Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving in a Land of No Thanksgiving

The 24th of November came and is now on it's way out, here in Belfast.  Though my wife and I tried to make it as festive in our apartment as possible, the fact that people are walking around, going to class and work like it's any other day takes a toll.  But we won't let it ruin the mood.  Holidays are great, and though I'd love to be around extended family right now, ever since my wife and I got together, there hasn't been a single holiday that was spent together, just the two of us.  So now, forced into an holiday observing alternative, we get to have our very own Thanksgiving.  Once she gets back from classes, of course.
We already had our big just made sense to make it lunch, what with the university being open and all.  We got up nice and early, went for a walk, got back and started cooking.  Here's what we had...

Oh, and by the way...just leave me a message if you want the recipe for any of our Thanksgiving creations.

The fake bird...the central part of any good Thanksgiving meal.  This is Quorn's Chicken Roast.  They have a Turkey Roast, and it is great...but our grocery store did not think there was any special reason to have turkey and turkey-like products in stock specifically for the 24th.  Regardless, it was was quite delicious.

My wife made some delicious tomato and herb rolls.  I had the bright idea of melting cheddar cheese on top of them.  The addition of cheese was a positive thing, but it sure took away from the rolls aesthetically.  Shredded would have been would putting it on much earlier in the baking process.

I've never made stuffing before.  I was never a huge fan of it and my wife isn't at all.  Though that seems like a good reason to make something else in it's place, I instead saw it as a challenge.  My hope was to make a stuffing that we both loved.  I succeeded.  I don't know about proper names for stuffing, but where I was raised, potato stuffing is a normal and desirable type.  My mother, disregarding the immediate surrounding culture, always made a bread stuffing (is there a different name for this?).  I decided to kind of combine the two...sweet potato and whole grain bread stuffing with all the necessary vegetables and walnuts. stuffing I've ever had.

Roasted garlic and scallion mashed potatoes.  I don't think I could let any well established family get-together holiday go by without a good helping of mashed potatoes.

Both of these were awesome.  On the left you have sort of Spanakopita, a Greek pastry with spinach, cream cheese and onions. On the right was my original concoction for the meal.  Apparently they exist, but I came up with it of my own accord...I swear!  Zucchini boats!  Basically it's a vegetable mix that is tossed and baked into a zucchini that has been cut longways and has had the majority of it's innards scooped out.  Fairly simple, but potentially delicious, depending on what you stuff it with.  

  I shy away from food that doesn't let me be a part of the cooking process in some form...but there was no way my meal would be missing cranberry sauce.  I would have made it myself, but there were no reasonably priced cranberries in Belfast.

So that's what the meal itself looked like.  Or at least the first round.  A few rounds later we got to have this...

My wife's sweet potato pumpkin pie...with vanilla ice cream.  This is the first time my wife made the pie...but my plan is to compliment her enough that it becomes a tradition.  Sweeter than a regular pumpkin pie, the pie was still nowhere near too sweet...which is necessary for me to like desserts.  I have the inverse of a sweet tooth...mine is savory all the way.

...and drank this with the pie...Homemade apple cider in apple "mugs"!  Cute and edible...once you are done drinking the cider.

And here's why this Thanksgiving meal was totally vegetarian.  People..this turkey is intelligent!  He knew his ability to see wasn't as good as it could be!  He knew he was missing out on important seeds and insects due to his faulty vision!  He knew that money was necessary if he wanted to purchase a pair of glasses! He either got a job or stole money...either would require intelligence! He bought glasses!  Clever devil, he wins this round. 

Oh, yeah...I almost forgot.  Apparently Thanksgiving isn't just about eating awesome food?  Odd.  Well, if my sources weren't lying to me, I'm supposed to be thankful.  I can do that.  I would choose friends, family, and the many uncommon but awesome opportunities and experiences that I have had in this life as my reasons for being thankful.  

Happy Thanksgiving all you fine folk!  Eat up!

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