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Posts Tagged ‘thanksgiving in greece’

It was a success: Cooking with love, enjoying great company, and stuffing ourselves silly! (As proven by picture above) 🙂

Peggy, Evie, Anna and I spent alllll day preparing the meal, making the table festive, and cleaning house. (To avoid confusion, Evie is my cousin- I’m not talking about myself in the third person!) We divided the duties, thank goodness! Otherwise I have no idea how anything could have gotten done.

Evie did a gorgeous job with the table, didn’t she? The yellow napkins bloomed like tulips from the glasses. They added a bright elegance to the table. The low centerpiece was a collection of gourds, miniature pumpkins, candles, whole almonds, and walnuts.

Once the table was set and the stuffing was in the oven, we took a break for a light lunch.  Dinner was scheduled for 8pm and we needed something to hold us over. I brought over sun dried tomato and spinach wraps, along with poached pears stuffed with marscapone-raisin-cinnamon cream. We deserved it!

E Entertainment television (a.k.a. the vapid network) was on while we were eating and Anna kept exclaiming at the TV. She is perplexed at the inane females at the “Girls Next Door” Playboy Mansion reality show. I can’t blame her, those girls are pretty dumb. We also analyzed the catalyst that put the Kardashians in the limelight…seriously, why ?

But I digress!

An hour before dinner, there was showering, blow-drying of hair, makeup application, and lots of “which looks better, this outfit, or that outfit?”  We weren’t too exhausted to look pretty.

This may be another sign of my crazy neuroticism, but I labeled each serving platter. It really does help! (Don’t make fun).

As much as we cooked and planned, once guests arrived it was still hectic! But happily hectic. We were reheating the stuffing and corn pudding, making the gravy, and pouring drinks!

This was our friend Diamandi’s first Thanksgiving! He brought an incredibly tasty Apple Cake and also made us great margarita’s before the meal!

Peggy and Anna pulled the wishbone and Peggy got the lucky pull! We all thought that was well-deserved for her upcoming wedding in the summer! ❤

Then dinner was served! Cornbread, Corn Pudding, Ciabatta-Chestnut-Pancetta Stuffing, Creamy Mashed Potatoes, Cranberry Chutney, Turkey, Glazed Carrots, and Baby Spinach Salad (with burnt bacon that looked like raisins…ooops).

There was very little dialogue during the first 10 minutes of the meal. Everyone was eating eating eating!! I was so tired at this point but so happy that it didn’t matter. It was really nice to be seated with good friends enjoying the wonders of excess and gluttony together!

The desserts were…possibly even better than the food. Seriously! In addition to Evie’s Pumpkin Pies and White Cake, Peggy and Anna’s Pecan Pies, my Chocolate Tart…Kathy and Nikola brought Profiterole and Konstantino and Despoina brought Chocolate Cake and Pears, and Rita and Diamandi brought a beautiful Apple Cake….phew!

My chocolate tart, decorated with maple leaf stencils:

Evie’s Regal White Cake with stunning pearl garnishes!:

Kosta did us proud and managed to fit everything on the small dessert plates!

The kitchen looked like a war zone by the end of the night. Peggy is an amazingly efficient cleaner. I have to admit, I did the least amount of washing and drying…so major props to Peg, Evie, and Anna for that!

Here, some are recovering on the couch:

We really missed Peggy’s fiancee Ted who is in New York. But next year he will be here for the whole fiasco. I’m confident that we will drive him insane with all of our antics…:)

….I’m still full and in stretch pants.

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I don’t care how many years I live in Greece, I will never stop celebrating Thanksgiving. I have a great family of fellow ex-pat cousins and friends who keep this tradition alive with me. And what tradition is this? To eat our weight in turkey and stuffing by the end of the day, of course.

Now this is a group effort, and I really have to take off my “foodie” hat for this meal. After I was told that everyone preferred canned pumpkin rather than fresh pumpkin for the pies…well, I got the hint. 🙂

But don’t get me wrong! The traditional meal does remind me of home and youth and warmth. It’s so much fun to cook with the girls all day, drink wine, and munch secretly before dinner!

Here is the menu we’ve planned:

  • Skillet Cornbread with Homemade Apricot Butter
  • Brined Turkey
  • Ciabatta, Chestnut, and Pancetta Stuffing
  • Brown Butter Mashed Potatoes
  • Toasted Corn Pudding
  • Maple Glazed Carrots
  • Grand Marnier Cranberry Sauce
  • Pecan Pies
  • Pumpkin Pies
  • Chocolate Truffle Tart
  • and…oh, yeah…a salad. 🙂  Spinach Salad with Bacon and Apple Cider Vinaigrette.

I’m thinking of bringing an avocado carrot salad and some poached pears stuffed with cinnamon raisin mascarpone as a treat to us cooks before the feast. I know we should probably save our appetites for dinner, but everyone’s coming over at 8! We can’t starve all day!

Our host Peggy is welcoming 13 people and four of us are cooking. We’re preparing  portions of 16, but we are pigs and it probably won’t even be enough… :-/  While making a holy mess of the kitchen, Peggy runs around frantically cleaning up after us while we’re chopping and stirring and baking and gossiping.  As long as I don’t get red wine stains on my dress, I feel clean. (I can just see my mom shaking her head in shame, calling me a “louie!”-the Greek word for dirty neck…

We make desserts the night before to spend all day on the savory dishes. No matter how many times I’ve cooked Turkey, I used to feel at a loss for the timing. A meat thermometer has been my salvation. Its best to take out of the oven a few degrees before “cooked” because it continues cooking out of the oven, and you don’t want it to dry out. I also highly recommend brining for an extra juicy bird.

When it comes to gravy- use the giblets inside the turkey cavity to make the stock! This makes the flavor incredible. And a basic butter-flour roux to thicken is easy and effective. Use truffle butter if you want to do something extra wow.

I’m making the chocolate tart. I decided I would decorate the top by sprinkling orange sugar in the shape of a maple leaf, and powdered sugar around its outline. I use a printed stencil, they are easy to find online. I might also add bourbon flavor to the chocolate batter for a more thanksgiving-y bent to this chocolate dessert.

I’m also going to make a centerpiece, but I haven’t decided what exactly…I might use a hollowed pumpkin as a vase for flowers. Is that cheesy? I haven’t decided yet. Hmmm. Yeah that’s tacky. I’ll figure something out.

We celebrate on Saturday this year due to schedules, and I’ll post the pictures and how everything turned out on Sunday!

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