Cooking Class: Vegetarian Side Dishes for Thanksgiving with Jennifer Abadi

Cooking Class: Vegetarian Side Dishes for Thanksgiving with Jennifer Abadi


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Join us as we learn to make Roasted Vegetable Salad with Caramelized Onions, Toasted Pecans, and Pomegranate-Vanilla Vinaigrette and Sweet & Spicy Pumpkin Dip with Ginger, Cumin, and Jalapeños.
The traditional American Thanksgiving meal goes back to 1621 when the Pilgrims and Native Americans came together at Plymouth for their first official autumn harvest celebration. Although a variety of wild game and fowl (venison, ducks, geese, and wild turkeys) as well as seafood (cod, bass, mussels, clams, and lobster) were a regular part of the diet and likely consumed during this first Thanksgiving celebration, a bounty of fruits and vegetables gathered during the fall harvest would have been integral to the meal, if not central to the menu. 
The most common vegetables that were prepared at the time included onions, spinach, cabbage, carrots, beans, pumpkin, and squash. Corn — native to the Americas — was plentiful but likely served in the form of a sweetened cornmeal porridge as opposed to being roasted whole. While potatoes (both white and sweet) are now a common ingredient in the Thanksgiving menu, these starchy root vegetables did not become popular until much later.
Fruits that were readily available such as plums, grapes, gooseberries, blueberries, and cranberries were also incorporated (although the sweetened cranberry sauce would not be prepared until decades later once sugar became more available). Pecans — indigenous to North America — became a valuable source of nutrition as well as a form of currency and trade for the Native Americans once the European Settlers arrived.
Led by cooking instructor, cookbook author, and recipe preserver Jennifer Abadi, this interactive, hands-on seminar will teach you how to easily create two different types of vegetarian side dishes — one a dip and a second a salad — that are also vegan and gluten-free. Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, participants will come away with an increased understanding of how to incorporate seasonal, easy-to-find ingredients — such as carrots, squash, pumpkin, pecans, and cranberries — into healthier side dishes that are perfect for the fall and upcoming holiday season. 

Ingredients:
  • 1 pound butternut squash, pumpkin, or kabocha, peeled and cut into ½inch cubes 
  • (about 3 cups cubed; you can use the pre-cut cubes sold in grocery stores)
  • ½ cup (canned) pumpkin purée
  • jalapeno pepper (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons of lemon zest from one large lemon
  • finely chopped garlic
  • 1 medium onion, stems trimmed, outer skins peeled, cut into thin rings or strands
  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts, stems trimmed, then cut in half (for small ones) or into quarters (for large ones)
  • 1 pound carrots (orange or multi-colored/rainbow kind), peeled, stems trimmed and discarded, cut into ½-inch disks
  • 1 pound parsnips, peeled, stems trimmed and discarded, cut into ½-inch disks
  • white vinegar
  • ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • balsamic vinegar
  • vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon pomegranate syrup/molasses, date syrup, or balsamic reduction (optional but suggested)
  • 2 tablespoons raw or roasted pumpkin seeds or 2 teaspoons caraway seeds
  • 1 cup walnut or pecan halves (better to get the halves instead of the already chopped kind)
  • dried cranberries
  • ground cinnamon
  • ground ginger
  • ground cumin
  • fine sea salt or kosher salt
Recommended Equipment:
  • Small skillet
  • Baking pan
  • Peeler
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Cutting board
  • Chef’s/chopping knife
  • Food processor
  • Rubber spatula
  • Measuring cups/spoons
  • Chef’s knife and cutting board, for preparing vegetables
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Baking pan, for roasting vegetables
  • Small bowl or jar, for mixing dressing
  • Small skillet, for toasting nuts

Jennifer Abadi is a native New Yorker, born, bred and raised on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. She is half Sephardic (Aleppo, Syria) and half Ashkenazic (Riga, Latvia). She is a researcher, developer, and preserver of Judeo-Arabic and Sephardic recipes and food customs, focusing on the Jewish communities of the Middle East, Mediterranean, Central Asia, and North Africa. She is the author of two cookbooks: "Too Good To Passover: Sephardic & Judeo-Arabic Seder Menus and Memories from Africa, Asia and Europe" and "A Fistful of Lentils: Syrian-Jewish Recipes From Grandma Fritzie's Kitchen." Jennifer teaches cooking at the Institute of Culinary Education (ICE) and at the Jewish Community Center Manhattan (JCC), as well as privately. Jennifer has been providing Jewish Food & Culture tours on Manhattan’s Lower East Side for Context Travel since 2012."

This conversation is suitable for all ages.

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

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