Summer BBQ: Blueberry Peach Cobbler

We finally recovered from our move and are now settled into our new home.  No longer do we reside in our Pasadena home on top of the hill, a home I’ll miss very much, especially our spectacular Rose Bowl and Downtown views.  We traded in our swanky contemporary home for a historic English revival in a neighboring suburb on a tree lined street.  We have a big backyard for Griffin and Kidney Bean to play in and a welcoming courtyard where we can entertain family and friends al fresco.

To culminate our new home, we invited a few friends over to celebrate our move and welcome the summer.  Since a barbecue was in order, I kept the menu pretty simple and made sure to include a few vegetarian options for our non-meat eating family members: St. Louis style spare ribs with homemade whiskey barbecue sauce, (recipe inspiration here, I have no idea who Scott Hibbs is); buttermilk marinated grilled chicken; good ole fashioned cole slaw; vegetarian baked beans, stuffed pasilla peppers (recipe inspiration here), and for dessert: homemade blueberry peach cobbler, ala mode, but of course (recipe below).

The weather was gorgeous, our courtyard was magical, and my food was a hit, natch.  But the winner of the night was the cobbler.  Oh-my-stars was it delicious.

The blueberries and peaches melted together to create a match-made-in-heaven juicy syrup set off by the tangy sweet candied ginger I threw in with the fruit on a whim, and the cobbler topping was perfectly browned and succulent yet crumbly with a creamy vanilla flavoring thanks to the whole vanilla bean I added to the dough.  The vanilla bean ice cream (the only thing I didn’t make myself) just sealed the deal.  An outdoor BBQ dessert that left me dreaming about the last helping that went uneaten and reserved in the back of my refrigerator just for me.

Blueberry Peach Cobbler

It was the first time I cooked in my new home’s kitchen (which will be getting a face lift soon enough), and our first time entertaining in our new house.  I think it’s going to be a very very good summer.

Blueberry Peach Cobbler



  • 3 lb yellow peaches
  • 1 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 2/3 cups evaporated cane juice (or granulated sugar)
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 pinch salt

Filling (Optional)

  • 1 tablespoon candied ginger (or 1 tsp fresh grated ginger)


  • 2 cups flour (all purpose)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 cup cold unsalted butter (1 stick)
  • 1 vanilla bean (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
  • 1 1/8 cup heavy Cream (plus more for brushing)


Adapted from Martha Stewart.


1. First peel your peaches by bringing a large pot of water to just boiling. Prepare an ice water bath. Add peaches to boiling water for 45 seconds, then remove quickly and place in ice water bath to stop the cooking process. You should be able to peel off the skin easily.
2. Slice peaches in wedges about 3/4" thick.
3. Preheat oven to 375.
4. Stir together peaches, blueberries, 1/3 of a cup of sugar, cornstarch, brown sugar, lemon juice, ginger, and a pinch of salt until well mixed. Then transfer mixture to the bottom of your baking dish (I used a 2 quart baking dish).
5. In a clean bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, 1/2 tsp salt, and remaining 1/3 cup sugar.
6. Cut very cold butter into 1/2" chunks. Using a pastry blender, two knives, or your hands, cut butter into flour mixture until you have clumps no bigger than peas. Do not overwork.
7. Cut vanilla bean in half lengthwise and using the back of a knife, scrape seeds into the cream. Pour cream mixture into flour mixture and stir until a sticky dough forms. Do not overwork.
8. Divide dough into 12 balls roughly the size of golf balls and arrange over the peach/blueberry filling, leaving a little space between each ball for expansion.
9. Brush tops and sides of dough with heavy cream, and sprinkle a generous amount of sugar on top of dough balls.
Bake cobbler for 55-70 minutes until cobbler is golden brown and juices are bubbling. You might want to place some aluminum foil under cobbler pan on the bottom rack to catch any drippings. If cobbler is browning too quickly, cover loosely with foil during the cooking. Let cool 1 hour before serving.

Birthday Brunch: Parisian Style

Sunday was my dear ‘ole dad’s 64th birthday and we celebrated with a low key brunch.  Brunch has to be my favorite meal (because really it allows you to gorge on breakfast and pretend you’re still hungry for lunch).  Rather than go with my traditional lox and bagels set up, which is wonderful but expected, I decided to change it up a bit and go Parisian style.

