Thanksgiving is almost upon us. Gah! How did that happen?!
Every year it sneaks up on me without fail. Not that I ever actually cook for the holiday…instead, we just show up and eat. How nice, I know :) But still. It feels too soon!
I say we move Canadian Thanksgiving to late November like our American friends! Sure, with our shorter growing season it makes sense to celebrate the summer’s bounty now, but being able to enjoy all the Thanksgiving-related food media, TV specials and other good stuff at the same time would be nice.
Since being married, we’ve been spending the Thanksgiving long weekend at my husband’s grandparents’ cottage near Haliburton. The fall scenery is absolutely stunning, and the atmosphere inside the cottage is cozy and relaxing – perfect for board games with the cousins!
Getting to enjoy Thanksgiving with his side of the family is bittersweet, though, because it means missing out on my mom’s famous stuffing. (We balance out the major holidays by celebrating Easter with my side of the family, but stuffing hasn’t made an appearance in a couple of years!) I’ll have to ask my parents to freeze me some or something!
This weekend we’ll be heading to the cottage again, this time with our four-month-old nephew and his parents. I’ll be coming off a business trip to Las Vegas so things will be a bit rushed as far as travelling/unpacking/re-packing goes, but I’d do pretty much anything to see the little guy. He’s pretty much the best.
I’ll be posting some Thanksgiving-themed recipe ideas in the weeks leading up to American turkey day, but in the meantime I bring you a simple yet flavourful radicchio, endive and pear salad with walnuts and blue cheese. It would make a nice starter for a formal dinner, or a light side to balance out the other rich, hearty dishes typically served at Thanksgiving.
The sweet pear slices and honey-spiked dressing help mellow the bitterness of the radicchio and endive, while the walnuts add a meaty crunch to each bite. The creamy crumbles of blue cheese (my favourite component) contribute a sharp, funky flavour that makes the dish seem almost indulgent.
- 3/4 cup walnuts
- 1 medium head radicchio, trimmed, cored and torn into bite-sized pieces
- 2 medium heads Belgian endive, trimmed, cored and torn into bite-sized pieces
- 1 medium ripe pear, cored, thinly sliced
- 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp honey
- 2 oz blue cheese, crumbled
- Salt and black pepper, to taste
- Pre-heat oven to 375ºF. Arrange the walnuts in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet and transfer to the oven. Roast until walnuts are lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Set aside and let cool.
- In a small jar with a lid, add the oil, vinegar and honey and shake vigorously to combine; season with salt and pepper.
- In a large bowl combine the radicchio, endive, pear and walnuts and pour dressing overtop. Toss gently to combine. Divide among serving plates and top with the crumbled blue cheese.
- This salad can also be made with apples or red grapes instead of pears.