23 people (including 4 toddlers) converged in the Seattle area. The stage was set…
Two deep fried turkeys. Ten side dishes. Four desserts. And this was just for the Thursday Thanksgiving meal! We all stayed in the mountains until mid-day Saturday – except for the two who drove back to the airport early on Friday so they could be at work Saturday :(. This was THE BEST Thanksgiving to date. I know, I know … I say that every year – but it’s true!
Following our mid afternoon Thanksgiving meal, I chopped up the turkey carcasses and proceeded to make two huge pots of Turkey soup. There was enough for an army – well over a couple of gallons – but I must tell you that we had only about six cups of soup left Saturday noon when all was said and done.
We ate through three dozen bagels, a side of lox, four pounds of cream cheese, countless cups of granola, three boxes of satsumas, 17.5 pounds of king salmon, two huge trays of squash laden mac and cheese, tubs and tubs of yogurt, two gallons of orange juice… Suffice it to say that no one left hungry and that the weekend turned into an eating fest.
We played countless competitive games of Scrabble, books were read, conversations ensued, hikes and mushroom hunting, runs up the trails, face painting…such great activities that probably happen because there is not a television set in sight and my brother’s place is without Internet connectivity. Not even phone coverage. It felt like the good old days…and made me realize that even though we have the electronics and gadgetry to find anything in minutes, magic occurs when the devices are removed and we are actually face to face, conversation to conversation with each other. Cousins getting to know cousins, sisters and brothers and in-laws laughing and telling stories and just catching up.
I am featuring a recipe that came from an older New York Times November 2012 “vegetarian” Thanksgiving special: Cauliflower with pomegranate seeds, parsley and hazelnuts. It was beautiful, texturally pleasing, easy and in my world a blue ribbon winner. The spices in the salad dressing were warming and quite unusual. Interestingly, this recipe originated in an Israeli cookbook, Jerusalem. We’ll definitely be making this salad again this year while the pomegranates are in season.
Cauliflower with Pomegranate Seeds, Parsley and Hazelnuts
Yield: 6+ servings
- 1 head cauliflower, broken into small florets (1 1/2 pounds total)
- 5 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large celery stalk, cut on an angle into 1/4-inch slices (2/3 cup total)
- 5 tablespoons hazelnuts, with skins
- 1/3 cup small flat-leaf parsley leaves, picked
- 1/3 cup pomegranate seeds (from about 1/2 medium pomegranate)
- Generous 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Generous 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Mix the cauliflower with three tablespoons of the olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and some black pepper. Spread out in a roasting pan and roast on the top oven rack for 25 to 35 minutes, until the cauliflower is crisp and parts of it have turned golden brown. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and set aside to cool.
Decrease the oven temperature to 325 degrees. Spread the hazelnuts on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and roast for 17 minutes.
Add cauliflower to a large bowl along with the remaining oil and the rest of the ingredients. Stir, taste and season with salt and pepper accordingly. Serve at room temperature.