Sunday, November 28, 2010

Of Food and First Thanksgivings

I have to admit that on the list of things I am thankful for, food is near the top. There have been many thanksgiving celebrations for Witt and I to attend this week but the celebration with my mom's side of the family is the one where I think of food the most. Everyone likes to cook and try new things. This year it was taking place at my family's house in Stoneville. Witt and I arrived bright and early to help with last minute cooking and setting up. Witt chopped up at least ten sweet potatoes the night before in preparation for my contribution to the meal- roasted sweet potatoes and fennel.

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When we got there I went ahead and got my dish ready for the oven. I chopped the fennel root into strips and saved some of the leaves to sprinkle on top. Minced fresh garlic, olive oil and sea salt finished it off.  My mother in law introduced me to fennel and it's like a jazzy onion, with notes of licorice. That's the only way I can think to describe it and its really good.


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Gypsy Slow Down

There sat one of the three pans, waiting for the turkey to evacuate the oven so it could sit under the hot flame, roasting  into a sweet and salty caramelize.

I also attempted a sugar free chocolate and raspberry cake. I melted four squares of unsweetened chocolate with half a cup of whipping cream for the flourless cake. I beat four eggs until they tripled in size (about 6 minutes) and added 1/4 cup stevia (sometimes I use splenda or agave nectar) and a tablespoon vanilla. I folded the beaten eggs into the cooled chocolate and poured into two cake pans. I baked them for 15 minutes, still a little gooey in the middle. The next day, at my parents, I made a cream cheese filling; 8 ounces cream cheese and 1 cup whipping cream, whipped, and beat it together with 1/4 cup splenda and a teaspoon of vanilla. I put the cream cheese filling between the two cakes. Over the cream cheese I poured a raspberry coulis, fresh raspberries cooked over the stove with a tablespoon of cornstarch and a few tablespoons sweetener.

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I poured a ganache over the top which was  unsweetened chocolate melted with whipping cream and sweetener.

During the process, no one had faith in my cake and I can't say I blame them...my sister thought the raspberries cooking smelled like "special" brownies on the stove and the ganache separated and made a huge mess, pouring all down the sides of the cake and onto the bar. I tried to scrape it off and add more cream to the ganache but then it was too hot and melted the cream cheese. This made all the raspberry slide out. It was too early for wine, but by the third try with the ganache a big glass would have been nice. Somehow I managed to get it all back inside and the ganache to stay put. I poured leftover raspberry around the sides of the plate in an attempt to make it look more presentable.


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It may not be the prettiest cake but it tasted good. Myself and my sugar-free cousin and mom appreciated the effort, though if they truly knew what all went into it they may have been even more thankful.

 A smoked turkey and an oven turkey and all the fixings. The family starts to arrive and we settle in to eat. My sweet potatoes have turned out well, though they got fussed at for hogging the oven for so long.


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Gypsy Slow Down


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 Everyone filling their plates.


 
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After dinner it's outside for a scavenger hunt. Mary and Grandad get ready.
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Memom and I lag behind our team and enjoy a slow walk and conversation, due to my inappropriate pointy toe shoes and the long hike through the neighborhood looking for items to photograph on our list.
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Our team doing one of the challenges.









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After the scavenger hunt everyone settles around the bonfire that my dad and Witt expertly made into a roaring blaze.





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I think about how my older sister Lauren would be eating a burnt marshmellow right now and I miss her and Jered and Ela down in Atlanta.
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We enjoy a beer and the Christmas carols.
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Mom and I relax after all our hard work.








 




It was a good day and there are a lot of things I'm thankful for besides food. In life I'm surrounded by wonderful family on all sides, new and old. I'm thankful especially for this good man right here and the six months we've been a little family so far.


There will be many more to come.


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