Full of Thanks

We have had a busy week. Last weekend we went to Barcelona (I know, poor me) to watch our daughter compete in a volleyball tournament. We only saw a few snippets of the city, but oh, I fell hard for Barcelona. I need to find a way to get back there soon.

Of all the things one could take photos of in Barcelona this was my favorite. The changing colors of the leaves. I was reveling in my love for Autumn, when I realized we are nearing the end of November which I guess technically qualifies as winter.

I don't know about that though, the skies were impossibly blue, the air crisp but not so cold that you needed to bundle up, and by mid-day you could ditch the jacket if you were walking briskly.

After watching volleyball all day we would head to Las Ramblas, which is a pedestrian mall downtown. The street is flanked by high end retail, tapas bars, gelato stands, souvenir shops, and La Boqueria market. The market was beautiful and you can stroll through all the produce stands while sipping sangria (in a to go cup with straw mind you) and nibbling on a freshly made calzone.

We returned home to a short sprint of a work week leading to Thanksgiving weekend. I really love Thanksgiving, and enjoy filling our house with friends and family, sharing a meal together, and also sharing what we are thankful for. This year we spent the evening with some new friends who also moved to Tunisia this year. We shared stories of our family's holiday traditions, talked about life, and laughed a lot.

The past few months have been filled with many new experiences, the pendulum has swung from the maddening to the exhilarating (and back and forth a few times)  I realized during one maddening episode that I can be mad and let my thoughts run to the negative, OR I could be thankful. Sometimes being thankful is hard. One day the only thing I could think of to be thankful for was the fact that I liked the scent of my dish washing liquid. That was a bad day.

Today though, I am full of thanks. I am thankful for my husband, his eternal optimism and sunny personality makes our days brighter. My daughters who are so beautiful, witty, and kind. My family who love us and whose presence I miss so much. Our friends both near and far who we have travelled life with.

I am thankful!

Now, what to do with that leftover turkey?  I'm planning to make soup from the leftover carcass. David Tanis writes the City Kitchen articles in the New York Times and he has a recent article on what to do with Thanksgiving leftovers besides the usual sandwiches and casseroles. He suggests this soup that is fragrant with lime, warm with chilies and has the earthiness of corn tortillas. I'm in. 

Turkey Soup With Lime and Chile
Time: About 1 hour

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup diced onion
1 cup diced celery
1 cup diced carrot
1/2 teaspoon cumin seed
1/2 teaspoon coriander seed
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
6 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 cinnamon stick, 2 inches long
2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
8 cups unsalted turkey or chicken broth
Vegetable oil for frying
4 corn tortillas, at least a day old, cut in 1/2-inch strips
4 to 6 cups cooked turkey meat, shredded
1 or 2 firm-ripe avocados
6 scallions, chopped
2 jalapeƱos, thinly sliced
1 small bunch cilantro, leaves and tender stems, roughly chopped
Lime wedges.

1. Heat vegetable oil in a heavy-bottomed soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion, celery and carrot and let soften, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes.
2. Toast the cumin, coriander and peppercorns in a small dry skillet over medium-high heat until fragrant, about 1 minute, then grind in a spice mill or mortar. Add the ground spices to the pot, along with the garlic, cinnamon, a pinch of cayenne and salt.
3. Add the broth and bring to a boil, then reduce to a brisk simmer. Cook for 15 minutes, then taste for salt and adjust. Keep hot, covered, over very low heat.
4. Pour vegetable oil to a depth of 1/2 inch into a wide skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot and looks wavy, add the tortilla strips and fry until barely colored, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove with tongs and drain on paper towels. Sprinkle lightly with salt. (The oil may be strained and saved for future frying.)
5. In a medium saucepan, heat the shredded turkey meat with a little of the hot soup. Divide the meat among 4 to 6 soup bowls and add a few slices of avocado to each. Ladle about 1 cup soup into each bowl, then garnish with tortilla strips, scallions, jalapeƱo slices, chopped cilantro and a generous squeeze of lime juice.
Yield: 4 to 6 large servings.


  1. We missed being with you there and miss having you with us here. It sounds like your T-day was sweet. The David Tanis soup would be a good antidote to the turkey meal. See you in another day.

  2. I would have enjoyed this blog entry infinitely more if you had withheld the word "carcass." It made me cringe. :) I am thankful for YOU! --AR

  3. Okay, I guess I could have said turkey skeleton, but bones would also suffice:)