Friday, November 28, 2008

I ate enough for me...and you as well!

We went over to our friends' house yesterday about 2:00. With the exception of a few last minute details, we ate soon after. What a feast that was laid out before us: Roast turkey, baked ham, gravy, stuffing balls, mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, green beans, cranberry jello salad, angel biscuits, cornbread bites, mini croissants, home-made noodles, spinach salad, watermelon rind pickles, spiced peaches, and dressed eggs. I really tried to take it all in, but I know I am forgetting some. The highlights were the home-made noodles which were shaped like spaetzle, and al dente swimming in a creamy chicken sauce. If I could just have a bowl of those with a slice of dark meat turkey on top, happy happy. And, Kaela did an excellent job on the macaroni and cheese -- she chopped the onions and didn't even cry. And, crushed the crackers -- all that and she's only 9! The roast turkey was delicious, all of it was moist. Ummm, there were a couple of lowlights as well, and one of them was mine.
The cornbread bites, well, probably should have 'forgotten' them on the counter. Even though the struesel was a good idea, the execution was a bit grainy from the extra cornmeal. Then I decided to use the mini muffin pan instead of the regular muffin pan. Again, good idea, but I overbaked them. They could have been called the "amazing magical growing mini muffins" because when I popped one in my mouth, it kept getting bigger and bigger, and swallowing was next to impossible. On the up side, almost half of them were eaten by unsuspecting diners. Felt a little bad about that. The other lowlight was a plate of dressed eggs (can't call them 'deviled' in the preachers' house!) that one of the daughter-in-laws' mother brought. Apparently, she brings them every year, but because there were several of us that were invited for the first time, Heather parked herself by the back door and warned us 'not to eat the eggs', as we walked in the house. She was so embarrassed by them. Well, as a foodie, I had to do it. I tasted one. Instinctively, the back of my jaws went into lock-down and the corners of my mouth stretched out in a silent eeeewwwwwwww. Wow, were they vinegary.But, still I was intrigued. When I went back of seconds, the egg plate wooed me like a siren on a rock. I reached for one. I felt so bad for the woman, her dressed eggs were still piled high. So, I took another one.
Everyone was heeding Heather's warning except me. I piled on some spinach salad and sat down. Really, with a big mouthful of spinach and a bit of egg, it wasn't so bad. Smothered in my spinach salad, the egg bite was grateful for the extra pizzazz, and rewarded me by not setting my jaw in instantaneous lock-jaw, and for that I was grateful. After another bite, I think I figured it out. If she had put some sugar and salt in the yolks along with the vinegar, they would have tasted similar to pickled eggs -- the ones that are pickled in beet juice. I tried to talk to the woman about her recipe, but she wasn't giving it up. Apparently, she thinks they are fabulous.
After she left, several people commended me on my attempt at emptying the egg plate. Someone said the dressed eggs were like Aunt Bea's pickles -- the kerosene pickles. It really wasn't about trying to be nice, I just wanted to find out what her angle was. It didn't really matter, I was grateful for the entire feast and even more, for the invitation to enjoy it among some of my closest friends who really are like family.
Here is the vinaigrette recipe that was on the spinach salad. Besides, spinach from my garden, I added some kumquats from my little tree, as well as, some pomegranate seeds, and toasted pistachios.

Sizzling Sesame Vinaigrette
enough to toss with 4-5 big handfuls of spinach
1 TB soy sauce
1 TB pomegranate juice
1 TB white vinegar
1 TB canola oil
2 tsp grated fresh ginger
1 tsp sugar
1 TB black or white sesame seeds
Whisk together soy sauce and next 5 ingredients in a large bowl.
Heat sesame seeds in a small nonstick skillet over medium-low heat, stirring often, 3-4 minutes or until toasted and fragrant. Add hot sesame seeds to soy sauce mixture, stirring until blended.
Toss with fresh spinach, lettuce, steamed broccoli, or peas of any kind.

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