Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Thanksgiving Eats

Hello fellow Americans and all people who like to eat delicious things!  Thanksgiving, that day when we gluttonously give thanks despite the encroachment of Black Friday, is nearly upon us, and that means that many of us are frantically grocery shopping and trying to figure out just how everything will fit into the oven so that it will all be hot and delicious at once.  Or not.  I think my family has always gone a bit overboard, creating a worthy-of-TV smorgasbord of semi-seasonal favorites.  But not this year!  Not at all.  This year, due to last-minute travel changes due to various medical issues, our Thanksgiving plans got all flip-flopped and I found myself committed to two separate Thanksgiving parties, about a two-hour drive from each other.  Oopsies.  I did some fast-talking and turned my family gathering into a Thanksgiving brunch (which I've wanted to do for years anyway), and honestly, the menu seems a bit less crazy.  We'll have quiche and brie and my mother's famous stuffed mushrooms and waffles and butternut squash soup/puree and pie and it will be wonderful.  Even though I'm a day late, I just wanted to share some of the recipes I'm using with you so that your Thanksgiving can also be delicious. (Note to vegans: the pie and waffles contain eggs.)

Picture from 101 Cookbooks.  Mine actually looked
pretty similar (except for the crust) but my camera
doesn't make anything look this good.

-First off, and most importantly, there is the pie: the Spice-Kissed Pumpkin Pie from 101 Cookbooks is a-freaking-mazing.  I test-drove it on Sunday and it really is fantastic.  The filling includes lots of spices and coconut milk, which makes it rich and smooth, but doesn't taste at all coconut-y.  BUT THAT'S NOT ALL.  There's a hidden layer of hazelnut paste between the filling and the crust that is just fantastic.  And I use a graham cracker crust because really, it's just better.  YOU HAVE TO MAKE THIS.

-And then there are the Pumpkin Waffles from Smitten Kitchen.  I haven't actually tried these before, but they look and sound amazing.  I'll be setting up a waffle station so that people can have fresh, hot waffles when they want them, and so that I don't have to spend the whole meal sweating over a waffle iron.

-And finally there's the butternut squash soup.  My sister-in-law who is currently on bed rest taught me that butternut squash soup does not require a recipe and, despite my intense anxiety at attempting to craft the soup, she is right (and also happy, because otherwise she wouldn't have gotten any, not being allowed to stand and all).  So I'll be making this soup on Thursday, and I'll share the "recipe" with you at the end of this post in case you also fear cooking without recipes.

What are your Thanksgiving traditions and/or what are your plans for this Thursday??  And what are some of your favorite recipes?  Does anybody do the thing where you go around the table and say what you're thankful for?  I tried to do that last year for the first time and it was just awkward and some people demanded I leave them alone.  My nephew was adorable though - apparently he is thankful for literally every person he knows.  Maybe I'll just do it with him this year.

INGREDIENTS (adjust to your taste):
2 tbsp butter (or butter sub or oil)
2 medium onions, roughly dicd
2-4 cloves garlic, minced
3-4 carrots, diced
2 large butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and chopped
ground cinnamon and nutmeg
1-2 cartons veg stock (or equivalent bouillon)*
coconut milk or heavy cream to taste (about 1/2 cup)

*Note: You can adjust the amount of stock depending on how thick you want it.  I tend to use 1 carton and it comes out as more of a puree.  In fact, it was so thick that my brother could eat it with a fork.  This is not a bad thing.

Melt butter over medium-low heat.  Add onions and a sprinkle of salt (it helps the onions sweat) and let them cook down for 5-10 minutes.  This is easier to do without burning the onions if you have an enameled cast iron pot, but if not, just keep the temperature low and keep your eye on them.  Add the garlic and carrots and cook for another minute or two.  Then add the butternut squash and stir.  Add a generous sprinkle of cinnamon and nutmeg and toss to coat.  Cook, stirring, for a couple of minutes, then add just enough stock to cover the veggies.  Bring to a boil and let simmer, covered, for 15-20 minutes, until everything's nice and soft. Puree with a hand blender (or let cool and use a standing blender).  Stir in coconut milk (it's pretty if you leave streaks) and serve!


  1. That spice-kissed pumpkin pie sounds amazing. It's too late for me to try to make it for tomorrow, but it will show up one of these days. Plus, Thanksgiving BRUNCH? How did you convince your family, 'cos I've been trying to convince my inlaws of doing that FOR YEARS and they're all "oh, no, that sounds awful."

    1. I told them that was the only time I could do it so we should have a menu to match! It didn't go over well - the quiche and waffles were hardly touched. Oh well.