By Cal Orey Last year Thanksgiving was a time when I spent the day cooking a big bird or little game hens, cornbread dressing, homemade cranberry sauce, mixed vegetables, and pumpkin pie. But this year I decided to rebel making the traditional dinner and postpone the big meal until Christmas. And that’s when I decided to get my turkey dinner fix and leftovers with a twist of the Mediterranean.
Back in the day when I was in my late twenties I was living in a townhouse in Mountain View (north of San Jose). Sitting in the sun, getting tan by the swimming pool I was reading and dog-earing one of those go-to-Europe-on-a-budget books. It was my dream to go to Tuscany that fall and savor sites, people, culture, and Mediterranean cuisine. I was going to stay at hostiles, take a backpack and sleeping bag, and experience several countries. But my boyfriend announced that if I left on a trip while he had to work he wouldn’t be there when I returned. So, I changed my plans and opted for graduate school to get a master’s degree in English (Creative Writing). Europe was put on the back burner. Decades later, I am here on the South Shore living my life as an author writing and promoting my health-cookbook Healing Powers Series. So, this week feeling a bit overwhelmed (after the Zen cat's dental surgery, bed meltdown, waiting for new mattress and sleeping in the bed frame like a big kitty litter box, and regretting not taking the Alaska getaway due to an unexpected hurricane-force storm) I ponder, “I can at least bring a treat with European flair to me." Think turkey sandwich and trimmings (I feel less guilty not having a bird in the fridge; rarely do I indulge in poultry or fish since I'm a 95% vegetarian and part-time vegan.) And I may just go ahead and book an adventure to Seattle-Victoria, Canada as a late Thanksgiving present to me since I still have flight miles in the lock box, with credit to Al Gore.
Hot Turkey and Provolone Sandwich
2 tablespoons European style butter
4 red onion slices
1⁄4 cup fresh mushrooms, chopped
4 tablespoon green bell peppers, chopped
2 sourdough rolls, split (whole grain preferred)
2 slices turkey (I used organic roasted turkey breast from Safeway deli.)
2 slices provolone cheese
1⁄2-1 cup spinach lettuce, chopped
3 Roma tomatoes, sliced
4 tablespoon black olives
Extra virgin olive oil
Red wine vinegar
Ground black pepper
In a frying pan melt butter and saute onion, mushrooms, and peppers. Put aside. Put bottom halves of rolls on parchment lined cookie sheet. Top each with turkey and cheese. Bake in 375 degree oven till cheese melts. Take out from oven and top each roll with lettuce, tomatoes, and onion mixture. Drizzle with olive oil and a splash of vinegar. Add a dash of pepper. Cut sandwiches diagonally. Serves two.
Chunky Mashed Potatoes
4 medium red potatoes
1⁄2 cup 2 percent low-fat organic milk
European style butter
In a saucepan boil potatoes. When tender put potatoes in bowl; mash. Add milk until consistency is smooth and chunky. Add butter to taste. Add chopped chives. Serves two.
For dessert the plan is to savor a cup of gourmet Sugar and Spice flavored coffee and a square of dark chocolate while sitting in front of a freshly made fire and cozying up with the the Aussie and Siamese while watching a film. True, it isn’t Rome (and the ex boyfriend is history forever) but this nontraditional “family-style” mini meal has its health perks. (I’ll save the second sandwich for the day after.) And there will be no gaining unwanted Turkey Day pounds. My plan is when I make my appearance for signing of my new book in the New Year I will still be able to fit in my size 4 skinny jeans. And that is going to be Thanksgiving for me.
Motto: Things happen for a reason. If you’re thinking you should be somewhere else, maybe it’s time to rethink where you are and be thankful for what you have. Blessings and light to you and yours. One more thing: The boyfriend left me, anyhow. He traded me in for "a woman to brush his hair out of his eyes after a hard days work." So, I got me a dog and lived happily after and we are each others' rock.
– Cal Orey is an accomplished author and journalist. Her books include The Healing Powers series (Vinegar, Olive Oil, Chocolate, Honey, Coffee,Tea, Superfoods, Essential Oils) published by Kensington, kobo.com, barnes and noble, amazon.com ebooks/paperback/mass market