Monday, November 29, 2010

Feeding The Soul...

I have so much to be Thankful for this Thanksgiving and not just that I pulled off a big Giada Thanksgiving Dinner without a hitch! First and foremost, I'm thankful for my family.

Jared and I made the trek home last weekend to celebrate my nephew Caleb's Christening. With my brother's family in Florida and Jared and me in Virginia, coming home to my parent's home just outside of Boston was even more special than ever.

Between playing trucks with my nephew Noah, cuddling little Caleb, trying to win their Boston Terrier Lucy's affection, catching up with my brother and his wife and making sure Jared was enjoying the madness, I've never been so thankful for my mother's cooking. It seemed as though we were eating every two hours but those meals brought everyone around one table and somehow quieted the chaos.

This year and this project has been all about cooking but I've learned that it's so much more than just preparing food. The act of creating something for the ones you love is such a satisfying experience.

Eating may nourish the body but cooking feeds the soul.

In that sense, I was full to the brim on Thanksgiving. It took all day but when Jared and I sat down to GDL's Turkey Tonnato, Aunt Raffy's Turkey Stuffing, Green Beans & Broccoli, and Parmesan Smashed Potatoes, it was all worth it.

The Turkey Tonnato was a little intimidating. I'd never cooked a whole turkey breast let alone thought of topping it with a tuna sauce that included anchovy paste and capers. I know - sounds funky, but stay with me.

The turkey stuffing however was right up my alley. I vegetarian-ized it using soy Italian sausage and vegetable stock. The flavors were incredible! Apples, onions, cranberries, day old cornbread and sausage came together in a warm and heavy and downright satisfying way. Needless to say, it was the "meat" of my meal.

The broccoli and green beans were super simple but lacked the garlicky spicy flavor I was expecting from Giada. The smashed potatoes however were brilliant. Why bother with all the effort involved in peeling and mashing when you can just throw the quartered potatoes in a pot of boiling water for 15 minutes? Smash them with a fork and add some fresh Parmesan and you're done!

Though I did miss the big long table filled with nephews and cousins and Aunts and Uncles, I never felt closer to Jared. And as we took a post-dinner digestion walk in the crisp fall air arm-in-arm, I knew that he is a real part of my family. There will be many more Thanksgivings our future and just maybe a few GDL recipes will be a part of that.

Happy Thanksgiving to all and a very merry start to the holiday season!