It’s been a little while, hey? So many things have happened in the past months! I brought home my beautiful, fantastic, slightly silly Sirius. He’s now a whopping 45 pounds, and a wonderful eight months old. He’s an amazing source of joy, learning, and amusement in my life. I moved; I left Colorado again, this time for the desert landscape of Phoenix, Arizona. I’ve learned that after living in 116 degree weather, 90 feels pleasant, and 80 at night is the time that you start to need a jacket after a while. I’ve learned how to know when a dust storm is coming, and that I should always have extra water on hand, because water gets pumped up hill here. I am filled with joy to come home to a bounding, brown blur of dog at the end of the day. I am often trepidatious about my future. I am uncertain much of the time, but I am learning.
Starting grad school has been an adventure, and needless to say, it’s been an amazingly, overwhelmingly busy experience. I spent much of my summer in a state of exhaustion from working and standing on my feet for six to eight hours at a time, and then coming home to raise a puppy. Now, I am not bodily exhausted, but I am emotionally and mentally weary. It’s almost the end of the semester, and it still feels like August. I have no idea where the months have gone since I got here, and while I’m so exited to go home
to the land of seasons, I am also astounded by what I have to do to complete my first semester of grad school. Like, literally stunned (not because it’s an unprecedented amount of work, mind you, but more because there’s so much to do, and so little time!)
But I am blessed that I will be having company for Thanksgiving; I can’t go home, because my break is so short, and the drive is pretty long. My dear friend A- is coming down from Colorado, and she I and will be having Thanksgiving together. She will stay with me through the end of the semester, and then we’ll embark on the beautiful drive home together.
It’s so amazing to me that Thanksgiving is here; school often makes the months pass so quickly, and yet so slowly. I count the days in September, praying for it to be October so that I have fall, a break, the promise of cool weather ahead. Then October sprints ahead, followed by November in a dash. Too often in the past, I have been too busy to share this recipe, and to make a Thanksgiving round-up. This year, I promised myself, I would do it. And so I’ve come out of hiding to share this with you. I hope it makes a wonderful addition to your Thanksgiving table, and that it, like all Thanksgiving food, brings joy.
3-4 tbsp olive oil
3-4 tbsp butter*
1 onion, or a medium-sized bunch of chives, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 carrots chopped into 1/2″ chunks
1 8×8 pan of corn bread, cut into 1/2″ cubes
10 oz day-old wheat bread, cut into 1/2″ cubes
3 tbsp (each) finely chopped rosemary, sage, and thyme
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup dried pears (optional)
1 cup vegetable stock
3-4 apples cored and peeled
1 cup mixed roasted nuts (optional)**
salt and pepper, to taste
Heat one tablespoon of olive oil and one tablespoon of butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, carrots, and apples, and cook until tender. In a large pan, combine cornbread and whole wheat bread. Add the cooked ingredients to the bread; add the herbs, dried fruit, and mixed nuts, if using. Add remaining olive oil and butter and return to heat. Add vegetable stock, and stir until combination is moist. Cook off excess liquid, and serve warm. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
If, as in my house, you need the burners for other dishes, feel free to return the stuffing mixture to the oven at 350 F for a five to ten minute warm-up.
Finally, Bon Appetit advises against actually using your stuffing to stuff the bird. Obviously, if you are a vegetarian, you’re likely opposed to this idea anyway, but just as a word of advice: apparently this does not ad to the turkey or the stuffing, so serve it as a side!
*The last time I made this, I was in Australia; one of my lovely students is very lactose intolerant, and so I substituted additional olive oil for the butter. Feel free to do this if this suits the dietetic needs of you or your guests!
**Similarly, I had a student who was exceedingly allergic to nuts, so I simply left these out. If you are looking for suggestions, I recommend almonds, cashews, and walnuts.