Thanksgiving Dinner

Getting hit by lightning is not fun! If you would like to help me in my recovery efforts, which include moving to the SW, feel free to hit the fundraiser at A New Life on GiveSendGo, use the options in the Tip Jar in the upper right, or drop me a line to discuss other methods. It is thanks to your gifts and prayers that I am still going. Thank you.

Even if I could have afforded it, I would not have done the “traditional” meal yesterday. First, it’s just me and the traditional meal is a bit much even with how much I enjoy eating. Second, it’s a labor of love that needs to be shared. The last time I cooked the full meal was for a military unit, and it wasn’t that much more effort and ingredients than some past family gatherings.

Besides, I do try to keep Keto though I did go off it yesterday rather thoroughly. Most of my favorites growing up don’t qualify these days: rice and gravy, sweet potato casserole with pecan crust, a green congealed salad with cream cheese and pecans, and the stuffing. I do miss a good pecan pie, and while she was not a part of the Thanksgiving crowd, my cousin Ann was a baker who could hold her own against some professional chefs, and her pies and cakes were amazing.

Also, I have to admit, that after the lightning strike and all that happened, I don’t eat as much as I used to. Even a normal meal can make me feel bloated and uncomfortable for hours. Dinner can be as much a snack as anything else these days.

So, I opted for a full meal but with reduced portions. I have salmon in the freezer because I needed a couple of portions a while back for a recipe, which meant I had to get a package of the thankfully individually shrink-wrapped portions. Salmon was a luxury growing up, a rarity, and I will have to give my mother props for her salmon croquettes. I don’t think I had fresh salmon until I was in high school. So, luxury meat I bought when prices were much, much better it is. Grilled with a smokey bourbon glaze.

At the doctor’s recommendation after the open heart surgery, I went off Keto a bit and discovered I don’t miss a lot of the standard carbs. Exceptions are pecan waffles, mashed potatoes (real is better than instant, but…), and crackers and corn chips. Since I had decided to have a waffle for breakfast, I opted to go for mashed cauliflower instead of potato. With additional butter and cheese, not bad and filled that spot. Did cheat and buy it on sale.

The veggie was another treat from childhood, asparagus. Rare treat growing up was canned asparagus (you almost never saw fresh in the store back then) with mayo. Bit of dill maybe. So, Aldi had some fresh in and on sale, and while I prefer to grill, our little porch grill is not good for that. So, I did a sautee with a bit of white wine, butter, olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic, and a hint of smoked paprika.

I had a can of the green ripe olives in the emergency stash. Growing up, the black ripe olives were a huge hit with pretty much everyone. Not sure if it is true, but heard a tale of one alleged adult getting into a fist fight with two or three of the toddlers, and not coming out ahead. I may or may not have been one of the toddlers involved. Toddlers tend to punch out and up. Male or female adult groins are quite sensitive and make a good target. Enough said. For all that I do still enjoy the black olives, I found the tree-ripened olives many years back and have not looked back. Amazing flavor. Second major comfort food niche filled.

For those who want to try it, the glaze for the salmon is easy to do. In a bowl, I put a dollop (precise measurements people, precise measurements!) of raw local honey, about a half a teaspoon of bourbon, a couple of drops of lime juice, chipotle, smoked salt, fresh ground pepper, and a bit of hot smoked paprika. Don’t drink? Leave the bourbon out. Want to double down on the smokey flavor? Use a good Islay Scotch instead. Mix well, place on top of the salmon, and cook. Yesterday, I fashioned a container around the salmon with aluminum foil to ensure that when the glaze melted it stuck around to give max flavor.

Desert was a slice of Key Lime Pie. It was okay, though I wish I could have gotten it from Publix, as that chain does amazing Key Lime pies! The white wine I used with the asparagus was not quite a two-buck-chuck, but close enough that I had wondered if it would even be good. It was, with some wonderful citrus notes that worked well with the asparagus and tasted good when drinking. Pro Tip: if you would not drink the wine, do not cook with it. Later, I did have some bourbon as I relaxed in my chair.

So, I hope your day was filled with love as well as good and tasty things. I got started on my giving thanks ahead of time as on the day things can get hectic.

Oh, and nice thing about my meal was that I had everything prepared and cooked in right around an hour. Clean-up took maybe 15-30 minutes. Not bad for Thanksgiving.