Last year, my Aunt Miyoko and Uncle Tom in Ann Arbor hosted our family Thanksgiving gathering. This year, it was our turn. I love hosting holiday dinners and was delighted to have the family come to our house for the first time! There were 18 of us, aunties & uncles & cousins, and there is never enough time to spend with them, so it was great, great, great to be together.
Our family has a long-standing tradition of everyone bringing at least one dish. When I issued the invite, I was asked what I wanted each person to bring. I hate to dictate what people bring, but some folks have certain foods I just have to have them bring. For example, when my Uncle Jim asked what they could bring with them from Cleveland, Jeannene and I instantly knew we wanted them to bring Gloria Hardingtons. Glorias are something I've had at just about every gathering on my Aunt Holly's side, an appetizer the family has been making ever since they got the recipe from realtor friend, Gloria Hardington. They have called them after her. They are basically equal amounts swiss and cheddar cheese, shredded and mixed with olives and just enough mayo to moisten the mixture. This is then spread on party rye and broiled until quite bubbly and browned. They are ridiculous. The first platter last night came out of the oven and vanished almost immediately. My wife was not in the room at the time and was quite disappointed in me for not saving her even one. Honestly, it didn't even occur to me that she wasn't in the room, even though she and I had been looking forward to Glorias ever since we knew they would be coming. I tried to look contrite as I licked my chops at the idea of a second platter of them, which Holly kindly made to pacify Jeannene.
My Cleveland family also texted me in the morning, saying they were bringing a vegetable, as well. I guess if you classify anything containing pumpkin as a vegetable, this was true. They brought Holly's mom's Slap Yo' Mama Cake, pumpkin version. Her mom once took it to a school function (June was a school teacher for years, and a very beloved one, a wonderful woman) and a woman there said it was so good, it'd make them slap your mama. Therefore, the cake gained its name. It was, indeed, fab! I need to get the recipe.
Speaking of pumpkin, my Auntie Amy is nearly always the bringer of the pumpkin pie. She makes it well and never minds making it for us. She also did an enormous pan of green bean casserole, at my request. Yum!
Turning to Tom & Miyoko, we immediately requested that they bring her pastries, which she used to sell at her restaurant, Cafe Japon, and now sells at the Ann Arbor Farmer's Market under the name Cafe Japon L'Esprit de Miyoko. Her chocolate croissants are the very best I've ever had, so we very specifically requested those. She brought her gorgeous baguettes, spinach rolls, cinnamon rolls, almond croissants, plain croissants---we were delighted to see the bounty.
My cousin, Nova, brought a gluten-free strawberry balsamic pie made by a friend of hers, along with a GF corn casserole and one with regular flour. Nova is always coming up with great, healthier versions of recipes everybody loves.
Our menu was this, then, with recipes for starred items listed available on my Practice Thanksgiving post.:
-Artisan cheese (Cabot clothbound cheddar, D'Affinois, Black Pepper Bellavitano, and Stilton with Apricot and Mango---all accompanied by crackers and apricot rosemary jam)
-My rosemary cayenne walnuts*
-Jim & Holly's Glorias
-Lots & lots of pickles
-My orange-Marinated Castelvetrano olives*
Mains (both from Gooseberry Patch Fall, Family, and Friends):
-Roast Turkey with Sage Butter (made by me)
-Praline Mustard-Glazed Ham (made by Jeannene)
-Mashed Yukon Gold potatoes
-Sausage Pecan Dressing
-Kale Salad (recipe here)
-Cranberry sauce (I use the Ocean Spray recipe)
-Cranberry Yam Bake*
-Kahlúa Derby Pie*
-Strawberry Balsamic Pie
-My grandmom's raspberry Jell-o (with raspberries in it)