Sunday, November 28, 2010

Lobster Mashed Potatoes, Sangria, and Christmas Trees

My husband and I are lucky enough to get to celebrate 2 Thanksgivings every year.  We spend Thanksgiving Day with my in-laws and the Saturday after with my parents.  The Friday in between is "Edgar-and-Donna-do-whatever-you-want-Day"...hubby plays computer games with the boys all day and I get to go to the spa or go see a movie with friends and pull out all my Christmas decorations while watching Christmas movies.  Its our favorite weekend of the year.

So yesterday we had our 2nd Thanksgiving at my parents house which is about an hour's drive away in the woods and the mountains.  Its always an adventure.  And we usually stop at a Christmas tree farm on the way to cut down our own Christmas tree. 
My nieces enjoying the tree farm gift shop

This year, my in-laws, my brother-in-law with his wife and 2 girls, plus my parents and my uncle with their 2 dogs all met us at the tree farm so we could all get our trees together.  We used a different farm than one we usually go to and it was very nice with lots of beautiful trees in the middle of the country and was very reasonably priced.  It was called Moose Apple Tree Farm located just outside of Berryville, VA.
Hubby about to cut


Tree getting a shake down and a wrap

It was pretty cold and windy so we were all bundled up with complimentary hot cider as we wound our way through the trees to find the perfect one.  The one we found is a little shorter than we usually get but very full and fragrant.  I love it!
Our tree...decorations to come later

After the tree farm, all the in-laws went their way and we followed my parents back to their house to eat our Thanksgiving meal together.  For this meal, I made lobster mashed potatoes, baked brie with apples, and a fruity sangria.

The  lobster mashed potatoes were an inspiration from a local restaurant that serves them and last year hubby and I had lobster as our Thanksgiving entree because we weren't eating turkey at that point.  So now it seems like we should have lobster at every Thanksgiving because it was so yummy and decadent.  And technically it is very authentic to the original Thanksgiving where they would have had lots of seafood and venison.
boiling potatoes

So you make mashed potatoes like normal...peel them, chop them, boil them for 20 minutes or until tender.  Then place them into a mixer to mash them up until smooth.  Add in a small round of garlic and herb boursin cheese and about 1/4 cup of heavy cream.

Then you'll need about 1/2 - 3/4 pound of freshly cooked lobster meat.  At our local grocery store we purchased a whole lobster that was already cooked and removed the meat ourselves.  Some places you can buy just the bulk lobster meat already cooked.  Or if you have the time and patience, you can cook the whole lobster yourself.  So melt butter in a saucepan, and sautee the chopped lobster meat with chopped green onions (maybe about 1/2 cup or so). 

melting butter for lobster

When both potatoes and lobster are done, gently combine or layer them together, leaving a small clump of lobster to lay on top to make it look pretty!

lobster mashed potatoes

Sangria is a lovely, light and fruity alcoholic drink to have with a nice meal.  It's very easy to make and there are many different recipes to use that are very yummy.  For this recipe, I took little pieces from many recipes I looked at and made my own concoction.  First you need a nice Spanish red wine.  It doesn't have to be Spanish but it fits nicely with Sangria.  It should be something not too strong but not too sweet either. I used a Rioja called Campo Viejo.  An inexpensive bottle that is a mixture of 3 types of red wine with aromas of cherries, plums, vanilla, and toasted oak.
Campo Viejo Rioja wine

I poured about 3/4 of the bottle into a pitcher and mixed about an equal part (maybe slightly more) of cherry juice to it. Then I squeezed an entire lime into the mixture for a little tartness and chopped up about half an apple and placed the chunks into the pitcher.  Just before serving we added some club soda, just enough to make it nice and bubbly but not too watered down.
sangria with apple chunks

We were purposely trying not to make ours too-alcoholy since we are a group of people that doesn't drink very much and of course hubby and I still had an hour drive back home after dinner! So you can easily adjust any one of the ingredients to your own liking and tastes.

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