La Quinta, California: Our family stayed with us for a week over the Thanksgiving holiday. We spent hours in the pool. Lots of bike riding, football watching, football tossing, laughing, and generally enjoying time together. Did I forget to mention eating?
For the first night of their arrival, I made a "fancy" French dinner, and served duck confit... which means I started this dish five days prior to their arrival. Several sprigs of rosemary were infused with the fat used for poaching the duck this time, and the flavor permeated the meat most deliciously. (I use this method, but now brown the legs in a non-stick skillet.) We also enjoyed salmon rillettes with champagne as our appetizer. An evening in Paris... except for the Key Lime Pie served for dessert.
The cookie jar will filled with massive Bakery Style Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies from Baker by Nature.
One evening, Lisa and Lenny had a date night, so we stayed-in with the kids and we had kid-friendly mac & cheese. Lucile requested a S'mores Pie. I totally cheated by using a Jell-O chocolate pudding mix and a prepared graham crust. Not like me to take all these short-cuts, but there is a whole-lotta cooking happening over Thanksgiving week, and honestly, I wasn't going to eat that disgusting sugar bomb anyway.
I'm only one woman.
But I did have a little help! Lucile trimmed the beans. The beans I bought didn't look very good, so two bags were purchased - hoping enough could be salvaged to fill the vegetable bowl for our Thanksgiving feast. The stainless steel bowl holds the dregs; the "good" beans are in the china bowl. The Princess trims beans with my little kitchen scissors. It took her an hour, as Lucy needed to decide if a bean was good or bad, or if enough of a bean could be salvaged. Lisa sat next to Lucile, helping her with these important decisions. My sous chef dressed up for our Thanksgiving festivities:
Weeks of planning and prep and, of course: Houston, we have a problem. When I opened the oven door to bake the pumpkin pie, I knew the oven was NOT 350 degrees. It was just a warm oven. Hmmm. My oven thermometer was found and placed in the oven. I was right - 275°. Rat farts. Happily it is a double wall oven (and the lower - turkey - oven was on-point), plus the little toaster oven recently purchased could be used in a pinch. I fought with the upper oven all afternoon, as it bounced around the thermometer like mad. The pumpkin and pecan pies were overcooked. The first batch of buttermilk rolls burned as well. They were pitched and I had enough time to try again... which went with the scheme of the day: the turkey finished cooking about 45 minutes early. I was rushing around like a
turkey chicken with its head cut off rushing to finish the rest of the meal.
Lisa made a cheese platter, and I loaded-up my mom's (1953 wedding gift) Candlewick relish tray. There was also a baked wheel of camembert, topped with cranberry relish - not photographed, most likely due to me not getting to enjoy the appetizers because I was doing re-con in the kitchen. Poor me. We were joined for dinner by Debbie and Mark, Dave's oldest friend. Everyone gobbled up (pun intended) the turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans, spinach gratin and buttermilk rolls (the second batch). We managed to hang out at the table for an hour, which pleased me. The pies were also eaten, along with a small selections of sweets: the apple hand pies I made a few weeks ago (from the freezer), chocolates, and Salted Pumpkin Caramels (I made hundreds of these candies for Lisa and Lenny's wedding).
We introduced our family to Jill and Bruce, neighbors we have come to know. When Leo found out Bruce had a motorcycle, he went nuts and begged for a ride. Lisa and Lenny said no, but relented when Bruce explained he would just take him up and down our street - at a low speed. Leo was super excited when we heard Bruce roar-up in front of our house.
And you know if Leo gets to do something, little sister wants to as well.
This event had two consequences. Leo loved it and can't wait until he can get a motorcycle. Lucy hated it and swears she will never ever again ride on a motorcycle.
And it finally happened! After asking several times why the snack bar by the swimming pool (aka the walk-up window to grab snacks and sandwiches between the 9th & 10th golf hole) didn't have ice cream, our new restaurant manager took my advice and now offer several ice cream bars/cones and popsicles! A little flyer was sent out to members via email and, with all the grandkids in the resort over the holiday, I bet they sold out. Leo and Lucy were so happy. They love to go to the snack shack, but usually order a lemonade, or bag of chips. Now they will order ice cream.
Hanukkah began Sunday night, but the kids were going back to Los Angeles, so we had an early "fake" Hanukkah. Latkes were fried, the menorah was lit, gifts were opened.
It doesn't have a motor, but Leo received a new bicycle for Hanukkah. Little guy is growing like a weed, and he will be taller than his Bubbe within two years, I'd bet. Also a bit of bragging: Leo plays on a Los Angeles flag football league and was just named to the All-Star team! Leo is very quick, and is good at pulling the flags from the waist of the opposing QB before the ball can be passed or thrown. Way to go Leo!
When your family leaves, and you still have turkey, why not make turkey nachos for the Oregon v Oregon State football game? Go Ducks, by the way! Oregon will now have to face Utah (again - the Ducks lost to Utah two weeks ago) in the Pac-12 championship Friday in Las Vegas.
On Sunday, the greatest thing happened:
The rug rats received their jabs! Such a relief. So happy.
That's our week in 14 photos - 7 of food; 7 of kids. About average for this blog. We are now back to our normal schedules - exercising, golfing twice a week, eating well, enjoying the sunshine. Even though the children have gone home, we are still lighting the menorah each evening, saying prayers... but no more latkes until the last night of the Festival of Lights. How was your Thanksgiving?
Until my next update, I remain your "calling for an oven repair" correspondent.