Thanksgiving

KNR, p. 157 “Butternut Squash with Chestnuts”

 

 

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year. There. I’ve said it.   🙂

All that fun food brought by people showing off their best recipes? The outrageously delicious pies? How could it not be a foodie adventure?

 

But, wait, you say… remember Lola’s food puzzle dish? Unrecognizable in any food group that we could figure out? That’s why it’s an adventure. You never know what will turn up.

 

Last year, we were invited to dinner at a college pal’s house. (Translation – we go waaay back) Everybody brought a side dish and the butternut squash was one of the standouts. I happen to love butternut squash, but at home we usually have it whipped and buttered. Mary’s version is so much more interesting. She added chestnuts and rutabaga and now it’s the only way we serve it.

 

Mary told us the secret ingredients (she cooks creatively and doesn’t always make a dish the same way twice) and Sheila and I went to work on crafting a recipe that could be shared. Well…Sheila cooked and I tasted, to make sure the balance of flavors worked. I did do some wicked peeling, chopping, and scooping though. 😉

 

Ingredients

4-5 cups cooked Butternut Squash (4 pound squash yields 5-6 cups)

1 teaspoon olive oil, extra virgin, cold-pressed

1 teaspoon Sea Salt + 1 teaspoon Sea Salt

2 Tablespoons water for baking squash

2 cups cooked Rutabaga, rough mashed or pureed (1 medium rutabaga)

3 Tablespoons butter

1 teaspoon Nutmeg

2 Tablespoons heavy cream

1 dozen Chestnuts, cooked and peeled, for garnish (Gefen sells a package of recipe-ready chestnuts – already peeled and cooked)

Pepper (to taste)

 

Preparation:

Start the prep of the squash first, then after it is in the oven, start the rutabaga prep.

Squash:

  1. Preheat oven to 400.
  2. Place whole squash in microwave. Prick 2-3 times with cooking fork. Microwave on high for 4 minutes to make it easier to slice.
  3. Remove from microwave and cut in half lengthwise, scoop out seeds and place both sides face up on baking sheet.
  4. Lightly coat with olive oil and 1 teaspoon of the sea salt.
  5. Place 1 Tablespoon water in each of the bowls of squash, place tray in oven and bake for 30 minutes.
  6. Turn the butternut squash face down in the oven and cook for another 20 minutes, or until tender.
  7. Remove the squash from the oven, scoop out all the meat, place the meat in a standing electric mixer, and mix on high for 1 minute.
  8. Slow to medium speed and add butter, nutmeg, and cream. Mix until well blended.

Rutabaga:

  1. Peel the rutabaga and slice into 1/4 inch thick pieces.
  2. Add 1 teaspoon Sea Salt to 2 quarts boiling water. Add rutabaga slices to the pot (Water should cover the rutabaga).
  3. Boil until tender enough to break apart when pierced – about 40 minutes.
  4. Drain rutabaga.
  5. Rough mash with spoon if you’d like a dish with texture or put through a food processor if you want a creamy mashed potato texture.

 

Add rutabaga to squash in the mixer bowl and whip on high for 3-4 minutes or until mashed potato consistency, adding salt if needed and pepper to taste.

 

If you are making this ahead of time, place the finished mixture into a large bowl suitable for reheating.

Garnish with chestnuts and serve.

 

Prep time: 40 minutes

Cooking time: 1 hour 30 minutes

Serves: 6

 

*Many thanks to Mary Gerrard for the delicious addition to the Thanksgiving table.  🙂

*Photo by Patti Phillips

 

 

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KN, p. 128 “Thanksgiving is a time to…”

 

Chestnut-Sausage Stuffing

 

Pumpkin Mookie

 

 

 

 

 

 

We love to celebrate Thanksgiving in the USA. We travel for hours by train, bus, car, and plane to spend the day with relatives and friends. We Skype, jam the phone lines and cell towers with calls to people we won’t get to see in person that day. We buy exotic foods we’ve never eaten before, and try out new recipes to dress up the green beans.

 

Food shopping becomes an event to be feared. Will the store have enough cranberries/pie crusts/sweet potatoes?  Will they have a big enough/small enough turkey? Did we leave anything off the list that we’ve been adding to for days? We load the grocery carts as if we’re stocking up for the entire neighborhood for a month and are willing to stand in line, even if at any other time, we would not have the patience to do so.

