Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010 Diary

This post will be updated as the day progresses, in a kind of "live blogging" style- a diary of a day of cooking and baking. 


Thursday, Nov 25- Thanksgiving 2010 is about to dawn. At 5:30 this evening, there will be about 6 hungry guests arriving here. All I have done so far is grocery shopping and menu planning. Everything else will happen (one hopes) in the next 11 hours.

It is 6 AM and I am showered and dressed for a day of cooking. The first order of business- to jolt myself fully awake with a cup of strong chai and eat a bowl of peanut butter oatmeal. No sense in cooking on an empty stomach.

6:30 AM: Off to clean the kitchen thoroughly and mop the kitchen floor, to start off on a clean slate.

7:08 AM: The kitchen floor is drying quietly so I can take a break and tell you the menu. It is a bit of a hodge-podge, Indian dishes jostling with modified American favorites, just like in our lives.

Butternut Squash Soup with Coconut & Curry
Caramelized Onion & Mushroom Pizza
Ranch Dressing with Crudites & Potato Chips for dipping

Dal Makhani
Paneer Korma
Pull-Apart Rolls
Sweet Potato Fries

Chocolate Pecan Pie
Vanilla Ice Cream

7:26 AM: I'm starting with the pie crust, using this recipe but halving it because I will make an open pie. Right now, 1 stick of butter has been cubed and is chilling in the fridge. 
   
If you are celebrating Thanksgiving tonight, please do share your menu or your plans for the special dinner.

8:05 AM: The pie crust came together in a couple of minutes and is now chilling in the fridge. I'll make the pie around noon.
Meanwhile, I peeled and cut the sweet potato fries and filled up a 9.5 cup capacity container to be stored in the fridge. I estimate this will be a single layer on the 11 X 17 inch baking sheet. All I have to do tonight is toss these fries with olive oil and seasoning (which I made a couple of days ago) and bake.
I am anxious about the sweet potatoes oxidizing and getting brown spots as they sit in the fridge though- is this something I should worry about?

Meanwhile, I am trying to be as "green" as possible by storing pie dough in a bag that tortillas came in (instead of plastic wrap) and composting the sweet potato peels. I will also reuse the food processor for pizza dough before washing it. And use a dish towel to cover pizza dough instead of plastic wrap.

Dale and V are out for their long morning walk. We have drizzly, cold and grey weather here today.

9:17 AM: I took the time to drink a cup of coffee and have a snack (umm- defrosted mock chicken nuggets with sriracha sauce; please don't judge me), then tidy the kitchen for the next bout of cooking.

The pizza dough is made (I substituted 1/2 cup rava/semolina for some of the all-purpose flour because it adds a wonderful crunch and tenderness to the crust) and is rising on the shelf above a heating vent (the only way it will rise properly on this frigid day). 3 onions are caramelizing in a pan on the stove. I hacked open a butternut squash and it is cooking in the microwave oven.

As a rule of thumb, I have no more than 3 tasks going on simultaneously in the kitchen. More than that simply asking for trouble. One task has to be in the background (like dough rising), one that does not need constant attention (like squash in the microwave which will beep when done) and the third that needs attention every few minutes. Note that if you are blogging while doing 3 kitchen tasks (such as me, right now), all bets are off.

V is cleaning the home while watching Kung Fu Panda on TV.

Meanwhile, Dale came back from his walk and strolled through the kitchen with muddy, wet paws. The floor had been clean for a record 85 minutes.

10:34 AM: The pizza topping is ready and in the fridge. I chopped the olives really really fine so Neighbor Girl won't notice. She hates olives although yesterday she loyally told me, "I'll eat anything you make". Yes, flattery certainly will get you everywhere with me.

The squash is cooked and cooling. I'll make the soup right before eating.

I took a short break to paint my toenails and then set out glasses, plates and bowls on the table- all completely mismatched of course because I don't have a full set of anything for 8 people, but we still like it better than using disposable stuff.

Meanwhile, here are the latest shenanigans from Dale, or Scooby Don't as we have been calling him. This past weekend we were dog-sitting for a friend, and their dog is a 20 pounder (as opposed to Dale's 80). Predictably, Dale climbed on Carter's tiny bed and tried it on for size, squashing it.
Remarkably, 3 days later, he had practiced squeezing him body into such a compact bundle that he was able to fit into the little bed, oozing out of the top like an overfilled muffin. And that's the latest on the pooch.
I'm pressure cooking dals and the cooked is calling out to me...got to run.

12:48 PM: Yikes- we are in the PM now!! But I am right on schedule, I think.

