Thanksgiving in Valencia

I am a person who does not seem to know how to do things simply.  So Thanksgiving just had to be like the one I do back in LA.   I decided to do the apricot- glazed turkey with roasted onion and shallot gravy.  The recipe comes fromthe November 1994 issue of Bon Appétit.  While it is not difficult, the preparation is a bit time intensive.  Thus, Wednesday, I started my preparations of the glaze, herb butter and gravy.  I spent some time on the Internet and found a recipe for stuffing.  I actually found a skinnied-down recipe on the Weight Watchers site.  Then of course I added a few of my own touches and “fattened it up a bit” with apple and chopped dried apricots.  Then on to the sweet potato with honey, brown sugar, butter and segments of mandarin oranges. Not what you call your lo-cal dish.  This left me with only the turkey and mashed potato to prepare on Thursday.  My goal was to be able to relax and enjoy my guests on Thursday, and I succeeded.

Thursday brought with it a little surprise when I opened the white plastic bag in which the turkey came.  First out fell the feet.  Then as I lifted the rest of the bird out I saw the beak, the head and neck, still attached to the bird.  I must admit I usually let “Butterball” do the initial preparation of the turkey.  So out came the biggest knife I had.  Off with the head, off with the neck.  Then on to the interior of the bird to pull our all the other parts that were not in a neat little bag.  Once that was done the rest was easy.

To my delight the turkey cooked perfectly.  As it rested for the obligatory ½ hour, I popped the stuffing, sweet potato and mashed potato into the oven to reheat and brown up.  Happily Brian had offered to bring a healthy vegetable and the pies.  I cook but I do not bake.  So, my work was nearly done.  Only the gravy to finish off and that was the easiest and best gravy I’ve ever made.

At 2:30, Brian arrived with the most wonderful pumpkin pie I have ever eaten, a mango and passion fruit cream pie that was amazing and an asparagus and mushroom side dish that was just delicious.  To say he helped make this meal possible is to understate the case. In addition to the food, he lent me the roasting pan, baster, meat thermometer, tablecloth and napkins and several serving implements.  Shall we just say that my kitchen here is not quite as equipped as the one in LA.

A few minutes later Pepe arrived with wine and champagne and Vilma arrived with another bottle of wine.  We sat down to chat with beer or wine, some olives and a bit of pate.  When all was ready, we attacked the sideboard and dug in.  I was please to see that everyone but me went back for seconds.  I must admit, I had picked as I cooked, so wasn’t up to a second round.




The Cook enjoying herself

When we finished the main course Vilma jumped up, cleared the table and did the dishes.  What a sweet girl.  We moved over to the “living room”  (1 foot away for the table) and relaxed for a while.

Brian brought out the pies (sorry we forgot to take pictures) and they were as lovely to look at, as they were to eat.

A few coffees and then gin and tonic for Brian, Pepe and me and a Chinchon dulce for Marty and the meal was over at 6:00.  Sweet Vilma had passed up the after dinner drink and went on to wash the rest of the dishes.  We said our good-byes with besos y abrazos.

Happily I took it easy and read for much of the evening.  At one point Marty and I spent a little time on  “Face Time” with Rachel.  I later called my dad.  As my brother Bob was there with his IPad, we agreed to hang up and reconnect with “Face Time.”  It is so wonderful to not only talk to but see the family.  We had a wonderful day with new friends in a new place, but I couldn’t help but miss the family and old friends.

An early bedtime was in order as Friday we’d be getting up very early to head to the Comisaría de Policía to take the last step in the Visa  process.

About susanvida

Happily retired, I now spend much of my time in Valencia Spain. I fill my days with photography, cooking, dining and visiting with friends. In my "former life" I was a Director of Human Resources for Starwood Hotels and Resorts. I am married to Martin Kaplan, who shares my passion for Valencia, food and of course, our daughter, Rachel Sara.
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