Looks much lovelier than it tasted....

I debated blogging about this, because in all honesty, our Thanksgiving dinner was a disaster. Something did not work out right. We spent a good portion of our evening scratching our heads over it. One has to remember, however, that life is full of mistakes and sometimes, you just gotta laugh. It’s the little moments that remind me how lucky I am to have someone sitting next to me at the dinner table that will laugh about how awful the food we made just was– which is exactly what we did after taking the first bite of our highly anticipated pumpkin sage lune. We thought it was going to be the most amazing thing we had ever made. We spent hours cleaning out, peeling, and cubing a pumpkin; making pasta dough from scratch, rolling it out, and cutting small lunas (ravioli); roasting and pureeing the pumpkin to make the pasta filling.

Even when our hearts sank when we read that we needed a pasta roller…we soldiered on. When our eggs oozed from the well of flour and ran down the sides of the counter…we didn’t give up. When our onions were too small, our balsamic vinegar too sparse. our candied pecans too sticky… we persevered.
Honestly, looking back, it’s no wonder we had such an epic fail.
The 2.5 hours of prep was accompanied by good music, company, and wine, so there’s the silver lining. Our two sides dishes were excellent (see below)– but that damn luna? It tasted incredible, but the pasta that we rolled out by hand and doctored throughout the night was dry, thick, and laughable. Literally. It was pasta gone rogue and we knew it the second we sat down to dinner and dug in.

We still had a beautiful Thanksgiving and it’s rare that we are both cooking something together– so in that respect, we had a lovely night of working side-by-side and creating something new. We’re both thankful that we can even afford to have food on our table, much less be able to experiment with dishes like this. We are lucky kids.
I won’t add the pumpkin recipe (even though the picture does make it look glorious), but the other two dishes below turned out beautifully!

Baby Spinach Salad with Dried Cranberries, Feta, and Maple candied pecans

from Food and Style

Baby Spinach Salad with Maple Candied Pecans, Dried Canberries, and Feta

For the maple-glazed pecans
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon maple syrup
2/3 cups pecan halves
Sea salt to taste

For the vinaigrette
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 large shallots – skinned, quartered and finely sliced
2 1/2 tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste

For the salad
8 oz baby spinach – rinsed and spun dry
1/2 cup dried cranberries
4 oz French feta or sheep’s milk feta – crumbled
Freshly ground pepper to taste

For the maple-glazed pecans: heat a small frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil, maple syrup and pecans. Sauté for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring frequently until the pecans are golden and the maple syrup has darkened. Spread the pecans on a cooling rack so the pan juices can drip down and sprinkle with salt. Once cooled place in a Tupperware until ready to use.

Note: The pecans can be made up to 3 days ahead and stored room temperature.

Place the spinach in a large bowl and set aside.

To make the vinaigrette: heat a small frying pan over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and the shallots. Sauté for 2 to 3 minutes until the shallots are light golden. Quickly add the balsamic, balance of the olive oil, salt and pepper. Stir well and remove from heat. Pour the warm vinaigrette over the baby spinach. Toss well and divide equally in the center of eight salad bowls or plates (alternatively place in a large serving platter). Top with a few cranberries and a little crumbled feta. Garnish with the pecans. Finish with freshly ground black pepper and serve immediately.

Creamed Onions

Creamed Onions

from the kitchen of Dorothy Ritchie

1 & 1/2 lb white pearl onions
3 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp flour
1/8 tsp salt
1 & 1/2 cup milk
Pepper to taste

Peel onions and put them in a saucepan; cover with water and bring to a boil. Continue to boil until tender. In the meantime, make a thick white sauce. Melt the butter, stir in flour until dissolved. Add milk and heat, stirring, until it comes to a boil and gets thick. Stir in salt. Drain onions and pour into white sauce. Cook over low heat or until heated through. Sprinkle with pepper.

Shared with John!
Paired with: 1996 Borolo & 2006 Navarro Pinot Noir

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