Monday, November 26, 2012

Thanksgiving Stories + Cooking After Thanksgiving + Some Squash Recipes

Thanksgiving Weekend is always a blast! Even though I don’t have family here, this holiday is never a lonely affair. Over the years, I have spent Thanksgiving dinners with my adoptive family and friends who have become family. I am thankful for all the good people who surround me, for their open minds and hearts, for their warm homes that have always made me feel welcome, and most of all, for their friendship and support.

Thanksgiving is also extra-special because it happens to be our anniversary. DFJ and I made this decision last year when we reminisced about how awkward our first Thanksgiving celebration was. To make a long story short, we were at a dinner where people without families got together at my friend’s house. Because we didn’t really know most of the guests, they assumed that we were married… Ummm, no we’re not and we haven’t even really talked about whether we are dating or not either… See, quite awkward, right?

This year we went to a gathering of good friends who, like us, do not have families in town. We have some people originally from the country, Pennsylvania (DFJ), Florida, and Colorado. The rest of us are from all over the world, Philippines (me), Trinidad and Tobago, Russia, Iraq, Iran, and Romania. Great company, interesting conversations, and wonderful food!

One of the best things about Thanksgiving is all the leftovers. Oh my, what a treat to not have to cook Friday and Saturday but still have a plate full of different kinds of amazing food! We finally ran out of leftovers yesterday, so I had no choice but to cook again. There were potatoes that started sprouting, Brussels sprouts left on a stalk, a head of broccoli, and kale begging to be cooked. Since I am still on a Tamar Adler kick, I followed her advice and roasted everything (except for the kale)! I washed everything first. Then, I proceeded to chop the potatoes in even sizes for even cooking, picked the Brussels sprouts from the stalk, cut the broccoli into batons, and tore the leafy parts of the kale from the stems.

All potatoes were then placed in one big roasting pan, the Brussels sprouts in a round pan, and the broccoli in another round pan. It is best to cook different vegetables in different pans, unless they come from the same family (all root vegetables, all leafy vegetables, all stalky vegetables can be cooked in one pan). The vegetables in each pan got a good douse of olive oil and generous sprinkles of salt. I also added some sprigs of thyme and rosemary in the potato pan. All the pans were placed in the oven, which was preheated to 400 degrees F, and cooked for half an hour.

When everything was done and completely cooled, I moved them into containers for storage in the fridge. Before washing the oily pans, I tore the kale into small pieces and rubbed the oil off of the pans with the leaves so as not to waste good olive oil. This way, I won’t have to use too much olive oil to sauté the leaves in. After the leaves were well oiled, I poured about two tablespoons of olive oil in a large pan and heated the oil over medium heat. When the oil was hot, I sautéed a large clove of garlic (minced) until it was golden brown. The kale was then added by batch and cooked until wilted. With each batch of kale that I tossed in, a sprinkle of salt was added to season it.   

Tamar Adler gives the smart advice to cook everything ahead of time so we have a whole week’s worth of food at the ready. Let me tell you, the broccoli didn’t go too far because we ate them way too fast. See that small serving left in the bowl in the picture above? I had to use my will power not to eat them all right then. They were so good! Like delicious, salty, oily chips in the form of slightly burnt broccoli. The potatoes were just perfectly done and the Brussels sprouts browned on the outside the way I like them. Right now, I am not quite sure yet what to do with the vegetables. One thing I know for sure is that there won’t be too much hard work going on in my kitchen this week. Three quarters of my work is already done! Tamar Adler has plenty of suggestions in her book for what we can do with roasted vegetables. I will definitely let you know what we do with our roasted vegetables later this week.  

As for The Food Matters Project, I decided to forgo on this week’s recipe, Roasted Butternut Chowder with Apples and Bacon, chosen by Jen of Prairiesummers. I read the recipe and it sounds really good and fairly simple to make. If you want the original Mark Bittman recipe, visit Jen’s website. For other interesting spins on the recipe, check out the The Food Matters Project website to see what the rest of the creative members came up with. Sadly though, this is something that will have to be bookmarked for another time. Over the past few months, I have been on some sort of squash soup kick and since they were all so delicious, I would like to share those recipes again.

Last month, I made a really delicious Butternut Squash Tikka Masala that made me forget I was not actually sitting at an Indian restaurant.

Earlier this month, I made a hearty and savory Kabocha Squash Soup. 


I would also like to share something so amazingly good that I made earlier this year that has the butternut squash and apple combination, Roasted Butternut-Apple Pasta Sauce.


If you so wish, go ahead and click on the links for the recipes. They are all very good, I promise.   

Now it’s time to get back to the grind!
Christmas is just right around the corner, so hang in there friends!


  1. These all look so delicious, especially the Kabocha Squash Soup! Thanks for sharing these recipes :}. I have been learning a lot of new ideas from a cookbook you might also enjoy entitled, Holly Clegg's trim&TERRIFIC KITCHEN 101: Secrets to Cooking Confidence, which includes all your familiar favorites - mainstream healthy from burger to chocolate cake.

  2. These all look delicious. I'm almost squashed out myself!

  3. Love your recipes Margarita! Last year we planted two butternut squash plants and in return we recieved over 100! This week we used the last of our squash (wondering if they would still be good after 1 year) and they were! But we were squashed out for a year!

  4. Those look awesome - I will have to use one of them for my leftover acorn squash! I also bought a butternut and a spaghetti squash this weekend, as if we needed more... sigh.

  5. I'm so glad to hear you had an awesomely delicious Thanksgiving!! And I love all of these winter squash recipe ideas...want all of them.

  6. it is the season for squash, yes and your recipe for tikka masala looks amazing!

  7. I should have also celebrated American thanksgiving! I've been missing out! Also happy anniversary :)
    Your food looks delicious, every time anyone mentions kale I keep thinking to myself "why have I not tried it yet??!!"

  8. I will have to try the Butternut Squash Masala. I love Indian food haha and so far I could still eat it all the time.


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