Friday, November 25, 2011

Dinner: Triumph and Tragedy

Everyone waited patiently for Thanksgiving dinner to be ready.  We all had a great time and, even though everything didn't go smoothly, new memories were created.

A friend promised to bring a bottle of Opus One, a special bottle indeed.  We uncorked it and immediately smelled the bouquet....of vinegar!  Fortunately we had a few backup bottles that were enjoyed with an appetizer of roasted fresh figs with gorgonzola cheese and walnuts. 

I'm not sure if you would consider my nut experiment a success or a failure but not a single nut was cracked.

Although the texting and internet searching was kept to a minimum, I had to capture this picture of technology in action.  My friends were able to use their phones to touch base with family and friends.  One of my friends even skyped with his family in California on his cell phone.  I thought that was pretty cool.

The roasted Brussels sprouts with fig balsamic (found at Wilson Farms in Lexington, Mass.) were a big hit.

But Martha's Maple-Glazed Carrots and Parsnips caused a little bit of scene.  In the middle of roasting, I opened the oven to shake the vegetables which apparently flipped a piece of bacon out of the pan on to the bottom of the oven.  When I opened the open a few minutes later to shake them again, the bacon grease burst into flames.  Smoke filled the kitchen until I was able to find a cake pan to cover the fire and extinguish it.  No one was hurt and we'll laugh for years about the Thanksgiving I started a fire.

I gave up on baking this year and consigned dessert to Flour Bakery.  It takes a little bit of work off my plate and they do a much better job than I ever could.  

(If you couldn't tell, I love taking these food photos.)

Today were all relaxing and enjoying an extra day off.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving creating some new memories.

And now the Christmas season begins!


  1. Not only can you decorate, but it looks like you are quite the cook and food stylist...

    I think nuts in the shell are heading out....too much work for crumbled bits...who wants bits of nuts and shells falling down the sides of the sofa!

  2. Your meal sounds much better than ours! We're still ovenless (someone walked off with our propane tank pad, and I've been too busy with the second reno to deal with having another poured...). we were going to fry our turkey, but it rained. and rained. and rained. We about to try again this afternoon :) Sorry about your bottle of wine having turned, but those amazingly looking veggies must have made up for it :)

  3. It sounds like a good time was had by all. I love your photos, especially the first and last ones. Those two pretty well sum up the Thanksgiving experience for me! :-)

  4. Those brussel sprouts look really delish! We all have mishaps, it will be something to laugh about in all the future Thanksgivings! At least you did not burn the turkey!! My sister-in-law mistakenly bought a sweet potato pie instead of pumpkin (looks similar). She was trying to figure out why it tasted different while we were all laughing! Glad you had a good day. Love the cat.

  5. oh that is funny to picture~the fire in the oven...well I guess you called it, no one has time to crack a nut. Or maybe they just don't come from a nut cracking line! I would like to get the brussel sprout recipe. I bought my first bag and they looked so pretty and fresh, so I thought I would try them. I got arecipe from Barefoot Contessa and roasted them. They looked like yours in the pic, but they did not taste so great. Maybe they need a marinade or a glaze...

  6. hope someone took the wine back! I like photos of vegetables and desserts.

  7. My gosh. I think everyone I know had brussels sprouts this year. Aren't they great?
    Your meal looks fabulous :).

  8. No fires ever on Thanksgiving that I can recall. However, with several items timed to be ready at the last minute, it seems one inevitably comes in last. This year it was our turkey. So we turned everything else down or off and happily visited for a few more minutes.
    Your Brussels sprouts and carrots and parsnips look divine. I will note these for Christmas.
    Enjoy your continuing holiday.

  9. Your food looks amazing, Steve! Did you give kitty a bit of turkey liver? Looks like (s)he's having little tryptophan crash! Our orange tabby was a happy, sleepy boy, I'll tell you that. Glad your dinner went well.

  10. Oh, no, Linda. My turkey was done an hour early last year and I discovered that it's totally fine to sit for an hour or more. It stays plenty hot for over an hour.

    This time around, I didn't even start anything else--including the fire--until after the turkey came out of the oven.

  11. Cheryl,
    I never thought to give them the liver! I usually cut a bit of the dark meat off when the turkey comes out so it can cool and the cats each get a plate full before we all sit down. Otherwise, no one would get a moment's peace.

  12. The last image of your cat is exactly how I feel today!! I let my turkey rest for a full hour yesterday, and I have to say, it was great. I got that tip from Food Network's Thanksgiving Live. I didn't know it should sit that long. And, like you, I put all the sides in the oven in the meantime. It worked out perfectly. Definitely a do-again.

  13. I love your blog more and more. Your photos are divine, your dinner looks scrumptious!

    What a lovely post. Thank YOU!

  14. Your cat is so pretty. Just relaxing and in charge of the bed I'm sure. Even with a few little hiccups your day sounded like a lovely time. Your photography is stellar as usual. My mother has been asking me to take her to Wilson Farm, maybe tomorrow.

