Thanksgiving 2013 – Dinner and Movies

We gave thanks for not being in the traffic and weather that created numerous headaches up and down the East coast yesterday.  We also gave thanks for having a nice relaxing movie day.

We watched the movie, The Grand Master, the story of Ip Man, a kung fu grandmaster and his journey from pre-Communist China, the invasion of Japan, and his exile to Hong Kong.  It was a gorgeous movie to watch, the scenes so carefully planned with color, texture, lighting and costumes.  The story focused on Ip but the larger history of China and kung fu were also part of his personal history, which made it a big, lush cinematic movie about a historic figure.  Plus, there was a lot of kung fu which made it that much better.  He is reputed to have taught Bruce Lee.

After the movie, I had to focus on dinner.

I had a bee in my bonnet that I was going to have game for dinner.  I started off thinking buffalo but as I investigated Colonial history, it was clear that the likely food would have been game birds or venison.  I went with pheasant.

I found a recipe for pheasant with a rustic cranberry sauce that turned out to be a true plate scrapper.  It was an odd combination of cranberries cooked in red wine, sour cream, bacon and honey.  We could not get enough of this sauce.  As I was cooking the pheasant, the gamey smell started to worry me.  But the sauce mellowed out the flavor of the bird and complemented it completely.  Sometimes game birds need something sweet to offset the game flavor. This sweet-tart combination was so much the better.  I wanted to take a picture but alas, we had scarfed it down before I remembered.  All that was available were clean bones and scrapped plates.

On the side, I had a wild rice dish from The Mitsitam Cafe Cookbook.  The Cafe is attached to the National Museum of the American Indian on the Mall.  If you every want a fantastic meal when you are checking out the museums or monuments, stop in.  It is pricey but this is fine dining in a cafeteria.  The recipe called for the rice to be tossed with  a simple apple cider vinaigrette, pumpkin seeds, green onions, and I added some micro-greens instead of carrots and tomatoes.

For dessert I made mini pecan pies.

After dinner, we went out to a movie.  All is Lost with Robert Redford, and only Robert Redford, is a tale of one man’s battle with the sea.  What we learn is that the sea and weather are formidable opponents and we are at their mercy.  You can take all of the action movies with monsters and super villains and they can not match what nature throws at him in this movie because this is actually real life stuff.  What happens to him could happen to anyone.

This movie has only a few words of dialogue.  It is just Redford acting.  It was gripping.  To watch him alone trying to figure out what to do when a hole is blown in his yacht was absolutely worth watching.  I had to know what was going to happen.  Redford carried that movie with only his face and his body doing the acting.  We watched in  fascination as he tried to survive.  I cannot say enough about this movie and if he is not nominated for an Oscar, indeed, if he does not win the Oscar, there is no justice.  I cannot think of anyone who could pull this off.  But he did it.  Just see the movie.

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