November 21-25, 2005 - Joanne
Countdown to Thanksgiving 2005
Here's my timeline diary for this year's Thanksgiving. Our kitchen runs like a somewhat oiled old rickety wagon wheel and it's prone to my whims. I am not a chef - just the head cook, but I do seem to get lots of practice. I'll probably not burn the Turkey - but one never knows! As we only have one oven, I made pizza Sunday night in the wood oven so that it would be warm enough to build the fire more easily on Thursday. Ideally I'll try and cook something simple in it this week to keep the heat up. As dishes are re-heated on Thursday I'll move them to the warming drawer.
The Cheese Board Line-Up

Mid-day November 24, 2005

The Final Appetizer Cheese line-up is:
Fourme au Maury (French, blue), Celtic Promise (Welsh, cow/r), Medora (Sardinian, sheep), Stanser Schafkase (Swiss, sheep), Touissant (Sprout Creek (NY), cow/p) and Red Leicester (Quicke Farms, England, cow).

I decided not to serve two similar sheep's milk cheeses so we'll have the Zamorano on it's own some other time. The Nicholau Farms Chevre I'm now intending to use with the salmon as an alternative to creme fraiche.

Other Cooking Notes: The turkey had some ice on the bottom still so we soaked it in cold water in the sink (still wrapped in plastic) for 30mins. Then unwrapped it and removed the last few feathers and the giblets. Then it went back into the fridge until 10. It seems fine now. What a gorgeous looking bird it is, too. Lots of fat and thick skin. Strong looking bird.

The table is almost set. The centerpiece almost made. Lima Beans and English Peas are shelled. Oven's on. I've decided not to use the wood oven today. We'll see how that goes. We still need flowers, glassware and silverware on the table. Jack has chosen wine! Finally! Look below for "Probable Wines".

Our Bourbon Red Heritage Turkey was grown at Windmill Ranch according to Heritage Foods USA traceability number

What I still need at the Supermarket

November 22, 2005 - Morning

1 pint Heavy Whipping Cream
2 cans Evaporated Milk
2 pounds of Unsalted butter
2 bunches of Celery
1 quart 1/2 & 1/2
1 box French Picnic Pie Rounds
1 pint Straus Family Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
1/2 lb Smoked Salmon
1 pound of Beeler's Bacon
2 cans of Pumpkin Puree (organic!)
Della Fattoria Bread to make Stuffing

We're off to Whole Foods this morning for the last minute items. We'll clean the oven while we're out. ! I think the carrots are going to be on the menu tonight - and knowing Jack probably some fish. I can't imagine having them on Thanksgiving. The plate is already going to be full.

Update November 22 afternoon - Joanne
I managed to forget to buy the Pastry Rounds and as I don't have time to deal with an extra step I'll have someone pick them up later today. I actually didn't need the evaporated milk - just extra heavy cream for the pies - so I'll use it for something else (now I have two cans of it).

We bought Ohlone (local) wild smoked salmon in two 4-oz packages: one of hot smoked and one of cold smoked for variety. I also bought a jar of pre-shucked oysters as they had tons specially for Thanksgiving.

On a very positive note, the Heritage turkey we ordered from Heritage Foods USA arrived and it was one turkey (not two as I had feared) - and weighs a whopping 20.46 pounds! Our Bourbon Red turkey was raised by Danny Williamson of Windmill Ranch.

Another cooking note: The recipe for perfect turkey is not in the turquoise Martha Stewart but in the beige Martha Stewart Living Cookbook on page 314. It uses 3 sticks of butter and 1 bottle of white wine. Basically cooking the turkey at 450°F for 30 mins then 350°F until it's done. You use the cheesecloth on it until the last hour of cooking and baste every 30 mins or so. Good thing I looked up the recipe!

Marin Farmers' Market Haul
November 20, 2005

Keep in mind that not all of the Farmers' Market purchases were made for Thanksgiving. - Joanne

The Hauler

4 bunches of Burgundy and Yellow carrots from County Line Harvest
3 bunches of Golden Beets
7 Swedes (I call them turnips) From Bellview Farm
8 Pounds of White Rose Potatoes
3 bunches of Leeks
1 pint of strawberries
1 bag of Red Zebra Striped Red Tomatoes and
1 pint of Red Striped Cherry Tomatoes from Smith Family Farms in Knightsen
2 Large bags of Shelling Peas from Iacopi Farms
1 club of Brussels Sprouts
1 lb of Royal Trumpet Mushrooms
2 lg Parsnips
3 small heads cauliflower
3 small crowns of broccoli
2 lbs of Walnuts 1lb each from Dieckmann Farm (Yuba City) and Blue Heron Farm (Ramsey)
4 Yellow Onions from Bellevue Farm
4 lbs of Garnet Yams
1 Robert Lambert White Christmas Cake - $22
Brickmaiden Sesame Wheat Bread
Brickmaiden Breakfast pastries
10 balls of Pizza Dough
3 chocolate persimmons from De'Santis Family Farm in Fresno
Assorted Lettuces

Bellevue Farm's offerings

I'm not sure who was more excited to get the turkey - Trent or me! - Joanne

The Schedule

Sunday: Shop at Marin’s Farmers Market. Make Vegetable Stock & Soup. Make Dinner in Wood Oven (Pizza!).

