the cold never bothered me….

Shetland&PonyNov14{…oh, for a thick winter coat like Shetland’s and Pony’s! With the right winter wear it’s really quite comfortable most days, despite the whole “polar bomb” nonsense we’ve been having, but at times it’s a bit of a pain “gearing up” every time I wish to go outside. Being warm and fluffy from head to toe would be endlessly useful for those quick trips to the library or grocery store … as it is, I often find it overly tempting to just forgo the many-buttoned coat or the hair-mussing hat and just freeze my ears and elbows off instead. The squirrels, though they’re getting a bit frantic-looking, are quite fat and lovely still. They’ll do just fine this year. Plus, we got to have snow on Thanksgiving, just like old times.

Thanksgiving dinner this year was almost entirely color-themed, because I wanted something properly pretty this year. Muscovy duck with olive caramel, red bell pepper cheesecake with chocolate-gingersnap crust, and three colors (red, black, white) of rice. I even found a white acorn squash so I could have my favorite side dish without mussing up the color scheme with orange and green. I was worried it might not taste quite so lovely as it looked, but everything actually went quite well together. The duck breast wasn’t quite as nice as it could have been, since it sat in the pan too long waiting for the other dishes, but the confit of the legs and wings was lovely, and now I have duck fat for ages’ worth of fried potatoes.

I’d hoped for a lovely dark-orange pumpkin as well, but sadly the one I got turned out to be more of a jack-o-lantern type inside, despite good things I’d heard about the variety. After some baking and a great deal of waiting for the sogginess to strain out of the cooked flesh, I got something roughly between canned pumpkin and applesauce. I decided to use half for some heavily-spiced brown-butter cupcakes, who would hardly notice the lack of pumpkin flavor, and the rest still resides abashedly in a bag in my fridge.

I have a feeling this and the other incidental leftovers — bits of black olive, a small lump of cream cheese, a tablespoon or so of pecan-tassie filling, and so on — will soon be forgotten in the face of December, which according to common knowledge is the Month of Buying Eggnog. There’s a local-ish brand (in-state, at least) that I’ve been meaning to try now that it’s back in stores; it’s surprisingly hard to find one without gum thickeners in it, and I’d just like to taste one without having to actually make eggnog myself. I just made Thanksgiving dinner, after all; I’m not *that* ambitious.}

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