Thanksgiving is tomorrow, and though the details may vary from house to house, the meal and ritual involved are largely the same from place to place, and certainly within each home, from year to year.
With the exception of a few non-critical side dishes, my Thanksgiving menu has not varied since the first year I made it. I had experimented with the annual Thanksgiving issue of Gourmet each year, before finally settling on one issue I particularly liked, which contained a recipe for Cornbread and Spiced Pecan Stuffing that is, to me, The Thing I Look Forward To every year.
That first year I made it, I served it to a boyfriend I have long since lost track of, and an assortment of coworkers I’ve also mostly lost track of. One of the side dishes I made that year was cranberries with Wild Turkey, which was a big hit with the twentysomething crowd; my cranberries have long since been Disnified for the below-21 crowd. I miss the Wild Turkey.
I’ve served the meal in an assortment of places through the years: my house in Connecticut, with The Foreigner, who thought it was “too much food”; the crappy little apartment I lived in with The Child after he left, where I shared the meal with another newly-divorced woman I’d only just met. That year, her eight-year-old-son beat my high score at Railroad Tycoon on my computer while mom and I traded divorce war stories over pumpkin pie in my cramped living room.
In recent years, the changes have been less pronounced, and Thanksgiving fell into a nice annual routine. Every year, I made the Turkey and stuffing at my house, and my friend Anne and whoever else was around came over with side dishes and desserts. For Christmas, we moved the festivities to Anne’s house, where she made a ham, and myself, The Child, The Departed, and whoever else was around would show up with an assortment of side dishes and board games.
Every year on Thanksgiving, I say I’ll serve the meal at 2pm; Anne is always late and the turkey either takes much longer or much less time than I expected.
I try to have some food on hand for people to nibble on while they’re waiting for either the turkey or Anne or, many years, both. Ideally, I try to serve something that won’t be too filling or guilt-inducing. Neither Anne nor The Child eat meat, so I need everyone else to help out and consume that bird with me.
This year’s offering is from my new favorite cookbook, the The Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook, aka, my lucky cookbook. I am still trying to use up a supply of dried organic chickpeas my father brought on one of his visits (like, a year ago?), and I was excited to find this recipe, which is also helping me work down my supply of artichoke hearts (in case of the apocalypse, if you need artichoke hearts, let me know – I stocked up at Costco for reasons that remain mysterious even to me).
Apart from helping me resolve my over-stocked pantry issues, this recipe is delightfully simple, and the hummus it makes is light and lemony – super with some crisp sliced veggies.
- ¼ cup water
- 4 tbsp lemon juice
- 6 tbsp tahini
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 15-oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- ¾ cup canned artichoke hearts, drained, rinsed, and patted dry
- ¼ tsp lemon zest
- 1 small garlic clove, minced
- ½ tsp salt
- pinch cayenne pepper
- Combine water and lemon juice in small bowl.
- Whisk together tahini and olive oil in second small bowl.
- Process chickpeas, artichoke hearts, lemon zest, garlic, salt, and cayenne in food processor until almost fully ground. Scrape down bowl with spatula.
- With machine running, add lemon-water mixture in steady stream; continue to process about a minute. Then add tahini-olive oil mixture in steady stream. Process until hummus is smooth and creamy, about 15 seconds, scraping down bowl as needed.
- Serve with sliced vegetables. Drizzle with olive oil if you like; garnish with sliced artichoke hearts if it makes you happy.