Three Thanksgiving Side Dishes that Don’t Need Oven Space

 

I’ve started my Thanksgiving count-down list. This week I’m concentrating on the table, polishing silver and ironing napkins. I’ve also ordered a local turkey and am finalizing the menu. I won’t have extra oven space because my turkey, cornbread dressing, and potato gratin all call for plenty of time, so I’ve been looking for sides that don’t need to be baked or roasted. While culling my past blog posts, I discovered a beautiful dish– a colorful mélange of fall vegetables that includes diced butternut squash, brown mushrooms, and Brussels sprouts all cooked on the stove top and sprinkled with grated Parmigiano and toasted pecans. I marked “yes” to that one!

In addition I’ve decided to add a cold weather salad of tender green beans or haricots Continue reading

Two Favorite Thanksgiving Sides

At our house there would be a revolt if I didn’t roast our Thanksgiving turkey slathered in herb butter and serve it with shallot pan gravy prepared from the drippings. And, our clan definitely expects me to make Southern cornbread and leek dressing to accompany the bird. Where I get some leeway, though, is with the sides for my family leaves those choices up to the chef (moi!). This year I’m turning to two favorites–Brussels Sprouts, Apples, and Bacon as well as Roasted Butternut Squash and Pears with Blue Cheese.

Striking with their vibrant autumnal hues and robust flavors, either or both of these dishes would make a delectable accompaniment to your bird. Each recipe serves six, but can be doubled if needed.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

 

Cooking for Thanksgiving and Beyond

Apple and Cherry Crumble  with Ginger Creme Fraiche 1 3648x2736Chicken Salad with Fennel and Walnuts  1 3648x2736Our family will be with us for the long Thanksgiving weekend, and while our son will pick out the wines, I will, as always, be in charge of the menu. Each year I prepare roast turkey basted with herb butter served with dark shallot pan gravy accompanied by cornbread and leek dressing. These two dishes are so popular with our clan that there would be a revolt should I think of presenting the bird and dressing any other way. I have free range, however, when it comes to the rest of the menu.

This year, for example, I’m adding an Apple and Cherry Crumble with Ginger Crème Fraîche to our dessert table. Far easier than an apple pie, but just as tempting, it is made with diced Granny Smiths and tart dried cherries covered with a crisp golden topping that includes oats, walnuts, and brown sugar. What sets this crumble apart from others, though, is the crème fraîche scented with honey and freshly grated ginger drizzled over the warm meltingly tender baked apples. Continue reading

Happy Thanksgiving!

From my table in New England to yours, Happy Thanksgiving to all my readers! Just click on any of the photos for a quick slide show!

 

 

Pumpkin Panna Cotta for Thanksgiving!

Pumpkin Panna Cotta with Pecan Brittle 1 2425x2634A few weeks ago my long-time assistant, Emily Bell, suggested that I offer readers a chance to end their Thanksgiving feasts with silky smooth pumpkin panna cotta in place of the traditional pumpkin pie. She had a favorite recipe for this Italian specialty–typically a mixture of cream, milk, and sugar bound with gelatin–and quickly convinced me that we could rework it, adding pumpkin puree and spices. My mouth was watering just thinking of this confection, so I wasted no time heading into the kitchen.

It took several tries before the flavors were balanced and the texture perfectly creamy, but finally we had a winner. I proposed that we add as garnishes dollops of softly whipped cream and crushed pecan brittle. The snowy white cap of cream contrasted nicely with the dusty orange hue of the “cooked creams,” while the glistening pecan brittle with its crunch was a great foil for the smoothness of this dessert. Continue reading

A Great Make-Ahead Side Dish for Thanksgiving

Roasted Butternut Squash and Pears 1There would be a rebellion in our family if our Thanksgiving menu did not include certain dishes. Everyone expects herb-roasted turkey with shallot pan gravy and cornbread dressing prepared with leeks, onions, and sweet peppers. My spouse adores the glistening cranberry chutney I’ve made for close to two decades, and our grandkids look forward to decadent pies and other sweets to end our feast.

When it comes to side dishes, though, I can vary the offerings without a major protest. This year there will be tender green beans sprinkled with crispy bacon, green onions, and parsley along with buttermilk mashed potatoes with grainy mustard. I’m also adding roasted butternut squash and pears with blue cheese and walnuts, a glorious fall dish that bursts with vibrant fall colors and tastes. Continue reading

The Thanksgiving Menu: A Last-Minute Trimming

 

Photo by Susie Cushner
Yesterday at a book signing for my new book, Sunday Roasts, I offered samples of Golden Cider-Roasted Turkey mounded on baguette slices, topped with spoonfuls of glistening Cranberry and Dried Cherry Chutney.
Those who stopped by all commented on the moistness of the turkey, but what really caught their eye and their palate was the deep crimson chutney. One woman told me that she had not been pleased with her cranberry sauce the previous year, and was eager to try this chutney.
I’ve included this special condiment more than once in my Thanksgiving classes, and each time it turned out to be one of the most popular dishes on the menu. Everyone loves the balance of flavors—the sweetness of the cherries countered by the tartness of the cranberries.
If you’re still looking for a great complement to your bird, give this chutney a try. It takes about 10 minutes to prepare and can be made several days ahead. Store it in the fridge, and at serving time mound it in a bowl. Then watch your family and friends reach for seconds!

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Savory Sweet Potato Flans with Arugula Salad

If you’re like me, you’ll probably include sweet potatoes as part of your Thanksgiving menu.  But, you don’t have to turn to those predictable preparations of baked sweet potatoes topped with marshmallows, or serve them mashed and seasoned with spices. There are far more exciting ways to use this versatile tuber. Continue reading

Apricot, Bacon and Blue Cheese Toasts

Okay, if you’re like me, appetizers are the last thing on your mind when planning a Thanksgiving menu. After all, there’s the big bird in the oven, the dressing to tend to, plus all those sides and desserts.

But those little nibbles we offer with glasses of wine do set the tone for the parade of dishes to come. My golden rule: appetizers served on Turkey Day should be simple to make, tasty, and not too filling. Apricot, Bacon, and Blue Cheese Toasts deliver with panache. Continue reading