Sunday, November 28, 2010

Let's Talk Turkey

One of my favorite days of the year got a lot more special when I got the chance to host my parents for Thanksgiving in Dubai.  It's been tough not having a traditional Turkey Day for the last three years, but with the arrival of my parents and the full encouraging of my husband and sister I decided it was time for an all out Thanksgiving experience.  Sure it was 80 degrees out, nobody here knows what the heck 'stuffin' is, and instead of watching football my Dad sat on the couch watching Al Jazeera news - but it was as close as we were going to get!

Never ever underestimate how fabulous supermarkets are in the US.  About 10pm on Wednesday night I would have given my left arm for a Wegman's visit!  My Mom and I made do with our local Waitrose and 90 minutes into the shopping trip we were still searching for cranberries and Italian-style dried breadcrumbs (neither were found).  As an added bonus we bumped into a few other Thanksgiving-weary Americans who we got to know as we all marched up and down the same aisle looking for cornmeal and baking soda.  (They've got all the curry spice and jarred gerkins you can imagine, but I have to excavate for baking soda?!)  Added to the hosting duties, I woke up Wednesday morning with an Egypt-contracted stomach virus and fever; being put on a five day therapy of antibiotics really puts a damper on on the whole 'drink wine while your cooking' thing, that I was so looking forward to!

Thursday morning, however, it all came together.  The illness subsided, I found a jar of cranberry sauce, and Matt was able to stream-live the Macy's day parade - AND my parents were here!  It was Thanksgiving!

Mom and I spend all day in the kitchen to prepare the feast:
Ginger-infused vodka and champagne punch with candied orange rinds
Cheese board with water crackers and cheese straws
Hot Italian sausage and breadcrumb stuffed mushrooms
Homemade cornbread and biscuits
Pumpkin soup severed in bell pepper
Cranberry sauce
Turkey served with mire poix, grilled pumpkin and squash and giblet gravy
Caramelized onion stuffing
Sweet potato puree topped with brandy
Lisa's famous mac 'n cheese
Mashed potatoes
Green bean casserole
Apple crumble
Cherry pie
Pumpkin roll

We did it!  Maybe a little too well actually, turns out I probably had enough food for 40!  Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
The day started with a lot of chopping, dicing, and slicing.
Ready for the guest to arrive!
 Dad and Lisa enjoy the cheese tray and the champagne punch.
 Mom was impressed with my stuffed mushrooms - first time for this recipe!
 Pumpkin soup on the way!
 My special little bowls.
Mom did the honors of carving the turkey.
 We even had some time for a long distance Thanksgiving call with the Muellers.
 Serving the turkey with enthusiasm!
 We wish our two brothers were in this family portrait.
At the end of the night nobody had any energy to sit at the table!

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