Thanksgiving has always been an event in my family. The food is delicious and abundant, there the décor is never less than glorious and the company is filled with joy and love. It’s the perfect combination for a successful Thanksgiving!
When I was little, I remember Thanksgiving dinners at my grandmother’s house. I would sit on the landing of the staircase (with a black olive on each finger – a girl needs a snack with all of that good cooking!) and listen to my family in the kitchen, laughing hysterically at something my aunt said or something my mom did. I didn’t really know the reason for the laughter, but I would start to snicker all by myself just listening to them.
When dinner was about ready and the food was smelling too good to resist any longer, I would make my way into the kitchen and watch the hustle and bustle of the women in my family. They moved together like clockwork. Before I knew it, we were at the table, forks in hand, feasting on a tremendous spread that seemed effortless to create.
Generous? Yes. Tasty? Yes. Effortless? Not a chance. I never realized how much work went into planning for and hosting a holiday celebration. Even when family pitches in, it is still a huge task – even if it’s one you’d perform lovingly and willingly.
Well, this year is my year. I am hosting Thanksgiving dinner! I am definitely excited and up for the challenge, but I want to make sure I have plenty of snacks and goodies on hand throughout the day to tide over my guests’ impatient bellies while I prepare the main event.
One of the simplest things I like to make is pesto – it’s fresh, it’s colorful and it pairs nicely with vegetables, meats and breads. This pesto combines spicy arugula with sweet hazelnuts and is fairly mild in garlic flavor, which is perfect for any holiday celebration (avoiding the Hhhhhi, I’m Hhhhhheather… garlic overload!). This will definitely be one of many options in my snack spread.
Good luck to all of you who are hosting Thanksgiving this year! We just have to remember to keep it simple and delicious (and make sure to drink plenty of fluids – party planning is no easy feat!).
Arugula Hazelnut Pesto
2 cups packed arugula
½ cup chopped hazelnuts
¼ cup parmesan cheese
1 small clove garlic
About 1/3 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper
In a food processor, pulse together the arugula, hazelnuts, parmesan cheese and garlic clove. With the motor running, add the olive oil in a slow, steady stream until the mixture is well blended. Add salt and pepper to taste.