Friday, November 26, 2010

Gobble Gobble!

Happy Thanksgiving!  For the second year running, I spent my Thanksgiving in California with my new in-law family.  They have a lot of fun traditions including assigning jobs to people (e.g. "god given grace giver" and "water waiter") that allow all the guests to pitch in and help prepare the meal, as well as watching National Lampoons Christmas Vacation while digesting dinner.  As it was last year, the food was amazing, the table settings were beautiful, and the opportunity to relax with extended family around a big meal (and later a movie) was really wonderful.  The only thing missing was my family (next year I'm going to put on the hard sell for California over Texas).

Since this was our first married Thanksgiving, I'd thought I bring some of my family traditions to my new family.  First and foremost, I'd thought I'd make my personal favorite part of Thanksgiving, my grandmother Memaw's cornbread dressing.  It is a family favorite and I am the third generation to make this dressing (others might call it stuffing).  It also makes the best leftovers when smothered in gravy.  Although there would already be two other kinds of stuffing at our Thanksgiving this year (stuffed onions and a stuffed turkey), can there ever be too much?

it starts with onions and celery 
and then you add butter...
(this would make three 13"x9" trays!)

yum... the smell of melting butter!

onions + celery + butter = the smell of my childhood
(or would that be the smell of bacon?)

get the dry ingredients ready - cornbread cubes and Pepperidge Farm stuffing mix

Mixing the wet and the dry
adding chicken and rice soup and a couple eggs

the finished (golden brown) product
The next family tradition to bring to the wilds of Northern California?  Cafe Brulot - a big time special occasion tradition in my family.

first I studded the peels of two lemons and two oranges with cloves

clove studded orange peels

next I added 4 cinnamon sticks, 2.5 cups brandy, 1.25 cups Grand Marnier and let it soak while we ate

Our silver Cafe Brulot set (thanks Aunt Donna!) and 12 brulo cups
(our cups feature the Antoine's devil, although we use a different recipe)

Cafe Brulot set to burn!

"don't burn off all the alcohol"
my dad showing us how it's done last Christmas
After you flame the alcoholic components - you add sweetened black coffee and serve.  It was very delicious - although I do blame the Cafe Brulot for my inability to clearly remember the end of the night...

Happy Thanksgiving!

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