the thanksgiving table

I had a conversation with one of my coworkers last week about what our families usually have on the Thanksgiving table.  She gets to enjoy a myriad of Filipino dishes (ohhh, just drooling over the thought of lumpia right now) alongside turkey which makes me wish I could just turn off my food allergies for one day to enjoy all the things I used to enjoy devouring at the Thanksgiving table.

I have memories of Thanksgivings where I would stuff my face with candied yams topped with toasted marshmallows; I would purposely dig up just the top layer of the green bean casserole so I could get a ton of the crunchy french onion topping; I would make a huge divot in my pile of mashed potatoes and then drown it and the turkey with a ton of gravy; and then as if that wasn’t enough food to put me into a coma, I would eat at least two helpings of pecan pie (my favorite kind of pie).  Ahhh, those good old days. 

And those aren’t even the ones where we would also have Guamanian food on the side.  Dishes like chicken kelaguen with it’s delicious lemony, spicy, coconut flavors and Dad’s fried lumpia.  And of course, the occassional Korean spin where Mom would have kimchi at the table too.  Thank goodness for photos and fond memories though.  This is definitely a time when I wish there was some sort of scratch-n-sniff mechanism in those photos.

For Thanksgiving this year, I had intended to (*) I’m bringing bring my brussel sprouts dish to the table.  My father-in-law is pretty set in which dishes are required at the table — corn, peas, carrots, mashed potatoes — and you guessed it, I can’t have any of them.  {insert pity party here}  So at least I’ll have one vegetable I can eat at the table this year.  But alas, I realized too late last night that I had forgotten them in the drawer in our refrigerator before we made the drive to my in-laws’ house.  UGH.  And it ended up being a turkey and rice Thanksgiving for me, which was still delicious but rather pathetic.  {insert Debbie Downer face here}

Brussel sprouts with bacon and shallots

It’s funny because I never had brussel sprouts while growing up, so I guess I never developed the hate for them that I feel like so many people have for them.  Of course, I probably don’t make them the way that most people do (i.e. plain or without bacon!) but I sure do love them.  Here’s my way of making them …

1. Cut the end of each sprout off, then cut each in half.  Some of the outer leaves will fall off, make sure to take all the dirty ones off.

2. Cut up the bacon and put them in a pan over medium heat.  Let them get all nice and crispy, then remove them with a slotted spoon onto a plate with a couple of layers of paper towels.  Put another piece of paper towel on top and set them aside.

3. Dice the shallots and cook them in the same pan (in the bacon fat … I didn’t say this was healthy at all …) for a couple of minutes until they are softened a little bit, then add the brussel sprouts.  I like to put them in cut side down so that they will brown.

4. Let them cook for about 5 minutes before stirring.  Add a couple of cloves of garlic that has been cut in half (I like to leave them in bigger pieces because they are easier to remove later), and cook for another 5 or 6 minutes. 

5.  Add the bacon back into the pan and cook for a couple more minutes.  Serve and enjoy.  :- )

Here’s wishing all of you a very Happy Thanksgiving this year!

 (* = edited to add how I forgot the sprouts with us … but it’s a good recipe anyway.  I guess we have something to look forward to eating for dinner this weekend at home!  LOL)

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