Toad in the Hole

November 26, 2005


Since one current fashion seems to be recounting Thanksgiving menus, I'll do it too. Actually, I'm doing it mostly for fun.

We had TG with Kate and Gene, which is now somewhere between habit and ~Tradition~ (too bad there isn't an HTML tag for some Gothic font) for the four of us. This is because we like it so much.

We went to their place in San Francisco. They were on the porch, OK, the porchette, looking at a raven and a couple of crows that had been going overhead. We unloaded ingredients and Gene made us each a French 75, named after a WW1 gun of some sort and involving champagne, vermouth, and Grand Marnier... was there something else? I forget. But they're tangy and very good. Right up there with Lolitas in my estimation. A bowl of pumpkinseeds and almonds, light stuff because we had plenty waiting.

Intersperse this description with retiring to the comfy chairs now and then to just yak. That's at least half the fun.

Chestnut soup, with the French equivalent of five-spice... um, white pepper, cloves, um, uh-oh, Kate? What was that? Duck Two Ways -- duck confit and, because Gene just didn't feel right about so little fuss, grilled duck. Kate had also made this wild rice thing with cranberries and pignoli. Little onions, red and white. Parsnips. (Turns out we're all parsnip fans.) Joe made a Spanish chard recipe involving pignoli (we voted to keep the pignoli in both dishes, and no regrets) and slivers of jamon serrano. I also forget the name of the wine, but it was red and very good, especially with the chestnut soup -- there was something going on between the two that evoked a faint and lovely taste of mushrooms. Spooky wine alchemy!

For dessert, Joe's Shaker lemon pie and, in the sort of detail I love them for, custom newly invented drinks. The Veronica (damn name must be good for something) is coffee with frothy milk and a shot of the orange liqueur that the cranberries had been infused with. The Joe substituted Wild Turkey for the liqueur, and that's about ethnicity, thank you, not an invidious comment on character.

The best part's always the company, and damn but the food is good. I could rhapsodize, but let this be it for now. I think it's time for my annual brief post-Thanksgiving depression. I have a lot of theories about the cause, but I can pretty much rule out turkey.

Speaking of love/hate times of the year: It rained last night and today, though not exactly a monsoon, and it's getting less and less warm when the sun does come out and more and more cold at night. I don't want to put away the aloha shirts and dig out the sweaters, but I'm more than ready for fire season to be over.

Posted at November 26, 2005 05:23 AM