It’s hard to believe that Thanksgiving is this week; on one hand it feels like fall just started, but on the other this cold streak we’re having here in MD (plus the general trend of Christmas Creep) makes it feel like we’re already in December? It’s a little disconcerting, but I guess it’s time for sweater weather to actually be a thing. Since it’s an even year, we’re going to my in-laws to make Thanksgiving dinner, which is fun because while there are some standard dishes that are part of our routine we also have the ability to switch things up so long as everyone is on board. Wednesday will be a good long evening of prepping; we’re going to get some takeout in the form of poké, put some Top Chef on the tablet, and get to work.
The holiday season might be taking me a little unawares this year because 2018 has been a fairly intense one; for all of the highlights of the year—most notably our trips to Spain and New Orleans—there were also struggles and losses to contend with too. And I’d like to deal with the latter by focusing on some ways to help others, because as I was reminded a week ago from writing this, looking to the helpers is a way to find some comfort and to figure out the best ways to contribute as well. With that, here are some non-profits and charities that I think do some amazing work where you can be a helper:
- World Central Kitchen: This is José Andrés’ amazing non-profit that has been going to disaster sites as the needs arise to cook for everyone. They did an amazing job in Puerto Rico, but have also been supporting everything going on with the many wildfires out in California (including the most recent as well as ones earlier in the year) and basically anywhere a major natural disaster strikes. It’s a pretty extraordinary organization.
- Your local food bank: always a good decision, and right now your local grocery store should be making it super-easy to donate—they will have a list of the most-requested items, and you can buy them as part of your shopping order and drop those bags off in the collection bin. If not, this link will let you know where you closest food bank is and they can tell you what they need.
- Cooperative for Education: this is an organization that is dedicated to helping students break the cycle of poverty in Guatemala via education. My childhood friend T sponsored twelve years of education for three kids in addition to contributing to classroom reading programs that helped 60 children learn how to read, which is pretty damn awesome. This is a way to try to impact individuals in a really meaningful way if that is what motivates you to donate to non-profits.
- The Trevor Project: dedicated to helping LGBTQ youth when they need it the most.
- ACLU: because they can sue the administration for all of the many constitutional violations that they commit on a regular basis.
- Southern Poverty Law Center: to help them fight the blight on our country that are hate groups, no matter their particular stripe (anti-Semitism, racism, homophobia, Islamophobia, transphobia, you know, the works.)
- If you’re looking for other ways to help those in California who are dealing with the devastating wildfires, here’s a list of organizations who could use your dollars.
- Planned Parenthood: because women’s rights are human rights, and this organization provides a lot of valuable healthcare to a lot of people.
Obviously, this list isn’t comprehensive, and I encourage you to donate to the places you feel the most compelled to do so, but here are some that have meaning to me.
And as for all of the Thanksgiving prep, this soup is one thing we’ll be making ahead of time. I found this recipe in our Fine Cooking Annual that Michael received a few years ago, and with a few modifications I’ve since made it my own. It’s such a delicious soup; it’s sweet, nicely spiced from the ginger and white pepper, and it might possibly serve as the winter equivalent of gazpacho in that it’s a vegetable-heavy soup that is all too easy to drink. The first time we made it, we basically ended up polishing off the entire pot between the two of us, so I’m excited to share this with family.
Roasted carrot and ginger soup
Adapted from Fine Cooking Annual
Serves 4 as a starter
- 1 lb carrots, peeled and cut into 3-inch chunks
- 1 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
- 1 TBSP unsalted butter
- 2 medium ribs of celery, diced
- 1 medium shallot, diced
- 2 TBSP ginger, minced
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 2 cups water
- Kosher salt and freshly ground white pepper
While prepping vegetables, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Roast the carrots for one hour with a tablespoon of olive oil, stirring the carrots once halfway.
Heat another tablespoon of butter over medium heat into large saucepan and add the shallot; cook for 2-3 minutes and add celery and ginger and cook for another 4-5 minutes.
Add the carrots, stock, and water and bring to boil and then reduce it to simmer, letting it go for 45 minutes. Take off the heat, and then blend with an immersion blender until very smooth. If not serving immediately, cool and then chill before reheating when serving; serve with herbs of choice like parsley or chives.