Thanksgiving dinner

We were very radical with our Thanksgiving dinner last night and didn’t serve turkey. Instead, we started with smoked butterflied quails (marinated in teriaki sauce) served on a bed of grilled zucchini, red pepper, eggplant, red onion and mushrooms with French-style rustic bread.

(We WERE going to have appetizers of fuhl made with cranberry beans instead of favas with pita chips but somebody burned the pita chips and there were no more pitas to make new chips. We decided that pita chips and bean dip were probably going to be too much of a good thing.)

Then (in case that wasn’t enough already!) we continued with grilled salmon steaks with basil pesto (made with pecans, peccorino and zero cream) and/or green peppercorn mayonnaise and steamed green beans. Pesto on bread is amazing!

We drank Italian wine: Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio (2004) and Farnese SanGiovese (2003).

Dessert was a spectacular apple tart (made by my sister) followed by fresh figs with goat cheese. I neeeeeeed to make that apple tart myself. My sister said that it was from one of Patricia Wells’ books – it’s very simple and very delicious – a short slightly sweet pastry surrounding sautéed apples with a tiny bit of lemon zest. The absence of ubiquitous cinnamon was not felt. Au contraire, the apple tart was, well… I already said it but I’ll say it again; it was spectacular.

As well as chillies from their garden, figs, flowers, wine, and apple tarts, my brother-in-law brought his digital camera and took photos of the bread. If he allows me, I’ll post the photo along with my take on the recipe for couronne Pain de Compagne from Bread Alone by Judith Ryan Hendricks.

smoked quail on grilled vegetables (photo mef 2005)

edit 12 October 2005: Not only did my brother-in-law take a photo of the bread, but he also took one of the quail! Here it is. (Click on the image to see a larger view.)

4 responses to “Thanksgiving dinner

  1. your sister

    I was wondering about the term “short” and just looked it up. I found this definition: the description of any pastry with a high content of fat. Fat makes pastry tender and flaky. Shortbread is a good example. Maybe there’s another general term for “pastry made with butter”.

    I had never made pastry with butter before – I had no idea that it made such a difference to the flavour, although I guess the tiny bit of sugar also made some of the difference.

    I don’t think you quite did justice to the pesto in your description of the dinner. I think it was the best pesto I’ve ever had. Even the aroma before the first taste took my breath away.

  2. ejm Post author

    The pesto was really good, wasn’t it? In fact, it was so good, that I went out and got some more basil from our green grocer (Whee!!! It was only $1 for a huge bunch because it was wilting a little. When I got home, I cut the stems, stuck the basil in a big vase and turgur pressure has returned already.) We’re going to have pesto again tonight with pasta and left over salmon.

    Of course the excellence of the pesto might also have been due to using really stellar peccorino cheese instead of our usual parmesan….

  3. amy

    Mmmmmm….what a feast. Next time I make Thanksgiving dinner, we’re def. having poultry other than turkey. I’m just not a big turkey fan. Your meal sounds amazing.

  4. ejm Post author

    It was really good, Amy. Those little quails really were fabulous.

    I’m not the greatest fan of turkey either. When we make traditional dinner (and we still think we might have to) we always roast two capons rather than one big turkey. It is actually easier because one doesn’t have to get up at the crack of dawn to put the roast in. The cooking time is the same for two capons as it would be for one capon.

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