I have Thanksgiving anxiety and I’m not alone.
What will dinner look like this year??
One of the ideas currently being floated about by my family and countless others is a ‘pot-luck-special’: we will each make a dish and bring it to a designated porch and take home a share of all the available dishes. Truth be told, it’s a glorified take-out. Sigh.
My contribution might be this salad because it doesn’t need to be re-heated and would be delicious in the post-Thanksgiving-turkey-stuffing-cranberry-sauce-sandwiches. (I would put it right up next to the cranberry sauce.)
And It’s my effort to combat the ‘food-won’t-be-hot-at-the table’ blues.
This recipe is a riff on a Bon Appetit Magazine recipe. It is an extension of the ‘rice bowl’ craze that previously swept the nation. Here, hummus, a chickpea dip/spread that is generally eaten cold or at room temperature is gently heated and spread out on the bottom of a shallow dish with a meat or vegetable sauce on top.
The ragout could be made with ground lamb instead of ground beef or prepared meat-free with colorful sautéed bell peppers and zucchini.
My dinner guest was pleasantly surprised to taste the warmed hummus; she thought it was a parsnip puree at first glance. The spices in the dish are traditional ‘warm’ Middle Eastern flavors (allspice, cumin, coriander & marjoram) which marry effortlessly with the hummus.
Cauliflower is now a mainstream vegetable!
At our Prepared Foods counter, I am surprised (and impressed) at our Millennial customers’ whole-hearted embrace of all kinds of vegetables. Their mothers were so successful at getting them to eat their vegetables that they continue to do so long after they have left the nest (and moved into South Boston).
This recipe ‘embraces’ roasted cauliflower. Roasting cauliflower is a game-changer; roasting expresses cauliflower’s hidden sweetness without the ‘cruciferous stink’ associated with boiling or steaming the vegetable. The cauliflower is then cooled, chopped into smaller pieces and folded into the
mac n’ cheese base, adding texture and earthiness to the finished dish.
Claudia is our Deli Chef in the South Boston Foodie’s Market. She has been in the Foodie’s family for a number of years; working first in the Duxbury store. She is a master at producing large quantities of beautiful, tasty food. She knows what the customers want and exceeds their expectations.
These stuffed peppers ‘fly-out’ of the case; with some customers even calling ahead to ‘reserve’ their weekly portion.
The dessert-du-jour in a Benihana restaurant in the early 70’s was vanilla ice cream with slivered crystallized ginger. (The crystallized ginger may well be an imaginary embellishment.)
I liked that there was no dessert choice; I thought that was very modern. And I thought that a simple dish of ice cream was a quiet and elegant finish to a cleaver-tossing dinner performance.
The whole experience was very fancy and exotic to my young self.
This is a quick-to-make dessert with sweet-spicy flavors. I have offered it here with purchased vanilla ice cream but making your own saffron ice cream would be spectacular! (To make: infuse vanilla ice cream base/crème anglaise custard with several threads of saffron while still warm. Strain, chill and churn according to your ice cream maker’s instructions.)
My Italian grandmother was born on the little island of Ischia off the coast of Naples. She brought with her to America a love for summer and for cooking vegetables. Although this dish was not among her repertoire, I made it for her once and she smiled in approval as she was eating it!