Thanksgiving Week Meals without Turkey

Monday — SRV

This time of year, almost everyone is consumed with Thanksgiving preparations and activities.  As a result I go out of my way to relish meals that have no connection whatever to the holiday, except for the traditional meal on Thursday.  As you can imagine, that leaves a lot of alternatives to play with.  I’ll share two of those from this particular week.

On Monday night I stay in the city for dinner, instead of fighting the gruesome traffic on the way home at 5 PM.  This week I took the bus along Mass. Ave. to SRV, a good Venetian-style restaurant on Columbus Avenue.  As usual, a glass of wine began the evening — in this case, an Arneis.

For the first plate, I chose an octopus appetizer, which was fried (fritto) along with accompanying pieces of fried potato and artichoke.  The dish was attractive, but unfortunately, I found the Tempura-style batter too heavy.  It overwhelmed the flavors of the featured ingredients, so I didn’t finish it.

I was still in the mood for a little octopus, so I chose one of the Cichetti — two pieces of Octopus in Saor, with pine nuts, coriander and celery.  That was just right.

The main dish that attracted me was Risotto with White Truffles and lots of Parmigiano.  The waiter suggested a red wine, and to my delight I found the Eugenio Bocchino Barbera D’Alba on the list, which paired beautifully.  I was happy to know that it is a Giannoni Selection, imported by my friend Gemma Iannoni.

The staff responded favorably to my disappointment with the Octopus Fritto, so I was pleased overall.  They also had an excellent selection of Amari, which I considered for awhile, but since I had two glasses of wine and still has a 32-mile drive ahead of me going home, I decided to skip the digestif.

The impressionist view of the evening is best expressed with a glass of wine, rendered by the Waterlogue app on my iPhone.  Buon appetito.

Waterlogue 1.4.3 (120)
Preset Style = Vibrant
Lightness = Auto-Exposure
Size = Large
Border = No Border


Tuesday, Dinner — Impossible Burger at Not Your Average Joe’s

Barbara and I were both busy driving around on Tuesday, so we did an early dinner at a local restaurant with 1/2 off pricing for burgers on Tuesdays.  Plant-based Impossible Burgers hit the spot.

Tuesday, Late Night Snack — Bruschetta and Friends

I almost forgot: I had made some bread on Sunday — two loaves of overnight brown, a tasty whole wheat favorite.

So, when I was hungry at 10:15 PM on Tuesday, bruschetta was top-of-mind.  I pan-grilled a slice of the bread, and I opened a jar of a Bruschetta sauce with olives and capers, from Ritrovo, an Italian food supplier, topped it with some sliced cherry tomatoes, and opened a bottle of my most favorite Arizona wine, 2016 Datura, the 100% Petit Verdot from the Oddity Wine Collective.  That was pretty spectacular itself.

I was enjoying the wine so much, I looked around for another excuse to drink some more.  The “leftovers” drawer in the refrigerator produced a very small Honeynut Winter Squash from Small Farm.  Barbara had split and roasted it ten days earlier, so I decided to see if it was any good.  A small mouthful tasted fine, so I peeled it, warmed it up with olive oil, salt, and small cubes of feta cheese.  Adding some of the tomato spread and black olives from the sauce, I tasted the dish.  Wow!! Off the charts, delicious.  I was only sad that we had tried only one tiny Honeynut.  I could have eaten a very large one happily.

Wednesday — New Recipe for Beets, Crab Cakes and Veggies

We had crabmeat that needed to be cooked, so Barbara handled that ably as always, making crab cakes.  I took care of the vegetables, with fresh spinach from Small Farm and frozen corn mixed with cooked leeks and shallots.

I also decided to do some experimentation with the Small Farm beets I bought on Saturday.  I steamed them until tender, then peeled and cooled them, while I read The Flavor Bible, with an eye toward complementary ingredients that might offer variety from the usual feta cheese and similar accompaniments.  I settled on three key ingredients that I always enjoy (lemons, Dijon mustard, and sliced shallots).  I juiced 1/2 lemon, add the grated zest to the bowl, mixed in 2 tsp. of Dijon mustard, and added on small shallot, thinly-sliced.  After whisking these all together, I poured the dressing over sliced beets, adding some delicious, crunchy Ibiza sea salt, and we ate these as an appetizer.  This was paired with an orange wine from Friuli, and the balance of flavors were most beneficent.


Thursday — Thanksgiving Day

No explanation needed.  Perfect traditional meal by Barbara.

Friday — Grilled Halloumi and Vegetables for Lunch, Bacalao for Dinner

(Note: this was in a separate post yesterday.  Sorry for the repetition.)

A week earlier I had found a recipe from Serious Eats that intrigued me, so I printed it out and waited for the right time to try it.  Friday — lunch — was that time.

Dinner was a chunk of desalted Cod loin from La Tienda, pan/oven roasted, and then topped with our old friend, Ritrovo Bruschetta Sauce.  It was accompanied by a simple salad of romaine, endive, and small tomatoes.  The wine was a new departure, a 2014 Pacheca Riserva from the Douro Valley on our trip there in March.  It was excellent with the rich tomato/olive/caper sauce and the fish.

That was Thanksgiving week — so far.

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