Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Turkey Scratch

The kitchen smells like magic. 

The days are gray now, and the mornings misty. I am holed up indoors, in the two rooms we keep heated with the woodstove. All this morning, I baked fruit pies. Thursday is Thanksgiving, the big American holiday, one of my very favorites. We have people coming over, or at least we have invited some.  We will feast, as is fitting for Thanksgiving.

And here in rural Spain, cooking a traditional American meal requires substantial ducking and diving and substituting, because many key ingredients just don´t exist here. I have to make do, or make it up from scratch. As a result we eat a whole lot less processed food, and we appreciate the rare, holiday-only treats I have been saving things up for.  Like blueberry pie. I made an actual blueberry pie today, with blueberries from jars I found, by sheer luck, in the discount bin at a German grocery down in Malaga. I snatched them up and brought them home and saved them for today. I didn´t have quite enough, so I dug out a packet of dehydrated blueberries a kindly pilgrim brought here for me. I soaked them in white wine and threw them in the mix. I lined the bottom of the pie with a layer of apple slices. We shall see. 

But there´s champagne, to serve with smoked trout and boquerones and goat cheese to coat with Balsamic cream --  sharp/sweet/smoky flavors for starters.
We have carrots and onions and red peppers, and sugar and oil and vinegar, and crushed up tomatoes all marinating together to make Copper Pennies -- a lot of those veg I grew here myself.
We have lovely Brussels Sprouts, holiday food for Englishmen. 
We have Granny Smith apples. I made a big Dutch apple pie today with those.
Maybe best of all, this year I grew three pumpkins out back. One became a jack-o-lantern. This morning the second became two lovely pumpkin pies. (The third has not turned orange yet. I am saving him for soup.)

Turkeys are out of season. I asked at three different fowl butchers yesterday in Palencia, and was told I would have to order one. They will come in time for Christmas. No. Instead I bought seven fine pichones -- squabs. Young pigeons. Each diner will have his own entire bird to eat, so we won´t have to fuss about white meat or dark. I tracked down celery and walnuts and several kinds of whole-meal bread, so I can make proper stuffing for the little guys.  No cranberries, though. Those are almost as rare as blueberries. And no fresh sage -- my herb garden fell victim to the new terrace project. 
No sweet potatoes. No marshmallows, no cream of mushroom soup to make green bean casserole, alas!

Still, another cause for thanksgiving is the people coming. They are (if everyone shows up) a German, a Spaniard, an Italian, an Englishman, and a French lady. Only one other American. Almost none of them has ever eaten a Thanksgiving feast before.
They won´t know what´s missing!  


Anonymous said...

Sounds drigging delightful!!!

We will 26 at our table, with two turkeys and a ham and a whole salmon and cranberries brought from Cape Cod plus dozens of pies from my baker sisters (most of whom were pilgrims and have at least walked by or through Moratinos).

It will be delightful as well, but no more special than the giving of thanks to take place at the Peaceable....hurray...

We're thankful there's folks like you in the world!
love, k

Laura said...

Sounds perfect! I'm glad you found a use for the dried time I'll bring dried cranberries.

Happy Day to you and Paddy and all the creatures.


Ingrid said...

Sounds upsolutely delicious and I like your blueberry soak. One can never have enough alcohol... :-). Squab sounds decadent too! So I wish you and Patrick and all the creatures in and around your kingdom a very blessed Thanksgiving. Much love and hugs, Ingrid

Faith Walter said...

Rebekah, we're about to have Thanksgiving on Sunday, so we've been running around getting things we need, too, and scheduling out when to cook what. In these days I wish we had a backyard garden like you do - it sounds divine! Hope your dinner went well yesterday, and hope everything's going well at Peaceable. Take care!

Anonymous said...

So impressed with your substitutions and making do:) It reminds me of David, the trail angel just before Astorga. When he heard I was American he got all excited to tell me, "We have peanut butter for you!" Honestly, I hadn't missed the stuff, but I guess plenty of Americans do:)