When my husband Ted, Cousin Martin and I visited Trinidad many years ago, we spent a week as houseguests of Kathleen, who lived in Arima, an Afro-Caribbean community in the center of the island. An amazing cook, she introduced us to all of the Trinidadian specialty dishes, washed down with her potent homemade ginger beer. It was the first time I experienced ginger in such a vibrant form, and I've never forgotten that taste. True Caribbean gingerbread overflows with the strong flavors of molasses and fresh ginger root, making it both sticky and spicy, and in no way resembles the gingerbread made from a box mix. I'm not usually drawn to dishes with a strong ginger flavor, but I ate a large square of this gingerbread. And then I ate another, and a third one after that, and Ted did, too. Kathleen would approve.
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When I saw a recipe for raw beets and butternut slaw on Apron Strings, the vivid colors grabbed me, and I knew the idea of beets with a maple syrup dressing would grab my husband Ted. Though I've eaten many a raw beet, I was a bit skeptical about the squash. Shame on me for not trying it sooner; crispy, crunchy raw butternut rocked my world. This salad debuted on our Thanksgiving table, and it's been a wonderful low-calorie addition to the meager winter salad repertoire. Squash can be treacherous to break down on a box grater or with a mandoline, so use a food processor fitted with a shredding disc. Remember not to toss the slaw with the dressing until the very last minute, or the beets will turn everything pink.
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First published in November 2007, this updated pantry ingredient post features new photos, links, and a few tweaks to the recipe. Sweetened with honey and orange, these beets add a festive blast of red to any Thanksgiving menu. Try the leftovers in a salad with arugula and crumbled blue cheese.
If, on some stormy December day, you look out the window and see a
figure hunched over, scarf wrapped around her face, fogged-up red
glasses, pink fuzzy gloves, nippers in hand, digging through the snow
where she thought she remembered planting thyme last summer, you'll be looking at me.
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The first time I joined my husband Ted's family for a Canadian Thanksgiving meal, we were invited to celebrate with a group of friends at a camp in southern Ontario. The hosts assigned each family some potluck dishes to bring, and one of our assignments was carrots and celery sticks. When we arrived and added our contribution to the long buffet table, I noticed that our little plate of celery sticks was the only speck of green in a sea of brown: turkey, potatoes, gravy, parsnips, onions. If your Thanksgiving menu is looking a bit on the brown side, add this fennel, avocado and grapefruit salad to the mix. Raw fennel, thinly sliced and "marinated" in a mustardy vinaigrette, mellows to a very mildly anise flavor that pairs brilliantly with the tangy grapefruit and creamy avocado. Unexpected, and sure to be a hit.
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