I judge holidays on the food that goes with them. For example, I was never really a big fan of Thanksgiving, mainly because I don't love turkey. I mean, I'll eat for that one day, but if I don't have it for another 364 days, I'm okay with that.
Christmas Eve, on other hand, is my favorite holiday. Being from an Italian family (and luckily having married into one), our Christmas Eve celebration begins at 6pm and is course after course of yummy fish (from shrimp cocktail to calamari salad, to spaghetti and crab sauce to baked stuffed shrimp) accompanied by lots of wine.
In hopes of starting a holiday tradition in the new house four years ago, we hosted Thanksgiving. I took it upon myself to make this holiday mean more than just turkey. Each year I spend weeks crafting my menu. The number of guests range anywhere from 14-18. Everyone has their usual duties: my mother-in-law makes the turkey, my mother makes her famous mashed potatoes, Mr. KK's aunt makes sweet potatoes. My job? Well, I'm in charge of the side dishes and the highly-anticipated first course.
It's with this first course that I can be creative and really showcase my inner Martha Stewart. For example, our first Thanksgiving I made pumpkin and black bean soup, and served them in hollowed-out gourds. (The presentation was phenomenal, but I think Mr. KK still suffers from carpal tunnel from scooping out gourd flesh in record time Thanksgiving morning)
The year after that, I made rigatoni with pumpkin sauce. And last year, I made butternut squash ravioli with a sage brown butter sauce.
So of course, everyone looks forward to see what the first course on Thanksgiving will be.
And being the over-achiever that I am, I have already started planning my menu. And I like to do a dry-run of the first course, usually because it's something I've never made before and I want to be sure it's going to live up to my previous first course standards.
So yesterday, I spent the afternoon whipping up sweet potato gnocchi (from scratch!) with a cinnamon maple butter sauce.
the gnocchi on my beautiful homemade pasta board!
Sounds delish, right?
Here's the finished product:
They look great, but even though I added more flour than the recipe called for, I knew the dough was off.
They tasted okay – not great – and definitely not "first course" material.
I'm so disappointed. Not only because I spent the entire day preparing them, but because I had such high hopes. They combined the perfect flavors to compliment Thanksgiving dinner.
So back to the drawing board...or should I say, pasta board?
(in case anyone's counting, this is Day 2 of NaBloPoMo...and I posted!)