We had a good Thanksgiving week with good food and good company.
Bill’s mom arrived Monday evening and stayed with us all week since she had the week off. She knew I still had a lot of work left on my freelance project so, she left me alone and cooked a few meals for us. One meal in particular is one of Bill’s favorite dishes ever. It’s a steamed whole duck or goose stuffed with a sticky glutenous rice that also has diced mushrooms, cured pork, tiny shrimp, and lotus seeds. The juices from the duck seep into the rice. It’s really delicious. Bill’s dad flew down early Thursday morning. There’s a flight that leaves OAK at 6:45am and a stand-by passenger can almost always get a seat on that flight, even on Thanksgiving. Thursday morning, while Bill picked up his dad, I went to work making a cheesecake following the recipe that Patrick has been perfecting. It’s a relatively simple recipe that includes toasted almonds in with the graham crackers in the crust. The cheesecake turned out delicious and the only complaint I have is that I might have cooked it a little too long. It lacked a creaminess that I was hoping for. The cook time is tricky because you have to pull it out of the oven while the center still shakes… but finding that ideal moment is difficult. Patrick has it figured out on his oven. I still need to find it on mine.
The cheesecake just out of the oven.
Bill’s turkey was, once again, fantastic. He brines the turkey overnight and then stuffs it with mirepoix, lemons, apples, and fresh herbs. It goes into a 500 degree oven for 30 minutes then the temp is lowered to 350 for the rest of the time. It remains juicy and flavorful, even in the breast meat.
I made a cornbread stuffing that was also fabulous. Alas, this was expected since the recipe I used is titled: World’s Best Cornbread Stuffing. Bill made the mashed potatoes by simmering a mixture of milk and cream with black pepper and rosemary. Then the rosemary is removed before the mixture is added to the potatoes along with a whole head of roasted garlic. We also had sauteed asparagus, mini sweet potatoes, rolls and a wonderful gravy that topped everything really well.
Thanksgiving will be nice one day when we actually have a dining room. We’ve talked about having Thanksgiving next year for the rest of my family… but we’d have to eat dinner in the backyard. There isn’t enough room in the kitchen. I guess, depending on the weather, it could work.
Bill’s mom with one of the mini sweet potatoes.
We all ate too much, so dessert was saved for the next day.
Friday, I went back to work on my paintings and Bill and his parents went shopping for a car. Bill’s mom has been in the market for a new car for a while, but it’s a struggle because Bill’s dad is…well…frugal. Frugal is an understatement, but, it’s more polite than other words. Bill took his mom to an Acura dealership because Bill really loves his Acura TSX and knew that his mom would too. Bill’s dad was hooked on the Hyundai prices and their awesome warranty, but Laikwan didn’t want a Hyundai, she wanted the Acura. Plus, Hyundai doesn’t sell any cars with a navigation system, an option that she wanted. Being the stubborn man that he is, Bill’s dad sat in the car when Bill and his mom negotiated with the Acura salesman. Eventually, the salesman wouldn’t give Laikwan the price she wanted, so they left. I learned it was all part of the game they were playing. Back at home, both Bill and his mom negotiated with Bill’s dad explaining to him that the Acura has all the same cool things that the Hyundai has and they had to explain the fine print of Hyundai’s stellar warranty. It was actually interesting (and slightly entertaining) listening to them chip away at his stubbornness leaving him with no reason to be against them. In the end, Bill and his mom went back to the Acura dealership and came home with a brand new Acura TSX. It’s a really great car and I think she’ll be really happy with it.
Bill’s dad flew home Saturday afternoon while we waited for a visit from some of Bill’s family. His aunt, cousin and his cousin’s wife stopped by on their way home from Las Vegas with their kids. They have a 10 year old son and a 4 year old daughter. We shared Thanksgiving leftovers with them and they headed home later that night. Sunday morning, Bill drove with his mom up to Newark in her new car. Bill has to work in San Jose today, so it worked out.
I worked all day yesterday and am hoping to have my freelance project completed by the end of the week. I will be really happy when it’s over as I’ve been pressed for time and my body can’t sit for hours on end painting any more. I have to take more breaks than I used to. Perhaps all those hours hunched over a drawing horse in college has injured my back.
Note to self: Don’t accept a large freelance project while planning a wedding.