 

For some, Thanksgiving is a time to eat out and avoid the challenge of roasting the bird. For others, it’s the highlight of cooking for the year – who can forget Aunt Edith’s food extravaganza for fifty cousins and assorted strangers in 2009? I have no idea what some of that food was and I stuck to the stuff I recognized.

 

On Wednesday evening, Sheila and I will help our church deliver cooked turkeys and the trimmings to needy families in the area. The next day, the Kerrian household will celebrate Thanksgiving with a sit down dinner, including the chestnut-sausage stuffing and pumpkin mookies. There will be eight of us this year. Yup, just eight. All the kids are grown, with families of their own and obligations of their own with their own in-laws and we don’t try to gather the crowd that day. Then, on Friday and Saturday, we plan to make the rounds at houses of other branches of the family, eat leftover turkey, hug the new babies, and have a slice of pie.

 

Thanksgiving is a time to say thanks for:

  • Family
  • Friends
  • Good health
  • Enough food to eat
  • Enough money to pay the bills
  • Heat
  • The freedoms we enjoy
  • The fabulous Kerrian’s Notebook community that now stretches to four continents. We are so grateful to have been able to share the stories with you during the past seven years and hope to share more in the future.

 

 Happy Thanksgiving to one and all!

 

 

*Photos and recipes by Patti Phillips

 

 

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

KN, p. 91 “Happy Thanksgiving from the Kerrians!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s easy to be thankful when life is going well. If there is plenty of love to warm your heart, your wallet has enough in it to pay the bills on time, everyone in the family is healthy on the same day, your home is warm and dry…then that’s a happy life to the average guy or gal.

 

Not everyone has an easy time of it. Some families go through a divorce, a spouse passes away, a family member loses a job, the bank wants to foreclose just at the time when you need a sound roof to sleep under more than ever – maybe a lengthy illness puts a strain on the pocketbook.

 

Recent hurricanes have left hundreds of people homeless. Wildfires and tornadoes across the country this past year ripped many families’ lives apart.

 

Sheila and I have friends who’ve lived through both extremes – one year all smiles and parties and new bikes – the next year a disaster because his company closed the local plant, a good-paying job was lost and all the savings went into caring for a really sick daughter who had Lymes Disease. They came close to losing the house, but the banker had other foreclosures ahead of theirs. They got lucky.

 

What was amazing to everyone who watched them go through the tough time, was that the family was still thankful. Yes, they were struggling, but if you asked them about their great attitude, they said that they had each other, they had caring friends who supported them with occasional dinners, they had help with the house repairs, had been incredibly fortunate up until the rough patch of a year, and they had their faith.

 

That’s kinda humbling. They never seemed bitter about a bum deal with the job, they were always hopeful about the daughter (she pulled through) and they clung to each other rather than fighting about what could not be controlled with their finances.

 

So, here’s what Sheila and I are thankful for:

 

1.     We have each other and that will never change.

2.     We have friends that would help if we asked and we would do the same for them.

3.     We have a solid house with enough space for family dinners and football parties.

4.     We have enough cash in our pockets to pay the bills on time and a little left over so that we can go out to dinner or even take a vacation.

5.     We can each have fun without the other – I play golf and Sheila plays tennis, but it’s great to know that at the end of the day, the other one will listen to the ‘war stories,’ share the best/funniest moments, but also be there for the lousy times.

6.     I am seriously thankful that Sheila is a great cook.  Seriously.

7.     We are really thankful that there are so many people who read Kerrian’s Notebook and like it. And come back to read it again and again. Ya make us smile, K.N. friends old and new, near and far, with your comments on the site and your great emails.

 

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! In case you didn’t guess, we’re having pie for dessert. There’s going to be a big crowd, so Sheila made my favorite chocolate cheesecake and that white sweet potato pie I love. A slice of each would be a very good way to finish the dinner. Along with a strong cup of coffee, of course.

 

Drop by if you get a chance. There’s some sweet tea (or coffee) waiting for you. If you get lucky, there might even be some pie.   🙂

 

 

*Photos and recipes by Patti Phillips

 

 

 

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