Are you excited as I am for Thanksgiving or are you starting to dread it? Maybe that depends on your role.
Will you be a guest, a potluck participant, or the sole cook this Thanksgiving? They all require effort, just in different ways. As guests, we’re still on the hook for at least a bottle of wine – because “just bring yourselves” is code for “please, a fine chardonnay that I will drink from a measuring cup held by my tarnished manicured hands, when you all have gone.” Guests must also brush up on scintillating tableconversationand effusive comments about the fare, while looking stunning. Are we ready?
Potluckers work on their signatures dishes. I’m in this category most years and well, I find, my conversation is less scintillating and more often about the signatures dishes. I mean how many conversations can I start about gravy separators and potato ricers? I promise to work on that this year.
The sole cooks – well you are our Thanksgiving heroes and it is to you that this post is dedicated with two simple sides that bring color to your table and calm to your soul. A peace offering for last week’s stuffing challenge.
These sides play off traditional dishes, but don’t go full casserole on us, leaving our toiling and digestive tracts available for gravy and pie. Afterall, your sides shouldn’t hurt!
French green beans – haricot verts – blanched ahead of time, warmed in sauté pan with butter and topped with French’s canned crispy onions.
Maple glazed squash – fresh delicata – laced with mini sage leaves, can be roasted ahead and zapped in micro. I prefer oven to table, but do-ahead do save.
You have two saving strategies – do-aheads and delegation. I say, when it stops becoming fun for you, give it to someone else – assign tasks to family & friends and preorder any and everything from your grocer or bakery. Do not make every item from scratch! Let technology help with planning – even Bon Appetite offers a freeThanksgiving app.
There’s no avoiding that magical frenetic moment, when all dishes must come together. I can nearly feel our traditional Thanksgiving now – four or five of us, while dressed in our holiday best, dodging oven doors and sharing oven burners as we reach the cooking crescendo, others pour drinks and set tables, multiple conversations add the soundtrack, wine flows freely, and the unmistakable fragrance of Thanksgiving foods wafts telling us – we have gathered again.
It will be here and gone before we know it. Let us have the cooking enhance our day, not burden it. Enjoy.
taking sides – maple glazed squash & crispied green beans
MAPLE GLAZED SQUASH
preptime: 10 minutes serves 6-8
baketime: 30 minutes
3 delicata* squash
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/3 c maple syrup
- Preheat oven to 400°.
- Wash exterior of squash. Slice each squash lengthwise and scoop out seeds. Then, slice into 1/2″ pieces.
- Place the demi-rings of squash on a non-stick cookie sheet or aluminum foil. I prefer non-stick aluminum foil.
- Sprinkle on the olive oil and salt and toss with your hands to coat the slices and then lay them out in a single layer.
- Brush maple syrup on each piece.
- Bake for 10 minutes then turn and brush on more maple syrup.
- Bake 10-20 minutes longer to your desired texture. Squash should be browned and soft.
- Place on serving platter and top with smaller sage leaves.
- Roast squash for 15 minutes. Cool and store flat for 1-2 days in refrigerator. Warm in your oven before serving.
- Purchase prepped butternut squash – peeled, cubed, uncooked and roast as described above.
*Delicata squash doesn’t need peeling, so I prefer it, but butternut squash can also be used.
CRISPIED GREEN BEANS
preptime: 15 minutes servings 6-8
cooktime: 15 minutes: 10 to blanche, 5 to saute
2 lbs haricot verts, ends trimmed
1/2 cup fried onions
2 Tbsp butter
salt and pepper to taste
- Bring large pot of salted water to boil. Reduce heat to mild rumble. Note: salting water for all green vegetables will brighten the green color.
- Add beans and cook for ten minutes. They should be firm, just past crunchy.
- If you’re cooking aheadâ€¦prepare an ice bath to hold all the beans – bowl with ice and some water.
- Plunge the just-cooked beans into the water to stop the cooking.
- Drain and set aside until just before serving time.
- In a saute pan, melt better. When it begins to foam, add in beans, cook to warm and coat.
- Place in serving platter, top with onions.
- Purchased prepped beans from grocer – again, not as fresh but it will save you trimming time.
- Cook ahead, but please err on the side of undercooked because there’s no going back.
recipes provided by your friends at crunchtimefood.com