Thank goodness for Thanksgiving. It gives us something to look forward to during November when the days are short, generally grey and often cold. For anyone who loves to cook or just loves to eat, it is a great weekend. The kitchen is warm and toasty and filled with the wonderful aroma of turkey and pumpkin pie. For football fans the weekend is a highpoint in the season. It might not be the Super Bowl, but between the local high school team, a slew of college games and the pros, even the most fanatic fan might overdose on the sport, or maybe not. Most important, it is a wonderful time for families and friends to get together.
People of all ages hit the road and are welcomed home in cities and towns across the country. Students will return home with huge bags of laundry and big appetites. They’ll be hungry for Mom’s home cooking and maybe a little TLC. Families will drive over the river and through the woods to Grandmother’s house. Siblings and cousins will swap stories, tell a few lies and jokes and argue about politics and football teams.
I am looking forward to having lots of family here over the holiday. I’ve ordered the turkey, made my lists and am well into the preparations. Throughout the week and weekend there will be arrivals and departures, comings and goings. During the Empire, all roads led to Rome. For the Nye family all roads lead to Pleasant Lake.
It started when I was ten. My family built a vacation house close to the lake. Over the years the little house in the woods has become a focal point for the Nye family. Summers are spent in and on the lake. Three generations of Nye children have learned to swim, sail and kayak on Pleasant Lake. In the winter we head to nearby ski slopes. When we were little, my sister, brother and I spent most Saturdays and Sundays on King Ridge’s wide gentle slopes. As teenagers, we demanded a little more challenge and moved over to Ragged Mountain. King Ridge has been closed for more than an decade and Ragged has had its ups and down. Ragged is having something of a renaissance and after a long hiatus we are delighted to ski there again.
For two decades I lived thousands of miles away, first in Switzerland and then briefly on the West Coast. No matter where I lived, I always found my way back to Pleasant Lake at least once, usually twice, a year. It was as if some obscure law of physics was at work, sort of like a gravitational pull. It certainly wasn’t Murphy’s Law. On the other hand, it could have been an irresistible force. Although for many years, I was hardly immovable. In fact, I rarely stayed put for more than a day or two. Until I moved here.
While I was gadding about the world, Pleasant Lake’s pull was slow but steady and gaining strength. Eventually I had no choice but to surrender. I bought a house, gave up my frequent flyer memberships, settled down and settled in. My brother delights in calling me a townie. Most long time residents have warned me that since I wasn’t born here I will always be a flatlander.
Townie or flatlander, it looks like I’m staying for keeps. With winter fast approaching, I’ve got all the proper accessories. Warm boots, a parka fit for the North Pole, three snow shovels, a roof rake, a snow blower and season ski pass. Weather permitting; Ragged hopes to open on Black Friday. The timing couldn’t be better. We’ll need some fresh air and exercise to shake off those tryptophan hangovers! A week of family and friends topped off with a little skiing, what more could a girl want?
Happy Thanksgiving and Have a Wonderful Holiday Weekend!
Left-Over Turkey Stir-Fry
When you have had as many turkey sandwiches as you can stand, take a break with an Asian stir-fry. Enjoy!
1/4 cup chicken stock
2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
Juice of 1/2 lime
1 teaspoon honey
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1-2 tablespoons canola or peanut oil
1-inch piece of ginger, chopped
1 teaspoon minced jalapeno, or to taste
2-3 cloves garlic
1 medium onion, cut in half and sliced
1 red pepper, cut in julienne
1/2 pound baby bok choy, trimmed and cut in julienne
1/2 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 pound cooked turkey, cut into bite size pieces
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
1. In a small bowl, combine the chicken stock, rice vinegar, lime juice, honey, cornstarch and salt. Whisk until smooth. Set aside.
2. Heat the oil in a wok over medium heat. Add the ginger, jalapeno and garlic and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add the onion and red pepper and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add the bok choy and asparagus and stir-fry for 2 minutes.
3. Add the turkey and toss to combine. Add the chicken stock mixture and toss to coat.
4. Cook, stirring frequently, for 3 – 5 minutes or until the vegetables and turkey have absorbed most of the sauce and are moist and tender.
5. Drizzle with sesame oil, garnish with chopped cilantro and serve immediately with steamed jasmine rice.
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