Thanksgiving arrived late this year. Teeth gnashing when that happens. Deadlines looming. In three weeks your to-do lists become forgetaboutit’s. Since I’m not ready to toss Thanksgiving into the memory book, here’s a glimpse of mine. Plus, my recipes are seriously delicious and make fast work of your holiday surplus.
FIRST, FEED ME.
Use that leftover bag of carrots for this week’s Cook the Book Friday’s classic fare. Carottes Rapées is the obligatory French bistro salad that, with a warm baguette and butter, kicks off many a meal. Call it grated carrot salad if you wish but try it.
With those last turkey bits, make Turkey Tortilla Soup, a tangy interpretation of this Mexican classic by my blogging friend, Liz Berg. Since shredded turkey isn’t added until last, you can substitute tofu for your vegetarians. Divide (the soup) and conquer.
When I found a bag of leftover cranberries in the freezer, I decided to bake a birthday cake. It was moist, dense and used no leavening agent. Just whip the eggs and sugar together for several minutes. The berries stand alone, no embellishments. Think Snap! Crackle! and Pop. Honestly amazing.
Q: HOW WAS YOUR THANKSGIVING?
A: “Thanks for asking. It put a little spring in my step.”
This Thanksgiving was to be a milestone – our family’s 10th year celebrating the holiday in Death Valley National Park. Located equidistant between Bishop and Henderson, DVNP was perfect during our Nevada years. We loved dining at the iconic Furnace Creek Inn and spending the week-end hiking, swimming and relaxing.
Admittedly, I was warned that our Decade Year might be canceled. Emma, as a freshman, made the Varsity Cross Country team. She missed making State by 3 seconds. When school began this year Melissa said, “Mom, Emma will probably make State this year.” (Long pause) “State is in Fresno, a 16-hour roundtrip, on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.”
Right then we devised two action plans. The week before Thanksgiving, an ecstatic young lady called to say she’d made it and, in fact, her team won their Conference. Activate Plan 2: Thanksgiving in Bishop. Dinner at home. Melissa would cook dinner with Clara on Pie duty. I would be in charge of the table settings/decorations and bring breads from our favorite Henderson bakery. Stephen, who made the 16-hour Fresno runs on successive week-ends, would tend the fire. Emma was assigned to stay healthy!
As you can see from my photos, everyone rose to the occasion. My woodland certerpiece did overwhelm the table, leaving only places for three people. (I suggested we draw straws to choose the lucky three.) Melissa’s meal was fabulous. She cooks better and more effortlessly than her Mother. Where did she learn that? Clara’s pie was heavenly and tasted as delicious as it looked.
Not too much relaxing. We ratcheted up our competitive selves to play Turkey Bingo, winning prizes which could be snatched by others until game’s end. Melissa and I hiked the controversial Pipeline, an area where Inyo Valley’s water is shipped to southern California. (Read “Cadillac Desert” by Marc Reisner or see “Chinatown.” ). For dinner one night we had Maid-Rites (very Iowa) and put together a 500-piece jigsaw puzzle. And, best of all, Emma ran one of her personal bests.
Darn close to the perfect family holiday.
CAROTTES RAPÉES (Grated Carrot Salad)
by David Lebovitz, My Paris Kitchen
Makes 6 servings
2 pounds carrots
1/4 Cup olive oil
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt
1 teaspoons sugar or honey
2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Salt to taste
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley, chervil or chives, plus additional chopped herbs for sprinkling on top.
1. Using the large holes of a box grater or a stand mixer or food processor fitted with the shredding disk attachment, grate the carrots.
2. In a large bowl, combine lemon juice, olive oil, sugar, mustard, and salt to taste. Rapidly whisk until combined. Be sure the olive oil emulsifies into the other ingredients so it does not separate from them.
3.Toss the grated carrots in the dressing along with the chopped herbs until they are coated. Taste and add more lemon juice or olive oil (or, for that matter, sugar, mustard, salt or pepper) if you like.
3. Chill at least 30 minutes to blend flavors. Toss again before serving and sprinkle with additional fresh herbs..
TIP: I thought the dressing needed more punch so I increased the honey and Dijon mustard as shown above.
CRANBERRY CAKE adapted from The KITCHN
Makes one 9-inch springform cake.
3 large eggs, room temperature
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup unsalted butter, cubed and softened at room temperature for 1 hour
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups cranberries (12-ounce bag)
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9-inch springform pan with butter and lightly sprinkle a sugar coating over the pan.
2. Use a stand mixer or hand beaters to beat the eggs and sugar until very smooth, increasing the volume. If using a stand mixer, beat on medium speed for 4 to 7 minutes, using the whip attachment. If using hand beaters, beat on high speed for 6 to 8 minutes. The egg and sugar mixture will double in volume and turn very pale yellow, leaving ribbons on top of the batter when you lift the beaters.
3. Beat in the butter and vanilla. Beat for 2 minutes or until the butter is smoothly incorporated.
4. Use a spatula to fold in the flour, salt, and cranberries. The batter will be quite thick. Spread gently into the prepared pan.
5. Bake 60 to 80 minutes for the springform. For smaller pans, start checking after 30 minutes, but expect small loaves to take at least 40 minutes.
6. After removing from oven, lightly sprinkle the top with sugar and cool for 20 minutes. Next, run a knife around the inside edge of the pan and remove the cake. Cool for an hour before serving.
TIP: 1. This make 10 to 12 cups of batter. If you wish, use an 8-inch or 10-inch springform pan or 4 loaf pans or cupcake pans (24).
2. The cake keeps and freezes well. To store, wrap the fully cooled cake tightly in plastic wrap and leave in a dry, cool place for up to 1 week.
3. To freeze, wrap the fully cooled cake in plastic wrap and then foil. Freeze for up to 2 months. Thaw overnight at room temperature, still wrapped.
Link to That Skinny Chick Can Bake for the Leftover Turkey Tortilla Soup recipe.
Cook the Book Fridays is an international group coking it’s way virtually through My Paris Kitchen by David Lebovitz. Tosee what others are cooking, go here.