In addition to the green beans with chestnuts and date vinaigrette and the maple roasted vegetables, we had garlic mashed potatoes, a Butterball turkey with giblet gravy, stuffing, glazed pearl onions, two kinds of cranberry sauce, dinner rolls and salad. Here are a few photos from the kitchen. What was on your thanksgiving table this year?
First, I’m happy to say that this post is my 100th post! I can’t believe it’s been almost 15 months and 100 posts! I’m happy that my 100th post is a new recipe that I tried, and for Thanksgiving Dinner. Thank you for joining me on this journey, hope you enjoy this post and all future posts!
Last Thanksgiving I blogged about everything I made. There was Part 1 that documented all the turkey and stuffing goodness and Part 2 that continued with the rest of the side dishes. This Thanksgiving, as November wore on and I was seeing so many recipes coming through my inbox and on my Yahoo homepage, I decided that I wanted to try something new. One of the newsletters I subscribe to is from Food & Wine. They’ve got great recipes, tips and cooking articles. One thing they like to do is themed recipe collections, and in the days leading up to Thanksgiving they had a new collection every few days. It was great! I saw so many that made my mouth water, but I finally settled on two side dishes: Maple Ginger Roasted Vegetables and Haricot Verts with Chestnuts and Date Vinaigrette.
Both recipes were a hit, although my dad and I decided to go back to our original green bean recipe for next year. The roasted vegetables were definitely a hit, although you could easily do it without a parsnip and for a regular dinner just cut the recipe in half, as it does serve a large gathering. Hope you enjoy as much as we did! And look for another Thanksgiving post next week!
MAPLE GINGER ROASTED VEGETABLES (serves about 12)
- 1 1/2 cups pecans
- 4 medium carrots (3/4 pound), peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick on the bias
- 2 large parsnips (1 pound), peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick on the bias
- 1 medium head cauliflower (2 1/2 pounds), cut into 1-inch florets
- 1 small butternut squash (2 pounds)—peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch dice
- 1 pound brussels sprouts, halved
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
- 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees and spread the pecans on a large cookie sheet. When the oven is ready toast for about 5 to 8 minutes, then remove and set aside. Keep at 425 for roasting the vegetables. I was really lucky that my aunt and uncle have two ovens so while our turkey was roasting in the big oven we were able to use the smaller oven for the vegetables.
While you’re waiting for the oven to heat up prep all your veggies. My dad and I split the chopping duties. He taught me a great little trick to cut the carrots and parsnips on the bias. After peeling them lay one on your cutting board and cut on the bias (aka, at a diagonal). Then turn the vegetable 90 degrees and cut again. This will give you various shapes and makes it a little easier to cut the vegetable.
Once all the veggies are peeled and cut, throw into a large bowl and grate the nutmeg right over the veggies and season with the salt and pepper and the olive oil. (If you don’t have fresh nutmeg, already ground nutmeg works too!) Toss well with a large spoon, or dig right in with your hands, which is what I did. There are so many vegetables I found this to be much easier. I also added a little more nutmeg, salt and pepper after tossing them so that all the veggies got some spice.
Spread the vegetables on two large, rimmed cookie sheets or lasagna pans and stick in the oven and roast for 30 minutes. While they’re in the oven mince the fresh ginger and set aside and have the maple syrup ready as well. After 30 minutes pull out the pans and scatter the toasted pecans, minced ginger and maple syrup over the vegetables. We then combined them into one pan and tossed well. Place the pan(s) back into the oven and roast for another 25 minutes. They should be tender and slightly browned. Serve in a large bowl and enjoy!
HARICOTS VERTS AND CHESTNUTS WITH DATE VINAIGRETTE (serves about 10)
- 2 cups vacuum-packed peeled chestnuts (10 ounces)
- 2 pounds haricots verts
- 2 small shallots
- 1/4 cup cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup grapeseed oil (olive oil will also work)
- 1/4 cup chopped pitted dates
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
- Salt and Freshly ground pepper
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. On a rimmed baking sheet spread the chestnuts and bake for about 5 minutes, just enough to dry the chestnuts. Allow them to cool and slice them up. Or you can do what we did and not slice them. (We actually forgot to slice them in the busyness of the kitchen at the time. But no one complained and they were soft and small enough to easily cut on the plate later.) Set aside.
