Sunday, November 25, 2007

November 25, 2007 - Hudson

Happy Thanksgiving!
We have spent the past few days gorging ourselves on great food and amazing beverages. Our first family meal of the holidays, my grandmother's lasagna, was accompanied by a chianti from 1978. That night the party kicked into high gear when my cousin Chris arrived with a 5 liter keg of Spaten.

In some households, the turkey is the centerpiece of the meal. Not at my house. On St. James Circle, the main event is the golden creamed pearl onions (see the big yellow Gourmet cookbook for the recipe). There are never enough. Sten spent most of the day Wednesday trimming six pounds of frozen pearl onions. He is my mother's favorite son-in-law. He's her only son in law, but that's beside the point.

Every year we play the cocktail game. We pick an odd bottle of spirits from my parents' bar and see how many different drinks we can make out of it. Some years are sillier than others. The Galliano year was just ridiculous - if I never see another yellow drink again it will be too soon. This year we chose a bottle of Ciroc. We enjoyed ice wine martinis made with Firelands Ice Wine, which is produced on an island on Lake Erie. The pomegranate, pineapple and Ciroc martinis were not as good - though their foaming action was strangely entertaining. Alena's pomegranate martini recipe was much tastier:
1 part pomegranate
1 part Ciroc (Alena prefers gin)
juice of 1/2 lemon
simple syrup to taste

Thanksgiving day, my cousin Karen and I were dispatched to the back forty in the midst of a snow squall to harvest brussle sprouts.
Alena and Sten took them off our frozen fingers when we got back inside.

In the months leading up to Thanksgiving, Mom worked her way through the sparkling wine options at the local stores to find the perfect sparkler for the big meal. All her hard work paid off and we enjoyed many bottles of Luna di Luna Sparkling Chardonnay & Pinot Grigio with dinner.
My father's sister, Helen, brought her very cute Scottie Max with her this year.
Max was a big hit with everyone - especially all the neighbors he met when he bolted out the front door - everyone, that is, except the cats. Max had a great time flushing them out of all of their hiding places. Chester decided that the roof was the safest place to wait for Max to leave.
The best $30 I've ever spent was on the board game Blokus, to which Steve and Susan on Surprise introduced us in Huahine.
We spent hours in heated competition over Thanksgiving. Sten emerged as the reigning champion. I'm planning to bring the game with us on our road trip to see who will unseat him.

I'm not a big seasonal decorator, but I make an exception for Christmas. I love all the lights and color of the season. The day after Thanksgiving Dad and I set up the lighted trees on either side of the front door and I hung door wreaths and put candles in the windows. That night we all gathered in the street in front of the house to see the lights glowing for the first time this season. Yesterday we got our Christmas tree. Last night, we celebrated the beginning of the Christmas season with a delicious 1966 port. It is truly wonderful to be home for the holidays.

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