AVP/Sr Mortgage Originator
Alaska USA Mortgage AK#157293
Phone: (907)261-3458 Cell: 223-4440
License: NMLS Unique Identifier #203077
Think Outside the Bird:
Trimmings for the Ideal Thanksgiving Meal
By Kirk Leins
Thanksgiving is almost the perfect holiday. Unlike many celebrations, the emphasis is less about the material aspects, and more about the day itself. Simply put, Thanksgiving is about reconnecting with loved ones, eating great food, and watching a few football games. The one blemish, however, is the pressure we feel to flawlessly execute a great Thanksgiving dinner.
Several months ago, when I began thinking about this year's Thanksgiving article, I carefully contemplated which angle I would take. My first thought was to put forth an editorial on how to roast a succulent bird. But I sort of did that last year. I also thought about mixing it up a bit and showing you how to deep-fry a turkey. But that would have required most of you to purchase added equipment, and who wants to do that? Then, it hit me. Giving you great Thanksgiving advice didn't require me to think outside the box. I needed to think outside the bird!
The sad part is that many people concentrate so much on their bird, they end up botching the other components of their meal. This article will attempt to right this wayward ship with a few delicious side dish recipes, as well as some overall side dish advice. But, before we go there, here are a few turkey tips to ease your mind.
So, now that we've gotten that out of the way, it's time to address the issue of making great side dishes. The following are my opinions and advice regarding some of the more traditional accoutrements to a Thanksgiving meal.
Regardless of the type of potatoes you use, or your method for mashing them, I recommend giving careful thought to your choice of additional ingredients. While cheesy mashed potatoes are great, I don't think they're a good accompaniment to Thanksgiving dinner. It's a little too heavy for an already heavy meal. Opt instead for adding ingredients like roasted garlic or finely-chopped fresh herbs.
I also recommend making your mashed potatoes towards the end of your turkey's roasting time. Making them any earlier is not a great way to go, as they are at their best when served right away. Remember, your turkey has to rest for at least twenty minutes before carving. This should leave you plenty of time for tending to the taters.
If you make your mashed potatoes earlier than recommended, do not utilize a flame to keep them warm. This will either cause them to burn or get very oily. Instead, transfer your potatoes into a glass bowl placed over a large pot of lightly-simmering water and cover with aluminum foil. Do not allow the simmering water to touch the bottom of the bowl.
One tip I'd like to leave you with is what to do in case your gravy turns out lumpy. First, don't freak out. Second, don't tell anyone. Third, pass it through a sieve into another saucepot or straight into your gravy boat. No one will ever know.
Green Bean Casserole
Do yourself a favor and go with a fresh green vegetable like haricot vert (French-style green beans) or asparagus, simply prepared. Steam your veggies lightly, and toss them in unsalted butter or olive oil, kosher salt, and a little citrus zest. Top them off with lightly-toasted almond slices, and you've got a delicious, healthy, and easy side dish.
Candied Yams with Marshmallows
To serve 6 people, you will need 4 large sweet potatoes or yams, peeled and cut into quarters. Place them into a baking dish. In a separate bowl, combine 1 to 1.5 cups of freshly squeezed orange juice, 1/2 C dark maple syrup, 2 tsp powder ginger, a few grinds of fresh nutmeg, and a pinch of salt. Pour the mixture over your sweet potatoes or yams, and dot with unsalted butter. Bake them in a 375 degree oven for 1 to 1.5 hours or until they are soft and golden. Make sure to baste your "tubers" every 15 minutes with the orange juice mixture.
I guarantee that my recipe for Candied Yams will be a home run. While they may not include marshmallows, they provide a sweet punch to the thanksgiving dinner without utilizing candy. I'm sorry, but I truly feel that marshmallows have no place in a Thanksgiving meal. I look at their addition the same as I do the addition of pineapple to pizza. It's not that I won't eat it. I just find it to be a superfluous and heavy-handed ingredient for this dish.
Cranberry Sauce and Corn Bread Stuffing
In a saucepot, bring orange juice, water, and sugar to a boil. Stir to dissolve sugar. Add cranberries, orange zest, cinnamon stick, ground ginger, and nutmeg. Stir to incorporate, and reduce heat. Allow mixture to simmer uncovered for 15 to 20 minutes or until most of the cranberries have popped. Allow mixture to cool, transfer to an airtight container, and refrigerate overnight.Cornbread and Sausage Stuffing (Serves 4 to 6)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large skillet, heat a Tbsp or so of olive oil until hot. Fry sausage, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, until fully browned. Transfer cooked sausage meat to a large bowl. In the same skillet, heat 2 Tbsp of olive oil until hot. Add onion, bell pepper, celery, and garlic. Season the veggies with salt and pepper, and sauté for 5 minutes. Transfer veggies to the same bowl with the sausage. To the bowl, add crumbled cornbread, beaten eggs, chicken stock, and herbs, and then season with salt and pepper. Using your hands, mix until fully incorporated. Grease a casserole dish with butter or non-stick spray, and transfer the stuffing mixture to the dish. Pack the stuffing loosely, and roast it in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes. For an extra-crispy top, place casserole under the broiler for a few minutes. Serve.
We've done it! We successfully focused on the periphery of our Thanksgiving meal without forgetting the importance of the turkey. I honestly feel it's just as important to focus of the spirit of this holiday without losing sight of the many reasons we have to be thankful. Doing so will not only set the tone of the day, it will also alleviate some of the pressure we feel to flawlessly execute our Thanksgiving meal. From YOU to you, have a happy and safe Thanksgiving holiday.
Kirk Leins has been cooking his entire life. No stranger to professional kitchens, he currently devotes most of his time to cooking instruction, food writing, and producing television. Kirk also provides his services as a personal chef in and around the Los Angeles area. He has made several TV appearances on both the national and local level, and is the Executive Chef for YOU Magazine. His free newsletter, The Everyday Gourmet, is available by contacting Kirk at EGcuisine@gmail.com.
License AK# 157293 Washington Consumer Loan Company license# CL-157293 California Residential Mortgage Lending Act, License# 4131067
You are receiving a complimentary subscription to YOU Magazine as a result of your ongoing business relationship with Kathleen Petty. While beneficial to a wide audience, this information is also commercial in nature and it may contain advertising materials.
INVITE A FRIEND to receive YOU Magazine. Please feel free to invite your friends and colleagues to subscribe.
SUBSCRIBE to YOU Magazine. If you received this message from a friend, you can subscribe online.
UNSUBSCRIBE: If you would like to stop receiving emails from Kathleen Petty, you can easily unsubscribe.
|Alaska USA Mortgage AK#157293
, 125 W Dimond Blvd #110
Anchorage, AK 99515
Powered by Platinum Marketing
© Copyright 2018. Vantage Production, LLC.