Quick confession: Cooking is my preferred method of procrastinating. Productive, creative and when not obligatory, cooking can be relaxing. Today the weather returned to November grey after a few unusually warm and bright days this week. Feeling under the weather in body and spirit, I allowed myself a day in front of the television menu planning for Thanksgiving vacation. As I was sorting through my stack of tagged food magazines, I found this Mushroom Stroganoff recipe from the fall issue of Southern Living. Seemed like the perfect day for comforting carbs and cream. The combination of paprika, black pepper and garlic soothed my throat. But.
I found myself also craving the completely opposite flavors of a Moroccan style vegetable curry (my friend Sue was on to something when she picked this as her go to comfort food). The smokey, sweet, almost lamb stew like flavors of ras el hanut spice over slow roasted eggplant and squash is decadent yet guilt-less carb and cream-less comfort. Not the prettiest dish on the table but oh so good. Since no water is added, the vegetable juices all combine into an unctuous stew. With no dates on hand I used raisins for the surprise bites of soft sweetness. Ironic that I would make such an odd dinner combination, as I was planning the menu for Thanksgiving.
For Thanksgiving, the traditional menu is already set with the usual suspects of Turkey, Gravy, Potatoes, Stuffing, Bread, Green Beans and Pie. The only question is which recipes to use. The Southern Stroganoff – Moroccan Tagine combination makes no sense except for me, on this very dreary day. I suppose my unsuspecting family can either choose one or the other mode of comfort food, or follow my lead and load up on both. Can there be too much comfort in the world?
Categorical culinary consistency is so boring isn’t it? I wonder how I can use this experience for Thanksgiving? Or maybe I shouldn’t mess with constructed tradition….too much :o)
Do you stick with Thanksgiving tradition, tweak tradition, or try something different every year?