Thanksgiving found us in the heart of Northumberland County, one and a half hours east of Toronto, amongst good friends and three beautiful country properties. The weather cooperated and the colours put on a great show. Photographer Brian Summers, www.summers.ca, was up early to capture this shot of a horse in the pasture.
We were at friends' on Saturday night, enjoyed a meal of lasagna and singing our hearts out to music from the sixties, seventies and eighties, all accompanied by a very competent and talented acoustic guitar player.
The big Thanksgiving feast itself was planned a week prior, a list was drawn up and tasks and dishes assigned. The meal was to be a sit-down event for some 26 people using china, stemware, cutlery, in a decked out barn complete with a stage, lighting, decor and a sound system. Seven groups of people contributed to the grand event, and the menu included: shrimp ceviche, chipotle-spiced squash soup, roasted acorn squash, brown-butter mashed potatoes with herbs, salads, a baked potato soufflé and a lovely selection of breads. A friend who lives out there volunteered to "do" the stuffed turkey. He found a 27 lb. free-range farm bird and did it justice by using a combination stove-top steaming and oven roasting method. We made a jus-gravy and served the turkey with a cranberry salsa*. Dessert included pumpkin pie, sweet potatoe pie, apple strudel and carrot cake with cardamom cream (see "Sugar & Spice" posting for recipe).
One of the food contributions that we brought out was a cranberry salsa, made with organic cranberries purchased at the Riverdale Farmers' Market, www.friendsofriverdalefarm.com. The berries come from Iroquois Cranberries, www.iroquoiscranberries.com and are gathered in the Cranberry Capital of Ontario - Bala. The open-air market will be on for only a few more weeks, as it closes at the end of October. It is held every Tuesday, from 3pm to 7pm. I used one pound in the salsa and froze the other. Cranberries freeze unbelievably well, as they are a natural for IQF (individual quick frozen) and do not clump together. I received the following recipe when I purchased the berries at the market; I prefer to tone down the sugar content.
4 cups, (1 lb) fresh or frozen cranberries
1 to 1 1/2 cups sugar (to taste)
2 limes, zested and juiced
Process in a food processor, let sit one hour prior to serving. Keeps in a fridge for up to ten days, and freezes well.
In between the soup course and the main feast, the eleven children who were present dug up wigs and clothing from the dress-up trunk and put on a dance / fashion and acrobatics show! Having a stage and a sound system in the barn brings out the performer in everyone. Yeeha! The dinner and show was the weekend highlight for our two older children, but for our youngest it was going horseback riding for the first time and bareback to boot! Our dog is still exhausted by all of the outdoor activity, and the fact that she deservedly got kicked by the resident dwarf donkey. Needless to say, a grand time was had by all, and we are very thankful for good friends, good health and family.