Post-Thanksgiving equals salad

Hi friends. Welcome to post-Thanksgiving! Or pre-Christmas, or December, or whatever you call it. I hope that if you celebrated Thanksgiving last week you had a lovely one filled with lots of butter and cream.

I know I certainly did – and loved every minute of it! We are vegetarians around here so our big meal didn’t include the turkey, but it certainly did include plenty of butter and cream.

We had pumpkin soup topped with buttered chanterelle mushrooms and cream biscuits for our starter. If you’ve never had cream biscuits, I implore you to try these. The cream makes them effortlessly flaky and tender. No worrying about cutting the butter in enough and into the right size pieces, no worrying about overworking the dough. Just perfect biscuits. The soup was also to die for, it will be gracing my table many more times this winter.

pumpkin

Then we dove into a host of veggie dishes, starring roasted brussels sprouts with pine nuts and Parmesan, garlicky green beans, ginger-spiked mashed sweet potatoes topped with pecans, and vanilla cranberry sauce. I can never make enough of those brussels sprouts, they are a huge favorite of ours. And the cranberry sauce hit all the right notes – it was citrusy, lightly spiced, sweet and pleasantly sour.

cranberries

The sweet potatoes really stole the show though. Smooth and creamy, like the best mashed potatoes should be, they were also shot through with fresh ginger – a perfect foil to the natural sweetness of the potatoes. The crunchy nut topping added just the right amount of crunch and didn’t go anywhere near the “candied yam” territory. I would make these sweet potatoes for any winter meal. I don’t have a recipe to link to for those because I kind of made them up as I went along, but maybe I will post about them here in the next couple weeks (oooh what a tease!)

thanksgiving

Our main event was a decadent, fancy macaroni and cheese with mushrooms, Gruyère and Emmental, topped with homemade croutons and baked in the oven. Oh boy. This was truly a grown-up version of mac and cheese. I can’t say that it’s something I would make often, given the calorie count, but It. Was. So. Good.

mac and cheese

For dessert, I eschewed the standard pumpkin and apple pies and made instead a maple and nutmeg custard pie, as well as a cranberry upside down cake. Both were extremely tasty, but I have to admit that we missed the pumpkin pie and I ended up making one this week with my extra pie crust.

pumpkin pie

I would definitely recommend the maple and nutmeg pie though. It tasted like pancakes in custard form – so mapley and delicious!

It was a great meal, a great day, and a great weekend filled with people I love and lots of good eating. And I was very thankful.

But man oh man, do I need lots of salad now!

I know it’s not an epiphany that our bodies crave a balanced diet, but it always strikes me how strongly my system pushes me in one direction or the other depending on what nutrients I am lacking.

apple and parsley

The recipe I have to share with you today is not the type of recipe I would normally be drawn to while thumbing through a magazine. Let me tell you though – after last weekend, my body was pushing me towards this salad.

carrots and apple

I don’t generally love things that are sweet and sour, or savory things that have sweet notes. They just don’t do it for me. This salad brings both sweet and sour in spades, but it is so bright and tasty. I couldn’t help but love it. The flavors dance on the tongue. It is decidedly wholesome after a weekend of decadence, and it’s exactly what I need right now.

pretty salad

If you, like me, are feeling a bit weighed down by your Thanksgiving celebration, give this one a try. It will have you ready to take on the rest of the holiday season of eating in no time.

salad on spinach

Tangy Carrot-Apple Salad with Cider Vinaigrette

Adapted from Vegetarian Times
Makes 4 servings

  • 1 1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • 2 cups carrots, grated
  • 1 red apple, diced
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cups baby spinach

First, start the dressing by combining the cider vinegar and garlic in a small bowl. Let stand for at least 15 minutes, or longer if you have the time. The vinegar mellows out the garlic so it’s not as much like you are eating raw garlic.

Next, make the salad. Stir together the carrots, apple, parsley, and cranberries in a large bowl.

After your garlic has mellowed, finish the dressing by whisking the honey and olive oil into the cider vinegar mixture.

Add the dressing to the salad and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Ideally, however, you would let the salad sit in the fridge overnight. The longer it sits the more the flavors meld and deepen.

Once the salad has chilled, serve it on a bed of fresh spinach leaves.

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