Saturday, November 23, 2013

My Thanksgiving Menu (revised), with Recipes

Thanksgiving 2013
·         Pear salad with ginger-sesame dressing and almonds
·         Lentil-rice loaf with mushroom gravy
·         Smashed red potatoes
·         Duchess sweet potatoes
·         Sautéed Swiss chard
·         Glazed carrots and parsnips
·         Harvest Home rolls
·         Cranberry upside-down cake

Salad with Pears and Ginger-Sesame Dressing
2 pears, cored and thinly sliced
¼ red onion, thinly sliced
4 cups spinach
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons orange marmalade
Juice of 1 lemon
½ teaspoon minced fresh ginger
1 small clove garlic, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
¼ cup toasted sliced almonds

In a small mixing bowl combine orange marmalade, lemon juice, ginger, and garlic.  Whisk to combine.  Slowly incorporate olive oil and toasted sesame oil.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Arrange spinach on a platter.  Top with pear and onion slices and almonds.  Drizzle with dressing. 

Walnut-Lentil-Rice Loaf
1/2 cup walnuts
2 TB olive oil
One onion, diced
One large garlic clove, minced
One large carrot, peeled and grated
Two celery ribs, diced
2 cups cooked lentils
1 cup cooked brown rice
1/4 to 1/2 cup vegetable broth, as needed
1/2 cup cooked oatmeal
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 tsp. celery salt
Preheat the oven to 350º. Spray a loaf pan or 8x8 square baking pan with nonstick spray and set aside (an 8x8 pan makes a crisper loaf).
Grind the walnuts into a coarse meal using a food processor or spice/coffee grinder. Place in a large mixing bowl and set aside.
Sauté onion, shredded carrot, and celery in the olive oil until soft, 5-7 minutes. Add garlic and cook 2-3 minutes longer, until fragrant. Add to the large mixing bowl along with all the remaining ingredients. Mix and mash together well, adding only as much liquid as needed to create a soft, moist loaf that holds together and is not runny (you may not need to add any liquid if the grains and protein are very moist). Add more oatmeal and/or brown rice as needed if the loaf seems too wet. (No matter how well the lentils are drained, they will still retain a good bit of moisture. I normally do not need much extra liquid at all.)
Press mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until cooked through.
Let the loaf cool in the pan for 15 minutes before turning out and slicing.

Mushroom Gravy
½ cup dried mixed mushrooms
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 cup vegetable broth
2 tablespoons corn starch
Salt and pepper to taste
1-2 tablespoons olive or grape seed oil

Place the mushrooms in a bowl or measuring cup.  Pour over 1 cup of boiling water.  Cover and allow to sit for 15-20 minutes.
 In a sauce pan, heat the oil over medium heat.  Cook the shallot for 4-5 minutes.
Reserve the liquid from the mushrooms and chop up any large pieces into smaller ones.
Pour the mushroom liquid into the sauce pan.
Dissolve the corn starch in the vegetable broth and add to the sauce pan.
Increase the heat slightly so the mixture bubbles and thickens.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Mashed Potatoes
2 pounds red potatoes (these will be skin-on potatoes)
2 tablespoons butter
¼ cup each milk or half and half and vegetable broth
Fresh chopped chives, optional
Salt and pepper to taste

Cube the potatoes and place in a pot. Cover with cold water.
Bring to a boil and cook until fork-tender.  Drain well.
Return the potatoes to the pot or use a mixing bowl.
Add the butter, liquids, and salt and pepper.
With a stand mixer or hand mixer, whip until fairly smooth.  There will be some ‘shrapnel’ from the skins, which you can remove prior to cooking if you prefer. 
Fold in the chives, if using.

Duchess Sweet Potatoes
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 tablespoons cream
4 tablespoons butter, divided
½ teaspoon garam masala
1 egg
Salt and pepper to taste

Prepare the sweet potatoes the same way as the red potatoes. 
Once smoothly whipped with the butter, cream, and egg, spoon into a pastry bag or plastic baggie fitted with a star tip.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 
Pipe equal mounds onto the parchment.
Heat oven to 375 F. 
Lightly brush the potatoes with melted butter.
Bake 20 minutes, until heated through and slightly browned on the outside.

