I miss the feeling you get when you skip through Whole Foods, Christmas music playing in the background, as you fill up your cart with fresh thyme, rosemary, chives, potatoes, pumpkin, butternut squash, and of course, a big ol’ fresh organic turkey. This year, I had a different feeling walking around the Lulu’s in Abu Dhabi. “Do you have fresh cranberries?” I ask. BLANK STARE. “You know, small red berries, a little sour?” BLANK STARE. Okay fine, let’s go for the dried ones. “Sir, where are the raisins?” BLANK STARE. Seriously, people? Ugh. Nevermind. It took me a good hour of going up and down every aisle until I found a bag of cranberries. Sure enough, they only had the Pomegranate flavored Craisins. But this got me thinking – what a great combination for a cranberry sauce!
I eventually found all of my ingredients for our Thanksgiving menu, although the experience was less than fun, and borderline stressful. I had found a turkey last week at the expat haven, Spinney’s. Although it was frozen, and Butterball (ugh!), I was happy to at least find one – and it was halal! Considering ovens here can barely hold a chicken, I went for a relatively small turkey (5kg/12lbs) and decided to feature the side dishes. I usually make a turkey with a number of Middle Eastern traditional foods, but this year, feeling a bit homesick, I decided to switch gears, and make an all American feast – with some Middle Eastern flair of course!
Although I will miss our families dearly, we are lucky that my mother-in-law will be visiting, and that our new group of friends will be joining us. I am looking forward to Friday (Thursday is a work-day here), and for creating new memories for our family on this day.
1st Annual Abu Dhabi Thanksgiving
Curried Butternut Squash and Coconut Soup
Baked Ziti with Bechamel
(made these potatoes last year after watching him at a kitchen demo…they are divine!)
Shallot and Rosemary Gravy
Wild Rice with Currants and Cranberries
Erum’s Pumpkin Gingerbread Trifle
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What will you be making for Thanksgiving? Be sure to checkout Heba’s Middle Eastern inspired Thanksgiving menu too!