You know what makes for a nice feeling of accomplishment? Pulling this out of the oven:
But let’s rewind, shall we? It all started with this butternut squash, leek, and apple gratin. Slight problem? No butternut squash.
In a fit of genius, I thought “Hey, Thanksgiving is a pretty WASP-y holiday. Perhaps the Asian grocery store will be less hectic the day before Thanksgiving. Plus they have GORGEOUS produce!”
Well, gorgeous produce was true, lack of insanity was decidedly not. However, I toughed it through and ended up with this:
Kabocha squash! Darling of the blog world! I eagerly embarked on a gratin-ating mission.
Before going into the oven:
And after, with nutty breadcrumbs on top:
I cannot endorse this recipe enthusiastically enough. The oniony bite of the leeks with the substantialness of the squash and the sweetness of the apples and apple juice- HEAVEN! With a little crunchy breadcrumb topping for good measure!
Crummy texture shot:
There were oodles of other goodies at my dad’s sister’s house.
My cousin’s mashed sweet potatoes, with a healthy hit of butter and cream as well as ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, and other yummies:
My aunt’s simply roasted carrots and onions, which were SUBLIME:
Arugula salad with pomegranate seeds and cornbread croutons (!)
And more, including mashed potatoes and stuffing, that I failed to capture :D
My (first) plate:
I did it! I pulled off a meat free (delicious!) Advent-approved Thanksgiving! My question was going to be whether I’d look conspicuous/rude foregoing the turkey, but I didn’t!
I went back for more gratin (seriously, the stuff was HEAVEN), and a few more nibbles.
And then, obvi, DESSERT!
My contribution, hinted at earlier:
Rustic apple crostada. Oh. em. gee. Along with being LUDICROUSLY easy (the crust comes together in seconds in a food processor) this recipe was DELISH! My family was going crazy on the crust. It tasted like shortbread! I hate hate hate hate when pies have awesome fillings and leathery crusts. This had lovely crispy spiced apples and crumbly buttery lustrous crust. SO GOOD!
Pumpkin and pecan, obvi! I had some of everything. Sooooo gooood! The pecan in particular- my cousin “kind of followed the Karo recipe” but threw in a variety of additions, including RUM, and it was sooooooo goooooooood!
So a nice Thanksgiving. Followed by Scrabble with my dad’s ridiculously competitive family. Fairly early in the point my cousin got 72 points in one round, and at that point I was able to relax, since I knew I’d lose! Hahahahaha.
I have to say Thanksgiving is not a HUGE holiday for me, but obviously I have a lot to be thankful for (I just try to remember that more than once a year!).
To sum it up, the thing I’ve been most thankful for lately is unexpectedly good surprises. It’s been kind of a weird/sad year for me and my family, but I have to remember that sometimes the universe sends good new things our way too!
And, on a cheesy note, I am grateful for all of you who read my blog and leave me adorable comments despite the fact that you have never met me and my camera sucks!
Finally, apparently it’s been an apple-y day. My morning oats were too gorgeous not to post.
I was feeling topping-y! Apple cinnamon oats with PB, wheat germ, and flax.