Happy Thanksgiving. Where do we begin? It's been a beautiful couple weeks in California, despite a $3000 car repair and a two-day stint of being stranded in the desert (more on that to come). This week, our truck is staying at a friend's house in the Bay area, and we both flew home to our families for the holiday: Ilana in Seattle and I in Colorado. It's a little weird to be away from Miss President and really nice to sleep in separate beds and spend time with our friends and families.
The state of the country and the world has both of us wickedly under the weather. We feel equal parts baffled, disgusted, and terrified, and if we're being honest, it has us kind of paralyzed. I've been wasting days getting fucked up on coffee, sitting around listening to NPR, reposting Facebook news stories and signing petitions on Change.org. To some degree I'm staying educated and alert but at some point all the reading has the opposite effect. It's making me a scared, stagnant hermit, and giving me apocalyptic dreams every night. It's hard to swallow the lumps in our throats and accept that this is actually happening. I know that what we need right now is action, and we're both working on translating our fear and anger into action that tries its darnedest to make a difference.
Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday, and this is the first time in years that I've been able to be home. And yet it feels a little backwards to celebrate this year. It's never been lost on me that Thanksgiving is a celebration of a "harvest" and a "feast" that destroyed an existing community. But it feels especially poignant this year: as we stand in line for turkeys at Whole Foods while watching live video on our Facebook feeds of the American government shooting freezing water and rubber bullets at Native Americans fighting for their rights to clean land and water; as we watch the president-elect choose White Nationalists for his cabinet and continue to spit idiotic and hateful rhetoric towards minority groups in this country, many of whom are our closest friends. I'm guessing that a lot of us are asking the same question: what exactly are we celebrating? How do we celebrate our wealth while we watch people, still disenfranchised hundreds of years later, suffer at the hands of our government?
I take solace in the fact that our Thanksgiving traditions are rooted in genuine gratefulness. I grew up loving this holiday for its ability to bring my family together and out of our busy, isolated lives. We take the time to sit around a table together and celebrate each other. No part of our traditions are rooted in resentment or discrimination and I'm thankful to be surrounded by so many wonderful friends and family. We're excited to celebrate all the really lovely Fall vegetables and drink too much wine and spend time with the ones we don't get to see that much anymore. Honestly, it's what all of us probably need right now -- to be with our people. This year, we'll be celebrating that notion longer and harder than we ever have: celebrating inclusion, generosity, and diversity, while being thankful as hell to live the privileged lives we do.
In any case, here's a recipe that would go great on a Thanksgiving table. Delicata squash is in season (one of our favorite vegetables of all time), and it goes great with some roasted skin-on apples and a sage and walnut gremolata. Autumnal AF.
Roasted Delicata Squash & Apples with Sage and Walnut Gremolata
Makes 4-6 portions
Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees fahrenheit for roasting the vegetables. Meanwhile, prepare the gremolata: heat the olive oil over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the whole sage leaves and fry until crispy, flipping once. Remove and set aside to drain on paper towels. Add butter to the warm oil. When melted, add the garlic, toasting lightly. Add the chopped sage and stir until crisp (10-20 seconds) and then quickly add the walnuts. Remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper to taste, add lemon zest and set aside.
Slice Delicata squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds before slicing half moons. Cut the apples in half, remove the core and cut into long, thin wedges. Toss the squash and apples with a generous drizzle of olive oil and smashed garlic cloves and spread out evenly on parchment lined sheet trays. Season with salt and pepper. Bake at 425 for 20-30 minutes, tossing and rotating half way through. Remove from oven when squash is golden brown and apples have lost some of their liquid and have browned.
Top squash and apples with gremolata and serve warm. Garnish with fried sage leaves.
For the Gremolata
2 tbl olive oil
2 tbl butter
4-6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/4 cup fresh sage, finely chopped
1/4 cup walnuts, finely chopped
Zest of one lemon
salt & black pepper to taste
3-4 Delicata squash
2-3 Fuji apples (depending on size)
4 garlic cloves, smashed
salt & black pepper to taste
8-10 fresh sage leaves, for frying