step aSIDE turkey!
brussels sprouts, carrots, celeriac, potatoes, shallots, winter squash – pumpkin, winter squash – butternut
Well, here it is…still on the farm truck! My dad asked me if I was going to need a u-haul to transport all my veggies to his house on the coast. No, but I may need a boat! Thanksgiving is my very favorite holiday, truly. I love that it is about nothing more than being with friends and family, giving thanks for all that we have, and cooking and sharing amazing culinary delights. I love that I have family that allows me to bring all my veggies, cook up a storm, and not pay a bit of attention to the bird or the cranberry sauce. For me, it’s all about those delectable veggie sides. Narrowing down the infinite possibilities is where it gets tricky. I find it a bit of a fine balance between that comfortable place of making the same tried, true and anticipated dishes each year, and wanting to try something unfamiliar and fabulous-sounding. Here’s what our menu will likely be, of course giving myself a bit of wiggle room, as I’m still reveling in the perfect recipe search.
What’s for Thanksgiving Dinner?
hors d’ oeuvres
I often make this winter greens pesto with end-of-the-week kale, chard, whatever. I keep frozen in zip lock bags, and bring it out as the perfect appetizer served over toasted baguette slices. The dip can be made with any type of onion – I’m going to try a mixture of last week’s onions, and the shallots. You cannot go wrong with simple, retro crudites, Lay’s and a good dip!
OK, no, I’m not making all three of these soups. But I wish I could! Each one uses so much of the amazing produce our area has provided over the last few weeks. And each one sounds so rich and velvety – perfect for this special occasion meal. Still mulling this over – such a hard choice!
The browned butter and sage recipe has been known to make a squash-lover out of even the most stubborn squash-haters! And yes, I just have to make two squash dishes. The brown-sugary-marshmallowey version is a once a year indulgence that I simply cannot live without. I’ll probably halve the recipe, using my leftover acorn squash (any type will do) from last week. Everyone needs just a TASTE…
Given that I’ve got FOUR POUNDS of these funny, mini-cabbage looking things coming my way, I think I need to try brussels sprouts two ways – chiffonade style (shredding the green leaves very finely) as well as roasted whole (or halved). In the salad, I’ll use hazelnuts instead of almonds, since they are our Northwest specialty. The roasted brussels sprouts with pancetta is again a combination that just may convert all those who just swear they can’t stand brussels sprouts. A wonderful sounding recipe that would combine these two styles is chiffonade of brussels sprouts with bacon & hazelnuts (Diane Morgan, The Thanksgiving Table).
celery root gratin (Diane Morgan, Roots)
I can’t resist making a celery root gratin featured in our own local Diane Morgan’s new cookbook, Roots. It looks amazing, especially along-side a very classic mashed potato recipe – pick your favorite!
Two sugar pie pumpkins means two pumpkin pies. Roasting these mini pumpkins is a fun and festive family activity. And easy (Sunset)! It’s nothing like those behemoth Halloween pumpkins, where everyone ends up done with the digging out of the gunk and the seed separating way before the task is accomplished. These pumpkins are super easy to work with, and the seeds are delicate and crisp, the perfect topping for so many salads and soups. The Alice Waters recipe is classic, delicious and, as her recipes always are, simple. The Cook’s Illustrated one (which was slightly adapted and amusingly walked through on Smitten Kitchen) was absolutely out of this world! A few twists on the classic – freshly ground ginger, maple syrup, and candied yams!!! And yes, I did say was. Life is short – we devoured this one before Thanksgiving.
Oh, and the turkey? I’m sure it couldn’t be happier surrounded by this beautiful northwest bounty.