Many Happy Returns Of The Holiday
Last year, Thanksgiving was a true challenge. We were out of power for days, and an ice storm brought down huge trees, closed roads, and made walking a potential disaster. This year, all was calm, if damp (we got nearly 2 inches of rain). Though my housemates were mostly away snow camping, several of us gathered for a joyful meal.
Even though we were few in number, I still cooked as if we were many. That’s because my family enjoys leftovers as much or more than the original Thanksgiving meal. Indeed, my son (the camper) requested that I make my traditional casseroles for him to eat upon his return from the snowy mountains.
After The Feast Is Over
This is my family’s favorite aftermath meal of the entire year. It’s worth cooking for a crowd even if you don’t have one, just to get these splendid leftovers.
Personal Thanksgiving Casseroles
6 individual casserole dishes
6 cups mashed potatoes
3 cups gravy
3 cups turkey, chopped
1 cup caramelized onions
1 cup sweet corn
2 cups stuffing
1 cup cranberry-orange relish
Thin gravy with water or broth, making 3 cups in all. Into each casserole, place 2 tablespoons gravy, then layer in all remaining ingredients, reserving half the mashed potatoes. Spoon in remaining gravy, top with mashed potatoes (thinned with milk as needed), smoothing to cover completely. Bake in a 350 degree F oven until bubbling hot (30-40 minutes) and serve hot. Serves 6. Yum!
Pie And/Or Pudding
I always make a pumpkin pie or two for the holidays, including non-dairy versions when we have lactose-intolerant guests. Here’s one of my most requested versions, lively with fresh ginger and rich with coconut milk.
Dairy Free Pumpkin Pie
1 9-inch pie crust
2 cups cooked pumpkin pulp (canned works fine)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
3 cups unsweetened coconut milk
3/4 cup dark brown sugar, lightly packed
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely grated
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Press crust into a 9 inch pie pan and crimp edge. Combine remaining ingredients in order given, stirring well. Pour into pie shell and bake 15 minutes at 425. Reduce heat to 350 and bake for 45 minutes or until pie is done (knife blade comes out clean). Let stand for 30 minutes. Serve warm or cold. Serves 6-8.
A Delightful Alternative or Adjunct
This lush rice pudding gains richness from the wholegrain black rice, which has a pleasantly nutty flavor, and from the coconut milk. I like the boxed kind, which is unsweetened and not too thick.
Black Rice Pudding
1 cup black rice
1 quart coconut milk (the boxed kind is great)
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
In a rice cooker, combine the rice, 3 cups coconut milk, the sugar and the salt and cook until done. Let stand, covered, for 15 minutes, then serve, topped with remaining coconut milk. Serves 6-8.