Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you, your family, and friends enjoyed a pleasant holiday sharing a treasured meal together, one of the great American traditions marking this special day where we take time to acknowledge our blessings.
I love Thanksgiving, for to me, it is also a great time to not only gather at the shared table, but a time to reflect on those special people in our lives, perhaps even recall particular memories shared together and feel grateful. I feel so close in heart to friends this time of year and for all those who have been notable in my life, maybe you feel this way this time of the year too.
One of my most recent shared tables has been Cooking Along with the Cottage Cooking Club where monthly we gather online from around the world in the conversation of the foods we have prepared from the cookbook, River Cottage veg everyday! written by British author and TV host Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall
This month our Cottage Cooking Club gathering just happens to fall on Thanksgiving weekend which seems somewhat apropos given too that I am thankful for the many lovely women I am getting to know within the group, not the least, Andrea, creator and leader of the group. I always refer to Andrea as our fearless leader since it rather matches with her blog name, The Kitchen Lioness notes from a very small German Kitchen, besides the fact, that as you get to know Andrea you see she surely is rather fearless in the juggling of many cooking genres, from clubs to the preparation of foods for her children’s school, travels through Germany, and in the observations of both religious and cultural traditions which she generously shares, such as her current Post on Christmas Stollen- Weihnachsstollen. Andrea is also a superb photographer but mostly she is just a truly lovely individual, I bet you would think so too.
One thing I did early on this month was prepare a few dishes from the selected recipes of River Cottage veg everyday. Realizing the timing coincided with the Thanksgiving weekend, I wanted to be sure and have my Posting ready. Not that I planned on shopping any of these days as I absolutely never participate in Black Friday madness. But we do tend to do something interesting or holiday festive on this weekend and if you’ve not been to Philadelphia, there are many special seasonal events of which to participate, including the most recent new addition of an ice skating rink surrounding City Hall whose European style building is topped with a statue of the state’s namesake, William Penn.
Oh my goodness, I’ve gone on and on so much today that I’ve come to the end of my photographed selection of dishes and haven’t yet even addressed them. From the top, among this months quite tasty selections, I prepared a sensational Creamy Potato and Celeriac Mash. This dish was even Thanksgiving table worthy and I loved preparing the cubed celeriac in the milk, later combined with the cooked potatoes enhanced by butter and seasonings, including fresh ground nutmeg. This dish additionally inspired me in the preparation of a whole other recipe, a celeriac gratin.
The second dish, Chicory, Pears and salty-sweet roasted almonds was as good in its flavor, as the attractiveness of its presentation, which served well as a first course luncheon salad between a couple of friends.
The third dish, Couscous salad with herbs and walnuts, was also a hit prepared using pearl shaped, rather than the traditional style couscous. The pearl shaped couscous, if purchased at Trader Joe’s, also goes by the name, Israeli couscous. The only change I would make to this salad in the future would be reducing the use of cumin seeds from two teaspoons to one. The spice flavor of the cumin, even with the addition of fennel seeds, ground together with a mortar and pestle seemed to dominate the dish much too strongly, especially given the wonderful combination of ingredient flavors, walnuts, the fresh herbs; chives, parsley, tarragon, along with chopped fennel, celery, and garlic, suitably highlighted by the lemon juice and olive oil.
In all, this was a delightful month in my kitchen preparing special dishes from River Cottage veg everyday and sharing these with family and friends. My favorite this month, the Creamy Potato and Celeriac Mash, and this dish I shall prepare again and again in the future, so I am grateful for this very special recipe. And for each of the ladies sharing in the Cottage Cooking Club through our unique shared table. A toast of ‘Cheers’ to all, Happy Thanksgiving weekend.
You can read what the other members of the Cottage Cooking Club prepared this month here.