Monday, November 23, 2009

Pre-Thanksgiving Dinner and Goat Pictures

In this picture. Xanadu standing in front of her new home. You can see the covered outer area, Now there are feeders on both walls facing eachother. Door enters into a ten by sixteen well insulated structure divided in half with a sliding gate.

So before I begin I have to share that I am drinking a mulled spiced cider rum punch mimosa - for breakfast! Actually I had tea and pumpkin bread a while ago but it is our general breakfast time. So my reasoning for this lavish start to my day; the punch was already made and the champagne leftover from last night, and it would be a shame to waste it. Yesterday we hosted an early Thanksgiving dinner for close friends. We often get invited to Thanksgiving dinner at friends but always decline and spend the day with my family. I think we have begun a tradition of having a dinner with friends as well. We have spent the last few days cooking and cleaning, so today our house is cleaner than usual and we have lots of yummy leftovers in the fridge. This entire week and really now until the New Year is going to be filled with extra special meals and treats. So let the festivities begin.

Last night we cooked up our first duck and two of our own chickens, both about seven pound cornish cross meat birds. The duck was fresh and I'm guessing about four pounds. It was a male Khaki Campbell, a laying breed and not very meaty. What meat there was, was very good. I rubbed all the birds with course sea salt, fresh cracked pepper, tangerine zest and fresh thyme and sage. Then they sat for about twenty-four hours, the duck in the fridge uncovered and the chickens on ice in a cooler. The duck was slow cooked for a couple hours at 325. We cut many shallow slits in the bird to let the fat out . We also had the bird up off the bottom of the pan so it wouldn't sit in it's own fat. There was a layer of fat under the skin but I just peeled it off as I carved the bird. The meat was very good and not greasy at all, just tasted like quality moist dark meat, yum. The chickens were great as well. Luckily I have double ovens so the chickens cooked at the same time as the duck, but at 425. My ovens are small though so I could only fit one chicken at a time.

I made a wonderful cranberry chutney from our own cranberries both fresh and dried. We had stuffing, sweet potatoes and rolls, (the sweet potatoes were not local and I recently finished up the last of my local celery and onions so we bought those. I did make the rolls from scratch and they had a cup of goat milk in them.) I also made yukon gold smashed potatoes from our own garden and gravy from the scrapings and our own canned chicken broth. I had cooked a large Sweet Meat winter squash last week and made two pies, four loaves of pumpkin bread and some muffins. The pies were for dinners last weekend. I had however, saved two loaves of pumpkin (squash) bread for last night. As an appetizer I filled endive spears with a little goat cheese mixed with pecans, cherries, thyme and garlic. The dinner was a potluck but I tried to cover all the essentials, I thought someone would bring a green salad or casserole type dish but everyone brought dessert. So we were missing out on green beans or brussel sprouts. However dessert was not lacking, we had: a fabulous pumpkin roll with cream cheese filling, sweet potato crisp, rum cake, apple pie, cherry pie and ice cream.

To drink everyone brought wine and beer. I made mulled spiced cider for the kids with a bottle of rum on the side for adults. I was in the mood for something cold and sparkly, as the house was toasty. We happened to have a bottle of champagne on hand so I made some apple juice ice cubes and cooled some of the mulled spiced cider. Right as everyone was showing up I added the apple cubes, Sailor Jerry's spiced rum and champagne to the cider. It was fabulous. But I was the only one that even tried it, as much as I tried to force it upon others (bunch of beer drinkers!) So last night I set the bowl of punch outside and this morning it was slushy, would have been frozen solid if not for the alcohol. There was still some champagne in the fridge. I thought about saving it for tonight but thought it would have more fizz now. This is going to be my new holiday party drink and next time I make it I will measure and share the recipe.

So in other notes, here are a few pictures of the goats in there new home. These pictures were taken about five weeks ago. Now the ground has about five inches of snow on it and the trees are all frosty. So to read more about the new goat structure you can go back a few posts, I'd promised some pictures so here they are.

Zuri, my pride and joy. She is the sweetest, most affectionate doeling yet...and the spitting image of her dam who we lost this summer.

Here is the herd exploring their new home. Heated waterer to the left. Noah watching from outside the pen.

View of goat pen from our front door. Much improved.

And one final picture of the last of our indoor ripened tomatoes. We finished these off making salsa and tomato dishes daily before we left on our vacation.

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