I’m back in New Jersey for the holidays. We had a lovely traditional Thanksgiving dinner at Carolyn’s. The Thanksgiving meal centers around the turkey but I like to think of it as a vegetarians feast, because it’s all about the side dishes. Carolyn and I made mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes with apples and raisins, mashed routabagas, green beans with toasted almonds, chestnut stuffing, whole cranberry orange relish, butternut ginger squash and Lee made delicious creamed pearl onions. It was followed up with Apple Pie and Pecan Pie with an Irish twist! Thanksgiving is all about sharing with family and friends and being thankful for what you have. I was very happy to be back in my “other home” with my son, Sergio James Reyes-Sheehan. Shay (as I call him) missed our Thanksgiving last year because he was on a road trip, working as sound technician for the upcoming 2009 documentary – “Faster.” It’s a film about the benefits of healthy eating and juice fasting to control autoimmune diseases. Some of the crew worked on Micheal Moore’s “Sicko” and Morgan Spurlock’s “Supersize Me.” Shay didn’t eat “kids food” when he was growing up. I cooked our dinners and we ate the same meals, together at the dinner table. When he was a toddler, I eliminated dairy from his diet to try and stop his chronic upper respitory infections and ear infections. And guess what, it worked! It was hard for him to go to birthday parties where it was always pizza, ice cream and cakes but he was healthy, energetic, a great athlete all through his school years and grew into a strapping 6′ 5″ man who appreciates a diverse diet and living in NYC he gets to experiment with all kinds of foods. So, the moral of this story is – from the time your children start eating solid foods, educate them about food as you would everything else. Expose them to a variety of tastes and textures and the family dining experience, even if it’s only the two of you. Ok, back to our Thanksgiving. The weekend was full with gatherings, long walks on the Delaware Raritan Canal, good food and visiting with old friends. Here’s a recipe from “Coming Home To Cook” and my favorite Pecan Pie recipe.
On page 37 of Coming Home To Cook I have a recipe for Maple Squash with Pumpkin Seeds. I simplified this, eliminating the shallots and pumpkin seeds, used the honey instead of the maple syrup and a little less parsley. It came out great, try it!
1 butternut squash (cut into 8 pieces)
1 Tbl butter and 1 Tbl. olive oil
11/2 Tbl. minced fresh ginger root
2 tsp. tamari (aged soy sauce)
2 Tbl. chopped scallions, whites and greens
1 Tbl. honey
2 Tbl. chopped curly parsley
salt and pepper to taste.
Steam the squash. When tender but still a little firm, remove from heat and let cool. Peel, seed and dice into bite size chunks. Set aside. Heat btter and oil in a skilet. Add ginger and cook until brown. Add all of the rest of ingredients, in order, turning to coat. Cook until squash is tender and serve. Serves 4-6
Potcheen Pecan Pie
I’ve experimented with a lot of Pecan Pie recipes, adding chocolate , some with different kinds of whiskeys. This year, I brought back a bottle of Irish moonshine, it adds a spark and a unique taste that will keep your guests wondering…….what does she put in this?
Use you favorite pastry dough or the one on page 75 of “Coming Home To Cook.” Line a 8″ pan with dough, place another pan or dry beans over the crust and bake for 5 minutes at 180c or 350f, or until the crust starts to look baked but not brown. (The purpose of the pan or beans is so the crust won’t bubble and break)
In a bowl mix together:
1 cup dark corn syrup (karo)
1 cup fine white sugar
2 Tbl. potcheen or your favorite whiskey
Pour into cooled pie pan, top with 6 oz. of whole pecans and bake for 1 hour.
Serve with lots of fresh whipped cream !