Saturday, November 26, 2011

Thanksgiving @ Terry's

The spectacular view from Terry's House.

Terry's 2nd annual Booze Turkey-Fest went down last weekend and it was time once more for friends to convene and give thanks for all the wonderful things bestowed upon us grub and inebriants we were about to throw down the hatch on this particular evening.   

My festive Donaji Punch - Vida Mezcal, Fresh Citrus Juices, Agave Nectar, Lime Wheels & Pomegranate Seeds.

To greet the incoming people with, I made a Mezcal punch.  In hindsight, I probably should have thought this one through a little better.  Being a predominately vodka-and-sake-drinking crowd, my smokey concoction didn't go over as well as I would have liked.  Along with another drink I made later that night, my drinks proved to be too stiff.  My misstep for sure.  I will redeem myself next year however and have people going back for seconds.  Mark my words!             

Bourbon Shots to kick things off.

To get the party started, Tomo and Judy brought a bottle of bourbon for all of us to shoot.  Bourbon = now you're talking my language.  Shooting = not so much (I'm more of a 'sip 'n enjoy' type).  But was I about to say no to bourbon?  Hell-to-the-no!  Besides, I hadn't taken shots in over 15 years.  I wanted to see how I would fare compared to yesteryear - when perhaps I would have felt a burn from the alcohol going down and then coughed like the novice that I was.  Well, I guess it's official now.  MY NAME IS MEMO AND I AM AN ALCOHOLIC.  I felt no burning sensation, my eyes didn't well up and I didn't feel the need to cough.  What does it all mean??  Is that a good thing or is it a bad thing?  Have I graduated or have I gone past the point of no return? 

Judy handing over my hand roll consisting of Spam, Avocado... 

Okay, maybe we go off to too fast a start.  We dialed it back with Tomo & Judy's Temaki.  I wish I hadn't obliterated my taste buds with the hard alcohol because the assortment of seafood was super fresh and from what I could taste, it was fantastic.

...Squid, Salmon, Tuna & Yellowtail.

This was my first time trying a hand roll (shame on me) and since I'm so clumsy with chopsticks, I should probably stick to this form of sushi.  Thank you, Judy, for preparing my roll and in doing so, showing me how easily it is made.  I will attempt this feat (yes, for me it is a feat!) this coming year.  Consider it one of my New Year's resolutions!     

  Roasted Prosciutto-Wrapped Asparagus, Drizzled with Balsamic Honey Reduction.  Garnished with Fresh Raspberries.

Lilly was inspired to recreate a dish we both enjoyed about a month ago at Swill Automatic.  It's a simple tried and true culinary procedure.  Wrap or encase something in a porcine product and voilà, instant good eats!  This copycat reconstruction of the dish we had at Swill Automatic could have fooled me.  It tasted great and it was aesthetically festive - more on the Christmas side of things though, wouldn't you say?  Am I being prescient?  Well, they were that good, so we'll see.        

Parmesan Encrusted Artichoke Hearts with Olive Oil & Lemon.

Another simple yet tasty side dish Lilly prepared was a facsimile of Bacaro LA's Marinated Artichoke Hearts.  For added texture, she topped each heart with parmesan cheese and bread crumbs.  Lilly's 2 side dishes were perfect examples of accomplishing more by doing less.  No fussy cookery here.  Just straight forward simple food preparation.           

Glazed Ham.

Lizzie took charge of the main Thanksgiving components.  She made Mashed Potatoes and a Ground Beef w/ Raisin Dressing.  Sorry, I failed to photograph them.  She also made TWO PROTEINS - one of which was ham.  Lizzie prepared a glaze that gave the ham a nice sheen but even better, it was probably the best flavored glaze on a ham that I have ever tasted.  

Roasted Turkey.

The pièce de résistance, the dish taking center stage - The Turkey.  Let's face it, there really aren't too many ways to roast a turkey and have it elicit "oooohs" and aahhhs."  The best you can really hope for, is a somewhat moist turkey and crispy skin.  Well, Liz achieved both in a dazzling amount of time (I'm still scratching my head over that one).  The meat was fork-tender and moist while  the skin of the bird was crispy and seasoned well with a semi-spicy rub.         

Garlic Knots & Brazil Bread.

I supplied the "rolls" to sop up all the juices and gravy (yet another thing I failed to photograph).  These are some of the apps we have available at work.  Everyone seemed to really enjoy the garlic knots so I was happy with that.  While the Brazil Bread was good, the knots stole the show.  On this day, I agree, the knots were better.      

Cranberry Sauce.

As much as you love Cranberries, Cape Cod/Cosmopolitan Girl, I expect more out of you next year.  Yes Liz, even if you have to add vodka!  You have elevated your game over the last few years, but this dish you have left "unlizziefied" for 2 consecutive years.  Let's see what you come up with for next year.  All that being said, it was still good.  You've come a long way since your canned cranberry gelatin!

Cran-Apple Pie.

This was favorite dessert.  Flaky crust...tart cranberries adding another dimension to the sweet apples...the apples were not mushy or undercooked - the perfect texture for the way I like my apple pie.  The only thing that could have put this pie over the top, was a scoop of vanilla ice cream.  Otherwise, a perfect dessert in my book, Lizzie.

Pecan Pie.

Almost as good as the Cran-Apple Pie, was Lizzie's Pecan Pie with Brandied Whip Cream (not shown).  I made this pie 15 years ago and I hated the results.  The filling, once the pie had time to cool and seize, became too firm and difficult to chew.  This one was the antithesis of my futile attempt and an improvement on Lizzie's pecan pie from last year.  It went from being okay, to being very good.            

Cupcakes, Cookies & Cakes.

John and Michelle provided some more sugary sweets from Torrance Bakery.  I only got to try one but it was good and plenty.  I hope you guys stick around for dinner next time.  Then again, we did say dinner would be served at 6....and we ate at 8?  Oops. 


The Sunset from the Patio of Terry's House.

Thanks to Lilly, Lizzie, Tomo, Judy, John & Michelle for making and/or providing food for the feast.  It was all worth the time and effort.   

Extra special thanks to Terry for hosting and inviting us into your beautiful new humble abode.  No longer is it just a house.  After warming it up with the aroma of freshly made grub and filling the air with the sounds of laughter from your closest and dearest friends, you truly have a house to call home now.  Let the memories begin.        

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