Turkey, turkey, brisket.

Well, the big Turkey Feast Day is over!

Ours was very low-key, lovely and small, at two tables eaten outside under the beautiful Miami sky. Zeke and I got the 17 pound bird in the oven around 9:30, then toasted ourselves with mimosas with fresh-squeezed orange juice, as we watched the Macy’s Day Thanksgiving Parade. Thank God there’s some sense of normalcy about this year with the parade, even if there were no spectators on hand. The bands, Broadway performances, floats, balloons and Santa were out in front of Macy’s, as usual. The parade always reminds me of my grandmother Julia, who would call all of us grandchildren to remind us it was on.

I’d planned on eating at one long table, with two folding tables put together, but discovered that A.J. had taken hers, so we ate at two seperate tables. Everything went smoothly, but I always find it’s mass chaos 15 minutes before the Thanksgiving meal is to be served, especially since that’s when the gravy needs to be made. Mine turned out fine (recipe in former blog post) and our turkey was moist and juicy, the sausage stuffing and all the sides were delicious. After the meal, there was only one slice out of the “light” pumpkin pie I’d made and it wasn’t even from me, but from Wyatt. He decided he didn’t like it (oh well) so I gave him a mini ice cream cone (Hold the Cone Trader Joe’s) instead.

I had a slice the next day. It was… okay. Maybe I’ve lost my taste for pumpkin pie. I may make the remainder into ice cream, as I always like pumpkin ice cream. I also made the Pumpkin Ginger Sorbet from the NYT recipe, but forgot about it till after the meal. It was also just okay. I wouldn’t make it again, but wanted to try something new.

Lauren arrived Sunday from D.C. Since she’d flown in, Zeke and I kept our distance, but Emma had no qualms and came right over to see her big sister, the newly sworn-in lawyer. I made Arancini with leftover risotto I had from dinner in the Keys. I stuffed it with a hunk of cheese, breaded and fried it and served it with marinara sauce, perfect for snacking on with a glass of wine before dinner. For dinner I made Linguine with Clam Sauce with a green salad and garlic bread.

Tuesday night, my friend Martha had us over for dinner with another couple. She served my favorite appetizer (tostones with sour cream and caviar) with chilled champagne; we had delicious oysters from the Lazy Oyster for a starter on oyster plates Martha had recently acquired. Dinner was Roast Chicken with an orange sauce, a divine Truffle Risotto and a salad made with fresh greens from Enpower Farms. We sipped a lovely Chardonnay with the chicken and had a special Port with the rich Flourless Chocolate Cake for dessert. I love, love, loved my birthday dinner!

The next day (Wednesday) was my actual birthday. Zeke and I went to Glass and Vine in Coconut Grove for dinner. It’s outside in Peacock Park and there was a Jazz trio playing music in the twinkly light setting, so it was a perfect Birthday Dinner restaurant. We split a charcuterie plate (Antipasto Tabla) to start, with grilled bread, olives, prosciutto and local burrata and a bottle of Albarino. We then had the Grilled Double Pork Chop with guava apple glaze and cabbage salad, Charred Cauliflower with tahini and chick peas and Crispy Yucca fries with cheese. All of it was delicious and they threw in a Guava Cheesecake for my birthday celebration. Luckily, no singing was involved.

The Friday after my Birthday, I made Turkey Hash (recipe in last blog) for lunch. We went shopping for a Christmas tree, unsuccessfully. Came home and drank wine by our pool and ate frozen pizza for dinner, while listening to Christmas music. I’d read an article about best frozen pizzas and Newman’s Own uncured pepperoni was one of the suggestions, so that’s what we ate, as it was quick, easy and most importantly, wasn’t turkey. It was quite good- a thin and crispy crust and tons of pepperoni. The pepperonis had gotten discombobulated on the top, so I re-arranged them before cooking. I do recommend this pizza if you like pepperoni, but I didn’t dare look at the calorie count.

We’d planned on going down to the Keys with Emma and Lauren and boyfriends for the weekend, but since we didn’t want to be in such close quarters, we stayed home instead. Zeke smoked a brisket Kelley had given us and watched the Alabama game (the Iron Bowl against Auburn) on TV. I made a yummy Corn Dip I remembered from a Horseshoe Party we used to attend on Thanksgiving weekend and served it with tortilla chips. We served the Smoked Brisket with coleslaw, Avocado salad, Baked Beans and Texas toast. It was all delicious and a welcome break from turkey.

