Every family in America has their own traditions for this special holiday and my family is no different. It just isn't Thanksgiving for me without my mother's cranberry relish: a chunky, less-sweet alternative to cranberry jelly; my grandmother's pork and chestnut stuffing and her amazing mince tarts: both a loving homage to her British heritage and one we carry on today as we still, sixteen years after her passing, miss her deeply... especially at the holidays.
The two years I was living in Italy I tried my best to carry on my family's Thanksgiving traditions. The first year I was a student on study abroad where I was fortunate to be part of the school's organized potluck for American students and their Italian roommates. We shared the most enormous turkey I have ever seen in my entire life and everyone brought something traditional from their family. My neighbor made her family's corn and jalepeno soup, I made Mom's cranberry relish (she had to ship me the cranberries, of course!), and other students brought pies, side dishes, and wine. It was a lovely feast and a wonderful sense of camaraderie was shared - exactly what we all missed from home.
|Valentina, Maya, me, Veronica, Stefano - the four student roommates and our gentleman escort|
|Me and Marty in front of my favorite piazza in Bologna - Santo Stefano - on my last trip to Italy 2008|
Roasted Parsnips with Cranberries and Orange - serves 6-8
2lbs parsnips, julienned
6 tbs butter (or vegan substitute)
1.5 cup fresh cranberries, rinsed and picked over.
1 cup leek, sliced
1/4 cup brown sugar (do not pack)
2 tsp ginger powder
1/2 tsp thyme
zest of 1 orange
salt and pepper, to taste
2 oranges, supreme
Preheat oven to 375º F
Melt butter. Add sugar, ginger powder, orange zest, thyme, salt and pepper. Combine well.
Julienne carrots. Combine with sliced leeks and well rinsed cranberries. Pour melted butter-sugar mixture over vegetables and toss to combine well.
Cover with foil and roast for 15 minutes. Remove foil and continue roasting for another 15-20 minutes or until parsnips are tender. Garnish with orange sections and serve.
Happy Thanksgiving to all Americans at home and abroad and a very big thank you to all my international friends who have celebrated with me either at home or when I lived abroad. Friends together at the table is what makes life special!