25 November 2006

Thanksgiving Roundup

I attended Thanksgiving over at Paul Jones' place. He had a bunch of family and friends coming over, and I tagged along. In addition to the incredibly moist turkey prepared by Paul and the dozen side dishes and casseroles brought from afar, I supplied two fresh cranberry sauces (one traditional, one with orange and mint) and a roast pork loin (braised in hard cider, glazed with apple jelly, mustard, and Bourbon).

Paul enlisted my help in the search for wines, and a trip to the wine shop yielded a half dozen bottles. Those actually consumed have all been mentioned on this blog at one time or another: Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc, Beaujolais Nouveau (got to introduce a few folks to their first sip of Beaujolais!), and the Hayman & Hill Chardonnay. I don't obsess over wine pairings with Thanksgiving; there's too many dishes with too many conflicting tastes, and I figure it's best to go with something fun and easy-drinking that will appeal to a broad range of palates and wine experience.

After dinner, the gentlemen retired to the back porch to take advantage of a few treasures brought back from Brazil by Paul Schwartz: Pousada 10 Year Old Tawny Port (made by a subsidiary of Poças in Portugal) and Dona Flor cigars. The Port was great on its own, but didn't fully develop until paired with the Maduro Robusto style cigar. The time span from the first glass of wine to the last stogie died was around six hours, definitely a pleasant way to spend Thanksgiving.

On the following day, instead of fighting the crowds at the shopping malls, Paul and I regrouped with Schwartz and his lovely family to take advantage of leftovers and another treasure from the Southern Hemisphere: cachaça, the clear sugar cane spirit that is somewhere between rum and tequila. The favored preparation is in a cocktail called a caipirinha, which has become somewhat trendy in a few parts of the US. Here's how they were prepared on Friday:

Caipirinha de Senhor Schwartz
  • 1 highball glass
  • 1½ limes (in large pieces, interior white pith removed)
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ice
  • shot of cachaça (we used Cachaça Brasiliana--this is the only photo I could find online, no luck on the producer)
Put the limes and sugar in the glass and muddle heavily. Fill glass with crushed ice, and then add the shot of cachaça. Pour back and forth between two glasses until thoroughly mixed. Serve with a spoon or swizzle stick to help mix the sugar as it settles out.

Bright, fruity, and surprisingly smooth.

1 comment:

Lainey said...

I enjoyed the Beaujolais Nouveau. I thought it worked nicely with the hodgepodge of dishes. I can't wait to see what you choose next year.