Thanksgiving cook-a-long

It came on me like a storm.  Let’s do thanksgiving at home this year.  And let’s invite the Aron/DeVico bicycle built for two people for come because they will be in their trailer in Morro Bay for the holiday.  And from that idea, we discovered that K.C. and Jake, another bicycling couple were going to be in Morro Bay at the same time…so certainly they had to come.  From there we learned that their daughter, Katy, was traveling from Sacramento for the occasion and so we insisted she come.  Then Charlie’s bro, Bub, was coming so we insisted he come!!!

Then, at a dinner party a couple of weeks ago, we found that two couples had no plans exactly, so we invited them (The Bucks and the Neils).  From all that the Neils could not make it after all.  And the Bucks had their daughter traveling up from Carlsbad (Kelly was her name) so the three of them joined in!!!

The invitees now secured, I declared that we would do a Mexican thanksgiving and that we would all cook.  And that’s exactly what we did!!

Thursday morning, everyone arrived at 9:00 a.m.  K.C. brought a dessert.  I had made a dessert the day before.  I also made the chili rub for the turkey and put it on so it would marinate overnight.  Oh, and Ray baked the bread to be used in the stuffing.  Other than that, everything was to cook that day.  Right there.  Right then!!!

Xeroxed recipes were made available.  I make cooking assignments which were partially ignored, which made it all the more fun.  People just jumped in and did stuff.  Katy and Kelly separated cilantro leaves from their stems, Ray overflowed the first pot of coffee.  Allan got so into to making fresh orange juice that he used every orange in the house…much to the consternation of said cooks that need orange zest or oranges for other things.  Not to worry.  Ray just kept going to the garbage can to look for more orange peels!!!  No one wanted to go to the store.  It made a much better story to talk about grubbing about for oranges in the garbage can.

Jake and K.C. brought Richard’s bread from 3rd st. Bakery.  Cranberry and walnut/ and raisin and walnut.  Yummy toasted!!

Scones were cooked and devoured.  Ginger scones.  Here’s the recipe:

2 1/4 c. unbleached all-purpose flour

1/3 c. granulated sugar

1 Tbsp. baking powder

1 tsp. finely chopped lemon zest (1/2 lemon approx.)

1 1/2 (6 oz.) unsalted butter, cut into 1-in. cubes and frozen

4 1/2 oz. candied ginger, finely chopped to equal 2/3 cup

3/4 heavy cream, plus extra for brushing the tops of the scones

Move oven rack to the middle.  Preheat to 400.

In the food processor bowl, fitted with the steel blade, or in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, sugar, and baking powder, and pulse or mix on low to incorporate.  Add the lemon zest and butter, and pulse on and off, or mix on low, until the mixture is pale yellow and the consistency of a fine meal.

Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and stir in the ginger.  Make a well in the center and pour in the cream.  Using one hand, draw in the dry ingredients, mixing until just combined.

Wash and dry your hands and dust them with flour.  Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and gently knead a few times to gather it into a ball.  Add more cream is it doesn’t stick together.  Roll or pat the dough into a circle about 3/4 in. thick.  Cut out he circles, cutting as closely together as possible and keeping the trimmings intact.

Gather the scraps, pat and press the pieces back together, and cut out the remaining dough.  Place the scones 1 in. apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

Brush the tops with the remaining cream.

Bake for 12 to 16 minutes, until the surface cracks and they are slightly browned.

You can find candied ginger in asian markets and sometimes Trader Joe’s.

So, what was the menu?

Chili-rubbed Turkey

Oaxacan stuffing

Roasted jalapeno cranberries (pictured above)

Orange cinnamon cranberries

Jicama and watercress salad with lime vinaigrette

String beans topped with roasted pumpkin seeds

Sweet potato and guavas with picondillo and sugar cane

Pumpkin butter

Mexican creamed onions

Guacamole and tortillas

Orange/Amaretto flan

Pumpkin Torte

OH, what a day.  It is like were all long lost friends that had been cooking together for years.  Everyone just jumped in and did stuff.  It could have not have been more fun.  As we went, people did dishes.  Mimosas got the day going.  Presecco kept things lively.  And that was at 9.  By noon, we were on to white wine.  Red wine.  Whatever worked.  Just enough to wet our whistles.

There was chopping and mincing, and alligatoring, and cuisinarting, and steaming, and barbecuing, frying, mixing, sauteing, … in short, cooking!!

You might imagine chaos…but I prefer to think of organized chaos.  It was not herding cats.  Not at all.  Way more fun that that!!!  Things were in full swing around 9:30 and went full blast until dinner was served (except for about a 20 minute sit down break to start looking at the France DVD).

One glass was broken when it fell in the cilantro (had to throw those cilantro leaves away).   Other than that, no problemos.

Leave Comment