Tuesday, November 21, 2006

T-Day Countdown

Two days and counting, dear reader! Are you ready? Or preparing to be ready? I have my next few days all planned out, I love this time of year.
My Thanksgiving dinner should be great: I plan to spend it with some excellent friends, several of whom are part of my chosen L.A. family. I love these cats; the year my Uncle Tyler died and I had to catch a red-eye Thanksgiving night, they moved dinner earlier so I could still participate. They were also patient and kind when I freaked out at a friend who accidentally added my soup garnish (delicate fried apple peels) to the salad. You can't ask for a better family experience than that. We've celebrated assorted holidays together through divorces and break-ups, promotions and moves, deaths and new loves. Good times.
This year I will be contributing 3 items to the table
1) A Wild Mushroom Soup, which started out as a recipe by Michele Scicolone but has evolved enough that now I consider it my own. I was not planning on making soup, but Ray and David tag-teamed me in a flattery throw-down on Sunday. I was helpless to say no.
2) An Italian Broccoli and Cauliflower "Flan" with Spinach Bechamel Sauce (though it's really more of a gratin), and
3) Cranberry Sauce. There are 3 cranberry sauces on the docket... it's not a competition, but I predict mine will rock the house. It has a secret ingredient that makes the flavor pop. No, not MSG. Ok, I'll tell you, but you have to keep it between us (no one needs to know how basic these things are): just add a dash of salt. Every year I turn out a nuanced and interesting cranberry sauce that is embarrassingly simple. That's my favorite kind of cooking.

This afternoon David and I will make a pilgrimage to IKEA to purchase the remaining plates and wineglasses for our crowd of almost 20, and afterwards I will head to the grocery store to buy fresh mushrooms and cream, broccoli, cauliflower and spinach. I wisely purchased cranberries this weekend- Ray would have a fit if I showed up sans sauce! Last year I had to elbow past an elderly lady to snatch the last bag of cranberries, oh it was ugly. (Yes, I know there's a tart circle of hell reserved just for me. Mmmm, but my sauce was fantastic...)

Tonight I will make the cranberry sauce, tomorrow the soup, and the morning-of my house will smell of broccoli and butter. And you, dear reader? What are you making (or buying!) this year? Let's put it out there- you know me, I love the dish.

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