Lettuce Eat Local
My mom and dad were staying with us but have driven home to Ohio; Brian’s brother and family were also visiting Kansas for the week, and have also traveled home. The days of having my parents do my housework or of spending all our free time up at the in-laws’ with a houseful of family are over. No more playing games with my parents in the afternoon while my kids nap, no more endless supply of willing arms to hold baby Kiah, no more horde of cousins to entertain Benson.
Our first two weeks of newborn life were very full, full of family and helping hands, but now we’ll leave that alternate reality to find our new normal. Thanksgiving is over. The fairytale is over.
But then again, is it?
I’m sitting here on the recliner with a snuggly baby wearing the softest knot gown, and as I gazed down at her she literally just did this incredibly adorable chuckling thing in her sleep. She’s making all those funny faces and snuffly squirms babies do while they’re sleeping; I’m delightfully distracted. Benson is going to have a hard few days recuperating from all the stimulation and transitions of the last couple weeks, yet in the midst of his angry stomping and over-reactive breakdowns, he gives us the sweetest and most hilarious moments — and even if he didn’t, he’d still have my heart.
I get to stay home with my TWO children, living on a farm that has my husband working so near to us, solidly connected and supported by community that shows up in all different forms. The fairytale is not over; it just continues.
I threw a line into last week’s article without providing much background, about Brian starting to die again five years ago at Thanksgiving. That was a month into the saga of his farming accident, and things started going so far downhill again. The calendar dates of this week now were when he contracted both sepsis and an often-fatal lung disease, on top of all his other injuries and complications, and was put into a three-day medically induced coma to try and help his body heal itself. Let’s just say his chances of mere survival were very slim, and I said goodbye to him, not knowing if he’d ever wake up again, or if he’d be himself if he did. But he did, and he is.
That experience is a constant reminder that my life is actually better than a fairytale, that the holiday of Thanksgiving comes and goes but that I can never let go of giving thanks. We’re polishing off the turkey and sweet potato casserole leftovers from out of the fridge, yet we’ll never clear the table of gratitude or finish up thanksgiving.
On a simple physical level, even the leftovers are a great place to keep feeling thankful. Christmas is my favorite holiday, but I think Thanksgiving’s food is the best. And I love the leftovers as much as I love the original spread — which is good, since my husband smoked a 23-pound turkey. I made bone broth and picked the meat off for soups, and now that winter has officially shown up, the timing could not be better. While Brian works close by outside, the littles and I will stay warm and cozy inside, cooking up simple, comforting pots of soup as we find our place as a family of four.
Sounds like a return to real life won’t be so bad after all.
Leftover Turkey Lemon Dill Soup
This is a really interesting take on chicken soup — it is classic, and yet simultaneously completely different. It borrows a lot of flavors from the country of Georgia, capitalizing on dill and lemon, and utilizes egg yolks to make this creamy soup surprisingly cream-less. If you still have turkey bones to deal with and want an accompanying Georgian spin on bone broth that gives this soup extra depth, I’d be happy to share the recipe with you.
Prep tips: we got our turkey from Phil’s Farm & Butchery, but often groceries run specials on turkeys before and after Thanksgiving, so load up wherever. If you have leftover cooked carrots (or other roasted veg), throw those in here too!
a knob of butter
1-2 yellow onions, chopped
1 pound carrots, halved lengthwise and sliced
good pinch salt
2 tablespoons flour
½ tablespoon dried dill seed
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
about 2 quarts turkey (or chicken) broth
a couple cups of leftover turkey, shredded
6 egg yolks
juice of 2 lemons (about ¼ cup)
fresh dill or parsley, chopped
In a large kettle over medium-high heat, cook onions and carrots in butter with salt until browned. Stir in flour, dill, and coriander, and slowly whisk in a cup or two of broth, cooking until thickened. Stir in the remaining broth and turkey and bring to a simmer.
Separately, whisk the egg yolks and lemon juice. Whisk in a cup of the hot broth from the soup, and then pour this into the soup — remove from heat and do not let the broth simmer after the eggs are added, since they might curdle. Toss in the fresh herbs and season to taste with salt, pepper, and red pepper.
You can reach Amanda at [email protected].