Thanksgiving was different for me this year because I didn't go anywhere to celebrate the holiday. Years past I have traveled far (the Middle East) or close (Walla Walla - the home of Washington's sweet onion) but never stayed at home and cooked in my own kitchen. Former plans to have the big dinner at our place were scrapped in order to join friends here in town. Our hostess is a lady I call the Buffet Dinner master. She knows how to make meals simple and easy for large groups. She has three grown sons who I'm sure kept the kitchen busy. She never bats an eye when the church asks her to cook for over 100 people. Earlier this month, our church had a big dinner without her and some of the rest of us had to step up to the plate. It sure made me grateful for her past efforts.
The one thing that churchable and I missed was going around through the group and mentioning what we are thankful for this year. Even though we come from different background this is a tradition that both sides of the family celebrate. So I will do so here
Things that I am thankful for this year:
- For churchable, he is such a loving husband and the last year and a half of marriage has been great.
- For this blog, I finally have find a focus for my creative energy. (I hated writing, but here I am writing and loving it.)
- For my friends, they encourage me even if they never comment here.
- For another holiday season with my mother-in-law, Meemo is doing a little bit better.
- For getting to celebrate churchable's 31st birthday with friends and great food. (His birthday was on Thursday)
- My family's continued safety in the Middle East.
- Being able to help my grandparents this spring when they needed assistance.
Now for the really good stuff - the food and recipes. Surprise! I stuck to squash for my contribution to Thanksgiving. I had quite a pile of acorn squash that needed using before it turned bad and vandalized the neighborhood. Thanksgiving was a good excuse to use them before that happened. It was also a good chance to use one of my mom's holiday recipes. My CSA share also contained a good supplement for the holiday - half a sugar pumpkin. I roasted it up and handed off the pie making to churchable with the help of my farmer's recipe. He is the pie maker in our household, since he likes pie so much. He never wants a cake for his bday but a pie always works. I also heard that there was a dearth of cranberries for a side so I whipped up some fresh cranberry sauce. I so refuse to be
subjected to a can of relish with the metal rings molded into its sides, but it
seems we all feel that way here in blog land.
This is my post for Weekend Herb Blogging which is being hosted by Haalo of Cook (almost) Anything At Least Once If you would like further information on squash, please head over to my post at the beginning of the month.
Squash Apple Bake
- 4 lbs Winter Squash
- 1 c brown sugar
- 1/2 c butter, melted
- 1/8 c flour
- 1/2 c cranberries, fresh or frozen
- 2 t salt
- 1 t nutmeg
- 4 baking apples; cored and cut into 1/2 in slices
- Halve each squash; remove the seeds and fibers. Pare the squash. Cut into 1/2" slices or cubes.
- Mix together the brown sugar, butter, flour, salt, and nutmeg.
- Arrange the squash in an ungreased rectangle baking dish (12x7x2 in). Top with apple slices. Sprinkle with cranberries. Sprinkle with sugar mixture. Cover and bake in a 350F oven until squash is tender, 50-60 minutes
This recipe makes 1 pie. Our squash was big enough to make 2.
You have two choices to prep the squash. I recommend roasting the squash in a 400F oven for an hour or two. If liquid oozes out and starts to burn, don't worry this will help the squash be drier and have a better texture. The pumpkin should be soft when pushed. My farmer suggested boiling the pumpkin till it was soft. (I hate peeling squash so I did not use this route.) Then you drain the pumpkin for about 1 1/2 hour. When dry mash well. Then place into containers to freeze or make a pie.
- 3/4 c sugar
- 1 t cinnamon
- 1 t ground ginger
- 1/2 t salt
- 1 1/2 c fresh pumpkin
- 2 lg eggs, beaten
- 1 1/2 c hot milk
- Your favorite pie crust (churchable's grandmother's recipe - if we ask he may share)
see the link above for instructions. I will post the instructions later.
Fresh Cranberry-Orange Relish
Makes 2 1/2 cups
- 12 oz fresh cranberries
- 2 md seedless oranges cut into 1/8ths do not peel
- 1/2 - 3/4 c sugar
- 1/2 t ginger (optional)
Put half the cranberries and one of the oranges into the food processor; Transfer to a storage container and process the other half. Combine the two mixtures and stir in sugar to taste. Refrigerate, ideally for several days. Always tastes better if made in advance.
Since I also had tons of squash seeds, I decided to find a recipe to roast them. I found the following recipe in Everyday Food.
Spicy Pumpkin Seeds
Everyday Food October 2004
Preheat oven to 350F. In a medium bowl, combine 1 cup raw pumpkin seeds, 1 teaspoon chili powder, 1/8 - 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt, and 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice; toss to coat. Spread on a rimmed baking sheet; bake until puffed and browned,
about 10 minutes