Monday, November 29, 2010

Thanksgiving, Extended Edition

The wonderfully welcomed view that we woke up to on Thanksgiving morning
I heard that Wellsboro woke up to the same view, it made me feel closer to home which is also a good thing on Thanksgiving day. 

 Thanksgiving Day, American-style fun at GTL

Full on tackle football
Thankfully it was too muddy and slippery for many big hits, mostly people were just sliding into each other and the snow and mud made for a softer landing. 
I can't wait to do that laundry!

I was unaware that Michael had been home until I walked into the bathroom to find this. He was kind enough to rinse it all out and hang it to dry at least.

 We enjoyed an excellent, as usual, meal at GTL complete with plenty of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes along with many, many interesting dishes from any number of cuisines. After dinner was the "talent" segment. The blurry picture above is of Katrina and Jessie (hope I'm spelling that right) during their "GTL Ballad: 21 going on 22". It was a hysterical re-mix of the ever popular "16 going on 17" from the The Sound of Music that confronted the trials and tribulations of being a GTL scholar. 

After their little ditty...we performed. Well, not Michael and I; any of you that know Michael know that he wouldn't be caught dead on a stage performing. No, the day before the dinner our friend Peter asked me if I would be willing to do a song with him and I agreed...reluctantly. We practiced all that afternoon and ran through the song a few times with the mic that day. I would be lying if I didn't tell you that I was incredibly nervous, but that's what happens when you haven't been on a stage in nearly 7 years I suppose. I'm even nervous about posting hands are sweating. But, here you have it. Peter and I singing "Baby, It's Cold Outside".

Oh, and if anyone with any power at GTL is reading this, please do not hold the performance portion after dinner, I thought I was going to explode. Oh, and a big thanks to Michael for putting up with hearing this song on constant repeat for 24 hours and for recording the song.

On Saturday we got a little out of order (you'll see why later); we made ourselves some yummy eggnog (for the record, eggnog with cognac=amazing!) and lit up our little palm tree thing.

Since we'll be leaving in a mere 2.5 weeks, it'll have to suffice until we can get home to enjoy our parents' full-sized Christmas trees.  

We struggled for a long time that night to come up with something to make for dinner. We ended up settling on an epicurious recipe for Veal Cacciatore mainly because we have a lot of polenta in our pantry to use up in the next few weeks. On top of everything else, I feel like our time in France has opened up my eyes to new meats that I never really considered eating in the states and veal is certainly at the top. Veal has always had a bad rep in the stated because of some particular farms that were confining and abusing the animals and the market has never really returned. Here in Europe however, people care about their food in a way I have never seen before (OK, the Culinary Institute of America did have a high respect for food). There are very strict regulations in place for animal treatment and food safety and everywhere you look, there are these incredible looking, incredible tasting meats readily available in the supermarket (rabbit, quail, guinea fowl, lamb, veal, horse even?) and you know that it didn't live in the horrible conditions that we see in US factory farms. Sorry to get up on my soapbox but in short, if you have access to humanely kept veal, it is a delicious, lean, and tender meat, and it was oh so yummy in this particular dish.

Despite our wonderful Thanksgiving meal at GTL, I felt that I had missed out. I missed stuffing myself with stuffing and potatoes and lots of gravy. I missed the leftovers. So, Michael being the wonderful husband that he is, agreed to help me make a second Thanksgiving feast just for the two of us. 

And because there was only two of us, and because I frequent the food section of the New York Times all too often, we decided to try a new turkey breast method and recipe. The turkey breast is first brined overnight then it is tightly wrapped in seran wrap and tin foil before being effectively steamed in a low oven until the internal temperature is 135°.

I can't even being to describe how strange the turkey breast looked and felt after coming out of the oven. 

Seriously, it was gross!

The turkey turned out to be delicious although we weren't too sure about the honey and roasted garlic glaze that went on at the very end, it never really set and although it tasted delicious it was just kind of slimey. On the whole though, we loved the steaming  method and plan to use it again but perhaps with a different glaze at the end.

The meal was rounded out with a green bean casserole and stuffing (both from The Pioneer Woman blog, her food always looks amazing), basic mashed potatoes, gravy and my family's uncooked cranberry relish kicked up a notch (1 bag cranberries, 1 entire orange (skin and all), 1-1" piece of ginger and 3/4 c sugar blended in the food processor until finely chopped). Oh, and we drank one last bottle of Beaujolais Nouveau for the year with the meal. Really, everything turned out perfectly and even though we've done our first "married" Thanksgivings at GTL, it was really nice to have a night and the dinner just to ourselves.

Less than 3 weeks people...!

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