Post-Thanksgiving in the Giobbi house is a groaning affair: From a groaning table to a groaning tummy. Edward cooked a meal for 12 by himself, despite the weather. It was snowing in Westchester County. The snow was thick and white, the tree trunks dark and wet, the red berries on the winterberry bushes clustered in bright ferocity. There are no dogs at the house anymore, they’re all dead dead dead. Just old groaning willow trees half digested by chicken polypores, and lonely mallards stopping off at the pond before heading to a golf course somewhere in the Carolinas. I love November in New York. It’s such a drama queen.
For the antipasto, plates of prosciutto, salami, and cheeses (including the incredible pecorino with truffles that we get at Teitel Brothers on Arthur Avenue), a spread made from ricotta mixed with Italian tuna and garnished with chopped parsley, and fried whitebait. (Oh shit, I have the leftover whitebait in the fridge. I was going to fold them into an omelet. Totally forgot about that little treasure.) We drank champagne and Edward opened a 40-year-old homemade wine that we encouraged him not to serve even though he kept drinking the brown, bad sherry-tasting stuff saying, “I think it’s pretty good.”
For our pasta course, Edward made lasagna with ricotta and Swiss chard (which he said is more authentically Florentine than using spinach), followed by a beautiful roast capon, roasted potatoes, braised carrots and celery, and a sauce made from honey mushrooms that Edward found growing in the driveway.
For desert we had a cherry galette (actually, two cherry galettes) that I made with a mixture of my home canned sour cherries and (almost totally) pitted Bings. Here’s the method. Drain about a quart of cherries or the galettes will be too wet. Save the juice—it makes a wonderful cordial called Cherry Bounce with rum and brandy (the recipe is in The Kitchen Ecosystem, but you can figure it out). Combine the cherries with about 2 tablespoons of flour and sugar to taste. Make the pie crust—I make a rather robust one with 2 egg yolks, 6 tablespoons cold butter, 1 ½ cups flour and ½ cup confectioner’s sugar. Roll out the crust in a round about 12 inches in diameter. I usually do this on a piece of parchment paper or a silpat. In a food processor grind up about 1 cup of blanched almonds, sugar to taste, and a teaspoon or so of vanilla powder. This is great stuff for just this kind of use, but totally optional. Spread the nuts in the middle of the dough leaving about 4 inches of dough free around the margins. Pour the cherries on top. Cut a couple of tablespoons of butter on top of the cherries, and then fold the dough around the top of the galette. Brush water all over the dough and sprinkle with sugar. Place the galette on a cookie sheet and bake at 350°F until golden brown, about 25 minutes. Serve with whipped cream, if you like.
We all fought over the carcass. Edward won.
A day or two later Edward told me his stomach was a little off, so he made himself a baked potato dressed with a dribble of good olive oil with a poached egg on top. Despite this whole fabulous Thanksgiving holiday, I can’t help but feel like that baked potato and egg was probably as delicious as any of our more elaborate dishes. But it’s like Marry Poppins said: “Enough is as good as a feast.”