Sunday, November 23, 2008

Raiders of the Lost Golden Beet

Except for the turkey, I'm on deck for the entire T-Day meal this year. In an effort to wean the family off major ick foods - like cooking candied yams (more sugar per serving than a chocolate bar) in brown sugar (more sugar. this is like a chemistry experiment on super-saturated liquids) and topped with marshmallows (in case you didn't go into a diabetic coma already) - every year I do one healthy-but-they-won't-like-it food and then sneak a sleeper healthy choice in under the radar.

This year's diversion food is roasted beets. I went to four markets in search of. Whole Foods had the golden ones I wanted, but I bought a few red ones because I wanted to stain my hands deep pink. (well, maybe not) I roasted them, peeled them, and tossed them with a bit of olive oil and tarragon vinegar (thank you for the instructions, William). I'm thinking about serving them with some blue cheese crumbles, but haven't committed yet. And yes, I'm aware that I'm the only person who will touch them. But I don't care.

The sleeper dish is a sweet potato casserole with just the tiniest bit of sugar. Compared to the beets, it looks quite harmless, and it is. It's even good. What's even better, it doesn't have 95 grams of sugar per serving. (R read through the recipe an commented that it needed marshmallows on top for a festive touch, but it isn't going to happen.)

Alas, I lost the green bean skirmish this year. My fresh green beans sauteed in olive oil and lemon juice was vetoed in favor of that canned green bean and condensed mushroom soup dish. *sigh* Can't win 'em all. But since I refuse to make it, at least someone else is taking care of it.

I made cranberry relish (uncooked cranberries, oranges, and apples) and cranberry sauce (cranberries cooked with a little orange juice and a cinnamon stick) today. I'm quickly running out of things I can make in advance. Mashed potato's (from scratch), gravy, and stuffing have to be done that day. The rolls have to be fresh from the oven too. The roasted yams and sweet potato casserole have to be made that day. I guess I can get away with making the pecan pies (one chocolate, one traditional - with a nip of Maker's Mark) the night before. Pumpkin pie is some other person's problem. (I won't cook something I can't stand to eat).

R's mother lives in mortal fear that someone will leave her house hungry, so I'm bracing for the panic attack that we haven't made enough food. Some poor soul (male) will be sent to the market with orders to grab stuff for a last minute dish, which she will make and then leave in the fridge and find while we're trying to figure out how to get the tons of leftovers inside it, and then she'll actually run around the house offering the forgotten dish to everyone who collapsed in front of the TV. One year, I expect a Mr Creosote "It's just a thin mint, Sir," moment when someone explodes from humoring her by taking a small bite.

My other pre-cringe for Thursday is that I'm sure someone will want to know where the traditional cranberry-pineapple jello mold is. No one ever eats it, so it's not getting made. End of story. The first person to complain that it's not there is going to rue the day, because I'm going to appoint them official jello mold maker for all family gatherings from now until the end of time. Can I do that? You bettcha. How do you think I got stuck with this job?

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