We bartered away Thanksgiving in our divorces so we would never have to share Christmas. We are both Christmas crazy and we wanted the kids home all of Christmas Eve and Christmas day, so it wasn’t a difficult decision to make. Truth be told, we are both ambivalent about Thanksgiving. Lots of prep time, lots and lots of dirty dishes for a dinner where the only thing we really like is the stuffing. It may sound strange for two women who are happy to spend 12 hours canning, to feel like Thanksgiving is too much work, but it’s probably the menu. We both have pretty large families and our veto power over the traditional Thanksgiving menu is nil. We will, undoubtedly, spend the same amount of time and wash the same amount of dirty dishes on Christmas day, but somehow that doesn’t seem like work-as Denise says “It’s a joy”.
Denise will spend Thanksgiving with her beau and Sandy will make a pie and watch movies. We might not spend Thanksgiving with our children or with our families, but we will fully participate in the spirit of the day. We are thankful for many things: our siblings, our parents, our health, a day in a beach chair, a trip to Charlottesville, the produce auction and all that brought to our lives this year, laughter, happy tears, good food, our friends and, our course, our friendship. Most of all we are thankful for our children, for all they have been and for the extraordinary lives they are leading now. We are especially thankful for the generosity that lives in their hearts. We may have let them go, but they have never left us behind. For all of this and more, we are deeply thankful.
THE MENU: BAKED LEMON CHICKEN, BLEU CHEESE POTATO TART, CHOCOLATE CAKE WITH WHIPPED CREAM FROSTING
Baked Lemon Chicken
- 4 chicken breasts, bone in
- 1 lemon, sliced thin
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar or 1/4 cup white wine
Place cast iron skillet in oven and preheat to 500 degrees. With a sharp knife, gently separate skin from the breast and put a lemon slice under the skin. Season with salt and pepper. Place chicken breast in preheated skillet and cook for 20-25 minutes, until skin is crispy. Reduce heat to 375 and cook until cooked through, about 15 minutes. Remove breasts to serving platter. Place skillet on stove top on medium high heat and bring to a boil. Add two tablespoons butter and either wine or vinegar. Cook until desired consistency. Pour over chicken and serve.
Bleu Cheese Potato Bake – based the recipe from Smitten Kitchen
- One pound new potatoes, slice in 1/4″ rounds
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 egg yolks
- 4 ounces bleu cheese
Place potato in medium sized saucepan, cover with water and simmer for 5-8 minutes until barely tender. Drain and pat dry with paper towels. Arrange in a circular pattern in 9″ pie plated. Top with crumbled bleu cheese. Whisk egg yolks and cream until blended. Pour over potatoes. Bake at 350 for 45-50 minutes, until browned.
Chocolate Whipped Cream Frosting:
- 1 pint heavy cream
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa (not Dutched)
- 2/3 cup confectioners sugar
Place cocoa and confectioners sugar in a deep bowl. Add heavy cream. Beat until desired consistency and spread on top of your favorite homemade chocolate cake.