Giving Thanks That It’s Over!

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
Persimmon Sorbetto
Primi Piatti–
Insalata Verde (Green Spring Mixed Salad w/Roasted Candied Pecans and Pomegranite)  served with Raspberry Vinagrette Dressing
Secondi Piatti–
Escarole Zuppa w/Vegetarian Meatballs
Strawberry Sorbetto
Piatto Principale–
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.

Table shot:  Thanksgiving @ Ekadasi’s.

The Delivery.

Lots of stuff. 

Cooking Zombie

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….


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7 responses to “Giving Thanks That It’s Over!

  1. Lila

    Oh my god DD! You are a machine. You need a vacation/spa day/a good nap! And how did your client and guests eat all that prasdam??? I’m full from just reading the list. I have to go unbutton my sari now…

  2. Radhapriya devi dasi

    the impressive part to me is you took the time to blog about it 🙂

  3. Arun

    Hare Krishna Mataji,You must be a cooking incarnate from the spiritual realm. 🙂It’s really inspiring to see your blog and try out new items. I need help with one aspect i.e., bread making.You see, i prefer not to use Yeast for our bread and as advised by Kurma prabhu, there is a yeast free bread recipe that we tried. The bread comes out fine, but then it is not fluffy and light, rather it’s downright heavy. Could you tell me what we could do to ensure that the bread is less dense and lighter?Awaiting your response.Haribol,In the service of Srila Prabhupada.Arun Ramakrishnan.

  4. Veggie Bytes

    You’re awesome, but bless your heart!Hope you were compensated very nicely!I cooked NOTHING (been sick with an upper respiratory infection since Sunday) and regretted it as my mom’s attempt at Indian food was subpar, what to speak of all the dishes being BROWN…let’s just say Im still sick from bad food combining.Off to make some “Free the Chicken” noodle soup because no one else can make it in this town.Hugs!

  5. Devadeva Mirel

    thank you, everyone…it was…an experience…that i hope i don’t have to recreate until one of my kids gets married!!!!i am just now starting to feel recovered.arun prabhu—are you using kurma’s quickbread recipe or his sourdough bread? have you tried adding a little gluten flour to help the rise? if you are using all whole wheat flour, you may want to cut it with a little white. hope this is to all!!!

  6. Arun

    Hare Krishna Mataji,The quick bread recipe. As we don’t fine ‘Rye’ over here as a substitute to yeast. Do you have any thoughts on that?We used a combination of flours- Corn, wheat and a little (Maida)- white flour and it was too heavy. Could you send me a recipe of yours, so that we can try to follow? Gluten is something, which i doubt again that we might get over here in Bangalore-India.Thanks a ton in advance.Haribol,In the service of Srila Prabhupada.Arun Ramakrishnan.

  7. Devadeva Mirel

    Ahhh…you are in Bangalore! I didn’t know.I will dig out a quick bread recipe later this week. I know I have a sweet quick bread recipe on hand but I will find the other one soon.I tried looking up Kurma’s quickbread recipe on his blog but could not find it. Did you use a leavening agent such as baking soda or Eno powder?This is very interesting. I would recommend trying his (Kurma’s) sourdough recipe…which is anything but quick! But I think you will get great results.Does your family not care for yeast? I would imagine you could get some in Bangalore at a Western-style grocery shop. I had a friend in Govardhana who was buying yeast in Delhi for bread.Anyway, if you have Kurma’s recipe, I would love to see it.Take care!

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