Thanksgiving (of course!)
(The Boy reminds me that I say that about Hallowe'en. And Christmas.)
Thanksgiving is one of my many favorite holidays, because it revolves around one thing: food. No gifts to buy, no decorations to put up, no annoying songs. And because both our families are a few thousand miles away (and mine doesn't do T-Day anyway), no long and frustrating car trips. One can concentrate all one's energies on preparing and consuming things delicious.
For the first time in perhaps eight years, we didn't buy a turkey. Usually we follow The Boy's mom's recipe for Pavo Borracho: soak the bird in red wine for four days, turning regularly until it turns purple, then stuff it with a tricked-out picadillo of ground beef, almonds, raisins, olives, tomatoes and (more) red wine (though in recent years the beef has been replaced by such alternatives as venison and wild boar). The other lovely thing about this dish is that there are always mountains of leftovers, which allows us to carry out the other Thanksgiving tradition of next-day grilled turkey/cranberry chutney/cheese sandwiches.
This year, we were invited to Casa Jon and Robin for the nosh-fest, and as Robin was doing the turkey, we could turn our attention to side dishes (which usually play second fiddle to the bird). So I prepped a fall casserole in advance, and we took other veggies to throw together later. Final menu:
Black olive tapenade
Manchego with rosemary
Julia Child's cranberry chutney
White and sweet potatoes, mashed, with cream, garlic and butter
Brussels sprouts tossed with shallots and olive oil
Carrots with fresh ginger and butter
Apple and butternut squash casserole (which may also have involved a small amount of butter)
Louis Jadot Pinot Noir
Staring contests, face-pulling and magic spoons
Chocolate-orange pecan pie
All in all, a fabulous meal and excellent hospitality. As we were getting ready to leave, Robin and I bagged up and shared out the leftovers, most of which Robin insisted we take with us, including a generous helping of the deliciously sweet-tart chutney.
At home, The Boy looked through the leftovers and gasped.
"Where's the turkey?" he asked.
"Ummm ... uh-oh." I realized what had happened: we'd cleared up all the food still on the buffet, but the remaining turkey was already in the fridge, so we hadn't even thought about it.
We had no leftover turkey.
(Update: Jon stopped by just before lunch today with an enormous bag of birdmeat. Thanksgiving is saved! Huzzah!)