I made Quiche Lorraine with sauteed leeks (recipe here), a favorite from my Le Cordon Bleu bake shop days. For sides, quiche goes best with salad, so I made a fresh salad from the romaine lettuce and radicchio I received in my organic farm delivery box, with tomatoes, grapes, pears, and goat cheese, tossed with a tangy vinaigrette.  I also served up some freshly sliced cantaloupe wrapped in good quality proscuitto di parma and topped with micro greens.  For dessert I baked madeleines and mini blueberry cheesecakes with oatmeal cookie crust.  Finally, to wash it all down I made a pineapple and mango agua fresca in my trusty blender.

To get this all done in time I prepared and rolled the pie crust for the quiche the day before, and baked my mini cheesecakes.  Then I woke up at 6 a.m. (kidney bean in my belly gets me up at 6 a.m. no matter how hard I try to sleep in) to blind bake my crust, fill and bake my quiche, top the cheesecakes with blueberries, and get the rest done in time for our 10 a.m. brunch.  Not bad for a morning’s work, eh?  I even had enough crust left over to make a strawberry tart for the birthday boy to take home with him.  My pops loves when I bake him sweets.

Parisian style brunch

Check out that smile on the guest of honor’s face.  Happy Birthday Daddy!

Guest of Honor

Thanksgiving Recap: Deep Fried Convert


How was your Thanksgiving? Did you survive? Better yet, have you recovered from your L-tryptophan induced coma?

My Thanksgiving was spectacular, thanks for inquiring. I have to say I was a little disappointed that three full days of cooking produced a meal that lasted about 45 minutes, but at least one guest said it was the best Thanksgiving meal they had ever had (so what if that guest was Big N, my husband, I’ll take it!).


The menu received a few last minute adjustments. Here’s the gist:

  • Roasted turkey- brined in homemade brine first, then roasted in a Reynolds bag. Came out pretty, but still just ho-hum. It is turkey after all.
  • Sous vide / Deep fried turkey- spectacular! I’m going to forget roasting from now on. This was the way to go! First brined, then fabricated into individual parts (removing thigh bone) and injected with needle additional brine. Sous vide in water bath for 2 1/2 hours until cooked. Just before serving, I deep fried the breasts, legs, and wings in hot oil for 5 minutes each until golden, crispy, juicy, and divine! For the boneless thigh, I added duck fat to my sous vide bag, then sauteed in a hot pan with more duck fat (as in turkey leg confit). Delicious.
  • Side dishes included stuffing with leeks, walnuts and mushrooms, brussel sprouts with pancetta, roasted garlic mashed potatoes, bourbon glazed sweet potatoes, cranberry pomogranate sauce, home made brioche dinner rolls. thanksgiving-6-of-9
  • Desserts included a traditional apple pie, pumpkin whoopie pies, pumpkin spiced macarons, and Momofuku’s crack pie with an oatmeal cookie crust, which tasted sort of like softened toffee. Deliciousness.

Too bad the pics, taken under my kitchen’s super yellow lighting, didn’t do my feast justice.  *Sigh*  But my pumpkin spice macarons were pretty, no?? (Recipe for these will follow soon)

Pumpkin Spice Macarons

Oh well.  My table was gorgeous, the family was (nearly) all together, and everybody had a nice, traditional Thanksgiving. It’s good to be American.


That Time of Year Again: Thanksgiving Preparations

For the past week my mind vaguely wandered to the fact that Thanksgiving was coming up.  I remembered to send out the email invite to my family, and started culling through my old recipes to consider the menu; what you might call pre-pre-planning in my book.  Yesterday I even made a trip to the garment district downtown to buy some linen for table cloths.  But it wasn’t until today that I jolted awake with a single thought: Thanksgiving is just a week away.  Ack!  I haven’t finalized my menu! I haven’t made my prep list! I haven’t made my shopping list!  I haven’t sewn the table cloths!  Crikey!

Now that I gave myself a stiff kick in the bum to get me rolling, behold, the menu, hot off the presses:


Thanksgiving Menu
  Turkey two ways (one roasted, another sous vide then fried)
   Braised short ribs
   Roasted garlic mashed potatoes
   Bourbon glazed sweet potatoes
   Stuffing with mushrooms, leeks, and sage
   Brioche dinner rolls
   Creamed kale
   Shredded brussel sprout and pancetta salad
   Cranberry pomegranate sauce

And for dessert:
    Momofuku’s crack pie (more on that later)
    Pumpkin whoopie pies
    Pumpkin macarons with chocolate ganache

As you can see I like to keep things traditional.  Thanksgiving is all about tradition.  That, and carb coma, of course.

