Weird-Ass Thanksgiving: Snow Pea Salad with Sesame-Ginger Dressing

December 4, 2014

Don’t get me wrong–I love our weird-ass Thanksgivings. I really do. I think it’s fun to spend the whole day futzing in the kitchen over a traditional Spanish paella or a bubbling pot of cacciatore, picturing the poor fools having to endure green bean casserole and waldorf salad. Clearly, I’m a snot and have a bit of a superiority complex when it comes to Thanksgiving, but I’m adorable the rest of the year, right?

Maybe my arrogance caught up with me a bit this year, because this Thanksgiving really was a little more weird-ass than usual. I woke up in the middle of the night, Thanksgiving Eve, with an eye that was throbbing and thrumming like a metronome. I lurched to the bathroom and the damn thing was shriveled and an evil shade of crimson. WTF?

As I was inspecting the Eye of Two-Face, I heard hacking and wheezing from Miss D.’s room. Miss D. has been afflicted with respiratory CRUD for over two weeks now. It’s not going away and she’s not getting any better, and our resident doctor doubts antibiotics are going to help matters, so we’re in for God knows how many weeks more of Hackville. I rummaged around for her inhaler and delivered it with my hand over my eye.

“What’s with the eye?” she mumbled.

“Assholery,” I replied.

I found some medicinal eye drops in the downstairs cabinet and plopped a couple of drops in the offending eyeball and “Yargh! Fire! Fire!” I clutched my eye, hopped around the kitchen and cursed a Holy streak. Man, those things stung. No wonder, because in the morning, I complained to my husband and he looked at the container and said, “Um, these drops are for ear infections, Babe.”


Luckily, when I called Mama (the medicine hoarder), she had some of the real stuff on hand, so she brought it with her when she and Daddy came for dinner. A few drops of the good medicine and I was a lot less squinty and watery. Mama and I had to laugh, though, because a few weeks ago, she had a terrible fall and–like Miss M.–took the brunt of the blow with her face. So there we were: Miss M. with her (fading, thank goodness) Hitler mustache and broken arm, and Mama with a face black and blue like carbon paper, and me with the angry ugly eyeball.

No holiday pictures this year, folks.

Then, the cat must have decided that I didn’t look ridiculous enough. She jumped on the kitchen counter to investigate the dumpling appetizers, and when I picked her up to remove her, she rewarded me with a deep, bloody gash on my arm. It’s really not sanitary to cook with a deep, bloody gash on one’s arm, so out came the peroxide and the gauze and the medical tape. Most. Awkward. Looking. Cook. Ever.

Nothing went amiss with the appetizers (aside from the cat incident), and we played a few rousing rounds of “BuzzWord!”–which is a great game to play during the holidays because the cook can participate while she’s busy in the kitchen–and then it was time to check on the pork roast.

Except my meat thermometer chose that exact moment to go kaput. No reading at all. Whaa? Then I remembered that I had a really old one in a back drawer somewhere…one that isn’t digital…rummage, rummage…okay, there it is…plunged him in and…NADA. That one didn’t work, either.

It totally sucks to shell out cash on a big, beautiful pork roast, spend a day marinating it in wonderful things, roast it with tender care and then not have any idea whether the damn thing is cooked or not.  Seven Kinds of Owl Shit!

I poked and sniffed and prodded and squeezed and decided to put it back in the oven for another 15 minutes. The idea of over-cooked pork wasn’t appealing, but it sure as heck beat the idea of bloody pork, so I took my chances. I may have said a little prayer to the pork gods, although I doubt they work on Thanksgiving Day.

I took the mystery roast out of the oven, tented it with foil and let it rest for 25 minutes. I nervously made gravy. Finally, the moment of truth: I cut into the mystery roast and…

It was perfectly cooked. Juicy, just the barest of pink inside, succulent and ready for eatin’.

Maybe the pork gods are real, after all?

I don’t know, but that was a Thanksgiving miracle. We really enjoyed the whole dinner, and I’ll share some of the recipes with you over the next few weeks, but since it was truly a weird-ass Thanksgiving, I thought I’d share this recipe for Snow Pea Salad with you first. Because that’s a pretty weird choice to share first, isn’t it? It’s a salad, for goodness sakes. And it’s dead simple–not fancy at all. Nor is it particularly impressive looking. But. It happened to be Mama’s favorite part of the entire dinner, and I have to admit, I was shocked by how good it was.

It’s fresh, it’s packed with flavor, and it’s a refreshing counterpart to a rich meal. I’ll be making this regularly from now on, and the leftovers are great. Because I’m a freak, I especially enjoyed the leftovers plopped on a bit of steamed rice with a dash of Sriracha for breakfast.

Holiday leftover bliss.

I hope you readers had a wonderful Thanksgiving, full of food and family and laughter. And now for the important question? Have you finished your Christmas shopping yet?



Snow Pea Salad with Sesame-Ginger Dressing

from the Sunset Cookbook

serves 4-6


1 pound snow peas, strings removed

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 1/2 tablespoons sesame oil

2 teaspoons fresh grated ginger

1 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon hot Chinese mustard

2 sliced green onions

1 teaspoon sesame seeds, preferably a mix of white and black


Blanch snow peas in boiling water for 20-30 seconds; drain and immediately plunge into a bowl of ice water. Drain and pat dry. Slice on the diagonal into bite-sized pieces.

Combine all remaining ingredients except for green onions and sesame seeds. Whisk well and toss with the snow peas. Refrigerate for at least one hour to allow flavors to combine.

Just before serving, toss with green onions and sesame seeds.

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Lisa @ The Meaning of Me December 4, 2014 at 8:11 am

Those damn strings are why I loathe snow peas. My Hub loves them, though, so maybe I should make him some of this. Especially since I force-fed him my sick tea (which he thinks tastes like feet but whatever it works), massive amounts of garlic in soup, and failed to mention that one of our recent soups included sweet potatoes, which he hates. The poor guy takes such culinary abuse.


Arnebya December 4, 2014 at 8:31 am

I’m going to try this just because snow peas are one of my absolute favorite snacks. Sure, I ruin it with dips, but still. Also, you’re hot for a one normal eye arm gash haver.


S in AK December 4, 2014 at 3:55 pm

Snow peas were the first vegetable I ever prepared (I wasn’t a big vegetable lover as a kid ~or~ as a young adult). Love them to this day. You make *every* day memorable, kid.


Annette December 4, 2014 at 11:08 pm

I’m such a dork for asking, but how does one remove the strings?


Dana Talusani December 5, 2014 at 8:12 am


You’re a loveable dork :) Just grab the pointy end of one and tear across, kind of like you are unzipping them.


Dana December 5, 2014 at 12:51 pm

Wow, what a day you had! I still have a scar on my stomach from a cat scratch while I was pregnant. Those nails are crazy sharp! Glad your pork was perfectly cooked ;) and that recipe looks delicious!


D. A. Wolf December 5, 2014 at 6:04 pm

Oh My God. Never a dull moment! (Gash aside, you look amazing all the same…)

Strings on snow peas?

Too much like deveining shrimp…

My strategy?




Alison December 7, 2014 at 1:07 am

I’m sorry about your eye and the cat scratch. Are both better?
That does look like a yummy salad!


Tinne from Tantrums and Tomatoes December 9, 2014 at 8:19 am

Erf the strings… they make me gag every time!


Tiffany December 14, 2014 at 7:18 am

You’re adorable. And this sounds yummy.


Pamela December 14, 2014 at 10:01 am

Yum on the salad. I LOVE your thanksgiving traditions.


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