Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Thanksgiving Recap: In Which Kit & Cail Throw Down, Cocktail-Style

Yes, Thanksgiving was several weeks ago. I'm running a bit late with this post, but better late than never - especially when it comes to shellfish and cocktails, right?

For Thanksgiving, Cooper and Dixon and I alternate years with the Waskoms and the Pollards - one year we go to one house, the next we go to the other house. This year was a Waskom year, which means it was also an Oysters Waskom year. The family masterpiece: Oysters Waskom are my mom's recipe - the oysters are topped with a sauteed spinach and Monterey jack mixture then put on the grill for a few minutes. The recipe mainly lives inside my mom's head (when I've tried to make it, the results have varied) and it's one of my favorite things about "R" month dinners at my parents.

This year, my parents added another shellfish to the mix, making stuffies: This recipe also exists inside my mom's head - but I know that it involves chorizo, which is responsible for all the grease you can see in the pictures.

The stuffies were a new addition and a welcome one. The spicy and savory flavor of the clams was offered a fantastic counterpoint to the lemony, spinachy oysters.

Of course, while we were busy with our shellfish, we were also busy with something else: the first ever Waskom Fall Cocktail Throwdown. I was inspired by Alicia and Mike's family throwdown (it involved cranberries), so I suggested that we do something similar, but with cocktails, not food. In the end, only Cail and I participated, which was probably for the best, since both of us created cocktails that were, um, a little boozy.

My sister took on the tough task of judging. Here she is, holding Cail's cocktail:
Cail's drink was vodka-based and combined cranberry puree (fall!) with a New Orleansy vibe (Creole Shrubb). The menu - topped with a homemeade cranberry and orange scone:

The drink was good - refreshing, interesting and seasonal. It was also totally different from my drink, which was a combination of bourbon, honey bourbon, pear liqueur, a pear cider and rosemary reduction, and ginger beer:

Bourbon was an admittedly risky choice for me, since most of my family doesn't drink much of it (as an aside, there's not much major mixology in the Waskom house anyway - most drink mixing involves little more than adding tonic to gin). Fortunately, I was able to browbeat Erin into judging the cocktails not on what she personally liked, but on what "people like."

In the end, that browbeating worked and I was the big winner, though everybody also agreed that Cail's drink is the one they'd order in a restaurant.

And then we went inside and ate way too much fried turkey, oyster stuffing, butternut squash casserole, mashed potatoes and Brussels sprouts with bacon, followed by a rousing rendition of kids vs. parents Trivial Pursuit. I'm sorry to say that this year, the parents won (even though there are only two of them and at this point, with Cail and Cooper, there are five of us).

Oysters to start, then competition. Then turkey and more oysters, then more competition. A truly Waskom Thanksgiving all around.

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