Glazed Roasted Carrots and Parsnips
½ pound each carrots and parsnips, peeled and cubed or sliced
1 tablespoon olive or grape seed oil
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons each melted butter, honey, and balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 375 F.
Toss the vegetables with a tablespoon of oil and season with salt and pepper. 
Spread evenly on a large baking sheet coated with nonstick cooking spray.
Roast for about 15 minutes.
Combine the honey, melted butter, and balsamic vinegar.  Pour over the vegetables and stir to coat.
Allow vegetables to roast until tender and glaze has thickened.

Swiss Chard
1-2 bunches Swiss chard, stems and leaves separated
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons olive or grape seed oil
3-4 tablespoons water
Salt, pepper, and nutmeg to taste

Blanch the chard stems in boiling, salted water for about 2 minutes.  Strain and place in a bowl of cold water. 
Shred the leaves by rolling them up and slicing. 
Heat the oil over medium heat in a skillet or pot with a lid.
Add the garlic and cook 1 minute.
Add the stems and leaves of the chard.  Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg.
Add a couple of tablespoons of water and put the lid on the pot.  Allow the chard to steam for 5-7 minutes.  Check and add more water and continue steaming if not tender yet.
Remove the lid and allow the liquid to evaporate. Make sure the garlic does not burn.

Harvest Home Rolls
½ cup milk, warmed to 110 F
1 package yeast
¼ cup butter, melted
1 egg, beaten
1/8 c sugar
½ - 1 tsp. salt
2 ¼- 2 ½ cups unbleached bread flour ( I used KA), plus extra for dusting
1 tablespoon oil
1 egg, beaten, for egg wash

Bloom the yeast in half the milk.  I always add just a pinch of sugar at this stage too, maybe ½ tsp.  Wait 15 minutes. 
Add the rest of the warm milk, melted butter, sugar and salt.  Stir to dissolve.  Add the beaten egg and stir.
Gradually mix in the flour with a wooden spoon.   Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead for about 8 minutes, until the dough makes a satiny ball.
Pour a tablespoon of oil into the bowl. Place the ball of dough into the bowl and turn to coat.  Cover with a clean towel and leave in a warm place to rise for about an hour, until doubled in size.
After an hour, punch down the dough and let it rise until doubled again, 45-60 minutes.
After the dough has risen a second time,  lightly oil your hands and pinch off 12 small balls of dough.   Do this by squeezing the dough between the thumb and forefinger of your fist.    Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and cover with a clean towel.  Let rise again until doubled in size, about 5 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350 F.   Brush beaten egg on top of each roll before baking.  Bake 20-25 minutes, until golden brown.  The egg wash will make the tops a nice, golden brown.

Cranberry Upside-Down Cake (adapted from allrecipes.com)
½ cup butter
2 cups granulated sugar
1 tablespoons water
1 12-oz. bag cranberries
1 ½ cups cake flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons butter, softened
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cardamom
2 eggs
¾ cup sour cream
½ teaspoon orange extract
Zest of 1 orange

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Grease a 9-inch spring form pan or 8 x 8 square  (I like my cast iron skillet for this, honestly.)
Melt ½ cup butter in a sauce pan.  Add the sugar and water. Stir to dissolve the sugar.  Bring to a boil.
Add the cranberries. Coat with the mixture in the sauce pan and then pour into the baking dish.
Sift the flour and baking soda together in a mixing bowl and set aside.
In another bowl, cream together the butter, white sugar, and brown sugar. 
Incorporate the eggs one at a time. 
Add the orange zest, orange extract, cardamom, and sour cream.
Add the dry ingredients.
Pour the batter over the cranberries.
Bake for 45-50 minutes, until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Cool for 15-20 minutes on a rack before turning cake out.   (Again, I’ll use my trusty cast-iron skillet and probably won’t invert it until serving time.)

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