30 November 2010

Gobble gobble mother effer.

This Thanksgiving, I am thankful for...


It's like an early Christmas present, gift wrapped just for me. Props to Sarah and Mike for spreading the word. And knowing me so well.

On a less foul-mouthed-turkey level, this year I am most thankful for our little family being together. You wouldn't think it, but four months of strictly weekend visitations is hard. Way hard. Now that me and the pooches have our Bradford back full time, we're never letting him go again. Even if he mocks the ThanksKilling.

This year we spent Thanksgiving together, and with special friends. What do special friends require? Treats! The Wednesday before, I spent the afternoon whipping up an apple cheesecake and some pumpkin-spiced gingersnap truffles. Heidi helped.

First up, the cheesecake, for Thanksgiving-night-Rachel's-dad's-taking. I searched for authentic Russian recipes and came across one for a baked apple cheesecake. It was in weird measurements and used ricotta (weird), so I searched for something similar and found this autumn cheesecake. I used 1/3 fat cream cheese, but otherwise I followed the recipe as is. First I made the crust.

Then I made the cake, using three gala apples and three, um, yellow apples (golden delicious?), all from nearby Berrien Springs (home of the weird fake meat).

I'm pretty sure this is my first cheesecake. It was really easy, actually -- the hardest part being knowing when it's done (the recipe gave a 10-minute either-way window for baking. Not helpful!), especially because the apple layer covered the cheesecake layer. I winged it (wung it?) and hoped for the best. And mostly the best it was, although I couldn't get the stupid pan to release and I had to take it as is over to Rachel's dad's house. Not to toot my own horn, but I really liked this and felt comfortable sharing it with my Rachel and her awesome family, who so graciously took us in. I hope this is the first of many visits with the lovely S. family. (And the first of many cheesecakes!)

Next up, truffles. Melting chocolate is fun. And strangely satisfying. Like watching heavy cream turn into whipped cream.

This recipe was also super simple. Mostly just melt chocolate, smash 'snaps, stir together, freeze, roll in 'snaps.

Rollin with the homies.
Voila! Truffles.

It was really that simple. These I served up Friday evening for our latest round of guests, the E. girls and some other dudes and a pooch. It was a full house and we got to utilize all of our spare sleeping quarters (even the office, where Meg got stuck {perhaps my secret plan to keep her close to me!}) for the first time. I love this whole crew and having them all buzzing around always makes me feel like part of the family.

Loving on George.
Doing the poop dance.

Hopefully the truffles showed my love, as, again, horn tooting -- they are amazing! Seriously. Chocolately, creamy, crunchy, snappy... You should definitely make these.

On a final food note, the girls introduced me to Food Dance, a very Roadhouse-type place in Kalamazoo (where we'd traveled for the bride-to-be to try on beautiful dresses). Because it was a special celebration, we ordered up some pomegranate mimosas, which were as delicious as they look.

I can't tell you how exciting it was to see this menu. I didn't look too closely beyond breakfast because I didn't want to get tempted away from (happy!) eggs -- there are NO good breakfast places in town, boo! BUT everything I even just glanced at sounded amazing, and I will have to take Brad back there sometime soon for a nice dinner out. I mean, they serve Zingerman's bread! Come on! They even have a gift shop. I love gift shops. * swoon *

So to sum things up, I am thankful for all the wonderful people in my life (that means you, too, hubby!) who make me feel so loved, even when I'm so (not that) far away. And for cheese. And chocolate. Yum.


Rachel said...

Oh my gosh! Food Dance! Cherie and I have been there a few times. YUM! And your cheesecake really was delicious. Rumor has it you're both allowed to come back to dad and Dorothy's anytime. ;)

Lady Lisa said...

nice apron! I'm also so glad you're getting so many visitors as you're finally all settled. Wohoo for being together!