Friday, November 26, 2010

Inside our Thanksgiving dinner

Using an orange zester to zest an orange.Image via Wikipedia
I had the tool, but zesting two oranges was the hardest part of the recipe.

If I had a larger stock pot, I would have ruined the healthy carrot-fennel soup I prepared for Thanksgiving and been stuck with a lot of watery stuff that I could never serve my guests. The recipe I included in my last post must be in error on the huge amount of water called for.

I started sauteeing sliced onion, garlic and fennel in olive oil Thursday morning. Meanwhile, I sliced the 5 pounds of organic carrots I had peeled the night before, and when the other ingredients were translucent, added the carrots and water.

The recipe, from the Stony Hill Inn in Hackensack, calls for two and a half gallons of water, but I couldn't find a pitcher that was marked with its volume. A Brita pitcher we use for home-purified water was marked in cups, but only two-thirds up the side, ending at "10c." The Brita Web site gave the volume in 8-ounce glasses. (A gallon has 16 cups).

So, I poured nearly a full Brita pitcher of water into the pot, probably a gallon in total, and that was all that would fit. There wasn't even room for the optional two cups of milk, so I saved that step for later.

I boiled the mixture until the carrots were soft, about 40 minutes, and added zest from two oranges. Then, I started transferring the solids and some liquid into a blender to puree them. I should have poured the low-fat milk into the blender, not the pot, because when all the solids were removed, there was still a lot of milky liquid left, and I was forced to discard it.

I was left with a pleasantly thick and grainy carrot soup that tasted neither of fennel nor orange zest, but once I seasoned it with salt and white pepper, it was bursting with flavor. It went over big at dinner.

The rest of the menu was easy to prepare: 

Ravioli with beef for my guests, my son and my wife; lobster ravioli for me, both from Costco and both drizzled with extra-virgin olive oil and a shower of black pepper from a mill; seasoned turkey thighs, drumsticks and wings from the Goffle Road Poultry Farm in Wyckoff that took on a beautiful color during simple roasting; baked sweet potatoes and yams; jellied and whole cranberries, and a big salad.

My reward for not eating meat was several glasses of delicious wine from La Familia Bujanda in Spain (made from the tempranillo grape), and a mid-afternoon nap.
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