thanksgiving preparations.

Hey, y’all!  Thanksgiving is just 2 days away, and I am super excited for my favorite holiday of the year.  My mom is coming to town in mere hours!!!!!  I hope you’ve already done your planning and shopping, so you don’t have to head into the last minute madness, but if you haven’t yet- fear not.  You will survive!  As my husband says with sincere cheer, “You can’t beat the spirit of the holidays.”

My refrigerator is currently busting at the seams with fresh fall produce ready to be turned into delicious, shareable Turkey Day side dishes.  Ooh, and pie.  Adam will make pie, of course.

apple pie

When he brought this “tester” rustic apple pie in to work last week, the most expert baker of the lot, a self-proclaimed apple pie aficionado, said that this was the best apple pie she’d ever eaten in her life.  Here’s to hoping he can recreate that magic on Thanksgiving Day!  I have faith.

apples

With beautiful apples like these, and a few tricks up his sleeve- like adding cracked black pepper to the apple mixture to bring a little savory to the sweet party- I’m sure Adam’s pie will be outstanding.

I’m actually using apples in lots of different ways for this year’s Thanksgiving meal.  I’ll use apple cider along with homemade chicken broth and some peeled diced apples to braise my collard greens.  And for added depth, I’m going to mix in two kinds of kale and giant local brussel sprout leaves.  I’m also going to create a shredded beet, apple, and carrot salad with pistachios and a tangy sherry-dijon vinaigrette.  Apples helped bring dimension to my totally knock-your-socks-off roasted squash soup as well- already chilling in the fridge as we speak, er type.  This year Adam and I roasted a butternut squash, an acorn squash, and a sweet dumpling squash for our customary open-the-feast soup.  Super Tip!!  Try using a melon baller to scoop out the seeds from your squashes.  It makes the work much quicker, cleaner, and easier!

It’s an appletastic time of year, and I don’t think apples are ever really overbearing- so I suggest that you embrace them for their subtle sweetness along with their tartness and their uncanny ability to either assimilate into a dish in which they play a supporting role OR one in which they totally steal the scene.

Maybe you’ve sorted out your Thanksgiving meal plan, but don’t have a clue what to bring to your friend’s Post-Turkey Day football party.  Here’s a quick, colorful, and delicious side dish that boasts many of fall’s greatest contributions, including the apple.  All of these ingredients were available at my local farmer’s market on Sunday, so it’s a highly accessible and seasonally appropriate dish to create now.  And that means, the produce is at its peak of freshness and flavor.  So, yum!  The variety of radishes right now is pretty awesome- I saw black radishes, red ones, white, watermelon radishes, daikon, and more!  Be adventurous and choose some funky radishes and some crisp apples!

ingredients collard green slaw

 Collard Green Slaw

10 big leaves or about a half of a giant bunch of collard greens, thick ribs cut out, leaves cut in half longways and then rolled up and ribboned thinly

2 large carrots, or several smaller ones, peeled and shredded on a box grater

4 radishes, cut into matchsticks or half moons

1 large or two small apples, cut into matchsticks

About 3/4 Cup or a couple handfuls roasted sunflower seeds or roasted pepitas or pecans

sliced collards

collard slaw ready to dress

 For the dressing:

generous ½ Cup mayo

2 T apple cider vinegar

1 t dijon mustard

2 cloves garlic, peeled

Quick squeeze of honey

a smallish sprig of rosemary, leaves stripped off and chopped

A couple good pinches of salt and freshly ground pepper.

Place all of those ingredients in the cup of your immersion blender or in a small food processor.  Pulse to combine.  Then, slowly drizzle in a few Tablespoons of olive oil while your machine is whirring.  When you see/ hear the dressing tighten up or emulsify, stop and taste.  Adjust seasoning to your liking.  You can add more salt, pepper, or honey.  The dressing should be quite tangy with the honey softening the edges a little bit.

collard green slaw

Begin by drizzling about half of your dressing over the bowl of collards et al.  Use your hands to toss the ingredients.  Add dressing a little at a time until you are satisfied with the coating of your veggies, but be careful not to overdress the slaw.  Once you allow the slaw to sit in the fridge and chill for a while (at least 20 minutes, but up to a few hours) the vegetables and apple will begin to release their own moisture.  An overdressed slaw can lead to a soupy mess, so be stingy with your dressing, a good coating is all you need.

collard green slaw close up

This slaw is so fresh and inviting!  I love the contrast of bitter from the greens and radishes and the sweet and tart from the apples that swirls around in every bite.  Additional sweetness and  earthiness from the carrots and roastiness from the seeds round out the festival of yum in this dish.  The rosemary is a lovely complement.  It’s crunchy and interesting and a fun way to shake up a traditional slaw, while showcasing the season’s edible gifts.

I’m wishing you and yours the most fabulous Thanksgiving ever.  Life is short, my friends, so be sure to hug your people tight and enjoy every moment and sentiment of the holiday.

Much love and happy cooking and eating to you,

ashli

 

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