V and I worked in an assembly line and quickly cut up a tray of vegetable sticks- beets, carrots, cucumber, daikon radish. This is the only raw food/salad in the meal but there's a lot of it to go around.

Next up, the pie. I'm using this recipe. I managed to roll the dough out without too much hassle; here it is laid out in the pie plate.
Next step: blind-baking the pie. I have a jar of "pie weight" beans, a handful of rajma which has been set aside for this sole purpose and which can be reused over and over. 

Neighbor Girl just texted me to say that she will be here in an hour to "help" me. Which means everything will now take me twice as long to do. On the other hand, it will twice as much fun. Not a bad trade-off. 

2:00 PM: Out of nowhere, we have the first snow of the season here in St. Louis! It is coming down, fast and furious. V clicked this pic of the backyard- quite the winter wonderland (and to think two days ago we were wearing T-shirts outside).
Meanwhile, the chocolate pecan pie is baking in the oven. My modifications of the recipe: I reduced eggs to 3, cut down on both sugar and syrup amounts, added some vanilla, used brandy instead of coffee liqueur.

I'm taking a short break for a cup of chai and some knitting. I am knitting a DNA scarf for V's colleague who saw him wearing it at a party and fell in love with it. Few more rows and this scarf will be done.

5:22 PM: Whew- The three of us- V, Neighbor girl and I rallied and made soup, two curries, rolled rolls, made pizza and then I cleaned up the mess. The pie looks fantastic but let's see what it tastes like (pics to follow).

Happy Thanksgiving to all who celebrate it- I am thankful to you for reading my words and grateful for being part of this wonderful community where I learn something new every day.


Chocolate Espresso Pecan Pie
(adapted from this recipe from Use Real Butter)

1. Roll out a pie crust and blind-bake it. Let it cool. 

2. To make the filling, melt 3 to 4 oz. dark chocolate with 2 tbsp. butter in a medium bowl in the microwave. Nuke in 15 second spurts them gently stir to distribute the heat. Overheating will scorch the chocolate. 

3. In another bowl, whisk 
  • 3 eggs
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 tbsp. espresso powder (dissolved in 1 tbsp. hot water)
  • 2 tbsp. brandy
  • 1 heaped cup toasted pecans, chopped
4. Add melted chocolate to above mixture and stir. Pour into the baked pie shell. Decorate with some pecan halves.

5. Place filled pie on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 F for 50 minutes or so. 

6. I had scraps of pie dough left over from trimming the edges, so I gathered them, rolled them out again and cut little leaves. I placed the leaves on the baking sheet next to the pie and baked them. Then I used the pastry crust leaves to decorate the pie.

The pie was outstanding- the deep rich mousse-like filling and the crunchy pie crust all went together so well with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. 



This dark lovely pie was adapted from a recipe on another blog, and it goes to Blog Bites: The Holiday Buffet.

We had a wonderful Friday-after-Thanksgiving, feasting on leftovers. I barely ate any of this food on Thursday because cooking seems to satiate me, but I enjoyed them yesterday. We skipped the malls and instead went to see the latest Harry Potter movie.

See you on Sunday!

45 comments:

  1. This promises to be fun! I will check in regularly.
    Happy Thanksgiving!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Kamini!! Happy Thanksgiving to you too. What are your plans for the day?

    ReplyDelete
  3. What a wonderful idea! will keep checking!
    Happy Thanksgiving!
    Love to Dale Babu :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Happy Thanksgiving Nupur.. Good luck with your preparations and enjoy the party.. Will be checking n to see your progress since all I'm doing is cooking for the 3 of us.. have fun.

    ReplyDelete
  5. You sneaky lady! Now I am going be sitting near my computer instead of cooking for my party. Tsk, tsk!
    Just kidding - Happy Thanksgiving!
    I will be checking in regularly, so make me happy :)

    p.s: sweet potao fries are on my list and now I know what seasoning I will be using.

    ReplyDelete
  6. wow waiting for the next update,:-)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Nice .. waiting for more fun :)

    ReplyDelete
  8. No big plans, Nupur. Just a small family dinner at home - making some mushroom-spinach lasagna, sweet potato fries, green beans (not sure in what form as yet), a roast chicken all for my carnivore son, and some stuffing-savory bread pudding type thing. For dessert, I will make a Nanucket Cranberry pie - got the recipe from the Pioneer Woman blog. I tried it a few days back and it was delicious and very easy to make.
    I hope your sweet potatoes will be fine. Perhaps if you spray them with a little oil the oxidization will not take place - not sure, do let us know how they are faring!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Manasi- Happy Thanksgiving to you too! Are you settled into your new home in IL (we are practically neighbors you know). What are you doing today? Dale says hi :) he is presently stuffing his mouth with kibbles.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Pavani- Well, a party of 3 (that too, in a home with heat!!) sounds very cozy and fun. Enjoy the day off!

