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Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Apres moi, le deluge

Today, as usual, it's just me. It's peaceful, serene - yes, even clean. Tomorrow there will be thirteen of us - fourteen if QV joins us, which I hope he will (making for a luckier number) - and this will include 5 children ranging in age from 1 to 8, converging from Boston, LA, and Milwaukee (or "Mwawkee", as I hear some natives say). It's never easy for me to make this violent population transition, though of course I'm not complaining. I love having the whole gang here. But it usually takes a few days for me to figure out what everyone likes and needs, and by then, of course, they're gone - til the next time, when all the requirements will be subtly different.

It's not as if I have to do all the cooking. In fact we're having the main meal on Thursday at H & D's. They'll do the turkey honors, and most of the sides. And there will be plenty of able cooks on hand. Still, I want to make it easy for everyone. (Translation: I don't want them messing everything up!) So, as much as possible, I'm trying to be a good prep cook, thinking in terms of mise en place. For the pie-makers, there are four rounds of pate brisee in the fridge. I've always depended on the simple Cuisinart method in the Martha Stewart Pies and Tarts book. There's a little jar of minced garlic, whizzed in the mini-prep. There's a quart of chopped celery in a plastic container. And a quart of chopped onions. Lots of chopped parsley. There's plenty of sage, thyme and rosemary in the garden still - and fifty-ish weather is predicted, so I'll let it stay there. I'll do the cranberries in a while; that's always another easy thing to get out of the way. I have all the ingredients on hand for G to make the fancy parsnip dish and the hazlenut/currant/brioche dressing that she learned to make in a class with young chef last week in Boston. The garage is loaded with beverages, including "juice boxes" (yes they're 100% juice, don't worry) for the young. The sideboard is groaning with unaccustomed snackfood: peanuts, pistachios, panettone, clementines, gingersnaps and caramel wafers from TJ's, salt and vinegar chips...

There's a huge vat of chili simmering on the back burner - we'll have that tomorrow night, along with basmati rice (I'll make that shortly), shredded cheddar (I cheated and bought it pre-shredded) and sour cream. I'll make some cornbread tomorrow - that will be easy. Salad greens have been washed and dried, and I've made a jar of good vinaigrette. I'm not entirely sure what dessert will be tomorrow. I'm thinking I might make that good lemon-orange sherbet I mentioned in the "Gaga" post; but it means clearing enough space in the freezer for the Donvier container to pre-chill. I'll need to see how realistic that is.

And so I continue to putter. Happily, of course. Safe travel, everyone - I can hardly wait!


Anonymous Ibby said...

I can't wait! Heading to the airport in an hour to begin the journey.

10:30 PM  
Blogger paige said...

I just found you thanks to your commenting over Luisa's (Weds. Chef) about the no knead bread, which is having its second rise as I type...Can't wait to try it--if it's as good as everyone says, I'm going to make two more loaves to have with Tgiving dinner tomorrow! Anyway, I really like your blog, and I'll be back to visit again.

1:07 PM  
Blogger East of Oregon said...

Happy Thanksgiving!

3:10 PM  
Blogger nina said...

Yes, that's how it is. You tell it well.

Happy Thanksgiving and peaceful transitions, before and after.

9:36 PM  

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