We’re expecting 20 or so at the house this year, and with Griffin on my hip I certainly have much to be thankful for.  I’m praying that my Thanksgiving bird comes out as beautifully as the one I did in ’09, the last time I hosted the big family feast.


One week to go! Oh my!

What’s cooking for your Thanksgiving table?





Baby Shower for H: Just the Accents

Enamel bottles

For a planaholic like me, is there anything more exciting than planning a baby shower?  I know not, especially when the guest of honor is a bestie who has been waiting 4 long years for her miracle daughter to arrive.  Unfortunately, I am not the only bestie in H’s arsenal, so I was not bestowed with a planning monopoly on this particular shower (I’m not good at sharing).  But I was in charge of a few key elements: center pieces, and of course, DESSERTS!

For the center pieces, I decided to go with the enamel bottle idea once again, this time choosing a color palette of coral, pink, and white.  I filled them with gerbera daisies and baby’s breath to keep them bright and cheery, like H herself.

Bottle center pieces

As for desserts, I ordered another lovely cake from Jill’s, and made a few different types of bite size treats.  The guest count for this shower was about 70, so I spent the better part of two days baking.  I made another batch of brownie pops, decorated with pink chocolate and sprinkles, gluten free mini donuts (because 1: gluten intolerant people deserve sweets too, and 2: the donut recipe from this cookbook is absolutely fabulous even though it’s gluten free) which I decorated with coral and pink icing with sprinkles to keep with the color palette, and raspberry macarons with raspberry jam frosting (a recipe I adapted from this cookbook).

The pops were a hit with the young guests, everybody loved how cute the donuts were, and as for the macarons, I overheard one guest saying, while eating my macaron and staring at it in wonder, “this is the best cookie I have ever eaten.”  *Sigh*  Compliments like that make me swoon.

Butterfly stuffed toy

Finally, the present.  Everybody knows the goal is to make the guest of honor cry and the rest of the ladies “ooh” and “ahh” over the cuteness of your particular present.  I sort of blew that opportunity by giving H the special basket full of my handmade creations before her actual shower.  I needed another spectacular present!  Scrambling, I made a butterfly stuffed toy for Addison in delightful pinks and greens to match her bedroom.  The stuffed toy wasn’t too complicated a project for the last minute and jingles as you shake it- babies love that.  You can find the instructions in Amy Butler’s project book, Little Stitches for Little Ones (it also includes a darling lady bug toy but I didn’t have time to make one of those too).

I also wanted to give Addison something personalized, so I worked with a wonderful design artist on Etsy to create a custom poster with Addison’s birth time, weight, length, and a few other unique details (blond hair, four years in the making, etc.) in beautiful baby colors.  Once we perfected the layout and colors, the artist sent me a high resolution image (all for $8), and I printed and framed it.  The present was a big hit with H- who cried when she looked at it (success!) and can’t wait to hang it in Addison’s room.

H opening her present

Everybody, especially H, had a lovely time at the shower and Addison behaved like a perfect angel as all the guests passed her around for a little cuddle time.  Though I didn’t have full rein to plan the entire shower (the other hosts did a spectacular job with food and games), it appeased my plan fetish for the time being, that is until H decides to adopt her next bundle of joy.  Then I might have to take over.


Food Blogger Folly: Thanksgiving

I seem to be the worst food blogger ever.  Thanksgiving.  The big mamma jamma of holidays for foodies and food bloggers alike and I blew the opportunity to capture true American over-indulgence at its best.  Boo.

