Turkey Day… With No Turkey!

Happy Monday after that long and glorious ode to food weekend.  My dreams are still filled with the delights of our weekend, even if we didn’t overindulge so much.  There is something about super-carb-o-rific dinners (stuffing!) that make it a special occasion in our house (real bread!).

We did buy a turkey, and scored a super heirloom bird from Kate Stillman. Laura rendered that bird into its meal-sized bits, legs, wings, breasts, etc. and we made room in our overflowing freezers for winter-long consumption.  Yet, we decided to NOT eat turkey for Thanksgiving.  So what did we settle on?

Ten points to whomever can identify the tasty treat on our cutting board.  Need another picture?

That there be a bunny.  One enormous rabbit, actually.  We were going to cook the whole thing, then took a second look and decided that we could not eat the whole thing in one sitting.  The limbs went into the (really over full) freezer, and the rib cage went promptly into the stock pot.  We ate the saddle, or loin, of the rabbit for Thanksgiving, following a recipe from a cookbook I can’t remember for Rabbit Saddle with Cream Sauce and Carmelized Shallots (we added bacon which was awesome).

It took nearly three times the amount of oven time as the recipe said, but it was super when finished.  It was the perfect size for two people: gamey, lean and delicately not turkey. Perfection.

So, we knew shallots were good. Raw in dressings, used in sauces as the mellow and sweet allium, roasted into concentrated perfection.  This, though, brought together some of the best things about all of those different ways of preparing shallots (except the raw part).  Concentrated stove top goodness?  Yes please!  Butter and brown sugar and a long cooking time over low heat was the magic worked here.

We had wicked good sides too.  I have fallen in love with the heirloom winter squash Honey Nut, a form of butternut squash.

Laura took a bunch of pictures holding them, but they sort of looked like Hand from the Addams Family, so take my word that each one was about the length of a woman hand.  They were sweet, definitely a little nutty and the perfect size for a small squash side to our Thanksgiving table.

We also had to have mashed something or other, and we settled on mashed potatoes and celariac for a change of pace.  The celariac wasn’t quite as mashed as the potatoes, but it was a nice textural thing in the smooth potatoes.

Really good, and I am not even a huge fan of celery-tasting things.  I might be a convert, just for this one dish (as long as cream and butter are involved).

Obligatory salad was actually really good.  We had a few oranges around (more on that in a later post), and Laura grabbed the last bits of fresh tarragon from our declining herb boxes.  Roasted golden beets and Red Fire Farm Greens really rounded out the simple salad.  We both ate this first.  Good, but not as good as everything else.

Now on to the good stuff. Stuffing.  My absolute all time favorite food.  So much so, when we were talking about last-minute Thanksgiving shopping on G-chat, I had this to say: “I HAVE to go. I realized we have no bread… which means NO STUFFING!!!!! (unless you bought some) I can’t can’t _can’t_ have thanksgiving without stuffing!  I’ll survive the terror of the grocers.”   I could eat a giant bowl full of this stuff with gravy and be in blissful la-la land.  I am disappointed when buffets of the non-asian variety do not feature this delectable food.  I was in charge of making stuffing, and I really feel like I delivered (to myself, of course, that was my goal for the evening).

Mushroom chestnut stuffing with onions and parsley, whole wheat bread chunks, chicken broth and Italian sausage.  I am salivating thinking of it all over again.  This is (in my heart of hearts) the only reason I really love Thanksgiving.

Another picture of the deliciousness.  Lets look at all of this good food together on the dinner table.

We were more focused on the food than decorating the table, but you know, it was just the two of us that day, and we wanted to eat, not decorate.

Moving onward, we had intended to make some fabulous dessert, with our hopes centered on Sticky Gingerbread Pudding with Toffee Sauce.  Instead, we had cookies.  After lunch, in a fit of self-indulgence, I declared I was making chocolate chip cookies.  We had everything for them, and I was going to make some decadent cookies, four ounces of butter and all.

They were amazing, if only because they were perfectly crispy the whole way through. Not a trace of chewiness, but not even a touch of burn on them anywhere.  It was amazing.  I think it was because I melted the butter instead of waiting for it to reach room temperature, and therefore it was softer dough going into the oven.  We were supremely excited about them.

Then… I dropped them.

They exploded when they hit the floor.  I could blame the bird who was trying to eat them as I moved them to a safe place to cool, or the cat who decided to stop right under my feet, or the parchment paper that ripped right down the middle while I walked, but I won’t.  The floor was clean (enough), and we picked up the big pieces, rescued some of the crumbs and enjoyed them anyway.

It was a nice end to a good meal, eaten with goats milk while reflecting on our dinner.

A lovely weekend all around, with good food celebrating another year of good food and looking forward to a winter of good food.  Our freezers are bursting!  Bring on the winter!

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2 Responses to Turkey Day… With No Turkey!

  1. lorraine says:

    Your stuffing looks so tasty and is just the right amount of other things to bread. I bet it tasted mighty good. Cookies do crumble and you can always mix cookie crumbs into ice cream or pudding or Side Hill Yogurt for a blend of textures, I never think cookies that land on the floor and break are a lost cause.

  2. Tammy says:

    I stopped at our amazing looking squash!

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