The Occasion-less Feast

Posted by Lauren Dashwood

Being Canadian, I often wonder why Americans celebrate their Thanksgiving so late into fall. But after the end of Daylight Savings time took away a precious hour of our sun, and as the weather gets increasingly rainy, grey and cold, I can see the logic and the comfort of having a feast day to clear away the seasonal blahs. For those who don’t have the excuse of a statutory late-fall feasting holiday, why not produce and enjoy a feast for no reason at all? Resuscitate the erstwhile Sunday Dinner – I find there is great comfort and relaxation in puttering around the kitchen and lazily creating a heartening and mouth-watering meal.

Start with the meat – the main stay of any feast. I love this Chicken in Peppercorn Sauce. It is easy, unassuming, and so tasty. For a slightly more impressive meal, try this Thyme and Pepper Crusted Beef Roast. I recently tried this with a Venison Roast, cooking it for 5 hours in my crock-pot instead of in the oven. Game meat is leaner than conventional meat (a 3 ounce serving of venison has around 160 calories, while the same portion of beef contains 230), and slow cooking it – allowing it to steam in a flavourful liquid – ensures that it won’t dry out. This port, thyme and pepper infused roast is a sophisticated centerpiece and works equally well with beef or venison.

Next I usually plan a potato dish to pair with the protein. This Mashed Potatoes with Chevre is creamy and decadent. Throw in some pressed garlic for a tangy twist. Alternately, try these Cheesy Baked Potatoes. They are crisp, delicious and fuss-free – the essence in comfort food feasting.

Now for the vegetable dishes. I love squash – not only is it in season for fall and winter feasting, but it also wonderfully versatile. This recipe, for Winter Squash, is very basic, and really showcases all of the squash’s naturally goodness. This Danish Blue Salad, one of my mother’s year round specialties, pairs so well with a feast.

A nice feast every so often throughout late October and November really tides me over before I allow myself to start thinking about Christmas.