Saturday, October 18, 2008

Thanksgiving Part 2: Side Dishes

Guess what arrived in my mailbox yesterday? The Martha Stewart Living November issue with a big, fat, perfect turkey on the front and the title "Thanksgiving Solved!" We're a little ahead of the game here at UtHC.
I think my side dishes--not to mention my stuffing--were better than the ones she featured, but you can decide for yourself! Let's continue with our meal.

First up we have Maple Glazed Baby Carrots, harvested from the earth the same day they were served. They were so naturally sweet, the syrup was an unnecessary, but lavish touch. Wondering why they are a funny color? These are my purple carrots, which look almost black when they are cooked.

I've enjoyed brussel sprouts every time I've had them; I can't understand why they have such a bad rap. They brought such gorgeous color to our Thanksgiving table and were far more elegant than the common green bean (and don't even get me started on canned peas!). Just a head's up for the mama's reading: there were plenty of brussel sprouts rolling around under the high chair as these were not a hit with the little ones. More for us grown-ups, that's all!

Pan Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Toasted Walnuts and Lemon

Brussel Sprouts

Walnuts, lightly toasted

Salt and Pepper

Bring a medium pot of water to a boil and salt generously. Prepare brussel sprouts by peeling away one layer of outer leaves and scoring an 'X' in the bottoms, about 1/8th of an inch deep. Drop brussel sprouts into the boiling water and blanch for about 3 minutes, less if they are really small. A sharp knife poked into the center should still meet with some resistance. Remove from water with a slotted spoon and allow to drain on a tray. (This part can be done well before the meal)
Just before serving, melt butter in a sauce pan and toss in a pinch of the lemon zest. Add
brussel sprouts and pan roast until they start to get some golden patches. Some people prefer to slice them in half and brown the cut side generously. Mine were very small, about the size of a grape, so I chose to leave them whole. Toss in the rest of the lemon zest and a handful of walnuts. Season with salt and pepper and serve.
This dish held up well in a warm oven for about 15 minutes while I brought the rest of the meal together.

Lest I lead you to believe I cooked this entire Thanksgiving dinner on my own, let me assure you that I didn't! It was a joint effort, a well-executed pot-luck, I would go so far as to say, and that made all the difference. How else would I have been able to photograph every dish for your viewing pleasure?!
The best part of a pot-luck is getting to try new dishes that you may not necessarily have made on your own. My brother-in-law, Kevin (of the Egg McMuffin) contributed this amazing Butternut Squash Gratin, which was so light, it reminded me of a soufflé. I am not accustomed to cooking with Miracle Whip--I've never purchased it in my 30 years--but this gratin just might make me a believer. Maybe.
If you have family members who protest when you serve squash, try this dish and see if any one is complaining! I don't think you'll hear a peep.

Butternut Squash Casserole

3 cups chopped butternut squash

1 onion, chopped

2/3 cup sharp cheddar, shredded

15 crackers (Ritz like), crushed

1 egg, beaten

2 Tbsp. Miracle Whip dressing

Heat oven to 350F. Cook squash in boiling water in covered saucepan 15min. or until tender. Rinse under cold water; drain.
Mix squash and remaining ingredients; spoon into 8-inch square baking dish.
Bake 1 hour or until heated through.

Dinner is served! Clockwise from top center: Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Sweet Onion Buttermilk Rolls, Apple & Fruit Stuffing, Maple Glazed Purple Carrots.

My sister contributed these Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes; comfort food at it's best. She also found time between volunteering at the SPCA and writing an essay to whip up a gravity-defying deep-dish Apple Streusel Pie, but I'm saving that for the next post! Stay tuned.

Click here for Thanksgiving Part 1: Turkey & Co


RecipeGirl said...

Wow, what a great variety of sides. I love brussel sprouts too, and I can't imagine why others find them not so appetizing. Have you ever shredded them or roasted them? Divine!

"harvested from the earth the same day they were served"- you realize that not many people can say this! How wonderful!

Kristie said...

mmmmmm... can you please post the recipe for those carrots??

test it comm said...

Nice group of sides. I really like the sound of that cheesy butternut squash casserole.

Varina said...

h, I just love roasted or sautéed brussels sprouts! Those look wonderful. I also recently had them poached in apple cider with onions, which is great.

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

As a confessed Miracle Whip user, I'm very tempted to try that casserole! But the one that is most tempting is the glazed carrots. Now I just need to plant some in my garden.

Emily said...

Those carrots look awesome. I can't take my eyes off of them.

Peter M said...

Wonderful Thanksgiving sides, all would be welcome on my table too!

On to dessert(s)?

Andrew Abraham said...

I love the idea of your brussel sprouts... this is a great recipe idea.. I am always looking for healthy recipes for me and my family...thanks for posting..

David Hall said...

Hi Aimee

Bring on the sprouts! As for those carrots, yum! Delicious as always.


The Blonde Duck said...

Can I come over? I'd love to be a part of your Thanksgiving!

Olga said...

I was going to ask if I can come over for dinner, but looks like your table will be quite full already :)

Cheryl Arkison said...

We roasted our brussel sprouts with pancetta. Bacon (and maple syrup)makes everything taste better and the Monster happily ate a few, and a lot of the pancetta!

Aimée said...

Hi Recipe Girl- Shredded is next on my list- I love that idea.

Hi Kristie- Only because you asked so nicely. :)

Hi Kevin- Similar to your pumpkin casserole, no?

Hi Sabayon- That sounds wonderful. I love cooking with cider.

Hi Lydia- I'm surprised the carrots are such a hit. Good thing I didn't leave them out!

Hi Em- What's up with the carrots?

Hi Peter- We like to wait a little while after the meal before dessert, hang on to your horses, OK?

Hi Andrew- Your kids eat brussels? Hats off to you.

Hi David- Thanks! I think I'm making your Christmas cake this year...

Hi Blond Duck--Next year, perhaps.

Hi Olga- Don't worry about the table, I always cook extra.

Hi Cheryl- Yum, that would have been my direction too, but my Sister in law doesn't eat red meat, so no pancetta.

Deborah said...

It all looks so good, but I especially want a big helping of those Brussels sprouts!

Culinary Wannabe said...

I never would have thought of brussel sprouts with lemon/walnuts! What a unique combo, and so much lighter than my usual recipe that has lots of bacon. Hope you had a wonderful family/friend filled Thanksgiving!

Cookie baker Lynn said...

Wow, what a feast! I will have to try that squash souffle. My husband gags at anything squashish (besides pumpkin pie), but since Miracle Whip is one of his favorite food groups, I might be able to sell it.

LyB said...

Everything looks sooooo good! Those carrots are beautiful, the stars of the show I'm sure! I wish I had been at your place on Thanksgiving. ;)

Maris said...

Thanksgiving is my faorite holiday! Your butternut squash casserole looks amazing.


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