This year I reluctantly gave up Thanksgiving family hosting duties so my brother could have a turn.  I never would have parted ways with an entertaining gig had I not been saddled with a six-week old munchkin but alas, even I need to share sometimes.  But since my brother the firefighter and my sister-in-law the nurse both had to work on Thanksgiving, they held their dinner on Friday.  (It was a lovely affair, we all had a wonderful time and ate until our stomachs popped a button or two.  They did a fantastic job).  That left the actual Thanksgiving holiday open for Big N to invite his smallish family over for a Thanksgiving potluck of sorts.  There were just 5 of us, totally manageable, even with a newborn on my hip. 

thanksgiving-1-of-2 The menu was simple, because with the exception of Big N and myself, all in attendance were vegetarians.  My mother-in-law brought a veggie lasagna made with some veggies from her garden, my sister-in-law contributed her famous quinoa stuffed peppers, my brother-in-law brought fattening cheesy rolls and treats from Porto’s, and I finished off the menu with Ruth’s Chris sweet potato casserole, roasted brussel sprouts, my now famous Cream of Wild Mushroom soup, and pumpkin bread pudding with dulce de leche poured on top, a recipe out of my Everyday Food magazine.  For Big N’s part, he spent the entire day smoking a brisket with hickory wood in the Weber smoker he used for the very first time, despite the fact that I bought it for him at least 5 years ago.  Only Big N and I indulged in the brisket but we weren’t complaining. thanksgiving-2-of-2 We sat around the table and took turns holding Griffin while we carbed-out as you can only do on Thanksgiving.  By 7 pm the meal was over and Griffin and I both said nite nite.  I think every dinner should end by 7 pm, but I’m only saying that because I crash nearly every night at exactly 7 pm due to sleep deprivation.

Unfortunately, being the terrible food blogger that I am, I failed to capture the magic of this understated event and took only a few measly pictures.  Since my brother and I now agreed to switch off hosting Thanksgiving from year to year (I wasn’t going to let him steal my thunder permanently, mind you), next year I intend to do what real food bloggers do (see a few of my favorites: herehere, and here) and blog about what I intend to cook before I actually cook it to provide some ideas to my precious few readers (that’s you!). 

Almost Summer: Memorial Day BBQ

Memorial Day always feels like the first day of summer, though summer is still technically a month away.  In recent years we spent the three-day weekend in Arrowhead but this year Big N and I decided to throw a BBQ pool party at the house.  I haven’t been jazzed to spend much time in the kitchen since I’ve been consumed with being pregnant of late, but throwing a barbecue seemed like the perfect motivation to ring in warmer weather with family, friends, and our Grand Turbo grill.  We pulled out all the stops by heating the pool and setting up tables for dining al fresco.

I spent Saturday and all day Sunday cooking for our 20+ expected guests.  My menu showcased barbecue favorites such as tri-tip (made with my secret dry rub) and pulled pork sandwiches topped with tangy cole slaw, along with spicy molasses baked beans (from scratch, no Bush’s here), twice baked potatoes, asparagus with red wine caper vinaigrette, and curried deviled eggs.  Though my guests praised the tastiness of these classics, the favorites of the party were my desserts: sweet bing cherry pie served ala mode with homemade toasted almond ice cream, and my blueberry/raspberry cheesecake tart. 

This was the first time in my history of entertaining that everything I made was completely consumed.  Normally I make enough to feed a small kibbutz and count on having leftovers.  What I didn’t expect was that my guests would return for seconds and thirds until every serving dish was picked clean.  High praise indeed.  While my food was certainly well-received and I felt gratified despite my sore feet by the end of the day, the true hit of the party was the cutest guest, my 9-month old nephew Daniel.  Daniel spent most of the party giggling on cue as he took turns bouncing on the knees of various attendees. memorial-day-bbq-19-of-23

The weather cooperated, the music created a jovial mood, the kids enjoyed splashing around in the pool, and my food came out as planned.  I couldn’t ask for a better day, though in the end I was happy I had the foresight to plan the barbecue on Sunday.  Big N and I spent the actual Memorial holiday giving thanks to our soldiers who fought for our freedom and giving thanks that we had a day to recuperate.

Dinner with Friends: Winter Tasting Menu

dinner-party-8-of-2 Since putting on my first tasting menu dinner nearly three years ago, I have dreamt about hosting another.  On two occasions I planned an extravagant event, even sent out invitations, only to have to cancel at the last minute when work obligations took priority.  Last night, finally, Big N and I hosted a dinner party for a few close friends as a pre-Valentine’s Day celebration.  True to form, I started planning nearly a month ago, creating a menu that would showcase seasonal ingredients and a few newly acquired tricks.  The menu was a bit ambitious for one person to serve 8 guests while still trying to enjoy the company of great friends rather than disappearing behind the kitchen door all night, but I was eager to pull it off.  And, if I can brag for just a stitch, pull it off I did!

