Thursday, November 18, 2010

Raw Harmony

Thanksgiving is next week. I’m sure you have made plans about where to eat, what to eat and when to eat. But I just thought I would offer up one more suggestion.

I have not yet made Thanksgiving dinner all by myself yet. I mean, I have cooked Thanksgiving dinner with my family now for years, but I have not single-handedly attempted this feast. I once made a toned down version of it for a couple of friends when Joe and I were in California, but that was only because I had a coupon for a free frozen turkey from the grocery store. So I don’t know if that counts.
When I was little my family always went to my grandparent’s house in Delaware. And I mentioned here before, that I could stand in the kitchen and watch my grandmother cook for as long as I wanted. I remember being almost at counter-height watching her reach into a gigantic pale turkey and pull out its giblets. I told her it was disgusting. And she laughed and told me I too would do it one day. I believe my reaction was a gag as I told her “No way!”
Well, that day has come. I no longer fear reaching up the backside of poultry and scooping out whatever meaty bits are left intact. But this is not the case for many people around this holiday. In fact, in the spirit of full disclosure, I once vowed to become a vegetarian at Thanksgiving. It may have been the same year I decided raw turkeys were gross. I excused myself from the table, ran down the hall into my mother’s childhood bedroom, flung myself on the bed and started crying. When my mom came in and asked what was wrong, I told her we shouldn’t eat meat because it’s mean to the animals. And if you know my mom, you’ll understand her reaction.
"Are you kidding? Where did this come from?”
“I just decided” I sobbed.
So for everyone next week, who doesn’t eat meat, or doesn’t eat any animal products, or for anyone who just needs something to bring to a Thanksgiving dinner; this recipe is it! It is easy and quick, can be made ahead of time or ten minutes prior to eating. And although there is a very similar recipe in the NY Times this week, I assure you this one is different.

Raw Sweet Potato Maple and Cranberry Salad
Adapted from Joan Nathan's The New American Cooking
This recipe is very versatile. You can switch the orange juice for lime, or the parsley for cilantro or the maple syrup for honey. This dish fits into the theme of Thanksgiving with a modern twist. But be warned, it will make a lot!

1 large red fleshed sweet potato, peeled
2 small cloves garlic, peeled
1/3 c. flat leaf parsley
1/3 c. dried cranberries
Juice of one orange (or tangerine)
1 ½ Tb. Pure Maple syrup (preferably dark)
Salt and pepper to taste

Grate the peeled garlic into a bowl. Next, chop the parsley and cranberries together until relatively fine. Grate the sweet potato on a box grater using the smaller size hole. It will be a bit watery, but don’t squeeze the juice out. Next combine all the ingredients together and stir. Taste for salt and pepper and add as desired.

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