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Friday, November 23, 2012

Thanksgiving Appetizers, Opening Bites & Caramel Apple Martini

I have surveyed my family of four to see what their favorite part of the Thanksgiving meal is and hands down it is the appetizers.  Through the years I have and will continue to morph the menu with a mix of items I know are crowd pleasers and then throw one or two new items in to see how they rate.  My favorite part of this year's "cocktail hour" was the actual featured cocktail - the Caramel Apple Martini (though I kept calling it a Candy Apple Martini - you get the idea).

One shot caramel flavored (or infused) vodka with apple cider - shaken with ice in a shaker and poured into a chilled martini glass!  Oh my!

 I visit the Famous Italian Delilicious Pork Store for many of our tasty bites.  Including:

 Marinated Mushrooms

 Mixed Olives


 The Sweet Capicolo on the left and the delicate Prosciutto on the right

 A hearty loaf of bread

and the fresh mozzarella for me to make these skewers - half with tomato and Genoa salami, the other half with just tomato, plus

 Zucchini Flower "Pancakes"

 and our all time classic favorite must-have every year - fried pumpkin!

Ok, yes, I do cook one or two components for the starter course. 

 Biscuits with cheddar and chives 

and "Red Tortellini Soup".  This year the soup was modified but the normal recipe is:

cheese tortellini - cooked
crumbled and cooked sausage
one can white beans of your choice
One large can of chicken broth or 1/2 gal. of homemade 
Approximately equal parts tomato sauce

The biscuits and soup are a classic combo and complimentary pairing of tomato and cheese.

I survey the table and see everyone has their particular favorite and know the groups preference is clearly the pumpkin since that is the first platter to empty.

The small talk starts slowly then builds.  I have included an activity this year with a Thankful Tree.  On the "tree" (a large stick found in the yard compliments of Superstorm Sandy), I have attached construction paper leaves with all of our names.  All family members are asked to write a reason why they are thankful for that person on the back.  This idea was morphed from a friend who has everyone write what they are thankful for on a leaf.  I skipped a step since most people say they are thankful for their family.  

After all, it is family that truly keeps us Fed Well.

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