Hi team! The internet, grocery stores, and caterers are aflutter with Thanksgiving food and ideas this time of year. I know for many of you the traditional green bean or hash-brown casserole is a staple on the table. Or the jello salad that may, or may not, get eaten by anyone. These traditions are important, don’t stop making grandma’s recipes! If you’re still undecided what to make, or bring, to your holiday gathering, there are a bevy of options to get you through not only Thanksgiving, but the rest of the holiday season as well.
Appetizers and cocktail hour
Gatherings should be about socializing, and what better way to bring people together than over one bite, finger foods and cocktails. Some of us are good with beer and cheese dip honestly, but there’s room to kick it up a notch too. Lemonade is light and refreshing, add a little carbonated water to make a spritzer, frozen berries are a nice way to keep it chilled. Add a sprig of rosemary, thyme or tarragon, and a shot of vodka or bourbon to make it festive. Cocktails can easily be modified into mocktails for the younger crowd, or those folks that have a little more common sense than the rest of us. If you want to impress your guests, make some crostinis, and top them with smoked salmon spread and sprig of dill, a slice of brie and an apple wedge, or black eyed pea pate.
I’m not really going to talk about turkey, other than to share this interesting article I just read on brining. What I want to talk about is sides, really vegetables, because that’s usually what I want to talk about. Don’t forget to eat them!
- Roasted brussel sprouts are quick, you can add bacon if you like, toasted or candied pecans are also a delightful addition. Toss them in oil, salt and pepper, 400 degree oven until brown and crispy.
- Sweet potatoes: step away from the marshmallows! roast them whole in their jackets, mash them with butter and cinnamon and done. Peel them, slice thin, toss with oil and high heat roast until crispy. Toss with herbs, a little cider vinegar and thinly sliced green onion
- Green beans: grill or high heat roast until just starting to brown, toss with gremolata, or just finely minced garlic and butter, toasted almonds work great here too.
- Cauliflower: cut in to slabs, toss with oil, almond flour, parsley, lemon zest, and paprika, high heat roast until very brown.
Ok, so obviously pie is essential. I’m always a huge fan of crostatas because they come together quickly and can be made ahead of time, frozen, and baked the day of your gathering. Apples, quince, and cranberries all make great pies this time of year, either together or separate. I’m a little obsessed with Dorie Greenspan’s Chocolate Pecan Pie this year. And if you’re tired of pumpkin pie (you’re crazy if you say that though), try a sweet potato pie.
There are so many opportunities to create new traditions and include new family members and their traditions, keep your holiday favorites and bring in a couple of new ones. Holidays are about sharing.