First, accept my apologies if you received a “new post” notification earlier today. It was just me still feeling my way around this new site. Here’s my bona new fide post, about the early Thanksgiving dinner I held a couple of weeks ago (and why), and it ends with one of my favorite holiday recipes.
Why didn’t we wait? Well, my daughter Alice won’t be able to make it home this year, so we decided rather than have it without her, we’d all come together when our schedules allowed. Which turned out to be October. If you live on the East Coast, forget for a moment last weekend’s record snowstorm and think back to the weekend of October 8 & 9 when it was 80 degrees out. Yep, that’s when we were feasting on turkey with all the trimmings. With doors and windows wide open.
At first we referred to the idea as Fake Thanksgiving, but then one of us shortened it to Fakesgiving. I got the folks at Griggstown Quail Farm to agree to allow one of their heritage breed turkeys, a Bourbon Red, to meet its demise several weeks ahead of schedule. As you can see, it was a bit on the scrawny side, causing pangs of guilt on my part. I picked up what had to be some of the first fresh cranberries of the season. I made chestnut soup with the windfall from a friend’s tree. I convinced six friends to join us for dessert, which included pumpkin pie (of course) and the prettiest apple pie I have ever made:
That tall brown bottle next to the pie, by the way, is maple liqueur from Vermont, which goes great with both pies.
I don’t know if it was the heat or the absurdity of pretending it was a holiday, but we all were a bit giddy. That didn’t stop us, though, from going through with our tradition of each naming one specific thing from the last twelve months that we are particularly grateful for. Nice.
Come November 24, my family will dispersed among California, Sri Lanka, and New Jersey. My husband and I will dine at a friend’s house, and I’ll be toting along the aforementioned favorite dish: Potato Turnip Bake. It’s a very flexible, forgiving recipe, and the best part is you make it in advance. I have to admit that I never make it the same way twice. If the potatoes are on the soft side and the turnips a bit hard, I cook them together for the same length of time.
Happy Fakesgiving! Next up, Festivus???
6 large russet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
3 large turnips, peeled and cut into chunks
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter
3 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
Salt & fresh ground pepper to taste
3/4 cup shredded cheddar
In a big pot, cover potatoes with cold water by at least an inch and add a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil and cook for 10 minutes. Add turnips and onion and cook for 15 minutes, or until the potatoes and turnips are soft. Drain and mash with the butter, parsley, and salt and pepper to taste.
Remove 1 cup of the mixture and place in a pastry bag with a large tip. Transfer the rest of the mixture to a 2-quart casserole and decoratively pipe the contents of the bag around the edge. Cover and chill for several hours or overnight. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes. Sprinkle the top with the cheddar and bake for an additional 5 minutes.
Makes 2 quarts.