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When I started my retirement travels - the first of which was my solo overseas trip to Italy in 2009 - I wanted a way to share it with family and friends as it happened. Hence, "My Travel Journal". However I realized I wouldn't always be on a trip and wondered what to do with the blog in between times. My daughter pointed out, wisely, that travels can also include trips to the kitchen to try a new recipe, trips to visit family, trips to my neighborhood Starbucks, or a fun day trip with a friend. You're welcome to join me on any of these journeys!

P.S. I've set up separate pages for each of my major trips (see tabs above).

I recently added an "Italian Word a Day" thingie which shows up at the bottom of every page. You see the word and can click to hear it pronounced. I've been enjoying it and I think my accent is improving as time goes by.

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December 02, 2009

Thanksgiving, 2009

It's Wednesday night, we're done with the grocery shopping (took two trips but we've got it all now), we've made a hazelnut flour crumb crust for a chocolate/ricotta cheese tart, and have the dough ready to roll out the crust for pumpkin pie, so look out Thursday!

I drove over to the DC area Monday, spent the night at January and Maggie's, did the first shopping Tuesday with January, then drove over to Chris's and spent the night there, and now I'm back over at January and Maggie's where I'll be having dinner with them tomorrow.  Everything we're making tomorrow is new to both of us except for some roasted green beans and the pumpkin pie.  We're going to have a boneless roast pork loin that is coated with a brown mustard, then covered with a crumb crust made with those canned french fried onions, bread crumbs and fresh sage.  It will go in the oven surrounded with some cauliflower, broccoli and sweet peppers which will roast alongside.  We'll roast some sweet potato wedges separately and then cover them with a brown butter orange sauce also seasoned with fresh sage. We're also going to have polenta with a mushroom ragu to sauce it.  Not real sure how that will be with the pork but we all love polenta and mushrooms so it will probably be fine.  It's just a replacement for mashed potatoes and gravy basically.  And then our chocolate tart and pumpkin pie. 

FRIDAY MORNING:  Overall, our menu was a success.  My favorite thing was the sweet potatoes (which was a recipe from a Tyler Florence cookbook).  They were absolutely scrumptious!  The pork was very good, although a little dry - it may have cooked longer than it needed to, but it's hard for roast pork not to be good and this roast pork was good.  The veggies that roasted in the pan with the pork were okay but they could have been better if they had been roasted separately with plenty of olive oil, some seasonings and turned several times.  The mushroom ragu was also pretty darned scrumptious although (January will be heaving a big sigh of strained patience here) the polenta was not polenta!  First problem was, we used corn meal - that's what the bag said anyway - and that should have worked.  However, it wasn't really "meal", it was flour and so our polenta was basically a paste with small lumps in it because, of course, with polenta, you're supposed to pour it in slowly, stirring all the while but with such a flour-type cornmeal, it just sort of fell in in piles.  It also had vegetable broth, cream, cream cheese, and nutmeg in it and one or more of those ingredients gave it a flavor I didn't care for.  But...the ragu was really good and I'm glad we made it because I've had a recipe for a mushroom ragu that I keep meaning to try but never have, so now I will.  It would be something that could be reheated and still be good.  The roasted green beans were fine - they roast with wedges of red onion and I really enjoy roasted onion too.  And the pumpkin pie was Libby's recipe which is just delicious always.  The chocolate tart came out real tasty too, so it was a successful meal.  And I had fun taking pictures of some of the preparations and the final outcome.  First we have January's very full refrigerator and next is January with "our" pie.  Ever since January was a little girl, I have made the crust and she has made the filling for our pumpkin pie and it's always been good!

Next, Maggie holding the chocolate tart and, yes, we each tried a "sliver" just to make sure it was okay :), and the pork roast with the mustard rubbed on waiting for the crumb crust.

Next, is the pork roast ready for the oven and voila! the pork roast ready to eat...

And, a not very good picture of the side dishes...that bowl of yellow glop is the polenta...

Now, tonight, I am finally going to use my pasta maker.  We'll make (I think) two different types of ravioli and a batch of tagliatelle noodles.  Chris is going to come over on his way back from Pennsylvania and join us, so it should be a fun evening.


Christopher said...

It sure is a mouth-watering description to all of it, gloppy polenta or not. And I'm so glad you made that pumpkin pie, cuz I was a little disappointed with the pumpkin pie offerings at Heather's dinner (sorry Heather!)---they were certainly edible, and you couldn't call them bad---but they just weren't that classic, timeless Libby pie taste!

January said...

Hooray for Thanksgiving dinner! I just finished the rest of the pork on Tuesday, so we got some good mileage out of it. And on Sunday we fried up the polenta in a skillet and put the ragu on top - YUMTOWN. The polenta got a great crispy crust on it, probably from the cheese.
We were really glad you were able to come up on such (basically) short notice :)

Mary Lynne said...

January - good for you guys finishing up those leftovers. Too bad I ate all the sweet potatoes! :) I don't have any Thanksgiving leftovers, but before I left I froze my batch of chili and I've been enjoying that.


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