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Diary of a New England Thanksgiving

28 Nov RoastingCarrots, Sweet Potatoes and Apples

2011 was the first year that I cooked an entire Thanksgiving, soup to tart. For the last couple of years, I had been preparing side dishes and desserts, and my mother would contribute the protein (a.k.a. the main event), along with candied sweet potatoes and some other enticing accompaniment like corn bread stuffing with turkey sausage and dried cherries.

This Thanksgiving, I wasn’t traveling, but I was cooking in my new apartment in a new/old city. What was I going to do to make the holiday memorable? I decided I was going to try mostly new recipes, with a few old standbys thrown in. I also knew that I wasn’t going to cook turkey.

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The Little Dutch Oven That Could: Soup for the Snow

10 Jan Cornmeal Dumplings Simmering

Today, I awoke at 5:30 am to discover the city of Charlotte blanketed by a pristine pre-dawn snow. I had been following the weather forecasts for the past few days, but I am ever a doubting Thomas, having grown up in precipitation-alarmist DC, and despite having lived through  last year’s snowmaggedon there. Sure enough, the meteorologists were correct and school was closed for the day. My feelings were mixed about a day at home. On one hand, extra time to relax, watch some TV (and write this blog) are welcome opportunities. On the other hand, I dread future lab make-up days that may be scheduled by  Johnny Wales for less than ideal times. (Today would have been our prep day for our practical on pies and tarts tomorrow.)

Ambivalence aside, I resolved to return to bed. But by that time, I had already eaten breakfast and was a bit restless. So I busied myself with some reading and other tasks. I watched the news reports promising sleet and ice for later tonight and the segment on pre-snow grocery shopping madness. Seems pasta was the biggest seller, which makes sense. Easy to cook, filling, and comforting on a cold day.

Just like the dumpling soup I made this weekend, a recipe from the January issue of bon appétit magazine. I’ve been on a bit of a vegetable kick lately. So when I saw this recipe for a hearty “southern-style” soup of cornmeal dumplings, with andouille and mixed greens, I couldn’t help but test it out. Dumplings definitely make good dinner companions in the snow.

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