Adventures in Thanksgiving

A crazy busy week that began on Saturday before my birthday and culminated today in a marathon of cooking and experimenting.  It was great!

Reesie invited her ‘sweety’ over to have Thanksgiving with the family. He got to meet AJ and the pets… he survived the shock, ha ha.

One of the goals I set myself for this new year is to not just eat healthier, but to explore new possibilities. What better time to indulge than today?

First up, a departure from the sugar-laden sweet potato casserole with its marshmallow topping invitation to diabetes… instead I made sweet potatoes with coconut sauce and fresh coconut which provided natural sweetness and a surprising crunchy contrast to the creamier sweet potatoes.

This was yummy … next year I am going to find the purple sweet potatoes. That ought to add a nice pop! to the table ūüėÄ

Instead of traditional gravy I made a lovely gravy with vegetable broth, sage, and apple cider. It turned out great, even the kids loved it.

Cider-Sage Gravy

And green bean casserole with its mushroom soup and fried onion topping was replaced with wonderful fresh green beans sauteed with a touch of garlic, caramelized onion, mushrooms (in this case brown beech mushrooms for their lovely nutty flavor, shiitake, and oyster mushrooms for their ‘meaty’ texture), fresh ginger, and a splash of my favorite spicy szechuan sauce and sesame oil.

I took some new ideas, tweaked them to fit our tastes, and what was available, and had so much fun in the kitchen this year.  Truly another reason to be so thankful this year.

Can’t wait for the next special occasion to see what I can come up with next.

Hope your Thanksgiving was extra special too.

Advertisements

Mochi madness

Now I admit, the first time I tried mochi I was …well, underwhelmed. My girls assured me we just got a ‘bad’ example.¬† A couple of months later we tried it again, different brand, different flavor, and ooohhh! Yumm!

Tonight¬† I was introduced to the next stage of mochi madness….mochi ice cream balls!!

ooooohhh!!! The bliss…sweet, creamy, cold middles (you can also use sorbet if you want to go dairy free…still mmmm!) and the nummy sweet deliciousness of a mochi coating.¬† Got to try this at home!¬† Mango is so amazing. Green tea is my favorite.¬† All the flavors are luscious. So, here is the recipe I am going to try asap.

April foolishness

A gorgeous day in the Lowcountry…mid 80s, clear blue skies and bright sunshine. Wisteria is coming back from the frosts that killed its first flush a couple of weeks ago, camellias and azaleas are offering a scant but determined final bloom and all around my neighborhood there are pinks, reds, corals, and soft purples rejoicing in Spring’s renewal. We have all the windows open every day and night and the fresh air is such a joy after the claustrophobic chill of winter.

The dogs spend a lot more time outdoors.¬† I spend more free time at the first wave of farm markets.¬† Last week’s excitement was over asparagus.¬† This week I am giddy over the prospect of first crop green (spring) garlic (as farmers thin their fields) and sugar snap peas.

Spring’s bounty in Asparagus, leek, and green garlic soup

https://i0.wp.com/cf.bojongourmet.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/asparagus-leek-and-green-garlic-soup-111.jpg

The bluebirds are nesting in the backyard. I love watching them skim across the open flight path between the azaleas on one side, the shrubbery on the other, over the ancient wisteria to their little houses along the back fence.¬† As we are contemplating the possibility of moving from this lovely old house to a smaller place the one thing I should truly miss the most is this yard.¬† Most people miss their homes…apparently for me home is the outdoors, not the in.

Which means I probably should not be surprised at little environmental themes that seem to be continually popping up in my writing. Who knew dragons had such an important environmental niche to fill?¬† (okay, so that doesn’t really surprise me as they would be an apex predator and as such a linchpen in their cycle…. I just hadn’t really given it much consideration till they showed up)¬† Glad they did.

 

Marvelous Monday

Reesie brought me home last night. ¬†We made salmon croquettes (a favorite) ¬†and hung out. A pleasant afternoon. ¬†Today we ran errands…. the ones I can’t get done because of the lack of car situation. ¬†We went to Staples, the bank, got gas for her car, I wrote letters to be mailed tomorrow, we got some groceries … then home in time for dinner.

I made chayote to go with supper.  A different recipe than I usually make, but well suited to the meal and went wonderfully with the roasted pototoes and the cranberry sauce.  So simple:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 1/4 red onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1¬†chayote squash, cut into 1/2 inch strips
  • 1/2 teaspoon¬†sea¬†salt
  • ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon white sugar or stevia
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes ¬† (I used more…but we like spice)

  • 1 tablespoon¬†lime juice

You put the oil in a skillet, brown the onion and garlic, toss in the chayote and seasoning.  Brown for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the lime juice (you may need a dash more if you have a large chayote as I did tonight) and cook another 2 Р3 minutes till done, but still crisp.

YUMM!