Kale, Butternut Squash Salad (recipe below)

I may have mentioned that my family went out to eat for Thanksgiving last year. I wasn’t happy about the plan but you know what?  My day wasn’t spent in the kitchen. Instead of a marathon meal, it was more like a 10K. I drank and ate what I wanted (as did everyone else) and wasn’t sucked into having things because they’re traditional or homemade. And there are no second helpings when you’re at a restaurant. We’re going out again this year and I’m thrilled. Most of clients will be hosting or at a relative’s next Thursday. They will face the typical holiday booby traps, food pushers etc. but the tide is turning. It’s no longer about having a heart attacky holiday feast with a lonely, decorative vegetable. Nope, more and more we’re hearing “nobody needs marshmallows on sweet potatoes” and we concur. Here’s our Foodtrainers’ dream Thanksgiving and I have no plans for next year in case you’re cooking…

Appetizers should be very simple maybe olives (I’m voting Cerignoa), Parsnip Chips or veggies and my new favorite dip Basilicotta.
 I served this Kale Butternut Squash salad at Halloween but if I were hosting Thanksgiving I’d serve it again. It’s seasonal/festive but healthy and so delicious. My friend Jenna from Rosaberry concocted it; I wish I had thought of it. I guess it isn’t Thanksgiving-like to be jealous.
1.5 pounds butternut squash, diced
Extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper
1 bunch lacinato kale, thick stems removed and cut into thin strips
Juice of one lemon
2 Tablespoons pepitas
  1. Preheat the oven to 425°. Line a baking pan with parchment paper. Place the squash on the pan and toss with a tablespoon of olive oil, kosher salt, and pepper. Roast until golden brown, about 25-30 minutes.
  2. To toast the pepitas, place them in a dry frying pan over medium heat. Cook until golden, stirring frequently.
  3. Place the kale in a large bowl. Using your hands toss with olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Taste frequently and make sure the kale is well-seasoned. Add the squash, toss again, and taste again.
  4. Place on a serving platter. Sprinkle with the pepitas.

You may not think so but Brussels sprouts are crowd pleasers. Perhaps you’ve had them roasted or spruced up with bacon or pancetta. But have you had hash?
Brussels Sprout Hash with Caramelized Shallots.

Unbutter (I have used half the suggested amount) or you’ll have to unbutton.
Carolyn wrote a Thanksgiving post on WebMD regarding turkey, an unappetizing excerpt:
“Did you know that traditional, factory farmed turkeys are artificially inseminated to reproduce? That’s how I’ll start the dinner conversation this year. If I have my way, none of us will ever look at the turkey baster the same way again. That’s not even taking into account the massive overfeeding, followed by saline and flavor injections to improve taste and texture. Eventually my family members will give me “the look”, or an elbow, or both. I’m giving you the opportunity to get a wild, heritage, or organic turkey.”
In case Carolyn scared you, Rustic Root has turkeys from Hemlock Hill Farm “Free Range, Pasture Raised, No Antibiotics, Steroids or Hormones of any kind.”
They are so concerned that you may be serving up steroids, they are offering free delivery just enter the code- foodtrainers, at checkout. Order before Friday at 5pm.

I am a big fan of the Smart Grain brand and use their gluten free bread crumbs in meatloaf and for breading. The have a Sage Stuffing that I believe both G-Free NYC and Gary Nulls carry.

Raw Pumpkin Mousse
Next year, when you invite me over bear in mind I’m not such a dessert person. I’ll be perfectly happy with a square of Alter Eco Quinoa/Dark Chocolate. If you insist on serving something, I like treats in ramekins. How about…pumpkin mousse? After all, there is no need for “crust” after a holiday meal.
I’m so thankful to be able to be lighthearted. I am thinking about those people who don’t have a place to go for Thanksgiving or always hosted in a house that no longer exists. I’m having a little Sandy fundraiser on 11/29, email me if you’d like more information.
In the meantime? What would be on your dream Thanksgiving menu? Any of these recipes/ideas you think you’ll try? Will Carolyn cause you to look at your turkey differently?


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