Monday, November 19, 2007

Making Thanksgiving Dinner for 35 People

Luke 12:40 "You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect Him."

First there's the planning. Who's coming, what's to eat, where to seat. Then there's what ingredients are needed and buying them. Last week I bought 2 turkeys, chicken stock, pecans, punpkin puree, heavy cream, yams, sweet potatoes, yukon golds, sweet onion, peas, eggs, sugar, brandy, bourbon, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cranberries, apples, green beans, golden raisins, firm white bread ..... I'm sure I'll need to go to the store again. For example, I can't remember where the orzo is. But anyway, now I'm ready to get started cooking.

note: above picture is a painting called 'Copper Pots" Deborah Chabrian

Cranberries and Apple Sauce

Sauce à la canneberge maison.

It's based on a French recipe I read.

2 apples, peeled, cored, and diced.
12 oz. cranberries
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1/8 tsp cinnamon

Put it all in a saucepan, bring to a boil. Stir occasionally, and turn down to a low simmer. Cook until all of the berried are popped. The berries are burst, and most of the apples are mushy.

Grateful Pudding with Lemon Sauce

Next I got started on the Grateful Pudding. I sent Christian to the basement to find the pudding mold. He found it!!! Then I buttered and sugared the insides. Next I'll soak the golden raisins for a few hours, and then put the raisins and cubed bread into the mold with the lid on. On Thanksgiving I'll pour the custard mixture into the mold and steam it for an hour or so. This evening I'll make the lemon sauce.

1/2 cup sultanas
1/4 cup brandy
12 ounces white bread, bottom crusts removed, cut into 1/2 inch squares
2 cups light cream
1 tsp vanilla
4 eggs
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp nutmeg

Soak the raisins in the brandy with the lemon zest overnight.

Butter and sprinkle with sugar a 2 quart covered metal pudding mold, including the inside of the lid. Layer the bread alternately with the plumped sultanas in the mold, ending with the bread.

Beat the eggs with the sugar until light. Gradually pour in the cream. Add the nutmeg. Pour over the bread.

Secure the lid and place the mold on a rack in a covered kettle with enough water to come two thirds up the side of the mold. Steam the pudding for 1 hour over gently simmering water.

Lemon Sauce

3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 Tbl cornflour
1 cups hot water
1/4 cup butter
juice and zest of two tiny lemons

Combine the sugar and cornflour in a saucepan. Add the hot water and bring slowly to a boil. Add the butter, lemon juice, and zest and continue cooking until smooth, just a bit longer.

To serve, unmold the warm pudding onto a serving plate and serve with a bowl of lemon sauce.

Next I steamed the sweet potatoes and roasted the yams. They both turned out great. As soon as I could handle them I peeled them. Again, they both turned out great. The sweet potatoes (that's the pale yellow ones) were huge, while the yams (that's the orange ones) were all the same size and smallish. For steaming I used Nigella's big all-purpose pot, putting some water in the bottom, and the sweet potatoes in the top. For the roasting I pre-heated the gas over to 400 degrees and baked them for maybe 45 minutes. I'm not sure because I went to the grocery store, taking Emily with me and leaving Christian at home. I told him about the yams in the gas oven and the sweet potatoes in the steaming pot and that if anything seemed fishy he was to turn the stove off.

But on our way there I spotted and open house sign in front of an amazing house that I have wanted to see since I was in grade school. I think maybe Emily and I were in the house for at least 20 minutes or more. It was even nicer than I had imagined. There was a very large living room with a grand piano at one end that didn't detracted from the size of the room. The dining room was grand in size without being grandiose - just what I would like to have. Beyond the dining room, heading towards the kitchen, was a delightful breakfast room. The kitchen, which was remodeled in the seventies, was very yellow and measure about 12 by 20 feet. Off the kitchen was a spacious area that I think was meant for the housekeeper, but instead there was a man in the house who couldn't walk, and this was his area. Emily and I found him in a room off the living room, and he was quite eager to talk. this is why we were delayed. Upon seeing Emily he quickly turned his huge tv to a kid's cartoon chanel. The house sits on a HUGE lot, with a tennis court in one corner, and atleast four separate garden areas. I would love to live there, but not at 1.5 million.

When we arrived back home, Riley was there. I told him about the house and he wanted to see it, so off we went. Unfortunately it wasn't open anymore, so we (Riley, Emily, and I) went for coffee and a walk. Later I peeled and julianed about 12 carrots, then I steamed them in Nigella's pot to au dent, then I put them in cold water, drained them, and put them in the refrigerator. At the same time I made ordinary cranberry sauce. Which reminds me - I keep forgetting to get the canned jellied cranberry sauce for the brothers.

note: It turn out that there were 43 of us.  Here's the outcome.


Peabody said...

35 people....oh my.

Molly Loves Paris said...

Oh my is right. I'm in just do the next thing mode.