How I was able to pick myself up off the couch and to the computer to type this entry is beyond belief. We celebrated Thanksgiving today and I ate too much. Way too much. If anyone has even taken part in my mothers normal 40 course meals, todays feast size was multiplied many times over because of a larger crowd. We invited some relatives that we had not seen in some time and decided to do a little “Thanksgiving Reunion”. There was a whole flock of us around the tables this year. No that was not a typo. There was more than one table as there were about 20 of us in total.
Pina decided to help ease the workload for our mom, we should create some small parts of the dinner ourselves. Thinking it was a great idea, I put together two items for the feast. Pina, on the other hand, was busier than expected and decided she would just show up early and help my mom with whatever she was cooking. Thanks, P!
The first item I whipped together for the T-Day feast was actually a drink. A Mulled Apple Cider to be exact. Now I know what you fellow Windsorites are thinking: “It was 26 degrees Celsius in Windsor today! Why on earth would you create a hot drink?”.
Truth be told, I totally forgot how warm the weather was going to be today once I got so excited about making the drink. However, after tasting the finished product I really didn’t care. It was delicious. I repeat; delicious!
A blend of a locally made apple cider, brown sugar, nutmeg, allspice berries, whole cloves and cinnamon, it would have been the perfect companion for a cool and crisp autumn day. The type of day you normally expect in mid-October. The flavours were intense and, as an additional positive, cleared my sinuses.
Non Alcoholic Mulled Apple Cider
- 3 Cinnamon stick
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 gal. apple cider
- 1 tsp. allspice berries (whole)
- 1 tsp. cloves (whole)
- 1 tsp. Nutmeg
In a large saucepan, mix the apple cider and brown sugar together and bring to a boil. Place the nutmeg, cloves, and allspice into a cheesecloth bag and place it in the saucepan with the cider and brown sugar mixture. Throw in the cinnamon sticks, stir over a low flame and let it simmer for a few minutes until the spice flavours have an opportunity to dissipate. Remove spice bag and pour the drink into cups in which you have put a cinnamon stick and/or an apple slice. This recipe should make about 16 servings.
If you don’t have cheesecloth handy, do what I did. I used a coffee filter to hold the spices in and tie it with a string. You can easily convert this drink into an alcoholic cider by adding rum.
The second item that I pieced together was individual servings of Caprese salads. I went to La Stella on Erie Street and picked up large bocconcini, otherwise known as fresh mozzarella. I used each one as the bowl for the salad by carefully carving out the centre, but, being sure to leave the bottom and sides intact. Pina went out to the backyard and picked some fresh cherry tomatoes and basil from the garden. I halved the cherry tomatoes, ripped apart the basil and placed it in a seperate bowl.
Next, cube the cheese which was carved out when creating the bowl, place it in the bowl with the bowl with the tomatoes and basil. Add a couple splashes each of high quality balsamic vinegar and olive oil over top the cubed cheese, basil and tomatoes. Add some salt and pepper to taste.
Mix all the ingredients around and let sit for a few minutes so the flavours absorb. While you are waiting, add a little bit of salt and pepper to the inside of the cheese bowl you created earlier.
Finally, fill the cheese bowl with the Caprese creation mixed in the bowl and add a sprig of basil for decoration. What you are left with is a beautiful personal serving of Caprese Salad.