I have very nearly perfected our Thanksgiving menu, it’s almost exactly the same as last year’s – there’s really only room to add one side dish and change up the turkey recipe (which I choose but leave to my mom to execute since I’m a [mostly] veggie). This year was kicked off with Ezra Pound Cake’s (Mom’s) Monkey Bread.

It’s a bit of a cheat seeing as it’s just refrigerated biscuits dipped in butter and cinnamon sugar, but it was definitely a tasty way to start the day!

Then we had to face the problem of lunch. Since we always, always miss our 4:00 target eating time, we usually end up with the dilemma of how much to eat at lunchtime. I solved that this year by doing a small spread of appetizers for us to munch on around lunchtime, just to tide us over to dinner. We had salmon spread with crackers, apple and goat cheese tartlets (of the puff pastry variety, not short pastry), and pecorino romano with apples and fig jam (which Jillian made for one of our food parties and I definitely inhaled more than my fair share).

I changed the turkey recipe to this black pepper-pomegranate molasses glazed one since my mom said they didn’t want to do a brined one. Reports were that it was pretty tasty! (It certainly smelled very yummy.) And we made roasted garlic mashed potatoes which were very, very tasty. Our new side dish was a simple but tasty one – roasted Brussels sprouts.

Roasting is really the only way to go with Brussels sprouts and Ina’s right – they should be super-salty, like French fries. (These were very good at the time, but I notice that they seem to be outlasting the rest of the leftovers, so they’ll probably be switched out next year in favor of some newfangled recipe I want to try.)

The other place that I’m usually open to some change is in the desserts. Usually I do a rum pumpkin chiffon pie, but this year I was tempted to stray by this bourbon pumpkin cheesecake (instead of the genoise base or a graham cracker crust, I went with a gingersnap crumb crust [which usually accompanies the rum pumpkin chiffon pie]).

My mom always requests a pecan pie (which is not one of my favorites) so I thought I’d switch it up a little bit and make Ezra Pound Cake’s (again) recipe for Southern Comfort pecan pie.

And I’m always up for a cocktail, so since pomegranate was featuring in the turkey and the decoration for the cheesecake, I chose pomegranate cosmos which were super-tasty but stronger than they seemed!

Now to eat all these yummy leftovers over the next week or so!

The pre-Thanksgiving-dinner dinner

What do you have for dinner the night before you are inundated with yummy, yummy food?

If you answered “pear and gorgonzola tartlets,” you’d be correct!

I wasn’t sure how these would go over with my parents because of the gorgonzola cheese (it is sort of an acquired taste being such a strong cheese), but it was a hit (unless they were lying which is entirely possible). The sweetness of the pear was a nice contrast to the sort of bitter gorgonzola, so that might have helped a bit. At any rate, I liked them very much and was excited to get to use my new, super-cute mini-tart pans complete with removable bottoms. (Oh, and this is the crust recipe I used since one wasn’t given in the original recipe.)

A few things that are too awesome not to share

Technically I should have said ‘a couple’ because I only have two things to share, but that word’s too long for an already long enough post title, so:

1. I got lost in YouTube the other day (I wandered in via Wikipedia) and ended up discovering Know Your Meme at the Internet Meme Database, which is super cool – I watched all their videos even when I didn’t know what they were talking about.

2. And they, or more specifically, their video about autotune, led me to this which I am now completely obsessed with:

Like seriously. I sing it in the shower and I made it into a ringtone (which is problematic because I end up wanting to listen to it instead of answering the phone).

3. Oh, look, my post title was accurate after all. You all know that I am firmly in the book camp when it comes to the whole book vs. e-book debate, but this comic that Lucy Knisely posted at her blog really makes me want to like e-books. Regardless of how I feel about e-books, I do know that I adore Lucy Knisely and her comics. Nobody should be able to write AND draw so well!

