Yes, I am thankful. Thankful that the week of cooking for my and My Client’s Thanksgiving is finally over. I cooked at my own peril. I did not study for the LSAT. I am behind in my email (not like that is so perilous, but it is anti-social of me). My back is aching and I am way too tired. But everything is finally done. Except, of course, the pots. But I don’t even want to think about that now.
We celebrated our own family affair with my friend, Ekadasi, and her five kids. I have known Ekadasi since 1997, straight outta Brooklyn. It was a low key afternoon spent at her place and the meal reflected that. Ekadasi made a huge loaf of white bread (my husband loved it), mac and cheese, tomato soup and also heated up a pot of apple cider. We brought salad and dressing, Bryanna’s Seitan Roast, stuffing, mashed sweet potatoes, green beans, gravy to put on everything and ginger cookies.
Sufficient to say, we all ate too much.
Afterwards I went home to get started on My Client’s Post-Thanksgiving Thanksgiving Friday evening (that would be tonite). Between shopping and cooking and cleaning I don’t even want to tell you how many hours I spent working on this. But I will be sure to tell my client so that I get paid.
Here is the menu (It is tres gourmet):
For the kids:
Broken Pasta Vegetable Barley Soup
Organic Cheese Pizza w/Whole Wheat Crust
For the bigger kids:
Fresh Mozzarella Cheese over slices of Sweet Oranges on a bed of Shredded Fennel
Steamed Fresh Artichokes stuffed with Raw Cranberry Relish
Kalamata Olives, Green Stuffed Olives, Roasted Peppers, Marinated Artichokes
Insalata Verde (Green Spring Mixed Salad w/Roasted Candied Pecans and Pomegranite) served with Raspberry Vinagrette Dressing
Escarole Zuppa w/Vegetarian Meatballs
Stuffed Seitan Roast Roulade filled w/Cherry Chestnut Stuffing surrounded by Roasted Yukon Gold Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes, Carrots, Asparagus, Brussel Sprouts, Apples and Pears
Fresh Honeycrisp Applesauce
Meyer Lemon Sorbetto
Fresh Kabocha Pumpkin Pie w/Whole Wheat Crust
Whole Wheat Apple Pear Gallette
Almond Cheesecake w/Homemade Graham Cracker Crust topped w/Raspberry Caramel Sauce
From sorbetto to candied nuts, it was all me. And now I feel a bit pecany. Since it is Thanksgiving weekend, my kids were home. Oh yeah, and my husband was working. Fun.
Actually, my kids were great. They are totally at peace when I am in the kitchen because that is where I have been before they were born and that was where I was with them while they were little tiny babies (not recommended though folks….too many kids in hospital burn units are there from kitchen accidents). The real problem was my anxiety.
I retired from the kitchen at 11:30 last nite only to return at 3:30 AM. My alarm clock didn’t ring (I was too tired to set it). But I couldn’t sleep because I was too freaked out that not everything would get done. And rightly so. The menu was totally gourmet and so much attention was necessary to individual details–like stuffing the artichokes or sectioning the oranges or dealing with the endless amounts of chopped escarole for the zuppa.
And let’s talk about the zuppa. My Client told me how many heads of escarole to purchase and I followed his instructions precisely. But when it came time to making the soup, it seemed like too much. I left a few heads out, but still, this soup was packed full of escarole. Prior to cooking the soup, I had gone online to look up traditional recipes and see pictures. My Client told me his mother only used water in her soup. No mirepoix. No spices or herbs. Just water, salt, escarole and meatballs. Well, that sounded bunk to me and in fact no recipe online reflected such a sparse and monastic broth.
Chicken broth. Every recipe called for chicken broth. But I didn’t want to make my veg chicken broth because then the soup would taste just like the stuffing and roast, so I just boiled up a vegetable broth and added that to the mixture. Fine no problem. But the look of the soup was a problem. I mean, it smelled like boiled lettuce and looked like something that would be served in an orphanage.
I called My Client.
He told me that the soup sounded just right and that I should turn the stove off and be done with it. He told me, in fact, that the recipe is from his grandmother, who lived through the Great Depression.
“Yes,” I told him. “This soup is a recipe for depression.”
I thought it had way too much escarole in it and suggested me removing some before bringing it over to him.
“No, no, no,” he said.
I rolled my eyes and got off the phone.
Upon bringing everything over to his house he removed the lid from the soup, setting his eyes upon the depression-era ration and declared it “Magnifico.”
To each their own.
So there aren’t many pictures. I was too busy cooking to stop and shoot. But here’s what I could muster.
Drool factor: low.
This is a kabocha squash, perfect for homemade pumpkin pie.
Stuffing from our family meal. Tasted like Stove Top. But in a good way. Four sticks of butter and some sage will do that.
Fresh baked whole wheat loaves for My Client’s Cherry Chestnut Stuffing.
Mise en Place
If My Client remembers to take pictures, I will surely share them with you. That is, if he shares them with me. Now I need to shut off the boiling pot of kheer in my kitchen. Oh, did I say I was done cooking? Seems like it never ends….