end:
The dogs were hoping for some bits of turkey ...
... and, because we're pushovers, they got some.
Later, Grady enjoyed warming himself by the fire:
And speaking of outsize hound dogs, we had my frozen desserts for dessert, including a Double Mint–Chocolate VFD I made using peppermint from Sandbrook Meadow and my own hoary mountain mint. I'm glad I was able to use the latter in an FD this year after all.
2My pot of rosemary didn't survive the trip from Manhattan, and I neglected to get a new one going this past summer. It's one of Tony's favorite herbs, so I'll have to grow it next year.