I bet you’ve never heard of “Dog Pie”
I know that I’ve been M.I.A. this week, but it’s not because I haven’t been online! I’ve been sitting back and watching as my favorite food bloggers posted about their Thanksgiving Day preparations, and drooled as they detailed each dish that would grace their tables. The truth is that I had nothing to contribute this week. I wasn’t hosting my own dinner, and because we were going to be traveling to mom and dad’s, I had been working on finishing up the last of the leftovers at home (hence the lack of new posts). I do, however, want to share a recap of the phenomenal meal my mom put together.
My favorite part about my mom’s Thanksgiving dinner is that you can’t always predict what you are going to get. Sure, the classics make repeat appearances each year, but culinary creativity has always been her gift. The dishes you can always count on are the turkey, the gravy, and the cornbread. Outside of these dishes, you better have a sense of adventure!
This year, mama’s roasted red pepper tapas recipe made an appearance. (And just in case you’re dim like me… no…the peppers were not from a jar!) She also made her amazing shrimp salad (a regular at our holiday meals). The next two sides that I am going to tell you about were new “experiments.” In hopes of cutting down on those last minute dishes (i.e. dishes that can’t be prepared in advance), mom found a spinach and artichoke casserole that she wanted to make, as well as a hashbrown side dish that would substitute for mashed potatoes. I enjoyed both, but mom wasn’t happy with how the spinach turned out. The meal was paired with a delicious rioja wine that complimented every note of the meal. Look at the beautiful spread she put together:
Allow me to introduce you to Baloo. Baloo is the most handsome treeing walker coonhound you will ever see. I love everything about this dog. I love his broad chest, his long velvety ears, his webbed feet… I even love his bay. It’s a deafening howl (mainly cause he has enough lung power for four dogs) but it is soulful, strong, and beautiful (as long as you’re not in a closed car when he does it). This dog has brought my parents so much happiness and endless entertainment. There are, however, two drawbacks to this handsome boy.
First, if you ever wondered where the weapons of mass destruction are, just visit this coonhound on a day he is stressed. Any slight variance in his routine and it is game over. GAME. OVER. May God have mercy on your soul if you happen to be in the same room with him when he farts. Not to go into too much detail… but he can clear a room. It isn’t just slightly smelly. It’s the kind of fart you can taste. You don’t have an option. Leave the room immediately. I think this is why my dad loves this dog so much. He thinks it’s hilarious when my mom is forced to leave the room mumbling “ai por favor! que guarro!”
Second, he is smart. You can tell just by looking at him. Don’t let those big brown eyes fool you! He is plotting something. He knows that all he has to do is wait. It’ll happen. They’ll turn their back. And inevitably, they do. Then, his window is open for him to STRIKE!
The newest episode in this saga includes a would-be apple pie. Alas. It was not meant to be.
After Thanksgiving dinner had been inhaled and the dishes had been cleaned, we took our obligatory food coma break. This year, the dessert menu included 4 items. Yes, your read that right… 4 items. There were only 5 of us! Variety is key 😉
As I was saying, there were four items that were to be put out after the food coma break. Three of these had been made in advance: the pumpkin pie, the cherry cheesecake, and (another experiment) a frozen whipped dessert. I can’t remember the official name of the last dessert, but it was awesome. It included whipped heavy cream, pineapples, cherries, cranberries, and marshmallows. The fourth dessert was mom’s famous apple pie. She had decided that she would make it after dinner so that we could enjoy it while it was still warm.
The apples had been peeled and sliced, the crust had been crimped, and the last touches of love had been put into the pie when it happened. Mom walked over to the oven to set it to preheat. She turned it on, and right at this moment, I was walking out of the kitchen to run upstairs. As soon as I reached the top step, I heard mom scream “AI! NO!” I ran downstairs thinking she had burnt herself only to find this carnage:
She had made a cardinal mistake! She turned her back on the coonhound! In less than a minute, his hours of patiently waiting and sitting outside of the kitchen had paid off. Within seconds, my little sister and I were back in the kitchen watching our devastated mother pick up pieces of the crust off of the floor. Nena (my kid sis) and I immediately went into damage control. Mama walked out of the kitchen defeated. The coonhound had tricked her again.
Nena and I decided we would try to make a crumble to go on top of the pie. As she picked the obviously chewed apple slices out of the pie and reconstructed what she could of the crust, I got to work on mixing the flour, brown sugar, and butter. (I had no idea what I was doing, but the cookbook assured me that this would work.) Our final product was not beautiful, but we crossed our fingers as we put it into the oven to bake. 45 minutes later, we pulled it out of the oven and called everybody to the kitchen for dessert. I forgot to take a picture of the result, but you can see it in the background of this picture that features the frozen whipped dessert.
Everybody politely served themselves a piece of the apple crumb thing as a show of support, but I know I was expecting the worst. As we sat around the table and quietly looked at our plate full of little slivers of each dessert, dad said “well, let’s see how this dog pie turned out!” Everybody broke out laughing and dove in. It wasn’t mom’s apple pie, but it didn’t turn out that bad.
Well my friends, there you have it. The saga of Thanksgiving’s dog pie debut. It was an amazing visit, a phenomenal meal, and I got humorous fodder for my blog. I hope you and yours had a wonderful holiday!