Next cook your green beans. Be sure to cut the tips of the green beans before cooking. Nowadays you can even buy them pre-cut (which my aunt does and helps cut down on prep time). You should be able to easily snap off the tips by hand. Once your green beans are prepped, boil about an inch and a half to two inches of salted water in a large saucepan. Add in the beans and cook until crisp tender, about 5 to 7 minutes. Be sure to mix them up so they cook evenly. When done, drain and run under cool water then pat dry with a paper towel or clean dish towel. Transfer to a large bowl and add in the chestnuts.
Finally, make the date vinaigrette. Chop the shallots and puree in a blender along with the olive oil and cider vinegar. Add in the chopped dates, thyme and a couple pinches of salt and pepper and pulse just enough to combine all ingredients but not too much that the dates are pureed.
Wait to dress the green beans and chestnuts until you are ready to serve. Add just enough to lightly dress the beans. Toss well. You can put the rest in a small bowl on the table for your guests to add to their liking. I’m sorry I don’t have a photo of the completed dish, look for them on my plate in the next post. Enjoy!
Cooking Thanksgiving dinner can seem daunting. Even if you’ve done it many times before. I still get nervous, even though I’ve been in the kitchen for about five years and I cook with my dad. You know what makes cooking dinner (especially for a large group of people) easier? Making a few items ahead of time. For the items I made either last Thanksgiving or Christmas I have linked to their recipe. Do you make anything ahead of time? Have questions about anything I’ve listed? Leave a comment below!
- Cranberry Sauce: Raw or Cooked, make a day or two before and keep refrigerated until dinner. Serve cold, room temp or hot (the cooked one).
- Pumpkin Pie. Keep covered in the fridge for a couple of days and serve chilled (with whipped cream of course!)
- Roasted Garlic. Don’t make the potatoes, but you can definitely roast your garlic the night before. Keep it wrapped in aluminum foil in the fridge until needed.
- Dinner Rolls. Well not all the way. But make the dough and set them in your pan and keep covered. After you take your turkey out of the oven, turn down the heat and stick your rolls in to bake. (Sorry no recipe yet, this Christmas though!)
- Butternut Squash and Apples (a side dish my family made last year). We made it the night before and reheated on the stove after taking the turkey out of the oven.
You don’t have to cook ahead, but it can make the kitchen a little less hectic the day of. Use that extra time to spend more time with friends and family. Watch the parade or watch the big game. However you end up spending Thursday I hope it’s a good one. Stay tuned to my Instagram, Twitter feed and my Facebook page for all the adventures I’m having in San Francisco.
I want to know how you’re celebrating as well, so be sure to share your own photos of Turkey Day with me online! I will also try to answer any questions you may have throughout the day so tweet me @sarahallynbauer or post to Facebook and I’ll respond as soon as my hands are clean 😉
Thanksgiving is only one week away so let the preparations begin. Last year I wrote about all the cooking my dad and I did: the turkey and stuffing in part 1 and all the side dishes in part 2. This year I thought I’d share some tips with you to help make your Thanksgiving dinner as delicious as possible, so here are 10 tips to make a great turkey. Share your own tips and tricks in the comments below!
- With the big day only one week away, be sure to get your turkey by the end of this weekend so you’re not stuck with one that’s too big or too small. Yes, turkeys sell out early.
- When buying your turkey, estimate 1.5 to 2 lbs for each person. So for a family of 8 I recommend buying a turkey between 12 and 16 pounds.
- Pull out an ice chest and store your turkey in there if your fridge isn’t big enough (especially if you’re like us and buy about a 20 lb turkey). And leave the ice chest outside (with something heavy on top) to help keep it cool and out-of-the-way. (Also, make sure you defrost your turkey if you buy a frozen one.)
- To get a moist turkey brine your turkey overnight (unless you purchase a turkey that is pre-brined).
- When prepping your bird for the oven be sure to separate the skin as much as possible, without tearing it, and get your seasonings on as much of the bird between the skin and meat as possible.
- Put chunks of carrots, onions and celery in the roasting pan along with about a cup of water and some fresh herbs. This will be your basting liquid and later can be used as part of your gravy after deglazing the pan.
- Best advice my dad gave me was to roast your turkey breast side DOWN first. This ensures a moist breast because the juices run down over the breast. Then flip it over for the final hour.
- BASTE! Once an hour baste the turkey with drippings from the roasting pan. (It may sound obvious, but there are people who don’t baste, or don’t baste enough.)
- After it’s all done cooking, be sure to let it rest for about 15 minutes before carving (see photo below).
- And of course, ENJOY!!! (okay, so not a real tip, but still very important!)