Thursday, November 27, 2008


I didn't host this year.  I couldn't.

Last year I was calling N. up at 3:30 -- are you ready yet?  We're all ready over here...and she and B. and the kids arrived a few minutes later.  Bro-in-law (who we had just met the night before, was still Sis' boyfriend) popped up from his seat, saying "More family?"

"No, well, yes, practically..." from me.  Later, N. weighed in on Bro-in-law, asserting that he may be the one.  "He says he'll follow her anywhere."

Last year it was so warm that we all ate outside on the back porch.  There were macaroni & cheese, fried turkeys, turnips and turnip greens (the fancy version), mashed potatoes a la Sis, green salad a la N., gravy, cranberry sauce, sweet potato biscuits, oyster stuffing that was a bit odd, maybe spanakopita?  Individual pecan pies, N. -friendly.  Actually, if I remember correctly almost everything was N. -friendly, which means no butter, no milk.  The mac & cheese and stuffing were the exceptions.

This year we ate at Yia Yia and Pa Pou's.  We had fried turkeys (we love these...and it leaves the oven free), mashed sweet potatoes with crispy shallots, Mediterannean-flavored turnips and greens, potato croquettes, green beans, stuffing (the less said about it the better), rolls, and two amazing pies.  Pear and pecan.  Lots of butter used.

Afterwards we played Monopoly.  It was a lovely Thanksgiving.  There are so many things I am thankful for this year.  My family, my friends, my work, the beautiful area in which we live, my sister's happiness with her new husband.

Some things I am devastated by, of course.

I wanted to leave a seat open for you tonight, Nancy.  I'm sorry there wasn't physical room around the table.  I felt your presence, though.  Thank you.  I will forever be thankful for your friendship, and for having known you.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Pies 'n' Play

We threw our first official party since July last night.  It was very unsettling not to have Ms. N there.  But I had to get back on the horse sometime!

It was a "pie party."  If you've never heard of this concept, don't worry, neither have I.  I just happen to like to make pie and Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.  So I thought it would be nice to have people over to make pie with me and let the kids run around like maniacs and take over the neighborhood.  Both things happened quite well.

I made 18 Butter Pie Crusts (click on the title to link to the recipe) the night before.  As people arrived with their filling ingredients, I asked them to write down on a whiteboard the temperature they would require and whether or not they needed one or two crusts.  Then I got to rolling and the other pie-makers got to filling.

Since the oven was occupied, Hub grilled some hot dogs and hamburgers, and Ms. P threw together a potato salad for me.  Ms. J brought some fabulous crab dip from Whole Foods and we also had lots of cheeses, crackers, cantaloupe, pretzels, chips, hummus, etc. for nibbles.  We started at 3:00 so the kids would have ample time to play outside and stay out of the kitchen.  According to Hub, Kiddo did a great job hosting the kids and leading the charge.

It worked out well.  Not a bad first foray back into entertaining...but I do miss her terribly and kept on looking around for her last night.  I'm sure that feeling won't go away for a long time, and in some ways, I'll be sad when it does.

Another odd thing?  I bought N-friendly foodstuffs for last night, like turkey for burgers and I thought about using shortening instead of butter for the pie crusts and had lots of goat cheese out and had to keep reminding myself that it wasn't necessary.  Like I said, unsettling.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Election day in North Carolina supper

I'm so nervous right now.

So, got up really early to walk over to our polling site with Ms. D.  We arrived at 6:25 AM and stood in the drizzle with our fellow voters.  It only took about 30 minutes -- we were voters 42 and 43.  So exciting to see a line.  I vote in every dang election, even the off-time issue elections, and am used to being the only one there.

After my walk home, I took a pork shoulder roast out of the fridge and rubbed it with a dry rub, put it in the Crock Pot and poured 1/2 cup of our friend R's secret BBQ sauce.  Turned it on low, went to work.

I called home at 5:30 and asked my Mom to put Farmer Fred's sweet potatoes into the oven.

Then, when I got home, I took some turnip greens and tatsoi from F.F., sauteed them in olive oil and garlic and stewed them for about 15 minutes.

The pork turned out just like traditional pulled pork!  I need to get some liquid smoke for next time.  We heard about this "cheater BBQ" on the Splendid Table this weekend, and it really works.

Ahhhhh.  An easy, balanced, very NC-centric meal.  Hub liked it so much he overate.

Back to watching the polls and worrying.