Monday, November 30, 2015

West Side Market Cleveland

 Early on Saturday morning, I took The Blog Tech and his fiance to the West Side Market to do a bit of shopping.  It was her first time there.

 When you enter, you walk through the produce section.

 Then you walk back outside and into the main terminal.

 I love the architecture in this place.

 The vendors are so friendly here.

 The selections are amazing.

Cheese cheese and more cheese.
 Thais is checking out the made to order cannolis.

 When we left, I took them straight to Randell's for a Big Billy.  Cleveland is the city of sausages and this one is the best of the best.

Happy kids! 

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Our Thanksgiving

This Thanksgiving, my fiance’s extended family (the local extended family) met my family for the first time.  Months ago, my mother recognized the upcoming holiday (and an impending engagement that was a secret until about 48 hours ago) as an opportunity to cook a ton of food, and she did exactly that.  This should come as no surprise to any readers of this blog, but even for my mother, this was quite the undertaking.
My mother made these wonderful place markers for each guest.  They each held a dozen pieces of Harbor Sweets chocolates that we bought in Salem, Mass.. She placed rosemary and pine cones from our gardens on the front of each of them.

            Our family was brought together for the first time, and we sat and bonded with the help of three turkeys, several pounds of stuffing, an equal amount of mashed potatoes, a ton of corn, plentiful green beans, rolls for days, 20(!) pumpkin and pecan pies, Crab Hoelzel, Peanut Soup, sweet potatoes, and if I’m forgetting anything you’ll have to forgive me because come on, that’s a lot of food. 

            We held the dinner at my parents’ guest house, or, as it’s more commonly known, The Stone House.  It features a jukebox that spins vintage 45s, and a very wide-open space in the main room that could comfortably accommodate the thirteen people who attended.  Cooking that kind of meal for such a large group created certain logistical issues that necessitated the use of chafing dishes and sternos, a first for us.  And I’d like to say I did a wonderful job popping the caps off of the sternos and lighting them!  

            Other ways in which I contributed: 

                        -Moving the food into the chafing dishes.
                        -Bringing up soda and apple cider from the downstairs refrigerator.
                        -Lending my calming presence. 
                        -Plugging the impromptu playlist into the jukebox. 
                        -Helping my sister find La Bamba in said jukebox, which proved                                    difficult due to a mislabeling.
                        -I wanted to set up a fog machine, but was overruled. 
                        -Getting engaged, thereby necessitating the event in the first place!

            It was a fantastic evening.  The peanut soup and the Crab Hoelzel are two of my absolute favorite foodstuffs ever, and over the past months that I’ve been dating Thais it’s been my pleasure to meet her wonderful family.  I loved being able to finally introduce them to my own. 

And by the end of the meal, we all felt kind of like this:

Friday, November 27, 2015

The Stone House

 Well, Thanksgiving is over and the stone house no longer looks like this.  I have yet to sort through pics which were taken just before the feast but I thought I would show some I took as I was setting the place up.  The open floor plan works so well for these parties.  I set a second table up and joked with everyone last night that it was the kids table and wouldn't you know, that is exactly what it ended up being.  Though the kids are all in their 30's! They were joking and making noise and I yelled over from the grown ups table that if they didn't pipe down, they would not get dessert.

 The cheese course was set up on this Belgian sideboard.

 The cuckoo clock was wound.

 It plays Edelweiss on the hour.

 You can see that one of the front porch doors is open which leads to the front porch. The weather was perfect and we had all of the doors open and both fireplaces were burning as well as a very nice fire in the outdoor fireplace right by the desserts.

 I set the table with turkey plates.

 These are antique French plates.
Each plate has a different turkey grouping.
 Instead of moving fragile glassware from my main house, I bought plain very cheap glasses from Ikea and used them. They cost less than 50 cents each and worked just fine.

 I set two buffet tables up for the food and covered all the tables with matching RL table clothes. I'll show pics of the buffet tomorrow.

 The nightlight in the powder room.

 Julia Chow inspects the setup.

 The front porch.

 This was turned into the bar.

 The guests liked the skull chairs.

I made these to add to the dessert buffet.  More tomorrow!

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving 2015

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!  We are having a happier Thanksgiving than usual this year.  I've been keeping a big secret for months.  Last night, at his sister's restaurant, just as dessert was served, The Blog Tech got down on one knee and proposed to his sweetie!  She said yes!

Shortly after, I got a text from her thanking me for bringing such a wonderful human being into this world.  I'm a little biased but he is pretty wonderful! I am so excited for the two of them.  Tomorrow I hope to have some pics to show you.  I have one more turkey to roast today and I have to move all of the food I made down to the stone house for the big Thanksgiving feast which has been planned as an engagement party this whole time.  Way to go Blog Tech!!!!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The Fallen Leaves

 Remember when I showed the leaves on my Japanese Maples 2 days ago?  I was thinking that at least a few trees would still look pretty for our big Thanksgiving celebration.

 I as wrong.

 I guess Mother Nature told them they had to drop their leaves before the Full Beaver Moon.

 Icicles on the waterfall.

 At least I have a magical carpet  in my woods.

 Though I have icicles on my creek, I have roses blooming by the potting shed.  Weird weather.

 I even cleaned up my potting shed a bit.

All of my gardening necessities.
The Weeping Beech is always one of the last to give up her leaves but she did it right along with the Acers.  Wouldn't this be a perfect place for grandchildren to play?  Just sayin'!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Make Ahead Turkey Gravy

I always make my gravy ahead of time for Thanksgiving and I make a lot of it.   Gravy makes everything better.  I buy lots of turkey parts and make stock with them.
 Then, the day that I make the gravy all I have to do is melt some butter in a heavy pot.

 Add some flour.

 Whisk it while cooking it for several minutes.

Then slowly start adding the stock.  I wait until it begins to thicken and then add more stock.
 Taste it for seasoning and adjust it as needed.  I already seasoned the stock so all the gravy really needed was some chopped parsley. This will be placed in a slow cooker on the Thanksgiving buffet so it will stay warm.