Posts Tagged 'Thanksgiving'

Cranberrry sauce – not just for turkey

On my way to Spain to finish up my Master’s degree, I fell prey to one of my great weaknesses: buying everything in sight at the airport.  When you travel alone internationally, you really don’t have many other choices.  You are required to show up hours early then wander around the terminals amidst happy displays of tourist gear and snacks, bars and miniature shopping centers.  So I’ve now started budgeting my time in the airport into my travel spending plans.  Know thyself.

This time around, I impulse bought the Gourmet Magazine Holiday Special.  I was in love with Gourmet Magazine, then they shut down.  So when I saw that familiar calligraphy on the stand while I bought my anti-ear-squeeze gum for the plane, I snatched it up without an ounce of remorse.  Totally worth it.  It’s a compendium of holiday favorites from years past, and since I came to the game late, a lot of the recipes are new to me, though not all.

One of the recipes was for a delicious eggnog and cranberry cheesecake, which I attempted as my first every cheesecake.  Visually, it was a disaster.  But the flavor came out so beautifully, it’s already queued up as my next attempt – I’ll post it then.  But what did come out beautifully was the cranberry jam component, which ended up doing double duty as our cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving.  It was so good, I snatched up the cranberries when they went on sale to stick in the freezer for future batches.  I did jazz it up ever so slightly, but this is a soul-warmingly good balance of tart and sweet and perfect for any winter table, holiday feast or otherwise.

cranberry sauce-2

Continue reading ‘Cranberrry sauce – not just for turkey’

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

Continue reading ‘A Very Expat Thanksgiving’

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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