    Sangeetha- LOL so what are you cooking for your party? I'll try to make you happy by being as witty as possible ;)
    Oh that sweet potato seasoning is incredibly good- I hope you try it.

    notyet100- Thanks :)

    Kanchan- It must be getting pretty close to bedtime in Mumbai, right? Hope you had a good day.

    Kamini- That sounds like a wonderful menu, and we all seem to love sweet potato fries! I just realized that I am missing two Thanksgiving staples- green beans and cranberries- from my menu. I'd love to try that pie recipe, sounds fabulous.
    Just checked on the sweet potatoes and they look OK- fingers crossed.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Enjoy the cooking n blogging live Nupur! It's a cool idea. Will be coming back again. Pl. take lots of pictures want to witness the madness :);)

    ReplyDelete
  12. Hats off to you, Nupur, for cooking for 8 and blogging simultaneously! :)

    Like you, we (the husband and I ) are cooking for 8 (including ourselves). Our friends from Buffalo and New Jersey will be arriving shortly. Our menu is a complete mishmash of Indian and American flavors taking into consideration some of the non- Indian palates. Here's what we're making-
    Appetizers- Spinach & Mushroom Pinwheels and Tomato-Basil palmiers

    Main course- Potato gratin, a meatless "turkey roast", Tomato rice

    Sides- roasted veggies, cranberry sauce, a mushroom- bell pepper curry, cucumber raita

    For dessert- Apple cake with vanilla ice-cream and mango cake

    I'm going to check back later to see what the latest is at your end.


    Happy Thanksgiving!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Anjali- It must be past bedtime there by now! Sweet dreams to you!
    There's not much madness here, because I have a whole long day so I can take things easy :)

    TBC- How fun that you have a similar party going on at your home! I love your menu- both pinwheels and palmiers are very much on my to-do list, they sound delicious. Apple cake and mango cake sound so good! I'm hoping some pics of your meal make it to your blog :)

    ReplyDelete
  14. Made your jam bars last evening. They taste awesome! Taking them for a party this evening. Also carrying some banana bread I made earlier (YUM!). Oh, I also need to take a pan of roasted vegetables. Will probably use your recipe for that as well... :)

    Have a lovely Thanksgiving, sweetheart... And V and Dale as well!

    Lakshmi

    ReplyDelete
  15. Good progress Nupur! I just finished making and eating a huge brunch - raspberry chocolate pancakes, hash browns, whites only omlette and some Trader Joe's peppermint hot chocolate. Now all set for the evning where I am just making sweet potatoes and don't have to do anything else but show up.

    ReplyDelete
  16. This Thanksgiving cooking diary is so fun. It is always fun to to peep into another kitchen albeit virtually.

    As for me, it is just the four of us today. I decided to please DH by making Lamb stew and skipping the turkey. We prefer the meat eating for lunch as opposed to dinner. Just finished lunch and we enjoyed the stew which came out really well if I can say so myself. The kiddies brownie is baking in the oven.

    See you back soon.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Happy Thanksgiving to the three of you and your guests Nupur! You have a great Thanksgiving dinner planned. Here I do a small dinner on Saturday, in memory of the good times in SD - I baked a pumpkin cake for that event. The batter was very tasty, I just hope that the cake follows suit.
    Hope you have a nice and relaxing weekend.
    Love, Shoots :)
    ps. just realised that neighbour girl and i have one thing in common - everything takes twice as long when I'm around too, hope I'm just as much fun to make up for that ;)

    ReplyDelete
  18. ust finished our dinner and am so stuffed I can barely breathe.....looking forward to the final roundup and photos!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Hope your party went well.. Waiting for the pictures and update. I ended up making rice & seitan for dinner with some goodies. Check out my blog when you get a chance. Have a good night and enjoy your weekend (assuming you are off on black Friday).

    ReplyDelete
  20. very nice write up, I have recently returned to India, to Maharashtra actually (an your blog is like a guide book for me now) from Europe, although in Europe thanksgiving is not that an affair, but in general I am missing the cold, the warmth (at home and shops), the soups, the festivity of winter. Actually while staying there I always cursed for being so cold and kept remembering the oranges, the sunny winter afternoons and the picnics in India..Now coming back I find that it has changed a lot that way as the season called winter is getting lost from India! Or may be memories are always sweet!! Happy thanks giving!

