Growing up, we didn’t really celebrate Thanksgiving with American dishes. Sure, we’d gather at some friends homes and have a potluck… a large, delicious, Indian potluck that is. I think we had dosas and idlis and all that more years than I care to count.
When I moved out for grad school, I was invited for Thanksgiving dinners with some of my friends and they. were. amazing. Such simple goodness! And all the sides (since I don’t eat turkey) worked SO well together. I especially revered the stuffing… how could I have gone ALL MY LIFE without having eaten stuffing!?
So this year, I made my own TRADITIONAL Thanksgiving meal for the first time… and surprisingly, it didn’t take as long as I thought it would. I started at 6 in the morning and dinner was served at 12:30 PM. Not bad! I realize that this post is an anomaly as it won’t include step-by-step recipes, but I was so excited about this meal, I couldn’t help but share it somehow.
I started with the cranberry sauce. I didn’t want to use the canned kind because, well, I had never really TOUCHED a fresh cranberry before. So I bought a bag and followed this recipe to the T. With almost no effort and very little time, voila, cranberry sauce appeared. I love the orange infusion in this recipe, by the way… it gave it an extra little flavor kick. (And sorry for the messy bowl… I realized AFTER the bowl was empty that I had forgotten to wipe the edges down for foodie pictures… oh this life.)
Brussel sprouts. I confess, I tried my first brussel sprout when I was 14 and I LOVED them. My sister, who was sitting next to me at the lunch table then, was mortified when I took a second helping. Regardless, we never really ate them at home so when I got the chance to make them myself, there was no stopping me. That said, I still need to learn how to cook them perfectly… these turned out delicious but were slightly undercooked. In any case, I soaked them for a couple of hours in balsamic vinegar and black pepper. Right before the meal, I stir fried them in olive oil, adding water at intervals and lidding the pan so that they could cook in the steam. Again, still need to master that step…
Because I don’t eat turkey, and because I didn’t quite feel masterful enough to try the tofu turkey, I decided to make Emeril’s Spinach Mushroom 4 Cheese Lasagna. Now, this recipe is one I MUST post up for you all… it is delectable, beautiful, and incredibly rich. Also, I found a shortcut that I need to share… it saved me a good half hour, a wonderful thing to have spared.
Ah, this stuffing. Apples and celery. Toasted bread. Parsley, thyme, sage. It is perfect. Another recipe I plan to post up (I am making this again for lunch someday, y’all)! Inspired by none other than Smitten Kitchen, it was the only dish I wished I had made more of… yeah, I admit, there were NO leftovers of this.
And last but not least, sweet potatoes. I love mashed potatoes, but with a lasagna, sweet potatoes seemed to sound better. I had never baked one before, by the way, and here is a lesson I learned: stick these in the oven FIRST. They take a good hour and a half to bake well. And you know what the best part about these is? You don’t need anything to make them taste better. Just dig your spoon in and relish. All done!
All in all, it was a great meal. As I sat down to eat it, I couldn’t help but be overwhelmed by a sense of gratitude for the food in front of me, for my wonderful family, near and far, for the sweet, loving friends in my life, for my students who are patient and kind, and for all you lovely readers who take a slice of your precious time to read this blog.
Thank you, from the bottom of this one person’s heart.
PS: There was pie. Can’t forget that. Peach and blackberry. Mmm-inducing. And not made by me