On Sunday I tried another NYT Food recipe for a Middle Eastern Turkey Sandwich made with seasoned turkey meat, a cucumber/mint sauce, cabbage slaw with pomegranate molasses and a tahini/yogurt sauce, served on a pita bread half. Conclusion? It was ok, but too much work for the results. Give me an old fashioned Turkey Sandwich on white bread with Miracle Whip, stuffing, cranberry sauce and salt and pepper anytime. It is the first sandwich I make after Thanksgiving and may be the best sandwich I eat all year. That night, I made Josies’ Turkey Tettrazini, instead of my usual reliable Fannie Farmer. Sorry Josie, but I like Fannie Farmer’s better! And I started the process of making my Turkey Soup (also Fannie Farmer), a multi-day process.

Making turkey soup is a lesson in anatomy. First, I boil the turkey carcass with water, onions, carrots, celery and peppercorns and let it sit overnight. The fat comes to the surface (which I scoop off) and then the liquid below is a gelatinous goo. Then, I go through the bones, picking the meat off carefully, like a surgeon at work. First, I locate the large bones- legs, wings, etc…, then the skinny flat bones, which must be in the turkey’s wings; I imagine a turkey in full flight at this discovery. Then, floating on top, are the white, flabby gelatinous hunks of cartilage which come from the legs, that need to be discarded. The neck bones are long and intricate, with meat encased inside. This year, I found the tail bone stuck in the turkey! For some reason it didn’t make it outside when we roasted it. And then, there are a ton of little, teeny bones I find scattered all over my stock, which I worry someone could choke on if I fail to locate them. By the time my soup-making is over, I feel I know my turkey intimately. And then it’s time to re-heat the soup, add noodles and eat. Hopefully, no bone appetit!

Our old friend Jenny Larkin had a secret to her turkey soup and that was that she would put a little leftover stuffing in it to thicken it up, so I always do this too. Kelley added her gravy to her turkey soup and my tennis partner added stuffing, mashed potatoes and green bean casserole to it, taking the leftovers to a whole new level. I gave some of this soup to my sister Elise Monday night and while she was over getting it, I got a Face Time call from my son Christopher. His wife Courtney had been induced earlier and I’d been waiting anxiously all day for any news.

This could be it!

I said, excitedly.

And sure enough, it was. Liam Jack Schild had just been born, so I got to see his sweet little face and his delighted mommy Courtney. Good job Courtney! He was born on November 30th at 7:06 p.m. and clocked in at 6 pounds 14 ounces. “Monday’s child is Fair of Face” is true for my little Liam, with chubby cheeks, a dimpled chin and long eyelashes. I can’t wait to see him in person and hold him in my arms!

In other Good News, my daughter A.J. got engaged on Saturday to Wyatt’s Dad Justin, in a sunflower field down South. And I got re-elected to the Yelp Elite Squad for 2021! Not as exciting as a new baby and an engagement but still, Yipee! 2020 isn’t a total loss.

After visiting three Christmas tree lots, we finally ended up getting our tree at the Fireman’s Lot. It was the second tree we looked at and was tall and full. Zeke takes great pride in stringing the lights around each branch of our Christmas tree and it always looks beautiful, but it is a project. The Zeke Guilford Tree Lighting Ceremony is a multi-day event, involving much drinking and swearing. One year, different strings of lights went out like three times and, in the end, we just gave up and had a partially-lit tree. To help spirits along with this chore, I put on Christmas music and pass balls of lights to Zeke as his assistant, but when I suggested getting a pre-lit Balsam Hill Christmas tree this year, to save him time and aggravation, I was shot down like a ton of bricks. Oh well, perhaps 2020 isn’t the year to mess with tradition.

Up Next: Easy Appetizer for the Holidays.

Published by gleeguilford

Born and raised in Miami, the daughter of a pilot and stay-at-home Mom, I love food in all forms. My great grandfather opened the first Italian restaurant in Miami in the 20's, The Boathouse on the Miami river. I love exploring my heritage and linking food and recipes to personal stories. I've been published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Food and Love and wrote restaurant reviews and news as the Miami Dining Examiner for three years. I love exploring Miami's latest hot spots, hole in the walls and institutions. I'm always looking for innovative ways to use the plethora of tropical fruits and vegetables South Florida offers, especially from my own garden.

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