After the last morsel of turkey is licked off the finger and final slice of pumpkin pie disappears, the Catheys make harvest loaf.
Thanks to my dearly departed friend Anne Ferlo, Harvest Loaf has been part of my life for the past two decades. Anne was “Nonny” (great-grandmother) to my children, Luke and Kate, and it is they who insist this recipe come to life at the dawn of the holiday season.
Luke is a burgeoning young cook who is fast shedding his picky childhood proclivities, but sister Kate has her palate on perpetual lockdown from nuts and spices. Ironically, it's walnuts and ginger that really make Harvest Loaf sing. On the other hand, the chocolate chips and the sugar glaze make for a fine loaf all by themselves.
Anne and I got along famously, partly because when she cooked for me there were no substitutions and no omissions. Plenty of onion and garlic in all the dishes. Her husband Guy Ferlo, whom I still have dinner with several times a year, still picks onions out of his food when he sees them. (Sorry, Anne, I've tried.)
If you want to do the Harvest Loaf right, try the full recipe first and find out just how much the ginger hits the lips with a splash of spiciness before the chocolate chips and pumpkin wave over it to make the result irresistible.
Nonny is very much missed and celebrated in our hearts throughout the year, but never more than during the holidays.
Anyway, while we're dining with the Guidmeister, please do yourself and your family a favor while helping us celebrate Anne's memory with a Harvest Loaf or two ... or three.
Some folks like it room temperature; the kiddos love it refrigerated. Make two and decide for yourself: