Thursday, November 18, 2010

thanksgiving recipes

I'll get back to my "stickies" note on my mac with all the recipes needing posting, but possibly you are looking for Thanksgiving ideas with just a week to go.  I go the updated traditional route.  No need to reinvent the wheel on this one.  The twists I make lighten the overall calorie load, but the point really is to add some freshness to a heavy meal.  I'm going to eat the full fat dressing, gravy, potatoes and pie because it's a holiday.  Besides, my whole little family runs the 3-mile Turkey Schlepp through our neighborhood at 9 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day.  We'll be fine.  Life is short.  Food is love.

sorry, no photos of today's classic recipes yet
I will add them after Thanksgiving
in the meantime, this is Rio and wouldn't we all like to be our pets?

The first entry today is roasted cauliflower with rosemary-lemon-thyme oil.  Fine Cooking published an amazing guide to roasting vegetables a couple of years ago (found it: Oct./Nov. 2007 issue 88, a particularly good one) and I've photocopied it for many friends.  Roasting vegetables not only caramelizes the sugars in the vegetables it also produces a fabulous bite with crisp outsides and tender insides.  Yummm.  I like to cut the core of the cauliflower out and then vertically slice the florets into thin "fans".  Very pretty.  Your best results from roasting come when your vegetables are uniform thickness.  Roasted cauliflower is also good just with kosher salt, fresh ground pepper and a 1/2 tsp white sugar added when you toss it with some olive oil (broccoli is fabulous this way too).  Another version for company would be dijon mustard and a little honey tossed with the cauliflower after roasting.  If you don't think you like cauliflower, give roasting a try.

roasted cauliflower with rosemary-lemon-thyme oil

cauliflower

one large head cauliflower, trimmed and cut into florets and/or vertical slices like fans
(for Thanksgiving I will roast 2 heads)
olive oil
rosemary-lemon-thyme olive oil (see below)
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper

rosemary-lemon-thyme oil

zest of one large lemon in long strips (love my cute yellow Zylis zester, but a peeler works well), save the lemon you might want to add the juice after baking
2 T olive oil
1tsp choopped fresh rosemary
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
(double this for more than one head of cauliflower)

In a small saucepan, combine the lemon zest and olive oil.  Cook over medium-low heat until the zest bubbles steadily for about 30 seconds.   Remove from the heat and cool for about 3 minutes.  Stire in the rosemary and thyme and let sit about 20 minutes before using.

Heat the oven to 475 degrees (450 if you have a convection oven).  If you have a nice stoneware jelly roll pan like I do (Pampered Chef) you can brush some plain olive oil in a thin coat on the pan then sprinkle it with a little kosher salt and fresh pepper.  If you are using a baking sheet (roasting pans can have pretty high sides and you'll steam your veggies instead of crisp roasting them), line it with parchment paper.  Toss the cauliflower with the rosemary-lemon-thyme oil, salt and pepper regardless of your pan.  Place in a single layer on your pan/sheet.  REMOVE THE STRIPS OF ZEST before roasting (or they will be bitter and burned, ick).  Roast for 20-25 minutes, stirring if you have florets and turning if you have "fans" after about 10 minutes.  Toss with additional rosemary-lemon-thyme oil if desired or the juice of a lemon (both additions are worth it).  Serve warm.


Ina Garten knows how to cook and she also knows how to generously employ butter and sugar.  I've adapted her sweet potato recipe which surely is delicious as written, but my version has it's own devoted following.  Basically you make mashed sweet potatoes and top them with cinnamon-sugar sauteed apple slices.  How could that be anything but fabulous?

baked sweet potatoes, milk, butter, brown sugar and spices ready to blend in the Kitchenaid

all mashed and ready to go

apples, butter and brown sugar in the saute pan

ready for the oven 
sweet potatoes with sauteed apples

4 pounds sweet potatoes (about 6 large)
1/2 C freshly squeezed orange juice
1/2 C 2 % milk, half and half or go for broke with heavy cream
4 T unsalted butter, melted (you can use less, but at least 2 T)
1/4 C brown sugar
1 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

sauteed apples

2 T unsalted butter
3 large McIntosh apples, peeled cored and sliced
3 T brown sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Scrub the potatoes then prick them in 5 or 6 spots with a knife or fork and bake for one hour or until very soft (do yourself a favor and put some nonstick foil on a baking sheet and either bake them on the sheet or put the sheet on the rack below in case the potatoes ooze out their sugary goodness-Thanksgiving is not a good time to have to clean your ovens).  Cool until you can handle them with a mitt and scoop out the insides into a large mixing bowl.  Add the orange juice, milk/cream, butter, brown sugar, nutmeg (buy it whole and use your rasp grater, very handy), cinnamon, salt and pepper.  Mix until combined, but not smooth.  Pour into a baking dish sprayed with nonstick cooking spray (2 quart dish or  9 x 13 casserole).

Melt the butter for the apples in a large skillet over medium high heat.  Add the apple slices and brown sugar and cook for about 10 minutes, lightly browning both sides.  Place apples on top of sweet potato mixture.

Bake for 20-30 minutes or until hot all the way through.

Serves 8-10

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