First Thanksgiving in new house

There was nothing traditional about our first Thanksgiving in the new house.

We spent the day with friends instead of family, ate pastel de pollo instead of turkey and there wasn't a pumpkin dish in sight.

I started preparing the filling for the pastel de pollo on Wednesday night, using a hand-written "recipe" on notebook paper that Nany, my madre tica, was kind enough to share with me. I put "recipe" in quotation marks because the instructions leave a lot to the imagination. How much tomatoe paste goes in the filling? To taste, I suppose. Cook it what temperature? I go with 375. And, how long do you cook it? "Hasta que este dorado," of course.

Thanksgiving morning, I was back in the kithchen by 7 a.m. There was a lot to prepare. Our menu included fresh beets with goat cheese and chopped mint; a cheese platter, featuring ricotta salata, manchego and aged gouda cheeses, as well as chunks of fresh baguette and seasoned olive oil; pastel de pollo for the main dish; and bread pudding with a brandy-butter sauce.

Note: I used brandy instead of bourbon because I forgot to buy bourbon when I went to the liquor store that morning. (I must have distracted by the handle of gin I decided to buy.)

Around 7 p.m., our friends Natasha and Steve arrived with a box of booze (best gift a lady could ask for) in-hand.

We had a great time eating, conversing (read: ball-breaking) and drinking. Natasha and Steve were especially entertained by the fact that I force "poor Jack" to smoke outside in the cold.

Did I mention drinking?

It took me a week to write this post, but I figure, it's timely since I'm still eating the leftovers.

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