My talented blog friend, Donna at Retirement Reflections, has teamed up with Deb at Widow Badass to invite all of us to a monthly virtual dinner party. The goal is to spread meal inspirations and share dishes that we have recently enjoyed. Breakfast, lunch, appetizers, dinner, dining in, dining out… all ideas are welcome.
My husband, Matt, likes to cook. He has no problem using every pot and pan in the cabinets and baptizing walls and ceiling with a flurry of sauces and dressings. I admit my man has a great flare for the culinary arts, but lacks in clean up skills. When he is “done”, the sink stands with a well balance pyramid of utensils, dishes and pots, and the floor and counters are sticky with every ingredient used.
Thankfully, grilling has reduced my clean up chore.
For the past eight or maybe it’s ten years, Matt grills the Thanksgiving turkey. He requests a fresh bird, gathers the Simon and Garfunkle medley (parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme) and basil and oregano from our herb garden, buys the chips, and prepares the grill for a four hour smoke/grill session. Matt remains outside with his favorite cigar as he tends to the main event.The turkey meat is moist with a hint of smoke (apple chips provide the best results). He whips up a light gravy that complements the turkey and the stuffing, that was cooked in the oven. And yes, the skin is crispy golden, well worth “fighting” for.
This past Thanksgiving, we flew to Hilton Head Island to spend the holiday with my daughter, Hallie, son-in-law, Lance, and the grandkids. My mom and sister-in-law, Carla, joined us, sister and brother-friends, Irene and Steve, drove in from North Carolina and New York daughter, Sara, drove down with a car full of necessities (including the fresh Simon and Garfunkle bouquet) and an extra table for just in case. We rented a VRBO house for six days with bedrooms, bathrooms, a yard, and a fairly well stocked kitchen. It was located three miles from my daughter and a quick walk to the beach. The bonus was the big grill that fit the 20 pound bird.
Sisters and I shopped and prepped while Mom supervised. Matt dressed the turkey and my brother and sister-in-law drove in from Florida on Wednesday night. On Thanksgiving Day, Matt started early and got the turkey on the grill by 11:00. The kids played in the yard and rode bikes while Matt grilled and four women coordinated their dishes in one kitchen. We grazed on a charcuterie plate, dates wrapped in bacon, and olives and small marinated stuffed peppers Matt made a week before.
By 4:00, we all sat down to an amazing dinner. Mom’s table cloth covered the extended table ( no need for the 4-foot folding table in my car). The platter of turkey and small pitchers of gravy joined the table with Irene’s mashed potatoes and ham, Carla’s stuffing, my fresh green bean and almond casserole, Mom’s yams, and Sara’s gluten and dairy free grilled squash and rice dish. Pies and and an apple crisp finished the meal. I was forgiven for not getting to the macaroni course and forgetting the rolls. Not to worry. We extended the feast into Friday with leftovers paired with my fettuccine Alfredo.
For the six days, we reflected on our blessings and enjoyed the company of family and love that surrounded us.
And the turkey was amazing. We all agreed that it was the best one yet.
Matt studied the methods and theories of Meathead, master griller (not the Mike Stevic in All in the Family). It is a 9-10 page document filled with tips, tricks, and humor.
My heart is filled with gratitude and love for my family and friends. I am rich will these blessings.