Food & Community

I have hosted our west coast family Thanksgiving gathering since we finished building the house here at Skyote Mountain. We met before that at the Sacramento home of my first cousin once-removed, but with the loss of a few family members, and the addition of our new home with lots of room for everyone, it made sense for the mantle to be passed to me. There are our core group of family members, other family who may or may not be here, and others who join us for one year or who become regulars along with family. It always feels very special to come together again and celebrate our gratitude for each other and for all that we have, and feasting is definitely a big part of the agenda. I generally roast the turkey and make a stuffing on the side, along with a bread or rolls (Leek Walnut Sourdough this year – that’s becoming a tradition), and a dessert (gluten-free, dairy-free pumpkin pie this year). My aunt Pat and uncle Charlie and their daughter Laura bring makings for mashed potatoes, which get done just before we eat, along with another stuffing (this year they made a artichoke mushroom crustade instead), an Indian spiced green dish, chocolate mousse, and another dessert, usually an apple or pear torte. Others bring sweet potatoes (two different recipes this year), cranberry sauce (with pears this year), and whatever else seems good to add. We had crudites with hummus and mohamra (I made that – I’ll share the recipe here), puff pastries with anchovies, roasted brussels sprouts, gluten-free dairy-free pumpkin walnut bars and some very nice wines.

I love the last minute cooking we do, several things all going on at once in the kitchen. There’s a real sense of community coming together, working together to create this celebratory feast, and enjoying each other’s company for the evening.


I have several recipes for this, each with a different spelling of the name. I had to search for where this particular recipe came from, as it is my favorite. It was published in Bon Appetit in December 1987, in response to a reader’s rave about this Lebanese dish from Fred Habib at the Bourock restaurant in Brooklyn Heights, NY. Thanks to my recipe archive, where this clipping has lived all these years, and Google (which provded Fred Habib’s name), I can credit the source.

2 cups walnuts, ground
3 red bell pepper, coarsely chopped
1 onion, coarsely chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 jalapeno chile pepper, seeded and chopped
2 Tbs grenadine molasses, or honey
2 Tbs olive oil
1 Tbs ground cumin
1/2 tsp salt

1. Blend the first five ingredients in food processor to coarse grainy puree. Put in a bowl and add the rest of the ingredients.

2. Serve with warm pita.

Servings: 20

Nutrition Facts
Serving size: 1/20 of a recipe (1.5 ounces)
Calories 106
Total Fat 9.11g
Saturated Fat 0.92g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 60.23mg
Potassium 116.15mg
Total Carbohydrates 5.61g
Fiber 1.37g

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