So Thanksgiving for me for the past six years has consisted of hosting family at the rectory - mostly because St. Sebastian has the largest dining room and the most silverware. One of the great things about this (for me anyway - and it all really is about me after all) is that all I have to do is host. I shine the silver, iron the table clothe, bring in enough chairs, and make sure everybody has the beverage of their choice. Everyone else cooks - some here, some at other houses. I have the BEST sisters in the world because while I have after dinner postprandial with the guys, they do the dishes so I don't even have to do that. Then I don't have to drive home - I go upstairs to fall asleep. Is this the best deal in the world or what?!?
Unless there is a snow storm. My family comes in from the Adirondack mountains and from the south and just guess where NOBODY was making into Akron from this year due to weather.
So our large family party turned into a very small one. And, my local sister informed me that I would have to do my part of the cooking. Well, I don't know turkey about cooking turkey and so it was the first thing struck from the list. We were going to have Guinness beef - one of the few things that I make well.
My sister and I put a menu together that was rather nontraditional. There was no stuffing, no cranberry sauce, so green bean casserole with those funions on the top. (And don't you know THIS year people bringing food to the rectory are all saying, "Don't worry! I'm not bringing you turkey! I'm sure you're sick of it already!" I haven't had turkey since last turkey day and am rather missing it.)
We tried out some new recipes with varying levels of success. I think the sweet and spicy pecans would have been good had I not burned them. One thing of which I am rather proud are the pecan cognac crepes that we served for desert. They actually came out looking something like the picture in the cookbook - a RARE occurrence in my life:
As you may have noticed, the two above named menu items had alcohol as an ingredient. It wasn't until after we were all done planning the menu that I noticed most of the courses would have similar ingredients. So I had to go to the store and pick up stuff. Have you ever noticed the only time you really run into people at the grocery store is when you are wearing your Roman collar and have something in your cart you don't want other people to see?
The menu was also heavily laden with garlic. (My sister and I like garlic. Always at least double the amount of garlic called for in a recipe. If you take a garlic, chop off the top, put some oil on it, bake it in the oven, then smear it on bread - that is not enough garlic.) But you know what - pealing garlic is a pain in the chasuble. But a friend of mine sent a Youtube on a quick and easy way to peal garlic and we were eager to try it. The first step is to whack the head with the heal of your hand. Then you are supposed to take two large bowls OF EQUAL SIZE, put the garlic in one half, then cover, and shake the bejeebers out of it. Well, we have hundreds of bowls at the rectory and no two are the same size. As it turns out, you can use a Revere wear pot with a lid and guess what - IT REALLY WORKS!
Let me tell you what doesn't work. There is a reason they tell you to hit it with the heal of your hand. Not wanting to get gunk on my hand I decided to WHACK it REALLY HARD with the bottom of the Revere wear pot.
Do not do this. You will regret it.