Chopstick Cinema

Celeste Heiter's Adventures in Asian Food & Film

Thanksgiving Redux

In the two days before Thanksgiving, we feasted on the leftovers from my 'Children of Heaven' Iranian dinner. Everything reheated splendidly and gave me a much welcome respite from the kitchen. As anticipated, the Borani Esfanaaj (Spinach with Onions and Yogurt) was much tastier warm than cold. The Kufteh Sabzi (Meatballs Simmered in Tomato Sauce) was still the best dish on the plate, and the Baklava was a sweet reward at day's end.

I began my Thanksgiving preparations the Wednesday evening before, doing much of the washing, trimming and chopping of ingredients for all the various dishes. Rene has an extra fridge in the garage that provided much needed storage space for the two twelve-pound turkeys and all the pots and pans full of stock and stuffing.

We enjoyed a nice long night's sleep before waking on Thursday noon to begin cooking. I spent most of the early afternoon assembling the appetizers: Baked Salmon with Cream Cheese, Dill and Capers on French Croutons, Stuffed Mushroom Caps with Smoked Gouda, and Crudites with Spinach Dip. The Stuffed Mushrooms were the best of the bunch, filled with savory breaded stuffing and a tiny wedge of smoky Gouda tucked into the center of each. And the cream cheese with dill was a perfect accompaniment to the flakes of baked salmon garnised with piquant capers.

The Turkey took exactly five hours to roast, and turned out perfectly golden after only a couple of bastings with the drippings from the bottom of the roasting pan. I raised a velvety brown gravy from the same drippings, and served up Side Dishes of breaded stuffing seasoned with onions, green peppers, celery, marjoram and parsley, along with perfectly poached haricots vert, steamed yams au natural, mashed potatoes, and cranberry-orange-walnut relish. We enjoyed a bottle of 1998 Hess Collection Cabernet Sauvignon with Dinner, and although there was still plenty of bakalava left from Monday night's dinner, by the time we'd sated ourselves, neither of us had any room left for dessert. Despite my best efforts otherwise, I succumbed to sleep on the sofa around midnight, while Rene, bless his heart, put away all the leftovers.

Today I'm roasting the second turkey in anticipation of my son Will and Rene's nephew Jovan arriving tomorrow afternoon for a 3-day stay here with us. With two ravenous teenaged boys, and Rene's lusty appetite, I am confident that all those leftovers won't go to waste.