Thanksgiving dinners are studies in brown and white: brown turkey, brown dressing, white potatoes, brown gravy, white rolls, brown fried onions on green beans, white marshmallows on sweet potatoes. Even the pies are brown: dark brown pecan pie, beige apple pie, burnt sienna pumpkin pie, all topped with dollops of white whipped cream. Cranberry sauce can be the only vivid color on the table. My mother-in-law packed four of the surprisingly large, tree-ripened lemons and shipped them to Alaska. Meyer lemons I’ve seen in the past have been smaller than regular lemons; these were so large I doubted their pedigree. The largest of the lemons weighed one half pound.
This year we decided to opt out of brown and white, and instead made a rainbow of colorful food, the brighter, the better. Orange sweet potatoes roasted in the oven with rosemary and garlic, blood red prime rib roasted at 200°F to retain its color, green beans sautéed with shallots, green lettuces and red radicchio dressed with aged balsamic vinegar and best quality olive oil. For dessert we had yellow Meyer lemon frozen yogurt topped with fresh deep fresh blueberries.
No one missed our traditional Thanksgiving dinner.
The best part about the meal is how easy it was to make. The dishes were straightforward and simple. Without complex sauces, or the need to brine a bird too big for its own good, we spent our Thanksgiving enjoying each other. Instead of stressing over getting the turkey in early enough, or whether it would dry out, or prepping ingredients for convoluted recipes, we sat by the fire counting our blessings and reminiscing about our families.
I churned the frozen yogurt during the 3 1/2 hours it took the roast to reach 130°F. When it was done, the prime rib rested for 20 minutes while I finished the meal. Since all the ingredients were trimmed and washed ahead of time, this was plenty of time to make salad, green beans with shallots, and roasted sweet potatoes.
The Meyer lemon frozen yogurt was a particular treat. Seven years ago, my husband’s brother and his wife planted a Meyer lemon tree in their South Carolina yard. This year, the tree had a profusion of lemons.
We cut one of the Meyer lemons to squeeze over fresh halibut. It was heavy with juice, and had the characteristic sweet-scented flavor of mandarin and lemon that complimented, but did not overpower, the halibut. With the remaining three lemons, I wanted to make something special. When I read Lucy's recipe for frozen lemon yogurt on Nourish Me, I found an ideal use for the Meyer lemons -- and my Thanksgiving dessert.
Frozen Lemon Yogurt showcases the complex flavors of Meyer lemon, and contrasts nicely with fresh ripe blueberries. It is light, slightly tart, and a terrific end to a filling meal.
Rosemary and Garlic Roasted Sweet Potatoes
I prefer using small garnet “yams” for this dish.
1 small garnet yam per person
1 tsp. minced rosemary per garnet yam
1 tsp. minced garlic per garnet yam
Preheat oven to 475°F.
Slice the sweet potatoes 1/8” thick. Toss with rosemary, garlic, salt, and sufficient olive oil to coat the potato slices. Spread out in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast for 10 – 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are cooked through and the edges are starting to turn dark brown.
Frozen Meyer Lemon Yogurt with Fresh Blueberries
Adapted from a recipe by Lucy at Nourish Me. This makes 1 quart of ice cream. If you don’t have a food processor, you can mix it by hand. If you do mix by hand, make sure to grate the lemon peel as finely as possible and to fully dissolve the sugar before pouring the mixture into the ice cream maker.
1 cup granulated sugar
3 Tbsp. finely grated Meyer lemon peel
1 1/2 cups plain whole milk yogurt
1 1/2 cups half-and-half
3/4 cup Meyer lemon juice
1 cup fresh blueberries
Process the sugar and Meyer lemon peel in a food processor until the peel is very fine. Add the remaining ingredients, except the blueberries, and process until the mixture is smooth. Freeze the mixture in your ice cream maker, according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Scoop into bowls and top with fresh blueberries.
My mother-in-law packed four of the surprisingly large, tree-ripened lemons and shipped them to Alaska. Meyer lemons I’ve seen in the past have been smaller than regular lemons; these were so large I doubted their pedigree. The largest of the lemons weighed one half pound.