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Thanksgiving Recap and a Recipe for Curried Butternut Squash and Apples

thanksgiving dinner

This past Thursday, the sweet and savory aromas of Thanksgiving filled my apartment building. Through my bathroom vent, I can usually smell what the neighbors are cooking. Since the kitchen and bathroom vents in the building are conjoined, it often draws in odd yet strangely alluring scents to the apartment by way of the bathroom. Sometimes it’s waffles, bacon and Pantene Pro-V on Sunday mornings. In the evening it can be a medley of pot roast and spicy Thai curry. But it was Thanksgiving day, and most kitchens in the building were already whirring with activity by early afternoon. The familiar smells of sage, pumpkin, cinnamon, and roast poultry were not only coming in from the bathroom, but had managed to slip into the hallway as well, enveloping me with delicious aromas when I opened the door and walked to and from the elevator.

So, what was happening in my kitchen? Although I mentioned in my previous post that this year’s Thanksgiving was going to be an international affair, my sister Kelly and I have a strong attachment to traditional Thanksgiving dishes. Having to forgo the centerpiece of this holiday only meant that we had to compensate with side dishes. My parents, on the other hand, (who happen to conveniently live next door to us) are just not as attached to this holiday. Instead, they saw this holiday as an opportunity to put their culinary acumen to the test. They visualized a tasting menu with delicate portions and artfully plated miniature bamboo boats. Meanwhile, Kelly and I envisioned big plates piled a mile high with an orgy of food. How was Thanksgiving going to work? After some bickering over what was to be cooked for dinner, the four of us came to a compromise. And here was the result..

hamachi sashimi and tartare
We began the evening with a fleet of Sashimi-filled small bamboo boats. Within each boat was a duo of Hamachi Sashimi and Tartare

calf liver with worcheshire sauce
Then came the visually unappealing yet tastefully appealing Calf Liver with Worcheshire Sauce

sea scallops with tomato-shallot relish
Seared Scallops with Tomato-Shallot Relish

cauliflower and leek soup
After the small portions were served, we segued to the traditional segment of the meal with our Cauliflower and Leek Soup. Being a forgetful photographer, I was busy serving the soup and incidentally forgot to document the soup. Thankfully, I have a photo from a previous batch of soup! A recipe for this soup will be for another time in the near future.

cranberry and rosemary polenta cakes
The Cranberry, Rosemary Mini Polenta Cakes were first poured into a mini cupcake tin, chilled in the refrigerator, smothered with butter, then broiled in the oven.

brussel sprouts
Ever since my Middle School principal disclosed his secret to making tasty Brussel sprouts to my mom at a PTA meeting, we’ve been cooking them this way: Brussel Sprouts with Shallots, Bacon and Thyme.  Thanks, Mr. McDermott!  Drizzle chicken stock while cooking to keep the sprouts from getting too dry.

curried butternut squash and apples
Last but not least, my favorite dish of the evening was the Curried Butternut Squash and Apples with Sage. Props to Mark Bittman for the recipe!

brussel sprouts, curried butternut squash and apples, cranberry polenta cakes
The Thanksgiving side dish spread.

glorious thanksgiving sides
An orgy of Thanksgiving side dishes… oh yeah, there were mashed sweet potatoes too, but those managed to slip past my camera lens too..ooops

By this point in the evening, I was beginning to fade due to my food coma and disappeared into my bedroom to take a post-Thanksgiving dinner nap.   One too many glasses of red wine and sangria may have also been the reason for my fatigue.  While I was in a deep slumber, Suckling Pig and Hainanese Chicken brought by family friends were devoured, as well as a Pumpkin Pie.  You’ll just have to imagine how good those tasted.

Even though it’s been several days since Thanksgiving, you may not have any desire to relive that night. Yet, if you are a fan of sweet and salty, as you probably already know I am from my previous entries, I encourage you try making Curried Butternut Squash and Apples with Sage. I leave you with a recipe adapted from Mark Bittman’s 101 Thanksgiving dishes.

The buttery squash and apples are mingle with a few tablespoons of curry powder, a toss of torn sage leaves, a generous drizzle of maple syrup, and most importantly, pats of butter, thrown into the oven and left to develop a lovely, complex flavor. As the cubes of squash and apples bask in the oven’s heat, they start to bear a similar resemblance. The final result is almost of a uniform golden color, yellowed by curry powder.  Each bite leaves you guessing which cube you’re going to get next.. apple or butternut squash?!

Curried Butternut Squash and Apples with Sage

Ingredients:
1 Medium Butternut Squash
2 Apples (preferably two firm ones of a red variety)
4 Tablespoons of Salted Butter
1/4 Cup of Maple Syrup
4 Tablespoons of Curry Powder
Salt and Pepper, to taste

Method:
1. Dice butternut squash and apples into 1 inch cubes
2. Toss chunks of butternut squash and apples with curry powder, smears of butter, and maple syrup
3. Roast at 350 degrees, shaking the pan occasionally, until everything is golden and tender

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8 Responses to Thanksgiving Recap and a Recipe for Curried Butternut Squash and Apples

  1. Jessica says:

    It looks like your Thanksgiving was amazing! I love the variety of dishes. I’m craving those scallops and polenta cakes.

    And btw, curry and squash is such a great combo!

  2. Tracee Hegre says:

    Great post. I gained some very useful information from it. I’ve been trying out some new Asian recipes lately and am having a great time experimenting with them. Do you have a favorite cookbook? If you’d like to see my blog it’s here. Thanks again for this blog – it is really well-done.

    [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ‘0 which is not a hashcash value.

    • Veronica says:

      These days I find most of my recipes online, it’s a lot easier to search for recipes than flip through books. One of my favorite cookbooks is Beyond the Great Wall by Naomi Duguid and Jeffrey Alford, which includes some interesting recipes from ethnic minorities in China as well as beautiful photos accompanying Naomi and Jeffrey’s narrative of their journey through China.

  3. When I originally commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added” checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get four emails with the same comment. Is there any way you can remove me from that service? – Thanks

  4. Heya i got to your site by mistake when i was searching bing for something off topic here but i do have say your site is really helpful, like the theme and the content on here…so thanks for me procrastinating from my previous task, lol

  5. Salzwaffel says:

    mouth watering! *). Thank you for sharing

  6. I feel a lot more people need to read this, very good info!

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