Feasting season, also known as “The Holidays,” is coming up.
In my family, any and all special occasions revolve around food: the planning, preparation and consumption thereof.
Beginning with Halloween, and an abundance of candy, snacking is the enemy. I have no statistical proof, but I strongly suspect the percentages of hand-to-mouth “exercise” shoot exponentially higher the closer we get to Oct. 31.
The big eat-a-thon, of course, is Thanksgiving. The appetizers; the side dishes; the giant turkey bird; the desserts! If you’re not careful, this is closely followed by bloating, serious need for a nap, and about three extra pounds (and that is not just “water weight” folks).
Just about the time you get over Thanksgiving, along comes Christmas, or Kwanzaa, or Hanukkah with a diverse group of friends, why not all three?
This time of year wouldn’t be the same without its seasonal get-togethers with family, friends, and office mates: parties, potlucks, restaurant meals and The Big Meal. For years my family members have strongly discouraged a second turkey just a month after Thanksgiving. Therefore, we tend toward beef or pork roasts most years, accompanied by all those glorious side dishes.
And so the year goes each holiday has its own set of challenges. New Year’s Day calls for the traditional pork, greens (or kraut) and black-eyed peas. To deny this culinary tradition is to leave one’s luck through the New Year to fate.
On Valentine’s Day: chocolate equals love. For St. Patrick’s Day, everybody’s Irish for a day, and anything green is fair game. Picnic fare on Memorial Day weekend, Independence Day and Labor Day brings us through tailgating season, and right back to Halloween.
This year, I’m determined to get ready for the groaning boards to come by cutting down now and eating as healthy as I can.
My co-worker, Abby, started me off right with this recipe for a warm, flavorful, and healthy bisque. She put it together at home and was kind enough to figure out the measurements for me. Abby’s a really creative seat-of-her-pants cook with very good culinary instincts. If you don’t believe me, try this and prepare to be convinced.
SWEET POTATO, CARROT AND GINGER SOUP
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic (or more to taste), minced
1 large 1-inch piece of ginger (or more to taste), peeled and minced
1 box (1 quart) chicken or vegetable broth or stock
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
Pinch of cinnamon and/or nutmeg to taste
2-3 large carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 large sweet potato, peeled and coarsely chopped
In a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat, simmer minced garlic and ginger in olive oil. Cook about 2 minutes. Add curry, turmeric and cinnamon/nutmeg and simmer another minute.
Add broth. Bring to a boil. Add sweet potatoes and carrots. Turn to medium heat and bring to a slow boil until vegetables are soft. Allow to cool (about 30 minutes). Puree in a food processor or blender. If you don’t have either use an egg beater or a whisk.
Serve heated or at room temperature. Enjoy.
Makes six to seven cups.
Can be garnished with unsweetened whipped cream, toasted pieces of pecans, or whatever appeals to you.
Linda Conway Eriksson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.