Have you remembered to give your mom and hug & a kiss? Hopefully so (especially those readers from across the pond), because the hour is getting late in the day- and usually mom likes to go to bed early on Sunday night.
Here is a mama cow and her baby snuggling up!
So I realize that I’m lagging on my reflections these days. I manage to write a post on average 5 days after it actually happened. But really, is there a time cap on reflecting? I think not.
I managed to pull myself away from all the pretty lights of NYC and make it out to my parent’s home in rural, central Massachusetts. Despite only being roughly 4 hours from Manhattan the temperature difference is about 10 degrees lower. On the bus I soaked in the multitudes of tall, skinny trees and treasured the few remaining colored leaves that had yet to give up the high life. At a mild 55 miles per hour I sped past placid, inky lakes and red New England style barns. My body relaxed and expanded; I was home.
Thanksgiving, when I was a child consisted of going out to a restaurant. My mother was a waitress for the majority of my childhood and it was mandatory that she worked. If she couldn’t make us a meal, she could still serve it to us, and have us close by. I never asked my dad what he tipped her.
A nearby New England farmhouse
When I was a tween, she got a day job which meant I got free reign of the house after school for a couple of hours. Another plus was that she was now home for all the holidays, not just Christmas. I don’t remember exactly how I felt at the time, other then being relieved that she wasn’t going to come home so tired at the end of the night. What is easy to remember the next decade of amazing home cooked Thanksgiving meals. With one oven and a toaster she would manage to get everything on the table hot and usually only an hour or so late. It wasn’t until I spent Thanksgiving with my husband’s family years later that I would realize how hard that is to coordinate.
So this year, my first Thanksgiving home in I can’t even remember how long, I was looking forward to great, hot, Thanksgiving meal. We didn’t disappoint. I seriously can’t remember eating a tastier turkey.
Time passes, things repeat. My mother is undergoing another career change and didn’t have much time to get things going for the feast ahead of time. And now that I am not burning macaroni and cheese and throwing the pot in the woods (long story for another time) I was ready, willing and capable to help. Wednesday afternoon there was a whole lot of chopping, peeling, slicing and baking going on. My challenge was to make the stuffing, the soup, the cranberry sauce and a boxed bread.
For a stuffing, we modified Robert Irvine’s recipe from foodnetwork.com,which called for leeks, apples and sausage. We lessed about about two cups of leeks and added an extra box of stuffing. On the day of thanks, my mum reheated the stuffing in the crock pot on low and ohmygod, it was freaking fantastic. A recipe I will surely put in my personal stash. The other item worth sharing was my Tomato Basil soup.
Tomato Basil Soup:
Makes one large pot. Enough for a 10. Or two days of leftovers.
Equipment: Immersion blender, food processor, or blender
2-3 (14/16oz) cans of chopped/diced tomatoes
1/2 cup olive oil (divided)
Salt and Pepper (freshly ground if possible)
2 stalks celery
3 small carrots
1 yellow onion
3 cloves garlic
2 cups chicken broth
2.5 tablespoons butter
1 cup or more of basil leaves
1 can coconut milk
Croutons or Shredded Cheese
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
Strain canned chopped tomatoes and reserve the liquid. Spread out the tomatoes on a cookie sheet and pour over 1/4 cup olive oil and salt and pepper generously. Mix everything up with clean hands. Pop the tomatoes into preheated oven for 15-18 minutes. The tomatoes should have a ‘roasted’ look to them.
In a saucepan (I use a dutch oven and its mmmmgood) heat remaining cup of olive oil, celery, carrot, onion and garlic. Let veggies get soft for around 8-12 minutes. Take roasted tomatoes out of the oven and add to saucepan. Add reserved liquid, chicken broth, and butter. Simmer for 15-20 minutes, until vegetables are very tender. Add basil (no need to chop) and coconut milk. Puree the soup with a handheld immersion blender or with a food processor (be sure to let it cool if you decide to use a food processor).Serve with croutons or shredded cheese.
*this recipe has been upgraded by me over a couple of years , but is based on Michael Chiarello’s Homemade Tomato Soup recipe*
Halfway to the finishline, mom managed prepare the turkey, the mashed potatoes (dad peeled) and the brussel spouts. As if we needed more food, family plunked down a shrimp cocktail, a cheese and cracker plate, homemade gravy, butternut squash, pecan pie, pumpkin pie, and pineapple cake. It was an amazing feast and I had great time visiting with family.
A scenic barn and stonewall in central Massachusetts