It’s hard to believe our national day of thanks is next week. I chuckle when hear people stressing about, what to me is , a day of cooking for pure love and joy. And truth be told, I prefer a cozy lazy holiday with just Certain Someone and I to indulge in good food, with no drama or timeline pressures. Not everyone has that luxury. This post is about mishaps on the big day. I can’t say I’ve had a serious mishap on Thanksgiving , but I’ve had them when entertaining for large crowds.The most recent ones have occurred over this past summer with the new gas grill. We had two dinners planned for very important clients and colleagues of Certain Someone’s. No one except the repair man on the adjacent property will ever know how my special juniper cured pork belly were burnt to a crisp black ash. I mistakenly left the temp on high on one direct burner as I rushed downstairs several floors below, to prep the other courses. The poor repairman kept knocking on the terrace door believing it was an one level apartment and I couldn’t hear him. By the time I came up to check on my supposedly slow grilled bellies, they were a lump of black coal and the man was smoked out while trying to do bis job on the terrace next door. He didn’t even turn the knob to cut it off. I panicked for a second, and went to plan B, taking a frozen belly out , cleaning the grill, and starting over. The party and the food went well. Lesson to this is font sweat the small stuff and just carry on. It wasn’t the first time it happened. Imagine a similar scenario a month before with my hand made sausages.No matter how much you plan and stress, mistakes happen.
We chefs and cooks take our successes and failures personally, because we put so much into what we do. But the key is to learn from the mistakes and move forward. Also, to be open to learning and receiving tips from others. One Thanksgiving I roasted a gorgeous crispy goose. I like to change it up from traditional turkey. Everyone was curious about my offering and how it would turn out. An older aunt called me the next day and asked me for the goose fat. I was perplexed as to why she would.want all that fat. This was years ago, and while I was a good cook, not where I am now.She was quite upset that I discarded all that precious golden goose fat. Seems old southern folk lore has uses such things as remedies, and not to mention cooking other great dishes . Goose or duck fat potatoes anyone? I learned a few things from that incident . So listen to the wisdom.of your older elders, don’t stress, pay attention to details, pour a glass of wine and relax.Remember that scene from the movie Eat Pray Love when she prepares a Thanksgiving for her Italian friends . They cut into the eagerly awaited turkey and it’s frozen inside? No worries. They all chilled, put the bird back into the oven,drank, talked, and woke up to a marvelous turkey breakfast. That’s the spirit.
Tell me about your mishaps or approaches to holiday cooking. I will draw a winner for a $50 giftcard from Wal-Mart to help you with your holiday preparations. You have until the 21st of November to enter. Help spread the word. Who couldn’t use $50 with these high food costs?
If you want to read about some more Thanksgiving mishaps, check here. Wal- Mart has put together a great page of mishaps, interesting tidbits, and tips.
So now on to the cooking…
Here is a lovely restorative soup to serve at the big celebration. I call it Cellar soup, as it uses all sorts of root vegetables and apple’s to create a creamy rich soup. I made this , froze it and gave quarts away to friends and family.They looovvvved it. Even Certain Someone who resisted because it sounded too healthy for him, gave it a thumbs up.
- 1 Acorn Squash peeled ,seeded, and chopped
- 3 small apples peeled, cored, and chopped
- 3 small yellow onion chopped
- 1 sweet potato peeled and chopped
- 3 parsnips peeled and chopped
- 1 celery root peeled and sliced
- 6 leaves fresh sage
- 1 branch of rosemary
- Kosher Salt and Pepper to taste
- 2 teaspoons coriander
- 2 teaspoons Cumin
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 tablespoons Grape seed oil or olive oil
- 12 cups water
- 4 cups chicken stock
- Preheat oven to 400.
- In a large Dutch oven, toss all the prepped ingredients and spiced with the oil.
- Roast until caramelized for approximately 45 minutes or more. Check frequently and adjust heat if necessary.
- Remove from oven and set atop stove .
- Turn heat to high.
- Add the water. Bring to boil.
- Reduce heat to simmer.
- Remove cinnamon stick.Set aside.
- Take an immersion blender and pulse until smooth and pureed.
- Add cinnamon stick back to to soup.
- Add chicken stock.
- Simmer for another 40 minutes until flavors merge, and soup is a nice creamy consistency.
I’ve been counting my enormous blessings this season, and want you readers to know how thankful I am for your support and encouragement, especially during these years of change.
Disclosure. Wal-Mart is sponsoring this post with $50 gift card provision’s for myself and the selected winner. My opinions are my own.