Saturday, December 3, 2011

Thanksgiving! (again)

Given my last post, you would think i would have had an Italian inspired Thanksgiving. Let me tell you, it was a great exercise in restraint not to break out my saffron and olives and go full on Sicilian. But not this time.

Though i did not go full on American as i had planned to. There was no corn pudding, no oyster or andouille sausage stuffing, no cornbread, or baked yams (had there been yams at all, there would have been no pecans, and certainly no marshmallows, sorry...), there wasnt even turkey (greater sorry). So what was so "American" about my American thanksgiving? It wasnt Sicilian, i suppose.

Well, there were brussels sprouts with roasted garlic, a silky parsnip puree laced with malt vinegar (aha, a play on an idea i got from an American restaurant where the chips in their fish and chips are parsnip and they come with a malt vinegar aioli--a stellar combination), an un-stuffed stuffing of wild rice and quinoa with wild mushrooms, heirloom beans (the shelled kind, up in Canada here, string and pole beans are all done for the season) braised and saucy with wintry herbs, the last of my greens with a meyer lemon dressing. And pie. There was, of course, pumpkin pie.

And with this pie (in a hazelnut crust), came what i think may be my "pumpkin pie spice." I dont use a traditional blend when i m making pumpkin, anything, really. There was saffron in the one i made for my Italian Canadian Thanksgiving, and i ve roasted the squash with bay leaves to amp up the savoriness when making a bread or scone. This addition though, may be hard to deter from. I even made an excuse to use it again, roasting the last of my pumpkins to turn into butter, just to grind up this spice mix: mostly cinnamon, but generous with ginger and cardamom, a hint of clove, and, the newcomer, anise. I love the smoky licorice flavour this gives, even more stunning against the hazelnuts. I only wished there had been a slice for a traditional day-after breakfast.

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