The day opened with coffee and hymn-singing. I love waking the children by playing hymns on the piano until everyone has gathered with a glass of throat-waking tea or juice to fit together a three-part harmony. Of course yesterday I waited until almost 10am to become the alarm clock.
Then a leisurely brunch and conversation. The sunroom was filled with the golden Rocky Mountain morning, and the talk turned from literary discussions to news analysis to holiday hospitality planning. The menu was the brainchild of Petra, who innovated by pairing the Curried Fruit we usually serve with ham for dinner, with Sausage-Scrambled Eggs and a glorious crisp German Pancake (which we stuffed with the fruit).
Yes, gentle readers, the recipe:
6 c. sliced peaches, drained (or 3c. peaches and 3c. apricots)
3 c. sliced pears, drained
2 c. pineapple chunks, drained
1 c. craisins
1/4 c. butter
1 c. brown sugar
2 tsp. curry powder
1 c. pecans, chopped & toasted
Preheat oven to 325F. Pat fruit dry. Arrange in oven-proof casserole. In another dish, melt together butter, brown sugar and curry. Spoon over the fruits. Bake 1 hr. Sprinkle nuts over the fruit just before serving.
3 eggs (2 will do in a pinch)
1/2 c. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. milk
2 Tbsp. melted butter
Liberally oil an oven-proof skillet. Preheat oven to 450F. Beat eggs until foamy. Add everything else and beat smooth. Pour into skillet. Bake 20 min. Reduce heat to 350F. Prick the bubbles that rise in the center of the pancake. Bake 10 min. more. The pancake will rise up the sides of the skillet to form a crisp, golden brown bowl. Fill with fruit of your choice for brunch or dessert.
The family humored me by posing for hours for a family portrait. It ended up being great entertainment trying for a shot in which everybody looked normal at the same time AND the camera on delayed exposure cooperated by leaving everybody all body parts. Then we treated ourselves to long Skype conversations with as many of our long-distance friends and family as we knew would be home. There was time for naps and sketching and reading aloud together. We snacked on Chloe's luscious savory shortbreads: Blue Cheese & Chive and Cajun Cheddar, and Petra's Mulled Cider.
Dinner was late and was an immediate-family affair, so the menu was pretty scaled-back:
Cream of Peanut Soup with Swiss Almond Bread
Roast Turkey with Pecan Sausage Cornbread stuffing
Lemon Poppy Seed Brussels Sprouts
Mashed Potatoes and Gravy
Cranberry Orange Salad
The Cream of Peanut Soup is the recipe everyone has requested.
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 sm. onion, chopped
1/4 c. butter
Saute the vegetables until tender. Add to make a roux
2 Tbsp. flour
Add, stirring until smooth
1 c. peanut butter
(You may freeze the soup base at this point. Be sure to thaw in the microwave rather than on the stove. This scorches easily.) Slowly add, stirring constantly
2 c. chicken broth
Just before serving stir in
1 c. milk
1 c. light cream
Heat thoroughly, but don't allow to boil. Serve with a garnish of chopped peanuts topping each bowl.
As the evening purpled into a glittering night, Dad and Robert built a fire, and we gathered for more conversation over each one's favorite hand work projects: sketching (Chloe & Petra), scrimshaw (Robert), jewelry-making (me). Dad had his hands full nursing the fire along. We discussed historical revisionist views of the Puritans, the pagan take-over of Christian holidays, and reminiscences of good times past. We talked over the mercies of God to us in the past year.
We found this rare quiet family-only day not only delighted us, but also strengthened us for the hospitality-intensive days ahead. In fact, our Thanksgiving celebrations aren't complete until after the Psalm-sing to which we invite everybody and his brother.
Next time: How to host a Psalm-sing