What the…Fallidays? Yes, sounds like “Holidays” and occurs during the Fall. I came up with this phrase years ago because right around October, some people I know (who will remain nameless) begin talking about “how exciting the Holidays are going to be this year.” As you all know by now, I’m always more excited about Fall than the huge elephant in the room (the Christmas/Holiday season). Because of this, I’d declare “I’m not ready to think about the Holidays yet! I’m currently celebrating the Fallidays!” It stuck.
Thankfulness. What will I be thankful for this year when sitting around the tables surrounded by great friends and a feast created with love? Well, those friends and that feast for sure…but also there’s a deeper sense of gratefulness I can’t quite capture in writing. A sense that even though I have so much to be thankful for (a great community of family & friends, the “other J”, the ability to live in an amazing city with a good roof overhead, the opportunity to be back in school, and having access to healthy & delicious food), there’s a bigger picture of gratitude that always hits me this time of year that is hard to ignore. So even though the exact articulation escapes me… Thank You.
It’s hard to believe tomorrow is the big day! This year will mark our 2nd annual Feast in the City–and this year we’ll be co-hosting the hearty holiday soiree. There’s something about having a full house on Thanksgiving, and all that hustle and bustle will most certainly make us hungry before its time to cut the bird…so we’ll be serving a few light cocktails and hors d’ouevres before the big feast. Call it “old hat” by now, but I love serving soup from little shot glasses because its a great way to serve it as an appetizer. So without further adieu, here is a recipe I created for some golden and warming Harvest Soup:
- 3 medium sweet potatoes/yams (skin on) cut into quarters
- 4 medium apples (skin on), cored & consistently sliced
- 1 medium yellow/sweet onion, chopped
- 1 large carrot, halved and cut into strips
- 6-8 oz. reduced turkey stock (that means it’s been simmering on the stove for quite a while to concentrate the flavor, gelatin and minerals from the bones)
- 1 garlic clove, smashed
- 1 bay leaf
- 4 juniper berries, smashed (in dried spices section at your market)
- 3/4 tsp cumin
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 fresh sage leaves + 1 to chop for the garnish
- 1-2 T butter, extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), or coconut butter
- Sea salt and pepper to taste
Poke sweet potatoes with a sharp knife a few times and roast on a parchment-lined sheet pan at 375* for 45 minutes or until knife cuts the potato easily. When done, remove from the oven and set aside.
While the sweet potatoes are roasting, heat up the oil or butter over medium heat in a large sauce pan (or stock pot). Saute the onions, fresh herbs, and spices for 3-4 minutes, then add in the apples, carrot and garlic. Sprinkle in some sea salt (about 1/2 tsp) and saute the mixture over medium, stirring occasionally, until it begins to cook through. At this point, add in the turkey stock and the roasted sweet potatoes and let the pot simmer very lightly for about 15-20 minutes. When the flavors have married and all the contents are tender, turn off the heat and use your immersion blender (or a regular blender) to blend the soup to your desired consistency.
Taste the soup and adjust the S & P and/or the cumin to your liking. After serving into bowls (roughly 4 servings–but honestly I can’t remember), garnish the finished soup with some freshly chopped sage leaves.