I have a lot to be thankful for, today and always.
Even though this past year has been one of the hardest ever for me, through it all and despite the heartache, I have been blessed.
I never had to put my child to bed hungry, I never had to fight to keep him warm, I could take him to see a doctor when he was sick and could afford nice gifts for his birthday — he just turned 4 yesterday.
I’m working now because I chose to, not because I had no choice, and I’m grateful for the little lives I get to touch, and all that they have taught me. I have had the gift of counsel to help me make wise decisions, and the faith of people who would recommend me and vouch for my character. I have new opportunities ahead of me and the support to seize them. And above all, I still have my family near and far in good health.
Our large family has gathered here for the holiday. The children are all out of highchairs now and require less attention, so the parents can finally finish their plates before they’ve gone cold, and can have the (very) occasional uninterrupted conversation.
I love the evenings in that fire-lit home, and most of all the time I spend in the kitchen with my mother and sisters-in-law as we prepare dinner together.
We laugh and scheme and reminisce while the children play together in miraculous harmony… what a blessing it is to have a group of young cousins who treat each other with such kindness.
As we were finishing our drinks one night, I told one of my sisters about this broccoli dish I made that their mother would love — roasted broccoli Caesar salad.
This warm side dish would be perfect alongside your Thanksgiving spread and provides some much-needed greens and fiber to balance out the rolls and gravy.
Roasted Broccoli Caesar Salad
2 large heads broccoli (or broccolini, if you can find it)
2 anchovy fillets packed in oil
1 large garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons mayonnaise or 1 large (pasteurized) egg yolk
The juice of ½ lemon
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup grated Parmesan
Shaved Parmesan for garnish
Salt and black pepper to taste
Wash and cut your broccoli into bite-sized pieces.
Toss the broccoli in a little olive oil, sprinkle with a little salt, then spread out on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
Roast the broccoli in a 400-degree oven for 15-20 minutes, tossing halfway through, until dry and crispy. You want a few dark edges for flavor.
While the broccoli is roasting, make your dressing.
Set the anchovy fillets in a large bowl and mash them into a paste with a fork.
Drop in the Dijon mustard, mayonnaise or egg yolk, lemon juice, garlic, and shredded Parmesan, and whisk until the paste is smooth.
Slowly drizzle in the olive oil while whisking constantly until all the oil has been incorporated.
Taste and season with salt and pepper. You may also want to add more lemon juice here.
When the broccoli is roasted, remove from the oven and drop immediately into the bowl with the dressing.
Toss until the broccoli is coated in dressing, garnish with shaved Parmesan, and serve while still warm.