Monday, 5 December 2011

Hosting Thanksgiving

OK, I have to confess.  This will be a very boring Thanksgiving story.  Everything went right and it was a lovely day.  For an interesting story you need a few things going wrong.  I heard a couple of interesting stories this year - like the one about mis-measuring bourbon to go in the stuffing.  Apparently if you put far too much in, all the alcohol doesn't boil off.  Or the one about going to cook dinner at an Asian friend's house, and discovering at the last minute that she doesn't have any baking trays, and it's quite difficult to roast a turkey in a wok.  But as I said, we didn't have so much as a lumpy gravy panic.

Where's my food???

We're working on it, baby!

So what do you want to know?  Well, it was my first Thanksgiving dinner cooked on American soil.  Back when I was free and single and shared a house with lots of people who liked to eat, I got into the habit of celebrating the American feast for a few years, until the number of people we wanted to invite outgrew the available space rather badly.  Then I moved to Texas, where the generosity of the natives ensured that we did nothing but turn up and eat other people's food for several years.  Until this year, where we had guests ourselves, in the shape of Graham's parents, and felt like it was about time we repaid some hospitality.  With Anthony and Maddy and my friends Sharon and Jan, there were six of us plus the little one.  Not too ridiculous a number to cook for.

Look, the table's laid and the starters are ready.

And here's all the food, ready to eat.

We had turkey, of course.  And stuffing cooked in little balls, and roast potatoes (because as Brits it is unthinkable to have roast dinner without the best bit), and mashed potatoes, and sweet potatoes (not with marshmallows on) and green beans and carrots and cranberry sauce and... are you getting hungry yet?  If you are, there's one recipe I want to share, if only because I made it with kale from my very own garden.  And it could go with lots of things, so you don't have to wait till next Thanksgiving to make it.

Kale with Currants, Lemon and Olives
1/4 cup / 2 oz dried currants (or raisins)
1 lb kale
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup / 4 fl oz chicken stock (or turkey stock if you've already made some from giblets)
1/2 cup / 3 oz sliced pitted kalamata olives
zest of one lemon and 1 tbsp of its juice
salt and pepper

Cut your kale leaves off the plant and throw straight into boiling water for 5 minutes until cooked.  Tip a bit of the hot water over the currants in a bowl, to soften them, and chop the kale coarsely.

Get a fairly large frying pan / skillet, and heat the butter and olive oil.  Cook the onion over a moderate heat until soft.  Add the stock and kale, cover and cook for 3 minutes or so until the kale is hot and sizzling.  Stir in the drained currants, olives, lemon juice and zest and keep stirring till it's all heated through.  Season with salt and pepper.

Aaah, finally!

Toby fans will be pleased to hear that he got his own bowlful and enjoyed it very much.  Except perhaps the green beans, many of which were found hiding in unlikely places afterwards.  He was also enthralled by the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade.

Look at all those people!

Watching this on Thanksgiving morning is a bit like watching the fireworks in London at New Year - it has to be on the TV, even if just to provide some background music.  After lunch Toby himself was the main entertainment.  Who needs TV when you have a baby in the house?

Mine, Grandma!

Aren't I hilarious, Grandad?

2 comments:

Kristal Dawn Evens said...

That kale recipe sounds delish! Good job Martha!

Ellie said...

Just catching up on your blog. Ah - such good memories of your AMAZING cooking for Thanksgiving, glad it went well this year. Hope you have a lovely Christmas and all the best for the new year. Ellie xx