    ReplyDelete
  21. Wonderful menu...Am sure the dinner was great ! Kudos to you for bogging, cooking and knitting !! Awesome !! Waiting to see the pics now...

    ReplyDelete
  22. Your guests are sure to enjoy the feast! Oh yes, we are state neighbors! on fact this summer we drove down to STL, an impromptu decision and had a wonderful time and loved the city! maybe the next time we come there, we can meet or the other way round of course, in u all come to IL (peoria) as well.
    We had a very quiet family dinner, not much, its been a week since we moved to the apt. and don't really know anyone ( just one girl here, who is down with the flu now)and so enjoying time with M & S and skipping in and out of the apt. to check how cold it is (my first winter in these parts).

    ReplyDelete
  23. Such a lovely post! This is my idea of a funny day in winter: at home, cooking zillions of things for my loved ones. I can't wait for Christmas, when I'll get a chance to do that.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Dale is hilarious! Where did Carter sleep? Did he mind having his bed taken over by the host? I laughed so much reading about him and at the expression on his face on those photos!

    ReplyDelete
  25. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  26. fascinating blow by blow post - the snow looks beautiful and all the food sounds fantastic - hope you had a great meal

    ReplyDelete
  27. Lovely post!
    I was home with my family for Thanksgiving for the first time in 20-years. Lots to be thankful this year as my Mom is making a great recovery from hip surgery, and I've been staying with them for a few weeks this fall helping out.

    I don't like turkey all that much, my Dad is a vegetarian, and I eat mostly Indian and Thai food these days, but Thanksgiving is not to be messed with in its menu. I made it all - the turkey and all the traditional dishes - and enough yummy sides that Dad didn't feel left out. I made an apple galette instead of a pumpkin pie, as we all prefer that. Everyone ate well, and it was a wonderful time of togetherness.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Lakshmi- You seem to be cooking up a storm- Happy Thanksgiving weekend to you!

    Sangeetha- OOh now that's a lovely filling brunch. Hope your party was awesome- potlucks are great for dividing up the work, that's for sure.

    indosungod- It sounds like you all are enjoying a nice relaxed family day. Thanks for stopping by!

    Shoots- How sweet that you keeping the memories of your time in the US alive with a little Thanksgiving dinner- and pumpkin cake sounds awesome! Hugs to you!

    Kamini- Just put up the last couple of photos and a recipe- glad you ate well!
    Oh, Carter pup slept in OUR bed, making sure he hogged most of the comforter. He did not care to sleep on his own bed at all when he had a queen sized one instead :)

    Pavani- The party was so much fun, and we have leftovers for tomorrow. Have a lovely weekend!

    Chandrima- I know, we tend to miss what we don't have, and to take what we have for granted- good old human nature :)
    But I do hope you are making the best of all the lovely things India has to offer!!

    Arch- Yes, dinner was great and everyone thankfully seemed to enjoy it!

    Manasi- Glad you were able to visit STL- next time come and have chai with me if you get a chance to visit again.
    Winter does get pretty severe here but we make the best of it by having indoor gatherings etc.

    Caffettiera- Oh yes, the next month will be a whirlwind in the kitchen with holiday baking- I am looking forward to that too.

    Johanna GGG- We did have a great meal, and yes, the snow is starting here just as it gets to be summer in Australia :)

    Lakshmi- You seem to be cooking up a storm- Happy Thanksgiving weekend to you!

    Sangeetha- OOh now that's a lovely filling brunch. Hope your party was awesome- potlucks are great for dividing up the work, that's for sure.

    indosungod- It sounds like you all are enjoying a nice relaxed family day. Thanks for stopping by!

    Shoots- How sweet that you keeping the memories of your time in the US alive with a little Thanksgiving dinner- and pumpkin cake sounds awesome! Hugs to you!

    Kamini- Just put up the last couple of photos and a recipe- glad you ate well!
    Oh, Carter pup slept in OUR bed, making sure he hogged most of the comforter. He did not care to sleep on his own bed at all when he had a queen sized one instead :)

    Pavani- The party was so much fun, and we have leftovers for tomorrow. Have a lovely weekend!

    Chandrima- I know, we tend to miss what we don't have, and to take what we have for granted- good old human nature :)
    But I do hope you are making the best of all the lovely things India has to offer!!

    Arch- Yes, dinner was great and everyone thankfully seemed to enjoy it!

    Manasi- Glad you were able to visit STL- next time come and have chai with me if you get a chance to visit again.
    Winter does get pretty severe here but we make the best of it by having indoor gatherings etc.

    Caffettiera- Oh yes, the next month will be a whirlwind in the kitchen with holiday baking- I am looking forward to that too.

