My dear friend Norman really knows how to throw a party. We truly had an amazing Thanksgiving. I didn't eat much the previous day, which was a good thing because I really needed all the stomach space I could get. Our evening began with a champagne toast to friendship. I was blessed by the presence of Tom, good friends Alex & Alan, Norman, his son Joe & their close friend Dave. The only person missing was Norman's wife Ina, who unfortunately had to work. So, I was the only girl in attendance & the boys took good care of me. But enough talk of that. Let's discuss the food....Glorious food!!
Our first course was pork spare ribs which were marinated for 24 hours. They were so sticky sweet & yummy. We also had a wok dish that consisted of diced shittake mushrooms, choi sum, smoked tofu, scallions. The secret sauce had just a hint of sweet & sour with a light, spicy, punch to it. It was served on a puffy moo shu bread.
We took a small break while Norman set up the next course. Dave taught me how to hand stuff & wrap dumplings. I found it to be a quite therapeutic, kind of like knitting. The dumplings were used for the second course which was Shabu Shabu. Norman really out did himself on this. He(along with lots of help from Dave) made 3 different broths; an extra spicy one, chicken stock & scallions, & a basic ginger. We had such an array for raw food just waiting to be dropped into the broth, that it was almost overwhelming, but in a good way. We feasted on Kobe beef, pork tenderloin, chicken, codfish, shrimp & fish balls, rice & cellophane noodles, bok choy & our just made dumplings. After 2 hours of dipping, scooping & chowing down we all had reached our breaking point. We were so content & ready to fall into a coma. Then Norman announced that the turkey is ready. TURKEY!! Who had room for that?! I must say that the bird did look beautiful. He brined the turkey & then hung it to dry - ala Peking duck style - before roasting it. I do wish that I had a picture of it, but, I honestly couldn't move from my chair at that point. The turkey was stuffed with an onion & garlic sticky rice. I'd never had it before & now I'm a big fan of it. I had some for breakfast this morning.
We did recover in time to have dessert. Tom & I brought 2 pies from one of the best bakeries in NYC, The Little Pie Company. We picked up a Mississippi mud & their signature - apple sour cream walnut. They both were heavenly. And just when it seemed like things could not get any better, a Baccarat crystal bottle was carefully brought down from a shelf in the dining room. Its contents are the finest cognac ever made in the history of the world - Louis XIII. I'm not a cognac drinker at all, but Louis is in a class by itself. It is very smooth & smells fragrant. Hmmmm. So that was our day. I'll always be so thankful for the memories that were created & the time, effort & love that was put into our succulent feast.
I just have time for a quick post & I wanted to wish you all a happy Turkey Day. I'm grateful for so many things this year, one of them being that I don't have to cook today. My friend & co-worker Norman invited us to his home for an Asian-American inspired holiday. We're not sure what to expect, but we know it will be wonderful, because Norman is a great chef, good-spirited & a sweetheart! Enjoy time with your family, friends & loved ones. Here's hoping your bellies & hearts get full!!
I was tagged a while back by Yvonne. The request? Name 5 foods or dishes that were part of your childhood & make you feel nostalgia when you think (taste or smell) of them.
GRAVY-I'm sure this isn't a surprise to anyone. My grandmother's pasta sauce is home to me. There's something about the aroma, which takes over the entire house when it's simmering, that fills me with glee. STUFFED ARTICHOKES- This signaled spring, at least in my house growing up. Momma made this special dish & served it on Easter Sunday. I have vivid memories of my cousins & I all decked out in our frilly spring outfits, playing on my grandparents front lawn, waiting for dinner to begin & this treat to be served. SNAIL SALAD- This dish may be indigenous to RI because I've never been able to find it done quite this way. The snails (no one in my family calls them escargot) are cooked & sliced very thin. They are marinated in olive oil & red wine vinegar & tossed with sweet red onions & diced celery. Hmmmmm... Every grocery store deli, seafood & Italian restaurant has it in my hometown. I have almost every time I visit. LADY FINGER CAKE- My Aunt Maria ran her own cake decorating company when I was a child. Lucky me!!! You should have seen some of the birthday cakes we had. There was a cake for every interest- Disney, Holly Hobbie, Barbie, panda bears, etc. I don't remember which one of my Bday's Auntie made this for, but it turned me off of cutesy kiddy cakes forever. The filling was super creamy & sweet with a touch of rum. Pretty lady finger pastries lined the outside of the cake. Auntie would careful place a ribbon around the entire thing & finish it off with a bow. COTTON CANDY- OK, so this may not compare with some of the above culinary delights, but, oh how I love it. I light up even when I just see a stick of it. It reminds me of traveling carnivals, the circus & St. Mary's Feast (big summer event when I was a kid). I do still have it from time to time & I turn into a giddy little girl with every handful.
I'm not going to tag anyone for this, since I'm a bit behind in the blogging world. If you'd like to participate, then post a link in my comments. And for my readers who do not have blogs (Jen & Paul Raff) you can list your 5 favs in the comments.
I finished my entry for Collective Souls Spring Fling journal & sent it on it's way through our trusted postal system. CS is a traveling creative journal. Each member add 2 pages of their artistry & ships it off to the next person in line. When it's completed one lucky recipient will inherit the entire book. Eventually we'll all have one of our very own. CS members all scattered not only throughout the US, but the world. I wish you could see the pages in person because they are outstanding. They're loading with poetry, collages, recipes, painting, etc. I'm totally honored to be part of this creative group.
Friday I was visited by my good friend Caryl & her sweet little Jacqui. Jacqui sang, danced & entertained us as only a two year old can. She's very into crafts, so I took out lots of colored pencils & we had a grand ole' time drawing & scribbling together. Peanut butter & jelly sandwiches were served for lunch. They had to be cut into 4 triangles, of course! When Jacqui asked for some water, I took out a small glass cup & was just about to hand it to her when Caryl caught it. No glass for 2 yr olds, only plastic sippy cups. OK, so Auntie Dawn still has some things to learn. Hopefully I'll do so before I have a tot of my own. I had to include a pic of Miss Thing because she's too cute! Not only does she say "cheese" without any prompting when a camera is pointed at her, but she vogues, too. I swear, everytime I took a pic she came up with a different pose. Caryl insists that she didn't teach her this. Hmmm... Do we have a future supermodel on our hands? A crafty one at that.
And this time for good. My site been in the middle of something & it still is, but at least I can post now. HI ALL!! I hope you are well. We've got lots of catching up to do. I'm going to begin with a happy moment. Last week I called Momma to chat. I wanted to test pasta fagoli - a simple pasta, tomato & white bean dish. I asked her what she was cooking for dinner & low & behold she was smack dab in the middle of making the very recipe that I wanted to test. I stayed on the line & talked about what she was doing in a very casual way. Well, of course what she told me was a bit different from the recipe in my little hand. The recipe she sent me was missing 2 ingredients. I hung up the phone & immediately began cooking it myself. Guess what?... It worked perfectly the very 1st time!!! There is a God! And he loves pasta fagoli!! Or maybe he just felt sorry for me and threw me a bone. I don't care what or how it happened, it felt like a major triumph!