11.24.2007

Giving Thanks to All Things, Including Pot Pie

Chicken Stock Makings

Simmering Gravy

A Classic Chicken Pot Pie is Born

And just like that another holiday comes and goes. Did yours pass just as fast as ours?

For the last week and a half we have been house-sitting for my father in Beaverton which has proved to be both a delight and the largest pain in the a$$ of all time. Delightful because we have the opportunity to watch over his slightly mentally-challenged but oh-so-loving dog, Caesar. We also have full access to a plasma flat screen (hooray for Top Chef, ANTM, and Kitchen Nightmares and tv/cable in general...addictive albeit terrible, nasty habits) a steam shower (sinus infections BEWARE) and a beautiful open kitchen complete with gas range, granite counter-tops, and convection oven with adjoining warming drawer (Sigh). However, this "move" has proven to also be a painful experience given we have to commute back to North Portland which equates with earlier waking hours and unforgivable traffic (I HATE you Highway 26, you hear? I HATE YOU).

Regardless, it has certainly been a treat utilizing their amazing kitchen and you best believe we have been cooking up a storm. One might be tempted to wonder, did we spend our "free time" whipping up delectables for a Thanksgiving Feast? Uhh....not exactly. For the first time in what must be years, Evan and I were more than happy to comply with our hosts' requests to "Not bring a thing." After spending the past 90 days doing nothing but cooking for others we were supremely pleased to be nothing more than guests this year. However, we did not solely rely on our selfish, glutenous instincts this holiday. No, by chance Evan's dad's birthday fell on Thanksgiving Day this year. This happenstance equated to the fact that we spent the ENTIRE day eating. No really, birthday breakfast at 10:30 am which (after a movie) lead to Thanksgiving hors' doeuvres at 3:00 pm which eventually lead to full blown Thanksgiving dinner at 6:00 pm. Yeah, we did it all. We're sort of professionals when it comes to eating. (REPEAT: Professional Eaters, NOT Competitive Eaters --yes, there is a HUGE difference). Anyways, the point being Thanksgiving was also Mark's birthday so rather than opting for a baking a traditional cake, we chose to bake one of his favorite dishes: Chicken Pot Pie.

As many of you know Evan and I are big fans of the Pot Pie. Also commonly understood is that fact that we have been hoping/planning on expanding (eventually) into dinner hours. It is our belief that pot pies will be the at the forefront of our dinner service. For quite some time now we have had visions of chicken curry pot pies, eggplant parmigiana pot pies and the best damn vegan pot pie you coulda ever thunk. But for Mark we wanted to go the classic route. We wanted something decisively delicious as well as downright simple, classic and comforting. We landed on a classic Farmer's Market Chicken Pot Pie. E and I have always considered ourselves a team, regardless of what obstacle it is we are facing. It's true. I often feel very Captain Planet when I'm with Evan. Very "By Our Powers Combined..." In my humble opinion we have perfected the art of dividing tasks and conquering. When it came to this particular task, this Birthday Pot Pie, our individual jobs were immediately clear; I would tackle the filling while Evan devised an outline for the perfect crust. I began with cooking the chicken by making a stock comprised of onion, carrot, parsley and a bay leaf. In making the gravy I used this stock in conjunction with a combination of water and flour (as the thickening agent.) I later added onions, garlic, carrots, mushrooms, peas, rosemary, parsley and chicken to the gravy. And God said, "Let there be filling." Meanwhile, Evan was busy thoughtfully combining, rolling and chilling the ingredients for his sour cream dough. And then all of the sudden, in a very "Our Powers Combined" sort of way, the perfect gift for my soon-to-be father-in-law's birthday was born. This Thanksgiving it was an absolute pleasure giving Mark this gift. A very small token of appreciation for his unconditional love, support and knowledge of QuickBooks. (As many of you have the great privilege of knowing, all of E's family really is amazing and I cannot express how fortunate I am to be able to call them my own.)

Despite having two days off in a row (a first for us since opening the LRBC) I think we're both still in shock that Thanksgiving even happened. Not just because it seemed like a flash in the pan but also because for the first time in what seems like a long time, Evan and I truly feel like we understand the essence of gratitude. Sure, we all know the know the fundamentals of Thanksgiving. It's a time to "Give Thanks." To reflect. Yada, yada, yada. My family has had a long standing tradition of going around the table during Thanksgiving dinner and expressing the thing you are most grateful for this year. While this task has always seemed somewhat daunting for one reason or another, this year it was harder than usual. After all, where could we start? Undeniably we feel our list of things we are grateful for this year really is endless. While we tried to keep things short and sweet at the dinner table we later tried to make an extended more in-depth version of the list once we were in the privacy of our home. For the sake of sharing, here's a brief glimpse of our list, the unabridged edition.

In no particular order here are a few of Evan's:
I am grateful for:
  • Support of family
  • Getting engaged to the love of my life (I didn't even have to coerce this one out of him, however I, understandably, did choose to include this particular item in this post)
  • 2oth Century coffee ingenuity, especially in terms of our dear and fateful friendship with Joel Domreis
  • The arrival of Greg Oden to my fair city
  • Our trip to Guatemala and all of the good fortune that arose from it
  • The arrival of our 1973 Schwinn Twin Deluxe Tandem
And a few of Mine:
I am grateful for:
  • My friends for being family and my family for being friends
  • The daily inspiration I find, be it in the kitchen, on the sidewalk or in thinking about our upcoming wedding
  • The support and graciousness of our neighbors and community
  • The discovery of Fleur de Lis Bakery's cinnamon rolls
  • The opportunity to pursue a long standing dream and having the satisfaction of knowing we at least tried
  • The arrival of our 1973 Schwinn Twin Deluxe Tandem
If you feel so inclined to share, to return the favor, or to at least do me the favor of catching a glimpse of your list or holiday experience, please feel free to post your Thanksgiving occurrences, graciousness, etc. on the comments page.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I am thankful for this blog.=)

Ali & Evan said...

Ahh, shucks. Bless you for saying so.