  15. What is that beautiful cats name?!
    The first photo is my absolute favorite.
    I went to my sisters for Thanksgiving and her husband always cooks. Everything is always at least an hour or 2 later than planned and every year there's the emergency run to the grocery store, which is always closed, and then the inevitable trek to a neighbors house, while he is stomping around banging pots and things.....but Hey!, I brought some EXCELLENT wine which always makes things seem better, if not a bit blurred.
    I also brought my HOMEMADE Pecan Pie...which was perfection. (I just carefully unwrapped the bakery wrap and put it on a pretty plate and covered it with foil. Whew! It was exhausting!)
    Glad you had a fun and delicious Holiday! - Cindi

  16. Ahhhh.Perfection! If there isn't a fun story to a dinner do we ever remember them through the years!

    Your images are dee-vine!

    On to more Holiday imperfect perfection! stat.

  17. Oh yum. All looks delicious.

    Thank God you didn't burn the kitchen down, it being all famous and such.

    We're still laughing over our holiday and shaking our heads simultaneously.

    What do you get when you put a German, an Indian and a Brit together at a table?

    Rather animated conversation....

    xo Jane

  18. Sounds like you had a great time, with good friends. I'd say you were also a "hot" cook based on the oven fire! LOL!!! We had a similar "smoking" issue! Our fireplace backed up for some reason . . . it was burning beautifully all morning then smoke - three times - something else to get checked out!

    Your veggies look just delicious - my favorite part of Thanksgiving! We also had a Brussels sprout dish with bacon, I'll be checking out your carrot and parsnip recipe too! Sounds delicious. All in all it was a lovely dinner for 11 plus an additional 9 for dessert! Needless to say our home was at capacity, I was "thankful" we had 3 no-shows for dessert! LOL!!

    How lucky are you to be close to Flour, I have her cookbook and may have to take a "road trip" to the shop one day!

    All the pumpkins, mums, and bittersweet wreath have been gathered up and added to the compost pile! The spotlight is on the front door as are the greens. And my tree went up last night - undecorated!

    I feel like your beautiful cat in the last photo! LOL!!

    Happy weekend!

  19. Oh lol lol Steve I hope its ok that I got a chuckle from that whole bacon thing. It was very eventful at your house I see.Well you definitely have memories now.Glad you shared these with us.Btw occasionally I call Shan to the computer when I think a post brings me a lil extra giggle or a lil happy today she and I smiled while we read this one together.I cant wait to hear about your Christmas!

  20. Oh my all looked SO good. Sounds like you had a little excitement for the holidays...thanks for sharing:

  21. Stephen would crack nuts. He does here all the time.
    Your Thanksgiving looked delicious. (Except for the brussels sprouts) Your photos are wonderful.

  22. Pretty funny stuff! Yes, that will be a great story for years to come, and each time it's told, the fire in the oven will get larger! Your cat is beautiful -- looks like a small mountain lion. What's his/her name?

  23. Claudia,
    You're right. The fire has grown in just the past few days.

    The cat waiting at the table for turkey is Warum (pronounced Varoom) and the sleepy guy is Angus. There's a blond girl named Zazu but she's a little more camera shy.


  24. Yikes...I saw the word tragedy and a cute cat face....was almost scared to read any further......but all turned out well in the end. Lucky for you it was a small fire...what about the thousands who burn their homes down every year trying to fry a turkey....haw...haw...haw...

  25. We also had an incendiary experience on Thanksgiving. The pie looks nice on that pretty plate. I love your cat.

  26. Look at calm and collected Steve clamping a pan over that bacon fire! I would have ruined the entire meal with a fire extinguisher, I think. Those brussels sprouts are making my mouth water. Yum!

  27. That looks like a delicious Thanksgiving meal. But what really got me is how pretty your cat is! What a beautiful color!

  28. At first I thought the tragedy was about the cat so I was relieved it was just cooking tragedy - and maybe that doesn't belong in the "tragedy" category since it gave you such a funny memory to recall every year! :)

  29. Hello~I've just strolled in for my first visit...I've enjoyed taking a peek at your posts. You've got so many wonderful treasures. Your blog is so beautifully inviting.
    We share similar taste for so many of the same design elements.

    As fall comes to a close I look forward to winter that's fast approaching. Bringing a festive inspiration for trimming my home and filling the air with the aromas of the season.
    The evergreen decor is much appreciated by the cat who enjoys an occasional game of ping pong with my ornaments...

    I look forward to coming by your charming blog again.
    Come by for a visit. I'll put the kettle on... your company would be nice.

    Sweet holiday wishes,

  30. That first kitty photo is priceless...

  31. Gorgeous photographs, I really enjoyed them! Your cat is very do you deal with the pet hair? Tell me its no big deal since we are picking up two sweet kittens tomorrow as an early Christmas gift for our daughter...and us. We have been hair and litter box free for about four years now.

  32. I am reading through your posts like a madwoman! Not sure how I haven't found you until now, but thank goodness I did! Actually, My Notting Hill just commented on my blog about a blue poinsettia and that sent me over.. haven't found the photo yet, but have found lots of other wonderfulness! I'm hooked!
    Loved your post on Helen Frankenthaler! A gem indeed!

  33. Just found your blog, I am loving this...unfortunately my errands and cleaning has not been done yet but that's okay, I have lots of inspiration that I received and hopefully will get motivated now to do some of the projects that I have been putting off! Thanks for sharing your ideas, good taste, and knowledge in areas that we all need help with.