Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Thanksgiving Recap

Still getting rid of the Thanksgiving weekend hangover. My family not only celebrated the most epic day of feasting all year this past weekend, but my Mom's 60th Birthday as well... which called for another feast in itself. When Underhill's celebrate we head to my parents' place in on Camano Island. It calls for game time, punctual 5:00 cocktail hour with Dad's Manhattans, and ridiculous "snack" spreads that start at 3:00 and wind down with enough food at dinner to last us through the week. Its also the one time of year I'll let myself cheat on being gluten free to stuff myself full of stuffing. Has to be Marie Callendar's cornbread stuffing. Has to be the same way we've made it since I can remember - celery, onion, walnuts and mushrooms. No more. Everyone has a favorite Thanksgiving food that they've deemed untouchable. Sometimes less fuss makes it better. Thanksgiving is an interesting combination of lavish dishes paired with simple favorites you've loved since you can remember Thanksgivings. Mine is the stuffing, so don't mess. Rather than recap recipes, I captured the wine, indulgence and smiles of my family. Happy post Thanksgiving, I'm prepping to detox just in time to redo it all at Christmas time :).

Monday, November 14, 2011

Giving in to Autumn with Brussels Sprouts

I just got back from a vacation to Mexico with my boyfriend, best friend and her man, and their two amazing friends whom I'd never met until we landed in Puerto Vallarta. The couples retreat was timed just right, I had my fill of drinking homemade pina coladas from a canteen, cooking or ordering tacos every night - made simply and un-fussed with like they should be. We soaked up as much sun as we did tequila and at the end of the trip I came home to discover that the bone-chilling cold of late Fall had finally set in while we were away.

Even though it's always a sad day when you pull out the winter coats and put away your flip flops, I don't mind too terribly. It's the turning point where massive maple leaves burst from green, to red, to yellow and orange - always most vibrant before they die. I like the crisp, cold walks in the sun on weekends with a scarf and hat and my hand shoved in my boyfriend's coat pocket. And I really like the Autumn vegetables that have started to wander into my CSA box and onto my plate. Tonight I made a healthy dinner that feels hearty but gave me a break from the beef stews and and potatoes that can prepare you for winter. Raw Brussels Sprout salad with pomegranate seeds and roasted root vegetables on the side. Favorite things about this food - you can easily find new ways to adjust the recipe with what you have on hand, and it tastes just as good an hour later as it does when served immediately.

Brussels Sprout Salad with Pomegranate Seeds
1/2 lb. Brussels Sprouts, shredded
1/2 C Tofu, cubed
1/4 Yellow Onion, finely sliced
1/3 C Pomegranate Seeds
1/4 C Toasted Almond Slivers
Handful of shaved Parmesan

1/4 C Olive Oil
1/2 C Apple Cider Vinegar
2 Tbs Dijon Mustard
2 tsp Honey
Salt and Pepper

 Dice tofu into cubes and pat dry. Season with salt and pepper and brown in a saute pan and set aside. Peel off outer leaves of Brussels sprouts and shred. Slice onion and place in a bowl of cold water - this will take away some of the bite! Whisk vinaigrette in a separate bowl and combine with all ingredients. Serve and top with Parmesan cheese.