The Reality: [Jack: Check, check, and yum.] He didn't mention that I burned the vegetables for the soup - I got involved in something else and wasn't watching them. I had to pull out the unburned ones and continue as I only had the 2 parsnips that I'd used. The soup actually turned out great. Very apple-y and no hint of char.

Monday: Clean silver and house. Wash plates and glasses. Check and count linens and napkins.

The Reality: Jack: None of this was even attempted. Joanne made a wonderful Gingerbread House with Trent instead. Joanne: I did place an order for the Celtic Promise and some additional cheese to start with. We had Pasta Shop Ravioli with brown butter and walnuts and Salad for dinner.

Tuesday: Make Cookies and Alternate Dessert(?). Write Cheese markers. Make spiced and caramelized nuts. Toast extra walnuts for stuffing. Start on centerpiece. Clean the Oven! Check turkey when it arrives. Refrigerate. Shop for extra items. Vacuum wood-burning oven's ashes. I may make the stuffing today!

The Reality: I made the stuffing (dressing), baked the yams and caramelized the nuts. We made some progress on the house and cleaned the oven. We completed the last minute shopping. The turkey arrived. We're on target. We had Indian food take-out from Pamposh Restaurant tonight. - Joanne

Wednesday: Make pies and cookies. Boil beets. Cut potatoes. Bake yams. Blanche brussels sprouts. Bake stuffing. Make mashed turnips. Finish centerpiece. Build Fire! Note: My Mom makes the turnips and the cranberry sauce for our table. Jack should have the wine chosen! Our order should arrive today with the cheese.

The Reality: The igourmet order arrived - the Celtic Promise looks promising! House? House cleaned! - Jack

I blanched brussels sprouts, cut potatoes, boiled beets and made cookies this morning with Trent. We're baking pies before dinner. The igourmet order arrived minus one cheese Amish Frolic - they said they were sorry and would ship it out on Monday. It shouldn't make a difference to the cheese plate. I'm considering using the wild boar bacon with the brussels sprouts but I haven't made a decision yet. I also haven't heard much on the wine front since yesterday when we were debating on Ridge Santa Cruz Mtns Cab. No fires have been built yet and the table isn't set but the kitchen looks good. I'll try and get Jack to shell Lima Beans tonight. - Joanne

Update Wednesday night: Pies are cooling. I cooked them on convection and they got a bit too brown in places - nothing whipped cream won't hide. The cookies I made with Trent still need to be iced - we'll see if we get to that tomorrow. The leaves are now in the table and the table is ready for the tablecloth. Things are looking good!

Thursday Morning: Light wood oven. Set table. Shell peas and lima beans. Fry bacon. Take turkey out at 10. Start gravy with giblets and Sunday’s vegetable stock. Flowers! Pre-heat oven.

Thursday Afternoon: Assemble appetizer cups. Turn on warming drawer. Reheat dressing, turnips and sweet potatoes. Fry brussels sprouts. Boil potatoes. Saute peas in Butter until cooked through. Boil Lima beans.

Last Minute: Mash the potatoes. Heat soup and get everyone to the table.

The Planned Menu
(in progress - November 22, 2005)

Cheese Plate - updated
Celtic Promise, Zamarano (Spain, sheep), Medora (Sardinia, Sheep), Toussiant from Sprout Creek Farms, Red Leicester, and Nicolau Farms Chevre.
Smoked Salmon Cups
with Ohlone Hot or Cold Salmon &
Kendall Farms Crème Fraiche or Nicholau Farms Chevre (using Sable & Rosenfeld's Party Cups)

Spiced & Spiked Blue Heron Farms Walnuts

Apple & Parsnip Soup
With Sierra Beauty Apples,
Celeriac & Pineapple Sage

Cold Golden Beets

with Forage Apple Glaze
with Della Fattoria Rosemary/Meyer Lemon bread, Sierra Beauty Apples, Royal Trumpet Mushrooms & Walnuts
White Rose Mashed Potatoes
Pan Fried Brussels Sprouts

with Beeler’s Bacon & Caramelized Walnuts
Fresh Peas with English Butter
Fresh Lima Beans with Irish Butter
Mashed Yams with Maple Syrup
Mashed Turnips *Swedes*
Cranberry Sauce

Heritage Bourbon Red Turkey
Giblet Gravy

Pumpkin Pie with Bourbon Whipped Cream
Maury’s Gingerbread Cookies

1999 Braida (Giacomo Bologna) Brachetto d'Acqui

2003 Sanct Valentin (San Michele Appiano) Gewürztraminer Alto Adige

2002 Movia Sauvignon (Blanc) Brda (Collio)

1997 Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon Santa Cruz Mountains

1998 Joseph Swan Cabernet Sauvignon Steiner Sonoma Mountain

1992 Williams Selyem Pinot Noir Olivet Lane Russian River Valley

N.V. Pedro Domecq Jerez-Xérès-Sherry 'Venerable' 30 Years Old

Notes on the Menu:
I always serve a tiny first course at Thanksgiving as it brings everyone to the table and gives them something to do while I get the rest of the dinner together. With so many dishes and glasses we always serve the dinner buffet style off the kitchen island.

Dinner is served on my collection
of Minton Florentine china from 1862.

Last Year's Dinner

Trent with his spiked Troll club of Sprouts!
(Does 6+1d8 damage, +12 vs. Trolls)

Visit the Final Menu here - and see how our Bourbon Red Turkey looked!

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