    Diane- Best wishes to your mom for a speedy and complete recovery! How wonderful that you were able to be there and make a beautiful meal for everyone. Apple galette sounds wonderful.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Hi Nupur, Thanks for sharing your day with the live-blogging. It gave me a very holiday-expecting-dinner-guests feeling, although we did none of that.

    ReplyDelete
  30. What a lovely post Nupur. It was fun to spend one 'whole day' with you in your kitchen, albeit virtually :-).

    We are having a untimely storm here in Bay Area, so our Thanksgiving was a very quiet one. Made some Jalapeno poppers & Parmesan Cheese Sticks to counter the rainy weather outside.

    Hugs,
    Siri

    ReplyDelete
  31. I loved your Thanksgiving post Nupur! The feast looks so inviting. I am sure you and your guests enjoyed the delicious food and the wonderful company. As always, love the updates on dear Dale, look at his innocent expression! Enjoy the snow!!!
    Namita.

    ReplyDelete
  32. What a lovely post Nupur. I pretty much followed it throughout the day, but didn't get time to post a comment. I am sure you had a lovely evening. The pie looks yummy.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Love, love, love this post! I'm thankful for your lovely blog and all the things I learn here.

    Mamatha

    ReplyDelete
  34. Have got to try the pie... as soon as I get my oven now!

    ReplyDelete
  35. Very cool post Nupur.... it felt like I was on the set of Master Chef... Strangely, among all your recipes I loved the salad arrangement the most. I think most likely that's because we have had so much heavy food over the last weekend, that I only feel like soups and salads now. Anyway, to sum it up... nice post!!!

    ReplyDelete
  36. Nuppur, immensely loved the live-blogging concept.

    ReplyDelete
  37. I love how you nicely and neatly write these up. Wonderful meal and mouth watering pecan pie :)

    ReplyDelete
  38. hi,

    You made pie crust and pizza crust from scratch? Thats REALLY impressive..a well earned dinner!!!

    pb

    ReplyDelete
  39. Hey Nupur.. that pecan pie looks amazing! Will be back to gawk at that for sure!

    ReplyDelete
  40. OOh.... happy thanksgiving... i know i am so late but i was on vacation... The pie looks wonderful... everything looks amazing.. and ur itinery is just perfect :)

    ReplyDelete
  41. Happy Thanksgiving Nupur! Way too belated on that one :( I am drooling over the pics and the lovely colorful placemats. They remind me of Mario Miranda's cartoons. I love work-in-progress posts, awesome one!! Have a fun filled festive time....

    ReplyDelete
  42. Hey Nupur!

    Been a silent reader and follower of your blog for a while now, thanks for all the great recipes. You are truly talented and I can see not just in cooking! :)
    I looked high and low in your space to subscribe but just could'nt find it. Mind telling how how I can subscribe to your posts?

    Thanks and keep rocking!

    -Sajitha

    ReplyDelete
  43. Yogita- Aww- I am so glad you enjoyed reading it and being part of the experience!

    Siri- Oh those spicy snacks must have been so cozy and delicious during a storm! Hope you had an enjoyable holiday weekend.

    Namita- We did have a nice time! Dale enjoyed the company too, I think :) Thanks for stopping by and saying hi!

    Amruta- Thank you for stopping by and reading this crazy post :)

    Mamatha- And I am thankful to have a wonderful friend like you who has read my blog for years!

    Raaga- Hope you get your oven soon- I know you love to bake :)

    jk- I know just how you feel- I crunched on those veggie sticks the whole weekend :D so I completely understand the craving for lighter food.

    Mona- Thank you so much!

    Priya (Yallapantula) Mitharwal- Thank you- so glad you enjoyed it :)

    pb- And I made rolls too, from scratch ;) but really, these are simple recipes so don't be too impressed!

    SS- Thanks :) Am really happy with how it turned out.

    My Attempt- Thanks!

    Ashwini- Hope you had a lovely weekend too! The placemats are cartoons by Mario Miranda- you got that 100% correct- they were a gift from a friend in Goa.

    Sajitha- Thank you for your kind words! There's no longer a way to subscribe to my posts by e-mail. However if you use a blog reader (RSS feeds) like Google Reader you can simply add my URL to it. Feel free to e-mail me if you need help with this.

    ReplyDelete
  44. Thanks for that blow by blow account - incredibly good team work and impeccable timing (nail polish in between party planning??? kudos!)And look at those perfectly cut crudites!!!

    ReplyDelete
  45. Nupur,
    Wonderful idea - covering the dough with towel and re-using the tortilla packaging. I will copy your idea!

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for taking the time to say hello!