I’ll start with a confession. This *dramatic pause*, this was not my first Thainksgiving. Two years ago in China, on the night of Thanksgiving, I went with my good Canadian friend/roommate at the time (still my friend; no longer my roommate… just to clarify) Laura; the lovely Australian lady in our program, Julianne; and Richard, the endearingly cratchity (haha… I’m being told by my computer that isn’t a word, and referred instead to “crotchety,” which I suppose is what I mean, but I was sure you could also say cratchity. And it’s also telling me “freakish” is a synonym for crotchety. Yes, Freakish Richard, as we used to call him. Why am I still going on this aside?) English guy at our school (“What?! No one told me it was a girls’ night. I bet you’re just going to talk about boys and menstruation all night.” Which, obviously, we did. Because that’s what girls do.) went to the local Thai restaurant and called it Thainksgiving. Julianne brought along her standard bottle of white and we cheers-ed and made merry and it was a lovely substitute Thanksgiving.
So yes, this was really Thainksgiving Two, and it was most excellent! Had a great gathering of Americans, South Africans, Brits, a few Thais, an Irish lass, a Greek gent, and a Canadian… well, “gent” is being generous ;). The food was good and the company great. Lots to be thankful for this year, even when far from home.
And speaking of food… I’m sure you’re all just absolutely on the edge of your seats wondering just what I did with that pumpkin puree I made a few days ago. Well, first I made a pie. Not just any pie, mind you– a Martha Stewart pie. It was advertised as easy– and it really was. First the crust: (read all captions in a Homer Simpson voice [you know, “Sacrilicious…“]).
And then the filling:
And while that was cooking… the item I’m sure you’ve all been raising your eyebrows at: Pumpkin lasagna. As I said in the Puree Post, it’s a real thing. I Googled it and found tons of results with glowing reviews and said, “Cool. I’ll do it.” Basically I combined this Taste of Home recipe and this Food Network/Robert Irvine recipe (from an episode of that show Dinner: ImpossibleI think, which, even at the height of my Food Network-watching days– which were numerous– I could never really bring myself to watch, for no reason in particular) and came up with… wait for it… this:
I combined the recipes because I liked the vegetarian nature of the first but on the whole other one on the whole seemed better. If you’re a sausage lover (no homo) you could do the Robert Irvine one as is. The zucchini definitely caught my eye!
The thing about my recipe is that… I didn’t really end up following it very well, for a variety of reasons I’ll include with the list that I’m about to include in the likely event you can’t read my handwriting and the less likely event that you want to actually try out the recipe.
Angela’s Pumpkin Lasagna (as she intended it, but did not actually create it, and the necessary adjustments)
1 kilogram of mushrooms (lolzlolzlolzlolz. Just had a huge laugh at myself in the office as I realized why it seemed like I had such an ungodly amount of mushrooms when I couldn’t even get the full kilogram from the lady at the market, and ended up only using half of what I got. The recipe called for 1/2 pound of mushrooms. “2.2 kilograms to the pound! Guess I’ll just go for a round kilo!” I thought to myself, giving myself a pat on the back for knowing my conversions and being such a smarty pants. But the joke’s on me, because it’s really the other way around, and I should have got a quarter kilo instead. Which is about what I ended up using because my frying pan got full. A kilogram of mushrooms. *shakes head*. Don’t judge me.)
1 small onion
1 roasted red pepper (not in either recipe, added it because someone mentioned it in a comment and it seemed good, didn’t end up using it because Wayne and I haven’t been paid in centuries and have about $10 between us until payday, which is next week, and it didn’t seem like a good idea to splurge on a two dollar pepper.)
4-6 garlic cloves (I used 6. Like the low end of garlic usage is even a real option.)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 28-ounce can of tomato sauce (aka The Big One at Tesco, which I’m confident was by no means 28 ounces, which, like inches, they don’t have here. I ended up chopping up about six tomatoes and some shallots hoping to bulk the sauce up a bit… it ended up alright.)
1 cup of red wine (guess where the rest of the bottle went…)
salt oregano basil pepper
double batch ricotta (less what I couldn’t resist eating on a few crackers, and what I left serendipitously to go on the eggs I’d end up forgetting in this recipe when I put them to use in today’s breakfast)
shredded mozzarella (however much one Tesco block is. And I was too lazy/rushed to shred the whole thing… shredded just enough for the topping and chopped the rest into chunks.)
2 eggs (forgot these, ate them for breakfast with ricotta.)
2 cups pumpkin puree
cinnamon (I’d put a pinch in the puree when I made it so I didn’t add any more when making the lasagna.)
1. Saute onion and garlic. Add mushrooms and pepper.
2. Boil tomato sauce and wine. Add spices (and tomato/shallots) to taste. Simmer 15 minutes.
3. Mix cheeses. Add eggs, pumpkin, salt, pepper, and fresh basil and pinch of cinnamon.
4. Preheat oven to 350˚F (162˚C– this conversion I do know. Thanks Dad!)
5. Coat the bottom of a pan in a thin layer of sauce (I also used some butter, just to be safe.). Cover with lasagna noodles (some research led to the conclusion that even if the box doesn’t say “no-boil” you don’t really need to boil lasagna noodles if you’re sure to make sure they’re properly coated in sauce and fillings!). Then spread a layer of half the mushroom mixture, followed by a layer of pumpkin mixture, followed by sauce. Lay down more noodles and repeat the process with the rest of the mushrooms and pumpkin, but leaving enough sauce to cover the top (I almost forgot to do this and didn’t really leave enough…). Lay down more noodles, cover in sauce, and sprinkle the last of the mozzarella over the top. Bake for 25 minutes (I know, seemed short… but it was enough.)
And that was it! Even the biggest skeptics (and anti-mushroomites) seemed to enjoy it a lot, proving my theory that putting enough cheese and sauce on just about anything makes it worth eating.
So that was the food from our end; our dear guests also brought along some homemade pumpkin soup, homemade bread a variety of items from Thai grill stands, fruit and veg, little cakes, a roast chicken (gotta keep it at least kind of traditional…)… let’s just say there was plenty of food.
And onto the more important part of the evening: the people!
Hope everyone’s Thanksgiving was as nice as mine! Best wishes at the onset of the holiday season!
Oh oh oh, I almost forgot, in completely irrelevant news there are two new kittens at school. I’m allergic and so can’t pull a Jack and Grace and bring them home (plus… our dog is on a murderin’ streak 😦 ), but I’ve named them Horace and Jasper (even though I think they might be girls) and hope they frequent our office… frequently.