Our dear friends arrived at 7, just as I was finishing the final preparations and mise en place so each dish would be timed perfectly.  Big N served as sommelier, and poured the wine as I prepared the plates in the kitchen.  We carefully selected 5 wines to pair with each of the 5 dishes, though kept the pours short so our guests would safely arrive home at the end of the evening.

dinner-party-1-of-6 I started with an amuse bouche of tuna poke with an avocado mousseline spherification.  The spherification, invented by molecular gastronomy god Ferran Adria of El Bulli, is a liquid center surrounded by a gelatinous membrane.  Taken in one bite, the spherification bursts in your mouth, coating the food with the liquid.  I made the tuna slightly spicy so the fatty avocado created a nice balance.  I won’t go into exactly how I created the spherification, which is an adventure that deserves its own post, but it involved experimentation with some serious (food safe) chemicals, and about 4 attempts before I was able to create one that was edible.  But the tuna poke is easy peasy.  Spicy Tuna Poke Recipe  I paired the amuse bouche with a cava from Spain.  Cava is a sparkling white that is light, crisp, with very little aftertaste.  The bubbly, with the spicy poke, was intended to awaken my guests’ palates and prepare them for the rest of the meal.

dinner-party-2-of-6 Next came the champagne poached steelhead.  My local fishmonger couldn’t obtain my first choice, arctic char, so I went with the steelhead.  Steelhead is actually a sea-run rainbow trout, so it looks like salmon, but is much more delicate, perfect for poaching.  I served it with a bernaise sauce with freshly chopped tarragon, asparagus tips, and meyer lemon air.  Champagne Poached Steelhead Recipe  Air, like foam, is an emulsification that’s become trendy in restaurants these days, though pretty simple to master with a little soy lecithin to stabilize the lemon juice.  I took a bit of a risk attempting it for the first time last night, but luck was on my side.  We paired the steelhead with a sauvignon blanc from Marlbourough New Zealand.  The wine had a nice grassy quality that stood up to the acidity in the bernaise and the asparagus, but the tropical fruit notes typical for wines from this region created an elegant complement to the fish.

dinner-party-3-of-6 Taking a slightly unconventional approach, I served my soup in the middle of the meal.  I wanted to pair my cream of wild mushroom with a red wine and it was more important that the wines flowed from lighter to heavier bodied than for the soup to be served at the start of the meal.  The cream of wild mushroom was my personal favorite of the evening.  Cooked with shiitake, porcini, oyster, crimini, and button mushrooms, I added some homemade parmesan croutons, creme fraiche, and shaved truffles for the extra wow factor.  Cream of Wild Mushroom Recipe  I paired that with a burgundy from the Mersault.  Mersault is known for its white wine, but this red was a winner.  Lighter for burgundy, it struck the perfect balance between earth and fruit, and allowed the richness of the soup to shine.

[SinglePic not found]Finally, my sous vide new york strip.  I’ll post about the marvels of sous vide cooking in a bit, as I have a few posts to catch up on, but suffice it to say if you’ve never had a sous vide piece of meat you don’t know what you’re missing.  The steak was cooked perfectly medium rare throughout, thanks to the Sous Vide Supreme, but I finished them off by searing them in expensive french butter, then spooned a generous portion of cabernet reduction that took me all day to make (reducing takes patience, I’ve learned, but well worth the wait).  Sides included sunchoke (aka jerusalem artichoke) puree and wilted baby spinach.  I paired it with the Lincourt Cabernet from Santa Ynez Valley, a favorite that I’ve talked about before.  The wine is one of the more approachable cabernets, sure to please a crowd.

dinner-party-5-of-6 Finally, dessert, as no tasting menu is complete without sweets.  Normally I try all my recipes out first before attempting to serve them to guests at crunch time, but I took another risk here and made something I’ve never made before.  The apple dumpling recipe I found in the LA Farmers’ Market Cookbook but I put my own spin on it.  I baked a granny apple stuffed with dried cranberries, brown sugar, and cinnamon inside a pie dough crust.  I paired that with saffron kulfi, which is an Indian ice cream made with sweetened condensed milk, cardamom, and more cinnamon.  Saffron Kulfi Recipe Dessert was a definite hit, as I witnessed a few guests scraping their plates.  I paired the dumpling with a light bodied spatlese, a German Riesling that’s not too sweet.

dinner-party-7-of-2 I also made some coconut macaroons as petit fours to serve with coffee at the end of the meal as our guests were winding down, and my lovely friend D spoiled us by bringing french macarons in Valentine’s day colors from macaron artiste Paulette.

