Vegetables Every Day

Vegetables Every Day
Carrot Tarator with Beets

Friday, November 16, 2007

Thanksgiving

I will be hosting a small gathering for family, total count will be 7.  I’ve ordered an organic, pasture raised turkey, they smallest they had was 12-14 pounds.  Assuming it comes in on the small side, I am planning to do a “deconstructed” turkey.  You cut up the turkey, into a full breast with wings, legs with thighs, and everything else.  Everything else (back, neck, etc) is used to make a very nice broth, the thighs get stuffed.  To roast, the breast sits on a pile of stuffing and the legs sit along side.  This cooks much quicker than a full bird.  The full recipe is in the Julia and Jacques Cook book (which is one of my very favorite cook books).  In addition, I’ll make mashed potatoes. gravy, cranberry sauce (this is really easy, see below for the recipe), and a few vegetable sides.  Maybe a squash gratin, maybe a cornbread dressing with roasted fall vegetables…  it’s wheat free corn bread with lots of vegetables, but I’ll need to find a dish that fits in the toaster oven to make this work.   But when else are you going to eat parsnips and rutabagas? (and if its good, I'll post the recipe next year!) And of course there will be pies for dessert, both pumpkin and pecan unless someone gets a better idea.

Let me know what makes the perfect Thanksgiving meal for you!

So, to keep you interested in Thanksgiving and NOT Christmas (no matter how many of our neighbors already have their Christmas light up already), here are two favorites:


Creamy Winter Squash Gratin
8 cups cubed peeled butternut squash (about 3 pounds)
2 teaspoons butter
2 cups thinly sliced leek (about 2 large)
1 teaspoon salt
3 ½ cups 1% milk
1/3 cup flour
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Gruyere cheese
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 clove garlic
2 (1 oz) slices bread
2 teaspoons fresh chopped parsley
Preheat oven to 400F

Arrange squash in a single layer on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper (or use cooking spray).  Bake for 25 minutes or until the squash is tender.

Melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Add leeks and salt, cook 4 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently.   Combine milk and flour, stirring well with a whisk.  Add milk mixture to pan, bring to a boil.  Cook 1 minute or until thick, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.  Add cheese, pepper, and nutmeg, stir until cheese melts.  Gently stir in squash. Spoon mixture into a 2-quart baking dish coated with a cooking spray.

Mince garlic in food processor.  Break bread into pieces, add with parsley to food processor.  Pulse, then process into crumbs.  Sprinkle bread crumb mixture evenly over squash mixture.  Bake at 400F for 20 minutes or until golden brown.  Yield: 8 servings (serving size: about 1 cup).

Do ahead: prepare the gratin a day ahead and refrigerate, store the bread crumb topping separately. Let sit for a while at room temperature, add crumbs, then bake at 400o for 30 minutes or until brown.

Cranberry Sauce not from A Can

I think the cinnamon and vanilla really make this special (not to mention the lack of a tin-can taste), I always use tangerine juice since we just start getting them about this time)

Cooking Time: About 15 min.
Prep Time: About 5 min.
Makes:  3 1/2 cups, about 12 servings  (about as much as two cans)

6 cups (2 bags, 12 oz. each) fresh cranberries
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup tangerine juice                 
(or use orange juice with a tablespoon of lemon juice added)
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon vanilla

Put everything except vanilla in a saucepan, and over high heat bring to simmering. Turn down heat, and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, until cranberries are tender (lots of them pot open), about 10 minutes.

Stir in vanilla, let cool.  Serve, or chill airtight up to 1 week.

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