Romance Writers Weekly: Two Days until Thanksgiving!

Hello, and welcome in! Thanks for hopping over from A.S Fenichel’s blog. Have you all checked out her new book?

Two day to Thanksgiving, and I’ve been cooking to get ready for it since last Friday. I am Puerto-Rican/Italian, and I grew up surrounded by my Italian relatives. So I grew up to be a foodie, and there is the understanding that food = love. If you love someone, you cook for them. My husband is fond of telling people that when we got married, I didn’t know how to cook for just two people. Which is true. I didn’t. I cook for the army. This is one of the reasons I like Thanksgiving.

In my house growing up, we had our Thanksgiving traditions. I lived most of my life in midtown Manhattan, so we’d get up early on Thanksgiving and walk across town to Broadway to see the parade. And freeze. (One year? Snow up to our ankles!) Once Santa went past, we’d walk home, and watch the end of the parade again on TV while we thawed out. Food would start about midday, and would be an Italian-American amalgam — antipasti and lasagna, followed by a traditional Thanksgiving meal.

I was as tall as I am now before I knew that other people didn’t have lasagna on Thanksgiving.  Which, in my opinion, meant that everyone else was missing out.

In my house now, we have our own traditions. No, we don’t have lasagna. I save that for Christmas Day now.  The turkey is always made using  Alton Brown’s brined turkey recipe.  There’s always my friend Erika’s bourbon sweet potatoes (I need that recipe). My son makes the pumpkin pie. There’s always way too many leftovers. And we start with nibble food earlier in the day while the turkey is in the oven.  One of the nibble food offerings that must be on the table is a Moroccan Carrot Dip.

When I say must, I’m serious. When we went to my sister’s house in North Carolina for Thanksgiving five years ago, I measured out the spices necessary for this, printed off another copy of the recipe, and made it in her kitchen. And left the copy of the recipe there, because it was a huge hit with the rest of the extended family.

If I even think about not making this, there is pouting from the men in my life.  It’s that good.

I first found the recipe courtesy of the New York Times. They ran a series in 2010 on having a vegetarian Thanksgiving, and this was one of the recipes they offered. It’s really very easy — the most tedious part is peeling the carrots. It’s worth it to peel and cut your own carrots, though. One year, I was lazy and bough precut carrot coins, and it didn’t taste the same.

Moroccan Carrot Dip
(from Well’s Vegetarian Thanksgiving, New York Times, 2010)

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 pounds carrots, peels and sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced (or to taste. Two is never enough for me)
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon mined fresh cilantro (we’re not big fans of cilantro, so I never add this)
  1. Heat one tablespoon oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the carrots and 1/2 teaspoon of salt and cook until they begin to soften, 5-7 minutes Stir in garlic and spices and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add water and bring to a simmer.  Cover, reduce heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, until carrots are tender, about 15-20 minutes
  2. Off the heat, mash the carrots with a potato masher, leaving larger pieces of texture (don’t make it smooth! It’s a dip, not baby food!) Stir in remain 2 tablespoons of oil and vinegar. Transfer to a bowl, cover, and refrigerate until chilled. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and spring with cilantro before serving.  Can be made ahead and refrigerated up to two days, but wait to add the salt and pepper and cilantro until right before you serve.

Nutritional information (per 1/4 cup serving): Calories: 80. Fat: 4.5 grams. (saturated 0.5 grams). Cholesterol: 0 milligrams.  Carbohydrates, 9 grams. Protein: 1 gram.  Fiber: 3 grams. Sodium: 180 milligrams.

I hope you enjoy trying this dip. I serve it with crackers and crudites, and I find that it tastes really good on celery!

From here, you’ll be heading on over to Caro Kinkead, who I think is baking up something cool for you.

Happy Thanksgiving!

What do you think?

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