An Atheist’s Christmas »« Oh, the Cheer

Ravioli, er, Thanksgiving Update

Thanksgiving came and went and, oh, goodness. I couldn’t have predicted how well the squash ravioli would taste. True, it ended up more squash lasagna after baking, but, oh.

The sauce was a very basic sherry cream sauce. About 1/2 cup finely chopped shallots, sweated in 2 tablespoons butter and more salt than I’d have used if I’d remembered to put any in the filling. Add 2 cups sherry, turn up the heat, and breathe through the nose (oh) while it reduces to about 1/3. Add 2 cups stock, then two cups heavy cream. Whisk thoroughly and pour over a 10 x 12 baking dish full of frozen ravioli. Bake at 350 for 40 minutes or so.

That went (quite well) with the rest of the meal:

- Two grilled turkeys, one stuffed under the skin with garlic and rosemary, one with jerk seasoning
- Gravy from drippings and milk (about a cup of honey wine poured in the bottom of each pan pre-grilling kept the drippings from burning and caramelized nicely), made with a roux while the turkeys rested
- Potatoes mashed with sour cream and butter
- Steamed broccoli topped with melted cheese
- Sage dressing with sunflower seeds and dried cherries
- Grandma’s cranberry relish (ground cranberries, a tiny bit of sugar, crushed pineapple and mini marshmallows, folded with stiff whipped cream)
- Chewy, whole-grain bread with homemade elderberry and cherry jelly
- For thems as wanted it, a nice chardonnay that stood up to all those flavors better than it had any right to
- For thems as didn’t, fresh, unfiltered apple cider

Dessert was hours after dinner, by long tradition and popular demand.

- An apple-pecan pie from the orchard
- Spicy pumpkin pie (fresh nutmeg, ginger, Ceylon cinnamon, cloves, cardamom and plenty of all of it) from fresh pumpkin
- Cinnamon ice cream to go on top

Everything was done when expected and at the same time. Everyone was cheerful except my niece, who had a good excuse and mostly slept it off on the couch. Everyone brought something, so we only provided the turkey, gravy, cranberries, ravioli, and pumpkin pie.

(I keep telling myself that I’ll learn to make good dressing someday, but I don’t believe it. Fundamentally, I just don’t believe in bread pudding. I think it knows that somehow. Or maybe I simply can’t make myself put that much butter and that many eggs into a single dish.)

Later, we were asked to show our vacation photos. Then we introduced folks to Super Rub-a-Dub, a PS3 game involving rubber ducks and wind-up toy sharks. Brutally simple and highly addicting. Even Ben’s mom and her boyfriend had to play.

All in all, we couldn’t have asked for the day to turn out better.