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Sunday, November 20, 2011

Tricky Times

The days leading up to Thanksgiving can be tricky times in our kitchen. Generally, Michael and I don't want to eat or taste anything remotely  familiar to the food  we look forward to eating on Thanksgiving day. Anticipation. 

I've spent the past few days dancing around Thanksgiving flavors. 
A few nights ago, we devoured a slow simmered sultry vegetable Moroccan tagine filled with silken turned carrots, wedged parsnips, sliced onions, halved black grape tomatoes,  golden raisens, and dried apricots bathed in a sensual broth spiced with  ground turmuric, smoky cumin, fragrant saffron, ginger, smoked paprika, citrusy sumac, salt, and cracked pepper.  

Exotic warmth.

The following night,  I threw together a very traditional sauteed veal scallopini piccata napped in browned butter and spiked with bright briney capers served  over untraditional steamed ribbons of yellow squash and zucchini.  The kicker?  Oven-roasted  Elmwood Stock baby purple potatoes jacked up with fresh rosemary, garlic, and lemons. Yeah, the potatoes came dangerously close to eating a standard Thanksgiving staple, but their mere pungent piney purple-ness averted the comparison. Safe.

No brainer. I sliced the potatoes into quarters, revealing their gorgeous flesh. After preheating the oven to 400 degrees, I tossed the lavender-swirled spuds with olive oil, sliced unpeeled candy onions, sliced lemon wheels,  minced garlic, minced rosemary,  fresh lemon juice, salt, and pepper. I gave everything a good mix and slid it into the oven to roast for 45 minutes.

When the potatoes were tender and browned, I finished them with fresh rosemary and  tumbled them onto our plates alongside the sleepy veal piccata  

The crisp purple potatoes were a great foil to the piccata, balancing the nutty brown butter sauce with flecks of pine-scented rosemary, mellowed acidic lemon, and roasted garlic. The onions completely melted into the potatoes, providing a slightly charred calming sweetness. Simple. Fabulous.

They were not my grandmother's Thanksgiving potatoes.

Mission accomplished.

Now, it's time to think about turkey.

Bring it.

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