As you can see…

…I’m DREADFULLY behind on my NaNoWriMo. I managed a fairly big push today, mostly by being very bad and skipping ahead to write a scene that won’t happen for quite some time but that I had pretty set in my head. That ate up about 2,000 words, but still. (I ought to have hit approximately 16,000 words today and I think I’ve only just barely hit 5,000.)

Part of the reason I’m behind is that I am the world’s best procrastinator and managed to make no less than two soups, Brian’s Potato Cheese Soup (of which I have no photo, but you know what soup looks like) and Sweet Potato, Corn, and Jalapeno Bisque, both of which were very tasty. The potato cheese soup was pretty traditional. The sweet potato, corn, and jalapeno bisque is less so, but still very, very good – it’s a little sweeter than I was imagining, but the molasses adds a nice smokey flavor to it and the jalapeno and cayenne bring out a warmth that cuts through the sweetness.

Accompanying that, I also made cornbread and honey butter to go with it. Mostly because I had extra buttermilk left over from the butternut squash casserole I made a while ago and from the lemon cake I made after that to try and use up the rest of my buttermilk. I had to do a bit of searching for a cornbread recipe – I prefer sweeter cornbread – and stumbled across this one along the way. It’s perfect – moist and sweet (without being cake-sweet or anything). Yum!

Then I made the aforementioned lemon cake from Ina’s recipe (how can you go wrong, right?). It was very easy – though my hand got very tired from zesting and juicing all those lemons! – and very tasty. I decided to put this in the freezer since I also have the cornbread to get through, so I’ll try and remember to let you know how well it survives that experience.

And then I made Linguine with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce and Pine Nuts. I had never done the whole char-the-vegetable-and-the-skin-comes-right-off thing and this was the first time I’d used my broiler here, but it all went off without a hitch and ended up being super-tasty. I think I might add some goat cheese next time, but it was still very good even without it.

And, quite by accident, I also discovered a very tasty cocktail called an Applejack Rabbit. I happened to have calvados around from making El Grito and lemons from making the lemon cake and maple syrup because I love waffles and always have it around, so I whipped one up (because I don’t really know what to do with the calvados) and it’s super-super tasty and, just as the original recipe says, perfect for fall!

So all of that (and this post) are the reason my NaNoWriMo total is so low. That and the fact that it is much harder than I was expecting! But I’m plowing ahead still – I may not actually hit 50,000, but anything’s better than nothing, I suppose. Wish me better luck this week! Janis, I hope you’re making better progress than I have been… 🙂

NaNoWriMo: Day 1

Holy cats, this is harder than I thought it would be! I’ve been staring at the computer all day (1, 667 words a day does not leave me time to write it out and then type it in) and have only done 1,452 words so far. I’m not giving up yet – I still have an hour before it’s time for me to go to bed…

I’m not planning on posting the whole thing here, but I thought I’d at least give you my first paragraph:

Ned had no idea where he was. It was dark and cold and there were loud noises that sounded like explosions and he had no idea where he was. Actually, that wasn’t true. Ned knew exactly where he was. He was huddled in a doorway in the high street just outside the tube station and the longer he sat there, the clearer it became that, although he knew where he was, what he didn’t know was when he was.

I’m hoping I can get the widget in my sidebar here to work eventually, but, failing that, I’ll at least keep you posted as to my progress. Wish me luck!

How are you doing, Janis? 🙂

Mary Poppins got it right!

Saturday afternoon was a beautiful fall day…

…so my dad and I headed out to Allerton Park to enjoy the weather…

…and fly a kite…

…(like you do).

I’m sure I have a kite with a brontosaurus on it somewhere, but I could only find the circle-of-dolphins one, so we were slightly less-than-cool, but it was still fun. 😉

And then we watched The Godfather. It was very good – I hadn’t started out being in the mood to watch a 3-hour mobster drama, but it ended up making me an offer I couldn’t refuse (although some of the drama of the last hour or so was interrupted by trick-or-treaters, but still…).