Posts Tagged 'Pumpkin'

Fall Flavors

Here in Spain it is still totally fall.  So I’m sticking with this title.  And anyways, these ‘fall flavors’ are equally valid throughout winter.  What are they? Comfort food.

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Thanksgiving in a foreign land…again

Well, here I am writing about my Thanksgiving while listening to Christmas music – and I have a stern rule about the order of my celebrations.  Yes, I finally made good on my warning that I’d be updating this blog rather sporadically this year.  My Master’s degree in translation and interpreting finally required me to show up for class and instantly all my free time converted into glossary building and research on free translation tools.  This weekend I get my last break, so I’m trying to take advantage of the gap and get everything done.  Including finally writing about Thanksgiving.  Just so you know?  The pictures have been moldering in draft status for three weeks.  So I’m only half lazy.

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A Very Expat Thanksgiving

Technically, I am not an expatriate.  But I thought it was a catchy title.  I wasn’t really planning to write about this adventure as the food is rather traditional and there are a bajillion and one recipes out there.  Also, I was too damn busy cooking to bother to take pictures.  But my friend Victoria requested a play-by-play of some of the hiccups that I ran into,  so this is for her.

This Thanksgiving was important to me.  It was my very first Thanksgiving pretending to be an adult – as I live many thousands of miles away from all of my family, I could not simply show up to my mother’s house and throw together a pie, then repeat the same process at my father’s place.  Also, I don’t have my beautiful, beautiful Emile Henri matchy matchy ceramic pie pans here.  Though I was so grief-stricken at the thought of leaving them that I almost shoved one into my carry-on.  Then I picked up the carry-on and opted for tin. I still have recurring pangs of loss. At least I can visit with my family through webcam.  A pie plate has very little to say.

Anyways.  I love Thanksgiving, and I wasn’t going to let my emotional pie pan baggage or complete lack of turkey experience stop me from making something happen.  My group of friends here has met many different Americans through a conversation exchange program (including me), but they have never celebrated a Thanksgiving, most likely because students living with a host-family don’t have free reign of the kitchen, and American movies and TV are always telling us that we will fail.  Hilariously, but we will fail.  I did save a Domino’s coupon for this very reason.  I at least have the upper hand in that I have prepared every dish at least once, minus having full command of the turkey.  I was feeling great, until I recalculated the guest list.  We would be twelve.  And nine of those would be a group of men with black holes for stomachs.  And the challenge was set.

In the end, I set Día de Acción de Gracias for the Saturday before, because one of our roommates is moving to Argentina and had no time during the actual Thanksgiving weekend.  I picked a Saturday because you don’t get a federal American holiday off when you are living in Spain, so I gave myself the lead time to prep the feast properly, especially since I don’t have classes on Friday.

Our planned Thanksgiving menu:

4 chickens

Green beans with onion, bacon, and chopped almonds,

Oven-roasted carrots


Cranberry sauce

Mashed potatoes with parmesan


2 apple pies

Pumpkin pie

Whipped cream

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Sri Lankan Mega Feast!

I have eaten very little today, because I am still full from yesterday, the titular Sri Lankan Mega Feast.  I was not comfortably full until two full hours after having stopped eating.  It was that good.  This post is going to be long, because I couldn’t help but bug Michelle and her sister Andrea constantly for what exactly was going into my stomach.   But first, a short explanation of how I came about risking intestinal explosion…

My friend Michelle is one of the best cooks I know, especially at our tender age.  I can bake, but I bow down to actual savory cookery.  Her family is Sri Lankan, from Canada, living in the US, so it’s a mish mash (I enjoy hearing about their Thanksgiving meals), but it’s all delicious.  What’s even better is that her sister Andrea is just as good a cook.  And their mother is too; I got to eat fabulous things from the hands of all three yesterday, and I’m going to eat the leftovers for dinner tonight. At first it was just a big old happy get together at Michelle’s house, but it was extra special because she just got into her top choice of medical school!  Congratulations again, Michelle!

A list:

Eggplant curry (I don’t yet have the recipe, but I do have a promise from their mother that she’ll teach me)

Two types of chicken curry (also subject of a future cooking exchange)

Green beans, Sri Lankan style

The most fabulous daal ever.

Mango lassi


In addition, I made a pie as my ticket of entry, and another guest made up a pumpkin and apple casserole that got ethnicized by the happy addition of coconut milk powder (the magic ingredient).  But enough of my chit chat.  To the recipes.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lankan Mega Feast!’

Hey, I'm Desa. I've been bouncing between the Pacific Northwest and Sevilla, Spain in the last few years and from tiny apartment to tiny apartment. I cook mainly for one, which means some potentially boring meals, but here I'll be sharing the food that excites me. Feel free to offer suggestions, commiseration, or desires. And thanks for coming by!


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