Thursday, October 17, 2013

Thanksgiving Burnout

I just got to the other side of the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend wondering which I had had more of: hours of sleep, or glasses of wine. I think it was about even. A close friend from Vancouver came to visit. When she flies to Saskatoon, and people ask her why she's going there, she answers, "For dinner," because we always eat well while she's here (and all the time, really, but I make an extra special effort while she's here).

While I didn't post any Thanksgiving plans for the benefit of my Canadian readers, there's still time for any American readers who are starting to think of their own Thanksgiving table.

So our weekend went something like this:

I picked up our turkey, delivered fresh from Cool Springs Ranch. A whopping 20-pounder!

We made a trip to the Saskatoon Farmer's Market for eggs, locally grown apples (amazing!), some kohlrabi and bread for the turkey stuffing. There was pre-cut artisan bread ready for stuffing. Perfect! Then I went home and rubbed the turkey down with kosher salt, and tucked fresh herbs under its skin, to marinate until Monday.

Saturday afternoon we entertained other friends who were here visiting family, and I canned tomatoes (my parents went on a road trip during tomato canning season, so I offered to take over the canning process in exchange for some of the finished product. This is far more labour intensive than I thought). Then I picked up my girlfriend from the airport.

That night, we headed out on the town for what I planned to be a 'traveling supper', introducing her to Saskatoon restaurants that she'd never been to. We were thwarted, however, by the tendency for many restaurants to close at 9PM. Since we didn't start until 7PM, we were turned away from the place I had hoped would be our main course (Weczeria) because we arrived at 9:15. We had to cross the river and finish our evening on 2nd Avenue instead.

I defied all logic and planned a dinner party in my friend's honour, the day before I hosted Thanksgiving. I'm continuing to be fascinated with Yotam Ottolenghi, and I selected recipes from his most recent book, Ottolenghi. He does such amazing things with vegetables. The menu went something like this:
Champagne cocktail featuring my newly bottled plum-basil liqueur (!!)
Buttered prawns with tomatoes and olives, with Farmers Market olive bread for dipping with a French Sauvignon Blanc
Salad with roasted beets, home pickled beets, walnuts and feta
Jerusalem artichoke and Swiss chard tart with a gorgeous Meursault
Garlic, soy and honey slow-roasted pork belly slices, maple soy Lake Diefenbaker trout, and home-cured Swiss chard kimchi and a Volcanic Hills Gewurtztraminer (collected on a recent road trip to the Okanagan)
Walnut and gorgonzola bites with honey and a Spatlese Riesling
Homemade orange flower water marshmallows

It was at the end of this meal that I realized I'd probably had one or two too many glasses of wine, and I still had to make pumpkin tartlets and bun dough for my dinner the next day. I did that, and then crawled into bed at 2:30 am, only to jump out of bed at 7am to prep the turkey the next morning.

I had collected quite a few bottles of wine that could go with turkey, including white, pink and red options, so we were well lubricated that day, too. And the menu went like this:

Big salad (brought by a guest)
Jellied salads (made by my houseguest)
Cranberry/sour cherry sauce (yummy)
Assorted pickles (dill, beet, bean, sweet sliced)
Brussels sprouts with prociutto and white wine
Green beans gremolata
Mashed turnips (brought by a guest)
Maple-roasted acorn squash with Italian sausage (from the new Canadian Living magazine, but not yet on-line. It's delicious. I'll post later)
Mashed potatoes and gravy
Herb roasted turkey with bread stuffing
Fresh whole wheat buns
Pumpkin tartlets

It was an epic meal. The highlights for me were the cranberry-sour cherry sauce, and the maple-roasted acorn squash. The Brussels sprouts and pumpkin tartlets disappeared most quickly. We've been enjoying leftovers the last few days, and turned the last of the turkey and veggies into turkey vegetable soup last night.

While I may be suffering from exhaustion and mild burnout from the weekend, it was lovely. Now that Thanksgiving's over, I can get back to dealing with fast-ripening tomatoes. More on that soon.

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