Halloween is over, and we’ve all recovered from our sugar highs (theoretically). Now is the home stretch for home cooks – less than three weeks until Thanksgiving, and then the sprint through the December holidays into New Year, when we all collapse in a faint of exhaustion. I know you’re already planning your Thanksgiving menu, so to make it easy, I collected the Savour Fare Thanksgiving recipes into one easy place. The best, most foolproof, most delicious, juicy, crisp-skinned roast turkey? We’ve got that. Instructions on making your own pie crust (with a bonus recipe for silky smooth, perfectly spiced pumpkin pie)? You’ll find that here. In the next few weeks I’ve got a few exciting new recipes coming up — another savory sweet potato dish, a refreshing fall salad, and new twists on old favorites like stuffing and cranberry sauce, but in the meantime, here’s the roundup of Thanksgiving recipes for your inspiration:
Easy, Dry-Brined Roast Turkey
You’re serving vegetarians?
Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash
Kale and Cabbage Gratin
Butternut Squash and Goat Cheese Gratin
Onion Tarte Tatin
Your favorite thing is, of course, stuffing:
Old School Sage Stuffing
What vegetable side should you make this year? (see also, cooking for vegetarians, above)
Bacon Braised Brussels Sprouts with Cream
Creamed Spinach with Jalapenos
Slow Cooked Green Beans
Creamy, Spicy Sweet Potato Gratin
It’s not Thanksgiving without pie:
Maple Walnut Pie
Vegetarian Mincemeat Pie
Perfect Pumpkin Pie, and a tutorial on homemade pie crust
Rice Pudding Pie
You don’t like Pie:
Cranberry Pecan Upside Down Cake
You’re stuck with the cranberry sauce but you still want a chance to shine:
Spiced Cranberry Sauce with Oranges and Pecans
You’re on Salad Duty:
Arugula Salad with Persimmons and Gouda
Homemade Salad Dressing
You’re keeping the relatives happy (aka mixing drinks):
The Perfect Manhattan
Aunt Helen won’t let you set foot in the kitchen, but you still want to help:
Five Easy DIY Holiday Centerpieces
Last Minute Tips on Hosting Thanksgiving
There are things I love, but I’m too lazy to make them often. Chicken and dumplings – a relatively simple dish — just seems exhausting to me. Cooking all that chicken! Making that soup! (Fortunately, my mom makes it relatively often, and usually invites me to share.) Then there are dishes that could be fairly straightforward to make, but that just don’t appeal to me. In this corner is chicken pot pie. I always want to like it — what’s not to like? Chicken, vegetables, gravy … but I always imagine it sitting like a lead weight in my stomach. (I think it’s the combination of pie crust and gravy. There’s a reason fruit pies are classic). During our recent spate of cold(ish) weather, I was mooning about what comfort food I’d like to make, and it hit me. A cross between Chicken and Dumplings and Chicken Pot Pie — chicken, vegetables, gravy, all topped with a savory parmesan biscuit cobbler topping. And this is the real genius part — it’s made with rotisserie chicken, so it’s EASY. I had to pat myself on the back.
Continue reading Chicken Cobbler Pot Pie
Have you ever heard the word “Hangry”? It’s “so hungry you’re angry.” Any mother of small kids is familiar with this concept, but for me it’s not limited to my kids. When my blood sugar gets low, I get irritable and cranky, short tempered and snappish. In short, I get hangry. Which is why I never understand those people who don’t eat breakfast. Aside from all that chipper nutritionist talk of breakfast being the most important meal of the day, if I haven’t eaten something in 12 hours I am seriously hangry. Breakfast is essential, and I try to actually make it healthful as well.
Unfortunately, my mornings these days aren’t really lending themselves to my fantasy breakfast (which involves sunshine and balconies and piles of fresh fruit and bowls of coffee and warm milk). I get up at an ungodly hour of the morning, drink coffee, gather supplies for the day, dress, wake, change and feed the baby, and hit the road while it is still an ungodly hour of the morning. So breakfast has to be on the go.
This summer I discovered Bircher Muesli. I love oatmeal, but it’s too hot in the summer (and fall) here to really enjoy it, plus I don’t have time to make a bowl of hot oatmeal every morning. Bircher muesli is not oatmeal, and it’s not Mueslix — that breakfast cereal from the 80′s which was not that dissimilar from eating sawdust. I’d describe it more as a cold oatmeal. Only more delicious and easier to make. Oats are soaked overnight in liquid until they become soft and chewable. There’s dried fruit involved, and usually yogurt, because it is European. (A glance at the yogurt aisle in any French supermarche will give you an idea of how much Europeans love their yogurt.) It gives you a ton of fiber, protein from the oats, milk, nuts, seeds and yogurt, and whole grains to satisfy. But the best part is how easy it is to make. I mix up a big jar Sunday night, then each weekday morning I’ll grab a smaller jar, add some yogurt, and take a piece of fruit to slice over the top. When I’ve completed the morning routine and commute and dropoffs, I sit down at my desk with my muesli and a cappuccino from the kitchen, briefly fantasize about sundrenched balconies, and get to work, no longer hangry.
Of course, you can eat this on weekends, too. It’s pretty delicious.
Continue reading Bircher Muesli
The end of August is not the easiest of times. The novelty of summer has worn off, lost its gloss and charm. Summer camps are over, the last suitcases from vacation are half unpacked and staring dolefully at you. The kids are climbing the walls with boredom. The weather is unrelenting, the temperature climbing into the triple digits and staying high into the night. It’s too hot to cook, too hot to go to the park, or play in the yard.
This summer has not been the easiest time for me. I am usually breezy, with a joke every minute. But I felt unable to cope. And yet I found myself in my OB’s office at 8:30 one morning, sobbing.
Post partum depression was not something I expected. I didn’t have it when Nuni was born, but here I was, with a baby who cried a lot, a husband who worked a lot, a mother out of the country, a nearly- five year old who does nothing I tell her to, and a bucketful of hormones making me -literally – crazy. I wanted to enjoy my baby’s babyhood, rather than resenting it, but I felt like I couldn’t.
It took a good friend to send me a note saying, “I think you might have PPD”, a husband who talked the doctor into seeing me tomorrow, instead of two weeks from now, and some medication, but the fog has started to lift.
The meds have helped, but some days are still a struggle. I have to remind myself, every day, to focus on the blessings. The grins and coos of my little boy When he sees my face, the conversations with my big girl, a husband who is an active parent rather than a bystander. When I focus on these, I can slowly find the joy that surrounds me.
August has its blessings, too. The sun may feel oppressive, but it brings us ruby tomatoes and juicy peaches. This gazpacho takes advantage of those, with the added bonus that it requires no cooking. I keep a jar in my refrigerator, and no lunch is more refreshing on a hot day. When I embrace the season, I can find the joys of late summer.
Continue reading Gazpacho