I love to cook. But even I have to admit, Thanksgiving can be daunting. There are so many dishes to make and what the heck is the best way to cook a turkey, anyway? AND if you're a design-lover like me, you have to make sure you're creating complementary table settings that match those fresh-baked delights...
Still, this is one of the best holidays! It's about GRATITUDE and FAMILY and FRIENDSHIP, which makes all the other stuff melt away. Mellow with your wine, a full belly, and friends and family around you. Throw on a crackling fire, and you have the perfect holiday.
To help you enjoy all of the great parts of this holiday (and ease the stress of those tough Thanksgiving tasks) here are some yummy, easy sides that I love to include in my Turkey Day buffet. (I actually love these small bites so much, I ignore the rest of the dinner! But that's a secret.)
1. Tuscan Kale Salad with shaved parmesan, apples, pine nuts and Cranberry Orange Vinaigrette (adapted from Lauren Conrad's recipe here)
for the salad:
- 2 bunches of Tuscan or black kale, cut julienne
- 1/2 cup shaved parmesan
- 2 granny apples cut into half moons
- 1/2 cup pinenuts
for the vinaigrette (dress the greens about two hours before serving and when ready to serve, toss in the rest of the ingredients--the dressing will tenderize the kale a bit):
- 1 t Dijon mustard
- 1/4 cup champagne vinegar
- 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
2. Roasted Candied Yams
- 6 roasted yams (or sweet potatoes) --roasted in the oven at 350 degrees for one hour
- one box of light or dark brown sugar (one pound)
- one stick butter (I know--how can this go wrong?!)
- 1/4 C of orange juice
Combine the sugar, butter and orange juice in a small pan and heat on simmer until the sugar is melted. Peel the yams and slice into thirds, put in a pan, pour over the cooked sugar mixture and bake in a 350 degree oven until bubbly.
3. Sourdough Sage Dressing
- two loaves of sourdough bread, sliced and cubed, and dried out (you can cube it and put it on trays in a cool oven for a day or two to "stale up" or put it into a 250 degree oven for about an hour--keep an eye on it, though.)
- one yellow onion, diced
- one bunch of celery, diced
- one cube of butter
- one bunch of fresh sage, julienned
- 32 ounces of chicken stock
- one tablespoon of Bell Seasoning
- two raw beaten eggs
- salt and pepper to taste
Melt the cube of butter in a pot, add the julienned sage and cook until slightly crisp, being careful not to burn the butter. Add the celery and onion and sauté for 4-5 minutes. Ladle in the broth, the Bell seasoning, salt and pepper to taste, and bring to a simmer. Take off the burner and let cool. When cooled, stir in the eggs and then pour mixture over the cubed bread and toss (in a bowl or in the roasting pan). Put the mixture into a roasting pan and place in a 375 degree oven for 20-30 minutes or until browned and crisp on top.
So now it is up to you. I suggest opening a bottle of bubbly as you start and keeping it all simple. Delegate setting the table to the kids and occupy them with making place cards for all the guests --they can figure out the table arrangements. Good training for when you are old and infirm and its their turn to prepare dinner for you. XO