Saturday, November 27, 2010

Giving Thanks for Thanksgiving Sides

By now, what was left of Thanksgiving has been gobbled up. The turkey was sliced, the gravy passed, scoops of seconds and thirds cleaned off of every plate. All that remains now are depleting Tupperwares of leftovers, maybe a few slices of pumpkin pie in the fridge, and the memories of a feast to be thankful for. Of course, our tried and true recipes also stick around—perhaps even literally.

Left stiff, crinkled, and bleeding with greasy ink spots, our recipes often take the brunt of the holiday. You can say that it’s the aftermath of having been recklessly thrown around in the bout of turkey-making madness, but it’s probably because those same pieces of paper have been referenced for like, a million years. At Thanksgiving, we’ve all come to expect the traditional staples and so every year the same index cards and magazine clippings come out.

Vary too much from the Thanksgiving recipe norm and you are venturing into dangerous, unwelcome territory. Bring out a tofurkey or a turducken, and your likely to experience some protesting. The reactions you get might go a little something like those in this scene from Everybody Loves Raymond:


I agree with the Barones. You want to get fancy? Pick another holiday. In fact, don't ever bring me a tofurky. Who doesn’t look forward to the once a year spread of Thanksgiving table veterans? Classic roasted turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and sweet potatoes in some shape or form—they never get old.

The bird is the word on Thanksgiving, but the sides are what I look forward to the most. Like a lot of people, I'll eat a little bit of turkey, and then go to town getting full on all the other good stuff. To save on time, oven space, turkey guts, and mainly Mom skeeving out, whenever Thanksgiving is at our house we order our bird from a caterer who slices it up and even provides the gravy. They do a great job and it allows me to focus on everything else.

Since culinary school, I’ve built up my own pile of Thanksgiving recipes, tweaking them a little bit each year. Along with Mom’s famous broccoli puff and sweet potato casserole with marshmallows, here is what I made: Click on the name of each dish for recipe.  

Vegetable, Fennel, and Herb soup in Paremesan Broth
 This soup is perfect before a big meal like Thanksgiving dinner because it is so light. It gets a nice sweetness from the fennel, but the real secret to its great flavor is the parmesan rind.

Buttermilk Biscuits
I found this recipe for James Beard's buttermilk biscuits on Kathy Gori's blog, The Colors of Indian Cooking.
Here's her post with great step-by-step photos.

Apple Sauce
I made this recipe especially for this Thanksgiving. My favorite part is the addition of amaretto and maple syrup. I'll definitely be making this again.

Boulangerie Potatoes
The underlying slab bacon, leek, and thyme mixture in Tom Colicchio's oven-roasted,"baker's" potatoes make them taste even more amazing.

String Bean Salad with Toasted Walnuts and Apple Cider Dressing
I love string bean salad. It's a great way to have your veggies on a holiday without having to worry about something else in the oven. I think the apple cider dressing gives it a nice autumnal touch.

Cranberry Relish
Made with apple cider, orange juice, and granny smith apples.

Corn Bread
Light, fluffy, and sweet.
Sourdough Chestnut Stuffing
This comes out awesome and serves a ton. My suggestion would be to buy the chestnuts that come premade and save yourself a lot of trouble. Roasting chesnuts on an open fire is fun if that's all you're doing--not when you're preparing a Thanksgiving feast.
I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! I know I’m a little late, but I didn’t want to give you the recipes before testing them out and making sure that everything was Ok. I’ve also been getting a little busier lately—Thanksgiving eve I worked on my first freelance assignment writing local news for By the way, most of these dishes don’t have to be just for Thanksgiving; while you can always save the recipes for next year, they work well for any dinner!

Click here for print out recipes of the entire Thanksgiving Sides menu.


Mother Rimmy said...

That's what I call a Thanksgiving feast! I could repeat Thanksgiving all over again! :)

Koci said...

Yum!! I feel like I should be a little more Thanksgiving-ed out by now, but all of these dishes look amazing. I really want to give that soup a try, seeing as I'm on a bit of a Parmesan kick at the moment. :D

Sommer J said...

Great looking spread!!!!

Yeah, I's have no interest in tofurkey or turducken on Turkey day. Maybe on Chrimbo ;)

Sandra said...

Wonderful dinner, dishes look so delicious! And video was great addition:))) now I have to watch whole think:)))I miss this show, it was one of my favorite!LOL!

Beth said...

That menu looks wonderful! I could eat it right now!

Roxan said...

Awesome roundup of recipes! :) I think that potato dish speaks to me the most, yum. I didn't know that you went to culinary school... that's awesome! I would love to go someday.


Awesome spread! The Chestnut stuffing looks fabulous!

5 Star Foodie said...

I look forward to the side dishes the most as well, can get very creative with those. A very nice selection here, I especially like the sound of Sourdough Chestnut Stuffing.

Megan said...

Hi Marisa! Oh my goodness... the potatoes with the bacon hiding underneath and that stuffing are to die for. Thanks for the amazing recipes.. Hope you are well and I wish you a wonderful week! -

Megan said...

and p.s.... love the video clip!

Victoria said...

Wow, everything looks great! that's a LOT of sides, I can see why you held off a bit on the turkey so you could have room for everything else :)

Chef Dennis said...

my words exactly!! its ok to experiment and try new recipes, but not on Thanksgiving!! That film clip was priceless, I had tears running down my face from laughing so hard!
Your dinner looked like the perfect holiday feast!

Evan @swEEts said...

I need that stuffing in my life as soon as possible! All your sides look fabulous. Glad you had a good Thanksgiving :)

Magic of Spice said...

Beautiful line up of have no idea how many people asked me if I was serving tofurky, so funny...But the answer is no :)

Claudia said...

I am all over that fennel soup. All the dishes looks grand - and now that the day is over - I am craving all sorts of vegetable soups. And those that's a celebratory side!

Pacheco Patty said...

The video was hysterical, I'm waiting at the airport so that was a nice distraction. You had quite the feast on Thanksgving, thanks for the photos and recipes. The only was I can serve potatoes on Thanksgiving is mashed or I would have a serious mutiny on my hands. This year we went to a restaurant which was okay but will go back to the usual at home dinner which everybody prefers. It was nice for me to get a break however! I think my favorite is your soup, love the lightness and flavors, thanks again for sharing;)

Biz said...

Thanks for all the recipes - I especially love the green bean walnut dish - yum!

Glad you had a nice Thanksgiving!

Adelina said...

Happy Thanksgiving Marisa! Sorry for the late reply. It looks like you're probably recovering from all that great food. Everything looks so scrumptious.

Monet said...

Delicious! It looks like you had a wonderful feast. I adore traditional holiday fare, and you included some of my favorites! And I'm always happy with a bit of Seinfeld! Thank you for sharing. I hope you have a great day!

Healthy Mamma said...

I love your blog to bits. Yup, to bits! You are a wonderful writer and I really enjoy taking my time and reading through your posts, very funny, thoughtful and full of personality.
I LOVE Everybody Loves Raymond!! It's the only t.v. show we watch other than 'House'. That episode was classic! So true!
I made a turkey this year just so I could have leftovers for my fav recipes.

I am loving your potato recipe, such a wonderful variation on the norm blah mashed potatoes!