The evening was a wild success.  Though I missed some of the fun while plating and expediting each course, I still had plenty of time to sit and chat with our closest friends, and to relish in their enjoyment of my cooking, of course.  Seeing friends enjoy the food I’ve prepared gives me a dorky feeling of jubilation.  Even now I’m basking in the afterglow as I reminisce and share.  I think I need to make these dinner parties a bi-annual affair.

2010 with the Core: New Years in Arrowhead

Every year after Christmas I am thrilled to already have an answer to the question that inevitably plagues most couples: “What are we doing for New Years?”  Like the last 4 years, Big N and I celebrated New Years eve at our quiet, cozy, and peaceful cabin overlooking serene Lake Arrowhead with our closest friends.  Even when I was in my pseudo-party-girl phase, I always despised the pressure to find a hip place to drink and dance for the countdown, not to mention the perfect outfit, shoes, and accessories to look hot for the occasion.  At the cabin, we rarely put on anything other than sweats and slippers, and we rarely bother to leave except to take a leisurely stroll around the lake or go grocery shopping at the local Stater Bros.  What could be a more relaxing way to spend the final days of the year?

Our friends, affectionately dubbed “the Core,” thankfully don’t mind if I exert my control-freakiness over kitchen detail.  Every year I plan the menu in advance, then create a shopping list so that we can hit the grocery store before the holiday rush.  In recent years I haven’t even bothered to clear the menu with them ahead of time.  They kindly show up, assist with the shopping, eat my food, praise it where appropriate, and then confine me to a chair after each meal while they take care of clean up duty.  For me, this is the epitome of culinary bliss.

The menu this year was simple but hearty: carnitas braised then roasted until crispy, followed by prime rib roast with potato leek gratin and tomatoes provencal for New Years Eve dinner, and finishing with roast turkey with baked sweet potatoes and maple sour cream, homemade dinner rolls, and caramelized brussel sprouts.  I even threw in a roasted tomato bisque with grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch. 

We ate, drank, and celebrated the new year by dancing to 80’s rock ala Pandora on the deck despite the frostiness of the night, and marveled at how lucky we are to be a part of each others’ lives as our “chosen family.” calistoga-4-of-10

Thanksgiving: The Planner’s Holy Grail of Holidays

Continuing with a tradition started last Thanksgiving, Big N and I hosted the family for Thanksgiving again this year.  Not only does the holiday provide a wonderful excuse for me to cook decadent foods using all the butter I want, but it also requires that I plan plan plan (my favorite past time).  I consulted recipe books and the usual blogs for ideas (special thanks to the Pioneer Woman for her delicious dinner roll recipe), created my shopping list, pondered such philosophical questions like whether to wet or dry brine the bird (dry brining won out this year, easy peasy), harassed my guests for RSVPs, and spent 2 full days in my kitchen cooking.  thanksgiving-1-of-8

I also decided to sew a new runner for our dining room table just for the occasion.  Ain’t it purdy?

I kept the menu traditional, because you don’t mess with the classics:

Tuscan Sausage Soup (a contribution from my cousin)
Dinner Rolls
Cranberry Grape Compote
Roasted Acorn Squash
Sweet Potato Casserole
Potatoes Au Gratin (a contribution from my step mother)
Braised Brisket in Cranberry Wine Sauce
Turkey with Stuffing

and pie three ways:
Chocolate Pecan Pie
Coconut Cream Pie
Pumpkin Pie (a contribution from my aunt)

Other than a minor hiccup after taking out the turkey a wee bit early and having to cook my bird some more after my guests arrived, the evening went off fairly smoothly.  My cousin’s soup and the sweet potato casserole were the favorites of the evening, with an honorable mention for the coconut cream pie.  Leftovers were abundant and forced on my guests as doggy bags, nobody was allowed to leave empty handed, house rules.

All that effort paid off in a lovely evening for Big N and I and our 16 guests (plus my mini-nephew, Daniel, the hit of the party at 2 months old).  We came together as a family, ate until we were uncomfortably full, laughed and expressed our gratitude for all of our blessings this year, and then reveled in the tryptophan induced food coma late into the evening.

And of course, true to form, my head is already spinning with new ideas for next year’s Turkeyfest.