Another cold Thanksgiving has approached us in New York.
We are battling really cold weather here this year. It makes me worried for the winter…
I am so happy that we are only going around the corner (almost) to my mother-in-law’s house. Since this is “her Holiday” I am not allowed to cook. I can do decorations and centerpieces for her house but she want’s to do all the cooking. That is ok with me since I have the Christmas. We take turns.
But I do cook alternative thanksgiving meals, leading up to the holiday. There will be a lot of “brought forwards” as she (my mother-in-law) calls left overs. I will be doing a lot of turkey meals “re-invented” after the holiday. That is actually one of my favorite things to do.
Baked Portobello Mushrooms with Pumpkin Mash.
4 big Portobello Mushrooms (or 8 small).
1 medium yellow or red onion.
1/4 c. chopped nuts. Pecans or walnuts.
2-3 tbsp. port wine or regular wine. Since I can’t drink red, I use white wine.
2-3 tbsp. of chopped fresh herbs. I used thyme, sage & rosemary. (if using dried herbs, take 1-2 tbsp.).
Olive oil or just a good oil.
Salt & pepper to taste.
1 c. marinated garlic (you could also mix in some marinated pearl onions).
1 of your favorite kind of pumpkin. I often use Acorn pumpkins.
3 mandarins, zest and juice.
1 lime, zest and juice.
Start by heating up the oven to 425 degrees F.(200 C.).
Finely chop the onion. In a medium hot skillet, start to caramelize the onions in some olive oil. Cook them medium on slow so that they don’t burn.
Cut up the marinated garlic (and pearl onions). Add to the skillet and cook together for a few minutes. Add the nuts and 1 tbsp. of the fresh and finely chopped herbs and 1/3 of the mandarin juice.
While the onions are frying, prepare the mushrooms.
Take off the stems. Scrape off the bottom of the “hat”/the gills of the mushroom. Place in a lightly greased oven proof dish or on a cookie sheet. Drizzle a little oil over the mushrooms. Sprinkle over salt and pepper.
When the onion mixture is done (golden brown) fill up the mushrooms.. Make sure that the filling is evenly distributed. Sprinkle over salt and pepper. Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes or until starting to bubble.
To bake the pumpkin, first cut them into halves.
Scrape out the seeds with a spoon. Brush olive oil or another good oil to the cut part of the pumpkin.
Place the halves onto a baking sheet with the cut side down.
Bake in a 400 degree oven until the skin has started to blacken or until you see that the pumpkin has started to loose its shape.
Let cool down slightly until you can handle them.
Scrape out all the pumpkin “meat”. Add a splash of oil, the rest of the herbs, another 1/3 of the mandarin juice, salt & pepper. Mix until fluffy.
Plate the pumpkin mash. Add the baked mushrooms and serve with a little cranberry jam & some greens.
Baked pumpkins can be used to so many things. I often bake a couple at the same time (since the oven is going) and keep it in the fridge. It is great to have on hand. You could also freeze the already baked pumpkin.
I have started to scrape off the gills of the mushrooms underneath the “hat”. The “meat” becomes less “dark” in the taste and color.
Use fresh cranberries. Pour into a pan with just a couple of tbsp. of water at the bottom of the pan.
Add brown sugar (or regular granulated sugar. I just prefer the brown sugar). About 1/2 c. per 3 c. of berries. I like it tart. You might want to add more sugar. Taste along the way so that you get it as sweet as you prefer.
Add the rest of the juice from the mandarins and lime. Almost all the zest as well. Save some to decorate the plates.
Boil down under a lid until nice and soft on a medium low heat. Stir occasionally so that it doesn’t burn.
Cranberry sauce is great to use as a side to many dishes. I also add it to my yoghurt in the morning.
Marinated garlic is really a great staple to have in your fridge. Usually I make it myself, but this time I bought it all done. You can find it in most grocery stores by the olives and things.
Marinated garlic is also great to use in sauces or just as it is as a side.
Traditionally it is collard greens but you could use any green such as spinach or kale. I just steam the greens with salt, pepper and freshly grated nutmeg until very tender. Then I just add some olive oil. It is very tasty.
If you don’t want to do a vegetarian version, just add some butter instead of oil.
A couple of friends of ours has to spend Thanksgiving apart. I told them, that you can celebrate thanksgiving any time any day! It doesn’t have to be the day of. It is all about being together when you can.
Besides, aren’t we supposed to be grateful and give thanks for what we have, where we are and for our family all the time? Luckily, I can stop in the middle of everything and realize how fortunate I am. Life is good.
Thanksgiving is one of the only non-religious holidays in the US. I love that it celebrates across all nationalities and people. It is all about celebrating the bounty’s of the harvest and the settlers.
And since we all are settler or descendents off settlers, one way or another,we should take some time out and reflect on this.
And as I always say;