Sunday, November 29, 2009

Happy Holiday Weekend...

I'm late to the well-wishing happy holidays weekend posts. I started to write yesterday but was too tired to turn words into sentences so gave in to a nap instead. Filled with food, wine and conversation, the few days prior drained me of an ability to do anything productive. I spent the majority of those days with my boyfriend's family--a smart, lively and active bunch that's full of fun, opinions, life and love for each other.

Thanksgiving is not a one day celebration for this group. It starts with a smaller (and by smaller I mean 15 people) family dinner the Wednesday before, includes the holiday itself and ends with a hike the day after. This year was especially significant because it served as a memorial for my boyfriend's grandfather. I only knew him briefly but admired him, his life and feel comfortable saying that I'm pretty sure he helped instill a long list of admirable qualities in each member of his clan.

For the Wednesday night fete, my boyfriend made an amazing vegetarian lasagna. It was layered with homemade tomato sauce, noodles, a mixture of Ricotta, leeks, peppers and mushrooms and heavy handfuls of mozzarella and Parmesan. It was delicious. It went well with a perfect spinach, apple-flecked salad someone whipped up out of nowhere and the Petite Syrah I was sipping.

Veggie lasagna, ready for the baking.

We left a tad early so we could hit Met Market for some last minute Thanksgiving shopping. We were bringing hors d'oeurves for 40 and hadn't started a thing. My boyfriend still needed to buy everything for the spicy cauliflower soup shots and braised lamb pizettas he was planning. I'd done most of my shopping for the gougeres I was making, but needed the makings of the pomegranate ginger prosecco cocktail I decided I wanted to serve them with after reading this post from Lean with Green, the blog my friends Melissa and Lacy pen together.

We spent the next morning frantically grating, chopping, pureeing and baking so we could make it to his grandmother's place in time to help turn the barn into a dining room and set up for the day's festivities, which in addition to eating, include baseball golf, round robin ping pong and singing.

We finished plating our snacks while everyone made their way in from baseball golf. I think our contributions turned out pretty well. The cauliflower soup shots had a nice bite and good texture, and the gougeres (which I've made a couple of times using this Jacques Pepin recipe) were fluffy and full of cheese flavor.

Taking to the field for baseball golf.

Gougeres and Prosecco cocktails.

But my boyfriend's lamb pizettas were hands down amazing. He braised the lamb overnight and made a reduction of the braising liquid. He cut Greek pita into small, bite-sized circles and toasted it before adding a topping that consisted of the uber tender lamb, the reduction and a dollop of Greek yogurt mixed with Siracha. They were a hit and served as an amuse bouche for dinner and the incredibly touching slide show that illustrated the full, adventurous life his grandfather lived.

Little lamb pizettas.

Dinner in the barn came after the slide show and conversation, and was followed by a ceremony by the pond on their property, dessert and round robin ping pong (which I like to think I'm slowly but surely improving at). It was one of the most memorable holidays I've had and was filled with amazing people, tradition, food, wine and laughter.

I went into the long weekend missing my own clan but thankful for a lot. My friends...relationships with the people I care about...the happy feeling I get in my belly when I think about the future and what's ahead. And I closed the day even more thankful, feeling lucky to have spent the holiday surrounded by a huge group of warm, interesting people. (Not to mention incredibly full, since dinner apparently wasn't enough and we decided to turn what remained of that braised lamb into quesadillas that made for a perfect late night movie-watching snack.)

I hope you all had lovely holiday weekends.

No comments:

Post a Comment