Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanksgiving dinner

As usual we hosted family and friends for Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday afternoon. Ever year we try to streamline the job and this year was one of the easiest feasts we've managed.

I brined the turkey Wednesday night and, in keeping with our goal to get as much as possible done before guests arrive, went on to put green beans and a cayenne pepper pod into a slow cooker, added garden-fresh red cabbage with apples to another crock, and steamed just-picked spinach for a bowl of dip. DH made wholegrain bread and make-ahead mashed potatoes, then pared carrots and celery and the ingredients for a fruit salad. I also brewed a gallon of tea and squeezed lemons for another gallon of lemonade so they would have time to chill before serving. DS spent Wednesday afternoon at his grandmother's baking pumpkin pies, Japanese fruit pies (recipe follows) and a batch of sugar cookies.

On Thursday I roasted the turkey along with a pan of dressing while DH opened a jar of the pickled beets canned earlier this year and packages of the few items we couldn't grow and/or prepare ourselves: pimiento-stuffed green olives, black olives and a bag of potato chips. My sister brought a pan of cheese-y corn pudding and Mom showed up early to make the gravy.

By mid-morning early arrivals were snacking on crudites and dip and we all sat down to dinner, right on schedule, at one o'clock. We set butter and fruit preserves on the dining tables DH set up in the living room but, to save space, served the food buffet-style in the kitchen.

With so much of the food prep done in advance, the only thing we could think of to improve on this year's dinner would be to raise our own turkey. Maybe that's what my mother envisioned years ago when she made this wall-hanging for me?

Who knows where the name for Japanese Fruit pie originated? It certainly doesn't have any identifiably Japanese ingredients. But it's been a family favorite for over 35 years.

My mom got the recipe from a friend when I was a kid and one nephew still asks for it for his birthday. He refers to it as "Japanese Fruit Fly Pie," the name he thought we all called it when he was little. Sounds great, doesn't it?

Well, it is.

Japanese Fruit Pie

1 stick (4 oz.) butter, melted
4 whole eggs, beaten
1-1/2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 cup raisins, seedless
1 cup pecans, chopped
1 cup coconut, flaked
2 9-inch pie shells

Stir ingredients together in order given. Pour into formed 9" pie shells. Bake at 325° for 40 minutes. To halve the recipe, halve all ingredients except butter.

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