The Hungover Gourmet


Turkey Day Memories

Gobble GobbleWe're officially into the holiday season now kids, Halloween candy should be thinning out and the time has come for that first official act of the season: deciding where you're going to spend Thanksgiving.

Things were so much easier when I was but a wee tyke. I rolled out of bed and Mama Nitrate was knee-deep in making a vat of stuffing big enough to choke a horse. I'd go see a football game and come home to find the turkey well into its basting cycle, filling our perfectly middle class home with an outrageous symphony of smells. By mid-afternoon I'd be trusted with such crucial tasks as making the crescent rolls and unleashing the jellied cranberry sauce from its aluminum tomb.

In those early days, things never started rocking until my father's family showed up. As tried and true Scots, they were sharp tongued and funny as hell if you could decipher that impenetrable brogue. Granted, it wasn't like the booze-fueled summertime family gatherings that inevitable ended in teary-eyed renditions of "I'll Be to Philadelphia in the Morning".

Good eats with The Hungover GourmetThose were fun, even as a kid on a sugar high just watching the shenanigans. As the years passed and relatives began to fall by the wayside, other relatives slid into place to make up for the empty seats...nephews and nieces, sisters- and brothers-in-law. While not as much fun as the random babblings of senile Scots, young nephews could always be counted upon to gorge themselves on snacks and sides, only to wake their folks with the words no parent wants to hear at 3 AM: "I think I'm gonna be sick."

Today, we're debating how to handle our first Thanksgiving back in the Philadelphia area. Do we go to my folks? Or hers? Or, quite frankly, do we make it all a whole hell of a lot easier and just stay home, make a big turkey, invite some friends and start our own traditions?

Whatever we decide to do, I'm sure some of the following will make their way onto the menu. We're offering up a soup and an appetizer this week, hope you enjoy, wherever you end up for the holiday.

Butternut Apple Soup

1 medium butternut squash (about 1 lb.) peeled, seeded, chopped
2 tart green apples, peeled, cored, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1/4 tsp. dried rosemary
1/4 tsp. marjoram
6 cups chicken broth
2 slices stale bread
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup chopped walnuts

Simmer all ingredients except for the cream and nuts in a large kettle for about 45 minutes. Puree in a blender or food processor or use a hand held blender in the pot. Stir in the cream and heat to just below boiling. Ladle into soup bowls and garnish with the chopped nuts. Serves 6.

From 'A Feast of Soups' by Jacqueline Heriteau

Chesapeake Beer Crab Dip

2 (8 oz.) packages of cream cheese
4 oz. dark beer, preferably Yuengling Porter
3 scallions, finely chopped
1 tsp. Old Bay seasoning
1 lb. crab meat, picked to remove shells

Soften cream cheese in a saucepan on the stove. While stirring, add beer, scallions and seasoning. Stir until smooth, then fold in the crab meat trying not to break up the lumps. Heat the dip slowly and keep warm, serving with French bread pieces, bagel crisps and crackers.

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